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This Internet of Things Agent is a bridge can be used to bridge between Telefonica's Thinking Things Closed protocol (TT from now on) and NGSI Context Brokers (like Orion). The Thinking Things protocol is a simplified protocol aimed to provide a simple platform to experiment with the Internet of Things.

Installation and usage

Using RPM

The project contains a script for generating an RPM that can be installed in Red Hat 6.5 compatible Linux distributions. The RPM depends on Node.js 0.10 version, so EPEL repositories are advisable.

In order to create the RPM, execute the following scritp, inside the /rpm folder: -v <versionNumber> -r <releaseNumber>

Once the RPM is generated, it can be installed using the followogin command:

yum localinstall --nogpg <nameOfTheRPM>.rpm

Using Docker

If you are using Docker, you can download the latest Thinking Things module from Docker Hub, in order to try it. Do not use this installation mode for production purposes.

The Docker module has the prerequisite of having a Orion Context Broker that must be linked on start for the module to work. There is currently just one simple configuration offered for the IOTA, with in-memory transient storage (in the future, more configurations will be available).

If there is a docker container running with the Context Broker and name orion, the following command will start a Thinking Things IoT Agent:

docker run -t -i --link orion:orion -p 4041:4041 -p 8000:8000 telefonicaiot/iotagent-thinking-things

This command will start the process in the foreground, exporting the 8000 and 4041 ports in the host. In order to execute it as a daemon, use:

docker run -d --link orion:orion -p 4041:4041 -p 8000:8000 telefonicaiot/iotagent-thinking-things

Using GIT

In order to install the TT Agent, just clone the project and install the dependencies:

git clone
npm install

In order to start the IoT Agent, from the root folder of the project, type:



All the configuration of the IoT Agent can be customized with the config.js. The configuration is divided into to sections: ngsi (for all the data concerning the northbound of the Agent) and thinkingThings (for all the data concerning the southbound of the Agent).

Thinking Things configuration

The following parameters can be configured:

  • logLevel: determines the log level for the incoming TT requests.
  • port: port where the South Bound will be listening for connections.
  • root: base path for the South Bound.


  • logLevel: determines the log level for the connection with the NGSI Broker.
  • plain: if this flag is true, all the information of every module will be published as a plain attribute in the entity. If the flag is false, an attribute will be created for each module with a compound type, containing an array of all its values (in attribute format).
  • timestamp: when this flag is true, every attribute will come with a metadata showing the timestamp of its reception in the platform.
  • defaultType: this is the entity type that will be assigned to the devices whenever there is no other way of determining the appropriate type.
  • host where the NGSI Context Broker is listening.
  • contextBroker.port: port where the NGSI Context Broker is listening.
  • server.port: port where the Noth Bound listens for NGSI queries and updates (currently not in used, will be used for commands).
  • deviceRegistry.type: the Agent can keep a registry of the connected devices for preconfiguration (e.g.: when the devices come from multiple origins). The possible values are: mongodb and memory. The memory registry is transient.
  • host where the remote database for the device registry is located. This option is not used by memory registries.
  • types: see Device Configuration below.
  • providerUrl: public URL and where the IoT Agent is listening for NGSI connections. This URL only makes sense for its use with commands and passive attributes (read and write).
  • deviceRegistrationDuration: lifetime of the registration of the IoT Agent as a Context Provider for active attributes of the device entities.

Device configuration

There are two ways for a device to be used with the IoT Agent.

One IoT Agent per Group: no preregistration needed

The first and most simple way is to use one IoT Agent per group of devices, configuring the service and subservice information (and security information when appliable) in the default type. In this mode, the types attribute of the NGSI configuration have to contain all the service information. Whenever a new request arrives to the Agent coming from the South Bound, the default type will be assigned to the device, and the configured information of that type applied to the device registry (and used in further communications).

One Global IoT Agent: preregistration of the devices needed

If there is a single global agent, all the devices must be preregistered using the provisioning API (that is listening in the server.port port in the /iot/devices path). The device information can be sent to this API, and written to the device registry, thus configuring the service information in a per device basis.

To configure a type, a new attribute with the type name should be added to the ngsi.types object with the name of the new type in the config.js file:

config.ngsi = {


    types: {
        'ThinkingThing': {
            service: 'smartGondor',
            subservice: '/gardens',
            commands: [],
            lazy: [],
            active: [
                    name: 'humidity',
                    type: 'Number'



The format for new device registrations is as follows:

    "name": "Light1",
    "service" : "smartGondor",
    "service_path": "/gardens",
    "entity_name": "TheFirstLight",
    "entity_type": "TheLightType",
    "attributes": [],
    "commands": [
            "name": "luminance",
            "type": "lumens"

Thinking Things Protocol


The thinking things protocol offer a lightweight HTTP-based protocol aimed to constrained devices who whishes to communicate with backends, sending simple sensor data and receiving simple configuration parameters and commands. This protocol was designed as a part of Telefonica Thinking Things project.

