The need for a real-time stream processing platform

The emerging Internet of Things is transforming the world into a giant source of live data streams. These streams range from slowly-trickling sensor samples to bandwidth-hungry video streams. They carry valuable data that -- when processed in a continuous and timely manner -- hold the potential to significantly improve people’s lives. For example, continuous streams of data can help us to make better-informed decisions, give us feedback for improved well-being, and connect homes and industries to create new levels of life automation. In addition to this, these devices will interact with each other and form control loops - and such control interactions require instant analysis and actions.

“Real-Time Stream Processing is a Game Changer in the IoT World”

To execute on this vision - making individualized views of these data available, and triggering personalized actions and feedback - a new breed of software platforms is required – platforms that provide open, scalable, efficient, and programmable support for streaming data and fast-changing user contexts. Such open and programmable access to live streams will not only disrupt the way people consume and share streaming data – much like the original World Wide Web disrupted the way people consume and share predominantly stored data. It can be the seed of a much broader industry disruption – redefining how companies access, share & transform information streams.

“Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989 for static HTML pages, in 2017 Bell Labs launches the World Wide Streams for dynamic streams”

Fragmentation in the IoT industry, rooted in disparate devices and applications built on proprietary protocols, can stifle innovation. This complex ecosystem makes it harder for application developers to innovate and create new applications cost effectively. With the rapid development of opportunities in the Internet of Things (IoT) marketplace, organizations are challenged in developing vertical business-specific solutions while ensuring maximum reusability across their organization. There is a need for software platforms that provide easy customization and onboarding of domain specific knowledge, algorithms and protocols.

“One Horizontal Platform supporting a Plethora of IoT and Video Applications”


A large-scale, geographically distributed, stream processing platform which can ingest, process and deliver large numbers of data and media streams in real-time between geographically distributed sources and sinks. Flexible chaining of pluggable analysis modules is possible, and new applications are authored centrally and distributed deployed on cloud, edge or device.

Applications on top of the World Wide Streams platform consist of one or more continuous queries or flows. Flows are authored in a novel Bell Labs language that is called XStream. XStream’s built-in operators cover most of the common stream processing operators (e.g. map, alter, join, partition, etc). Additionally, it supports the declaration of external operators which are not implemented in XStream itself, but whose inputs and outputs can be directly wired up with other XStream operators. XStream has been developed as a library and embedded in TypeScript, a JavaScript dialect with optional static typing.

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World Wide Streams is a research prototype created by Nokia Bell Labs. If you are interested in more in-depth information about this prototype and its architecture, you can apply for an account to get access to the prototype documentation and programming manual. We will grant access to those who can convince us about their application. As a next step, we can give you access to a sandbox with live data to start creating your own WWS apps.

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