Background: While smart objects are present in our cities everywhere, the real aim of the Internet
of Things is not turned into reality yet. Each smart object is still designated to a specific task and
requires proprietary procedures for interaction. Thus, it becomes more necessary to have a connection
platform for abstracting the complexity of smart objects and to present their data to the end-users
through a simpler interaction procedure.
Objective: This paper aims at defining a model that represents a connection/interaction layer between
smart objects and people, building a more intuitive human interface towards the Internet of Things.
Method: We propose an immersive virtual platform, able to engage end-users and let them be aware of
the following strategic factors: where smart objects are deployed in the city, what features/data they offer,
and how this data represents context for the urban areas.
Results: We have developed and tested a prototypical Virtual Environment of Things, within an immersive
3D environment in which the user can explore the virtualized urban area and interact with the
available smart objects through gestures and affordable Virtual Reality devices. The virtual environment
is fed by real-time data produced by a multiprotocol sensing middleware that simplifies the interaction
with physical devices through high-level RESTful APIs.
Conclusion: Paying attention to interconnection of people and things, this prototype empowers final users
with engaging tools in order to enhance the fruition of the IoT paradigm. The developed system was
compared with existing solutions and fully tested in a real scenario.