Protocol basics

All protocol interactions are started from the client device. The device sends an HTTP POST request to the server with Content-Type application/x-www-form-urlencoded, containing a single field named cadena, with a payload that looks like the following example:


The first value, corresponding to the value between the first two '#' characters is the Stack ID, i.e.: the ID of the device itself.

This payload can be divided in modules, each one of them responsible for a single measure. Modules are separated by the '#' character, and all of them consists of a series of parameters sepparated by commas. The first parameter is always interpreted as the ID of the module. The second parameter identifies the kind of module (that will decide the interpretation of the rest of the parameters), and the rest of the values will be interpreted based on the module type.

Let's look at an example more closely, extracting it from the payload above: the module #4,H1,31.48,1890512.00,0$. This module has:

  • An id: 4
  • A module type: H1. This means the module is a Humidity sensor.
  • Two values. Knowing that the module is a Humidity sensor, we know that this values can be interpreted as the temperature and the humidity values (that can be used to calculate real humidity).
  • An optional sleep value all the TT modules should implement (not used in this case, thus the value 0$).

The following subsection shows all the available modules.


GM Generic Module

This module can be used to send arbitrary attribute information to the server. Each GM can be used to send a single attribute with the attribute name specified in the module parameters.

Position Meaning Example
1 Attribute name pressure
2 Attribute value 790
3 Sleeping value (unused) 0$

GC Generic Configuration

This module represents a generic configuration parameter, that will be stored by the server. Each time the device sends a GC module to the server, the server will reply with the last available value to the client.

Position Meaning Example
1 Parameter name timeout
2 Parameter value 2000
3 Sleeping value (unused) 0$

K1 Core Module

This module is mandatory for all the payloads sent to the server. This module represents the Core communication module, and can be used to configure the sleeping time of the device.


Sends information about the temperature and humidity. The values given by the sensor are usually raw vales (in the Thinking Things Closed devices at least), so some processing may be needed before using the values.


Position Meaning Example
1 Temperature 26.29
2 Humidity 1890512.00
3 Sleeping value (unused) 0$

LU Luminance

Sends information about luminance.

Position Meaning Example
1 Luminance 142.86
2 Sleeping value (unused) 0$

GPS Coordinates

Sends the GPS coordinates to the server.

Position Meaning Example
1 Latitude 21.1
2 Longitude -9.4
3 Speed 12.3
4 Orientation 0.64
5 Altitude 127
6 Sleeping value (unused) 0$


Sends information about the GSM connection to the server.

Position Meaning Example
1 mcc 384
2 mnc 09
3 lac a01
4 cellid 434
5 dbm -57
6 Sleeping value (unused) 0$


Sends temperature information to the server.

Position Meaning Example
1 Temperature 22.86
2 Sleeping value (unused) 0$


Sends battery information to the server.

Position Meaning Example
1 Voltage 4.70
2 State 1
3 Charger 1
4 Charging 1
5 Mode 1
6 Desconnection 0
2 Sleeping value (unused) 0$


The BT module is meant to be used in the Black Button (BT) interactions of the Thinking Things IOT Agent. It works slightly different as the typical TT Module, as it will be described along this section. The available attributes are the following:

Position Meaning Possible values
1 Operation S, C, P, X
2 Action 1
3 Extra or request ID 16234

The Black Button can work on two different modes, making use of different operations in each one. In synchronous mode, all the information sent by the button is immediatly sent to the Third Party systems through the Context Broker, and the IOTA waits for its return, to informa the device about the success or error of the request. This synchronous interaction is performed using the S operation, and it beguins and end with its execution.

In asynchronous mode, three operations are used:

  1. The interaction begins with the device sending a C operation to the IOTAgent, meaning that a new request to the third party systems is required. When the IOTAgent receives this kind of operation, it creates a new request ID, updates the entity in the Context Broker and returns it immediatly to the Button, with the response.
  2. The device can then start to make polling requests using the P operation. This operation do not update any information in the Context Broker, but instead it retrieves the information about the device and query its status, returning it to the button.
  3. When the device is in a state that can be considered final, it can close the request by sending a X operation to the agent.

Only one operation by device can be carried away at each moment in time. Creating a new request will effectively cancel the previous ones.

In the synchronous mode there is just one operation, S, from the device to the IOTAgent. As in any other BT operation, information about the action can be passed as the last attribute of the request. In this case, all the operation is completed the moment the HTTP call of the device returns a response. This response will contain all the information about the request execution and its result.


