Device management

XMPP is typically seen as an Instant Messaging (IM) system. However, we at Tigase think a better abbreviation would be Instant Communication (IC) system. IM seems a bit restricted to human interactions, like a better SMS or a better e-mail. Real world XMPP applications on the other hand, go way beyond human interactions and in fact well qualify for IC - instant communication systems.

So what does this mean? There are many deployments of Tigase XMPP Server for which non-human devices connect over XMPP and stay online and ready for commands.

Although the article could have started with: "Let's imagine a system..." we don't have to. Such systems both already exist and are in use! Here are 2 examples where Tigase XMPP server provides IC services:

  1. Printing system where you can send a print job from any place in the world to your home printer.

    In the old days you had to connect your printer directly to your desktop with special parallel printer cable with 20 or so wires. Later, the printers supported a USB port, so connectivity was somewhat simpler but still wired to your computer. Nowadays, most printers offer network connectivity, either VIA Ethernet or Wi-Fi. Network printers make printing from your computer far more convenient and easy, especially when the printer is shared among a few machines. However, there is still one issue. You have to be fairly close to your printer, close enough to connect to the same LAN network as your printer. While this works great if you are at home, or at work, it doesn't help if you are out in the field? What if you are away from your office or home and you still want to print a document or a photo on your printer?

    You could email the file to someone who is in printer proximity and ask him to do the job, but that is not very convenient and still limiting. What if you could send a file to your printer from any place in the world? From any device, so long as you have some sort of internet connectivity?

    Right now, over 10 million printers connected over XMPP to Tigase server are waiting and ready to receive a print job. They connect over XMPP so they are online, they provide their presence information and capabilities within metadata and they can accept push notifications with print job details. Even if a printer is left offline, Tigase can store those requests and print them as soon as the printer turns on and logs into the server.

  2. TV set box which can be controlled from your Phone, even if you are on the other side of the globe.

    Because TV set top boxes require an internet connection to work, they are connected over XMPP and always online. The possibility for remote controlling them from a mobile device is kind of side effect of this constant online communication. Since the devices are always online, they can receive number of notifications related to reconfiguration commands, software updates, or urgent alert notifications to users watching TV - Hey, there is tornado heading in your direction right now..... Of course, on a less user driven side, devices can send back some diagnostic data to the box and other connected devices, or customer information such as usage statistics.

    With Tigase server acting between those boxes and providing an access point for remote communications, there is now a way to remotely control the set top box from apps on mobile devices or service computers. If the mobile is authorized to control the TV set box, it does not have to be necessarily connected to the same LAN network. Just like the above example, so long as that mobile device has a connection, a set top box can be controlled by any authorized user. This provides an unparalleled level of control for the user, and an even greater tool set for the service provider.

Yes, both above examples are live real-world installations. Ask your TV provider or printer product if your device offers such a features.

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