The conception of IoT (Internet of Things) is accepted as the future tendency of Internet among academia and industry. It will enable people and things to be connected at anytime and anyplace, with anything and anyone. IoT has been proposed to be applied into many areas such as Healthcare, Transportation，Logistics, and Smart environment etc. However, this thesis emphasizes on the home healthcare area as it is the potential healthcare model to solve many problems such as the limited medical resources, the increasing demands for healthcare from elderly and chronic patients which the traditional model is not capable of. A remarkable change in IoT in semantic oriented vision is that vast sensors or devices are involved which could generate enormous data. Methods to manage the data including acquiring, interpreting, processing and storing data need to be implemented. Apart from this, other abilities that IoT is not capable of are concluded, namely, interoperation, context awareness and security & privacy. Context awareness is an emerging technology to manage and take advantage of context to enable any type of system to provide personalized services. The aim of this thesis is to explore ways to facilitate context awareness in IoT.
In order to realize this objective, a preliminary research is carried out in this thesis. The most basic premise to realize context awareness is to collect, model, understand, reason and make use of context. A complete literature review for the existing context modelling and context reasoning techniques is conducted. The conclusion is that the ontology-based context modelling and ontology-based context reasoning are the most promising and efficient techniques to manage context. In order to fuse ontology into IoT, a specific ontology-based context awareness framework is proposed for IoT applications. In general, the framework is composed of eight components which are hardware, UI (User Interface), Context modelling, Context fusion, Context reasoning, Context repository, Security unit and Context dissemination. Moreover, on the basis of TOVE (Toronto Virtual Enterprise), a formal ontology developing methodology is proposed and illustrated which consists of four stages: Specification & Conceptualization, Competency Formulation, Implementation and Validation & Documentation. In addition, a home healthcare scenario is elaborated by listing its well-defined functionalities. Aiming at representing this specific scenario, the proposed ontology developing methodology is applied and the ontology-based model is developed in a free and open-source ontology editor called Protégé. Finally, the accuracy and completeness of the proposed ontology are validated to show that this proposed ontology is able to accurately represent the scenario of interest.