In order to test the IoT Agent, a ThinkingThings client is provided that can emulate some calls from TT devices. The client can be started from the root folder of the project with the following command:


The client provides a prompt with several commands that let you send information like different modules, configure the remote server or prepare module stacks to send multiple measures at once. In order to show all the available commands, from the client prompt, type:



In standard mode, each module command send an HTTP request to the remote server with the module information (and the prefixed stack id). In order to send a stack of modules, a stack must be made.

A stack can be started with the followign command:


All the subsequent calls to measure modules will not send the module information, but will stack it instead. In order to clean the stack and send all the stacked information to the remote server type:



humidity <temperature> <pressure> <moduleId>  

    Send a new humidity measure

gps <latitude> <longitude> <speed> <orientation> <altitude> <moduleId>  

    Send a new gps measure

gsm <mcc> <mnc> <cell-id> <lac> <dbm>  

    Send new GSM positioning data/measure

temperature <temperature> <moduleId>  

    Send a new temperature measure

luminance <luminance> <moduleId>  

    Send a new luminance measure

battery <voltage> <state> <charger> <charging> <mode> <disconnection> <moduleId>  

    Send a new battery measure

genMeasure <attribute> <value> <moduleId>  

    Send a new generic measure

genConfig <attribute> <value> <moduleId>  

    Send a new generic configuration attribute

setConfig <host> <port> <path> <stackId> <sleepTime>  

    Change the configuration of the device. The sleepTime parameter is a boolean flag thatcan be used to remove the -1$ parameters in all the modules, but the Core one.


    Read the current configuration.

setSleep <value> <condition>  

    Set the default sleep parameters.


    Get the current default sleep parameters.

btCreate <action> <extra> <moduleId>  

    Create a new Black Button request.

btPolling <requestId> <moduleId>  

    Create a new Black Button polling request.

btClose <requestId> <moduleId>  

    Create a new Black Button close request.


    Start stacking the payloads to send a multimodule payload (stackMode = off).


    Send all the stacked module info (stackMode = on).

Development documentation

Project build

The project is managed using Grunt Task Runner.

For a list of available task, type

grunt --help

The following sections show the available options in detail.


Mocha Test Runner + Chai Assertion Library + Sinon Spies, stubs.

The test environment is preconfigured to run BDD testing style with chai.expect and chai.should() available globally while executing tests, as well as the Sinon-Chai plugin.

Module mocking during testing can be done with proxyquire

To run tests, type

grunt test

Tests reports can be used together with Jenkins to monitor project quality metrics by means of TAP or XUnit plugins. To generate TAP report in report/test/unit_tests.tap, type

grunt test-report

Coding guidelines

jshint, gjslint

Uses provided .jshintrc and .gjslintrc flag files. The latter requires Python and its use can be disabled while creating the project skeleton with grunt-init. To check source code style, type

grunt lint

Checkstyle reports can be used together with Jenkins to monitor project quality metrics by means of Checkstyle and Violations plugins. To generate Checkstyle and JSLint reports under report/lint/, type

grunt lint-report

Continuous testing

Support for continuous testing by modifying a src file or a test. For continuous testing, type

grunt watch

Source Code documentation


Generates HTML documentation under site/doc/. It can be used together with jenkins by means of DocLinks plugin. For compiling source code documentation, type

grunt doc

Code Coverage


Analizes the code coverage of your tests.

To generate an HTML coverage report under site/coverage/ and to print out a summary, type

# Use git-bash on Windows 
grunt coverage

To generate a Cobertura report in report/coverage/cobertura-coverage.xml that can be used together with Jenkins to monitor project quality metrics by means of Cobertura plugin, type

# Use git-bash on Windows 
grunt coverage-report

Code complexity


Analizes code complexity using Plato and stores the report under site/report/. It can be used together with jenkins by means of DocLinks plugin. For complexity report, type

grunt complexity


Update the contributors for the project

grunt contributors

Development environment

Initialize your environment with git hooks.

grunt init-dev-env 

We strongly suggest you to make an automatic execution of this task for every developer simply by adding the following lines to your package.json

  "scripts": {
     "postinstall": "grunt init-dev-env"

Site generation

There is a grunt task to generate the GitHub pages of the project, publishing also coverage, complexity and JSDocs pages. In order to initialize the GitHub pages, use:

grunt init-pages

This will also create a site folder under the root of your repository. This site folder is detached from your repository's history, and associated to the gh-pages branch, created for publishing. This initialization action should be done only once in the project history. Once the site has been initialized, publish with the following command:

grunt site

This command will only work after the developer has executed init-dev-env (that's the goal that will create the detached site).

This command will also launch the coverage, doc and complexity task (see in the above sections).

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