Federation is the need to work across administrative boundaries within an overall framework. This work may involve control of the devices, including configuration and management, as well as access to data and information. In most large-scale deployments of things, even within a single enterprise, there will be aspects which involve federation. For example, control of network devices may be under the control of a different organisation than that for building management, and although there may be times to link their management, they also need to operate in isolation and have independent failure modes.
In smart cities or event management, federation is inherent in the construction of a solution. System belong to vastly different organisations that need to collaborate – for example transport agencies, emergency services, local business and individual citizens. Each will have data that others may need to access, but with strict controls depending on the accessing organisation. Limited control of the systems might be ceded to another organisation, perhaps for a fixed period during an emergency situation.
These complex relationships make federation a complex issue and without the required underlying capabilities being included within the underlying platform it becomes an almost impossible task. Its importance ensures that federation is at the core of the conception of Configured Things.