Frank's Blog

The IoT Solution Draft 

While it took me some time, I finally have an IoT section on my homepage: The most prominent content yet is an introduction to the IoT Solution Draft. Basically, an IoT Solution Draft is used for analyzing a prototype or minimum viable product for an interesting IoT idea:

The draft itself captures all the relevant elements for an IoT Solution, including Stakeholders & Roles, the Domain Model, the Asset (or Thing), the Business Processes and Rules, as well as the User Interfaces. A special focus is set on the interplay of the elements - something which is of high importance.

If you are interested, you can find the article here as well as a corresponding slide deck here. I'm happy to receive your feedback or thoughts on the material!
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Thingbench - A Virtual Device Workbench 

Tired of hooking up an Arduino to test another IoT framework? Or working inside a VM without actual access to hardware? Don't worry anymore, Thingbench helps you get through it.

ThingBench is an interactive, visual device workbench, where you can have multiple boards with different virtual devices attached. As of now, we ship with one virtual device---a lamp! You can switch it on and off, change the color and size or position multiple lamps on the board. (If you really ever need something else, this is all open source---feel free to fork and send a pull request!)

Here's how to browse your things:

GET http://localhost:9099/things

This gives you the list of current boards (shown as tabs in the workbench) and virtual devices attached to it:

<board name="Demo" id="1692623602">
<thing name="Lamp 1" id="1253071236" link=""/>
<thing name="Second Lamp" id="1142253466" link=""/>

To browse the properties of a thing go to one of the shown URLs (here Lamp1):


This gives you the current state of the devices:

<property name="shadow" value="0"/>
<property name="color_background" value="-3355648"/>
<property name="x" value="347"/>
<property name="width" value="100"/>
<property name="y" value="135"/>
<property name="text" value="Lamp 1"/>
<property name="stereotype" value=""/>
<property name="power" value="OFF"/>
<property name="#id" value="1253071236"/>
<property name="#type" value="thingbench.ThingsModel.Lamp"/>
<property name="height" value="140"/>

You can easily PUT one or all properties to set new values (like switching the lamp on):


with the body

<property name="power" value="ON"/>

You can easily integrate the corresponding HTTP calls in any IoT framework you like. If you need anything else than a simple lamp, please feel free to browse the code and add your own virtual devices. The Thingbench is based on Processeditor (, which makes it easy to create your own devices with a visual representation.

If you feel that this is the real thing---or just see the code example in color (sorry for my plain old blogging tool)---go straight to the Github project page:

If you're really interested, either fork or just drop me a mail!
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Enterprise IoT 

We all heard about the Internet of Things and Services. While many of you might have heard about interesting startups and lot of new developments in the area of Smart Homes, I'm really interesting in what the Internet of Things and Services means to traditional enterprises:

Actually, I'm looking into this topic for the last couple of years. Today, I'm really happy to be part of an ongoing experiment in Open Publishing that tries to capture the recent developments in the area of Enterprise IoT. The project was initiated and is driven by Dirk Slama, renowned expert and author of Enterprise BPM and Enterprise SOA. Besides Dirk, I'm very happy to work with Jim Morrish and Rishi Bhatnagar as co-authors. While Jim has a strong background as an M2M and IoT analyst, and hence brings in a quite independent view, Rishi is responsible for Digital Enterprise Services at Tech Mahindra and brings in the point of view from an international IT solution provider.

Besides a lot of interesting case studies and interviews from different application domains, we introduce the Ignite| IoT Methodology made up of parts on strategy execution as well as a solution delivery. While the former focuses on defining and implementing an IoT strategy from the point of view of a large enterprise organization, the latter provides project templates, checklists and solution architecture blueprints to capture IoT best practices.

Well, it's time for you to stop reading here and dive right into the Overture of Enterprise IoT. Please note that---due to it's ongoing nature---the page is alive and some parts will be refined over time!
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Business Models in the Internet of Things 

As you might have seen, I'm involved in the shift from Business Process Management to the Internet of Things and Services (IoTS) in the recent years. While the IoTS has many interesting aspects to investigate, one of particular concern is the creation of new business models. In particular, we are interested in investigating whether business models in the IoTS have special characteristics.

A student of mine, Stephan Degen, investigated this particular question and came up with interesting results as well as a guideline for an innovation workshop in the area of the Internet of Things:

"The Internet of Things (IoT) has begun to attract a great deal of attention, not only in the world of information technology, but in other industries as well. In the Internet of Things any physical object can be part of the Internet. The physical world merges with the digital world. The vision of the connection of everyday objects with the Internet is almost unlimited as far as technical and economic opportunities for businesses are concerned. Due to the technological advances in recent years, this vision is technically feasible, but still only exists in a limited number of ways for customers. One reason for this may be the large number of possibilities.

In order to offer more for consumers and increase the value to the Internet of Things, new business models need to be developed. Business models help to illustrate, how a company can create value for themselves and the customer. Furthermore, companies can differentiate themselves among competitors by developing new business models.

Therefore, this thesis presents a method for creating business models for the Internet of Things. The aim of the method is to develop a business model, based on an idea, which considers the specificities of the Internet of Things. Consequently, the essential part of this thesis is the presentation of an approach for the illustration of business models in the Internet of Things, the presentation of a procedural model for creating business models in the Internet of Things and the presentation of a concept for the realization of this procedural model within a workshop. These key points are based on the development of specificities of business models in the Internet of Things and the comparison of existing approaches for mapping business models."

--- Abstract from the thesis by Stephan Degen

I highly recommend taking a look at this very interesting and readable thesis. You can download the full thesis here (German only).

Finally, I would like to thank Bosch Software Innovations for funding the research!

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EDOC 2014 Paper - Production Case Management 

For all of you interested in the next evolution of BPM/Case Management, we now have an accepted full paper at the EDOC conference taking place later this year in Ulm (

The paper revisites and enhances the ideas presented in one of my most viewed blog entries on Production Case Management (PCM).

While the ideas of PCM can be easily explained in a live demo with a running prototype, writing a scientific paper about a new kind of idea is a different beast. Actually, we (Jan who wrote the Master thesis and I) submitted a first version for the BPM 2013 conference but got rejected.

The feedback of the reviewers made me rethink the ideas and presentation, moving away from the informal style that we originally thought was best to introduce something new. I also introduced the topic to some smart researchers of the Business Process Technology Group of the Hasso-Plattner-Institute, who really adopted the ideas and worked together on the next version.

As we needed to learn the hard way, however, also our "professional" supported try to publish the paper at this years CAiSE conference failed.

We once again took the feedback of the reviewers and rewrote the paper another time, creating the final version that got accepted after three tries tackling the topic of PCM from different angles.

We also have a lot of follow-up ideas---stay tuned!
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