- Privacy: Most of the cloud servers are owned by multinational corporations such as Amazon (Seattle, WA, USA), Google (Mountain View, CA, USA), Microsoft (Redmond, WA, USA), Cisco (San Jose, CA, USA), etc. which continuously receive data from the user side. Leakage of personal information and data ownership becomes a critical issue when all of the user’s data is collected for analytics purpose in the cloud . A safer solution would be to have a local infrastructure on which the user has more control than the cloud server. This would allow local data filtering and computation before sending it over to the cloud. An agent-based system could be a better solution for ensuring privacy.
- Cost: Cloud services follow a "Pay-as-you-go" model which adds to the cost as the storage and network communication increases . In a local computational infrastructure model, these costs can be reduced if the data collected is filtered locally and only pertinent information is sent to the cloud.
- Network Latency: A cloud has inherent latency issues and thus may not be a viable solution for applications such as live video streaming in connected vehicles, real-time data analytics in smart grids , etc., all of which require a rapid response. An Intranet of Things that uses agents, on the contrary, can provide fast local computations, thereby decreasing latency.
- Energy: As already mentioned, agents in an Intranet of Things can filter the acquired data prior to sending it over to the cloud. Since this reduces communication overheads, it also reduces the energy consumed and consequently increases the battery life of the devices constituting the network .
2. Multi-Agent Systems (MAS)
2.1. Mobile Agents
- Bandwidth and latency reduction: A mobile agent has the innate ability to carry the computation in the form of code to a remote site. Instead of fetching the whole raw or unprocessed data from a remote site, the mobility allows for the computing program or logic to migrate to this site and process the data therein. This results in reducing network traffic and latency.
- Discontinuous operation: In a dynamic network where the devices are mobile, it is rare that a continuous connection is maintained between two nodes for a long time. In a conventional client-server system, a sudden disconnection may cause the server to resend the whole data, making it an expensive affair. On the contrary, in a mobile agent-based scenario, migration occurs only when a connection is established. The mobile agent then resides in the new node till the connection to the next node is available. Unlike the large amount of data to be processed, a mobile agent is comparatively lightweight. Thus, a failure in migration does not compound into large losses in bandwidth and time.
- Adaptivity and flexibility: In a traditional centralized system, any upgrade would require the system to be brought down, changes made and then restarted. In a mobile agent-based system, upgrades could be packaged within the mobile agent and released into the network. This On-The-Fly Programming (OTFP)  support facilitates a higher amount of flexibility. Agents have the ability to sense and perceive their environment and change their behaviours accordingly. A mobile agent can add new behaviours in the form of a payload and can also adapt to different situations.
2.2. Multi-Agent Frameworks
3. Location-Aware and Tracking Service (LATS)
4. AgPi: The Cyber and Physical Confluence
5. AgPi in the Real World
5.1. AgPi based LATS application
5.1.1. Detection Mechanism
5.1.2. Wearable and Acquisition Unit (WAU)
- Preamble: This read-only field is 9 bytes wide and contains the manufacturer’s data.
- Universally Unique Identifier (UUID): This field, which is 16 bytes wide, can be preset to contain the identity of the BLE device.
- Major: This is a user writable field which helps in identifying a subset of such devices within a large group.
- Minor: It is also a writable field which is used for specifying a subset of the Major field.
- Tx Power: This field is a calibrated 2’s complement value denoting the signal strength at 1 m from the device. This field is compared with the measured signal strength at the receiving end in order to ascertain the distance between the transmitter and receiver.
5.1.3. Cyber Computing Unit (CCU)
- Beyond: When the RSS value is zero, it means that the person is not detected and is beyond the concerned zone.
- Far: This is a case when the person being tracked is far from the Pi-node. This is detected by a weak RSS value at the Pi-node of the concerned zone and would mean that the person wearing the BLE tag is in between 2 m to 5 m of the radial distance from the associated Pi-node.
- Near: A strong RSS value indicates the person to be well within the range i.e., less than 2 m in the present case.
5.1.4. User Interaction Unit (UIU)
- Where am I?: Such a query invariably emanates from a person who is lost within the building or does not know how to move around or needs to convey his/her bearings to someone else. Under such conditions, the user can fire an SQL query packaged in a mobile agent to the nearest one-hop neighbouring Pi-node. Once the mobile agent enters this Pi-node, it executes its code and eventually lands up in the Pi-node of the zone in which the person is currently present. The agent then retrieves the location information stored a priori within this Pi-node and provides it to the user. A segment of the relevant mobile agent code is presented in Figure 6.
- Where is X?: A query of this kind is required for a person to know whether X is within the building under consideration and, if so, where. This agent-based LATS allows for a non-intrusive mechanism to find the location of X. The user packs this query into a mobile agent and transmits it onto the Tartarus platform of the closest Pi, the one within the zone s/he is in currently. On reaching this Pi, the mobile agent scans the database within it to find whether X is/was in this zone. (i) If it discovers that X is within a particular zone currently, it retrieves the location information from the Pi-node and backtracks its path to the user’s system and provides the information on X; (ii) if the agent finds a Motion Vector Forward for X in that zone, then it uses the vector to find the next zone visited by X and migrates to the concerned Pi-node of this zone. It continues to do so until it eventually lands in a Pi-node of a zone where X is currently present. On reaching this, it retrieves the relevant information and retraces its path back to the user’s system to provide the information on X. In case X has left the place, the Motion Vector Forward within the Pi-node in the zone where X was last present will point to INFINITY. The agent would then assume that X is no more in the area and report accordingly to the user; (iii) if no trace of X is found in the database, the mobile agent continues its migration along the Pi-nodes in a conscientious manner  (Appendix A) until it eventually finds that X has been within the zone of some Pi or left the place. It may be noted that a user who wishes to know the bearings of another can alter his query to extract a range of information on the person being tracked.
- Trace(X): This query will provide a list of locations associated with all those zones which X visited in order. The query can again be packed into a mobile agent and sent to the network of Pi-nodes to search the individual databases and retrieve the list. A mobile agent algorithm to trace the path of a BLE tag bearer is shown in Algorithm 1 and an example of mobile agent routing for the same is described in Appendix B.
6. Experiments and Results
6.1. Data Acquisition
6.2. Query Processing
Scenario 1: Conventional Cloud Approach
Scenario 2: AgPi Scenario
Comparison of Scenario 1 with Scenario 2
7. AgPi: Applications Envisaged
Conflicts of Interest
Agents on Pi
Bluetooth Low Energy
Internet of Things
Global Position System
Location-Aware and Tracking Services
Structured Query Language
Received Signal Strength
Personal Computer (Desktop)
Ultra High Frequency
Radio Frequency Identification
Universal Asynchronous Receiver Transmitter
Serial Peripheral Interface
Wireless Sensor Network
Appendix A. Conscientious Migration Strategy
Appendix B. Query Processing
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|INFINITY →||Zone →||Zone|
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