A new project is curating and organizing all of the sundry gadgets that collectively comprise the so-called “Internet of Things”. A new website seeks to catalog all of the world’s Internet-enabled devices. So far, they’ve got more than 2000 listed, and they plan to add more in the months ahead. There are fitness monitors, medical devices, smart home products and all sorts of other gadgets ready for measuring and monitoring everything around us. Read more
The reason we are where we are today, with smart home hubs having 7 radios to provide frequency and protocol interoperability between “all” smart connected devices in your home is because many years ago we started with a small light weight protocol called ZigBee and at some point, it gathered an alliance around it. With multiple constituencies all pulling in different directions, the protocol became unwieldy and too heavy for what it was intended. Then we had Z-Wave and the Z-Wave Alliance, same dilemma although with a smaller number of players influencing the outcome. We also have Bluetooth with the Bluetooth SIG, Insteon, 6LoWPAN and so many others. They all promise the same thing, to be able to tap and control a whole ecosystem of products and devices seamlessly. But, they’ve all failed to garner a huge following across a spectrum of products – thus the consumer is forced to pay more for solutions that promise to play well together with others because interoperability across protocols is non existent – unless you include multiple radios in a single hub.
Here comes Qualcomm to the rescue. Qualcomm’s goal is to offer developers and consumers an experience that works across all platforms, manufacturers and devices. But is this possible? Sure, ad-hoc WiFi can provide the connectivity fabric between all devices, but is that sufficient? Many IoT devices are part of a purposeful solution that doesn’t necessarily adhere to the notion of continuous connectivity and command-and-control from a single interface. Thus, a battery-operated sensor with a 10-year battery life can’t be expected to respond to continuous low-level WiFi beacons – nor should it. In cases like these, it is best to leave the protocol implementation to the manufacturer of the device who has intimate knowledge of functional and customer requirements. AllSeen, of course, does not solve the physical layer protocol dilemma that has precluded IoT to cross the proverbial chasm.
When HTML was first written, it was done so by one man, Tim Berners-Lee, whose mission was to have a markup language that web browsers could use to interpret and compose text, images and other materials into visual web pages. He was not conflicted by a consortium with competing interests nor was there 10+ other protocols in existence promising to deliver the same thing. In AllSeen’s case, fragmentation and competitive forces will prevent it from making great strides for many years to come. It’ll take a lot more than open-source, the Linux Foundation and a few examples to get everyone on board.
It’s fair to say that more people have heard of the “internet of things” than have experienced it. There is breathless press coverage of the phenomenon—always patiently re-explained by tech pundits as the trend by which all of our most mundane possessions will become internet-connected—each time novel, if obscure, inventions make a name off successful Kickstarter campaigns. These are invariably coupled with estimates that the internet of things will be a multi-trillion dollar business.
Consumers have been snapping up connected fitness gadgets such as the Fitbit and the Jawbone this year. Next year, we’ll see this kind of ubiquitous sensor technology extend to the enterprise as part of the “Internet of things,” according to an analyst at Frost & Sullivan.
We live in an age where household objects can now intelligently communicate with each other via wireless protocols.
Ever heard of the ‘programmable world’? Maybe not. The phrase, as far as I know, was coined by a US Wired journalist, Bill Wasik, in an article earlier this year.
Put simply, the programmable world is one where physical objects – lights, coffee pots, garage doors, AC units, alarm systems, sprinkler systems, and sensors – humidity, temperature, motion, etc – talk to one another via wireless protocols to make those physical objects ‘intelligent’.
Others have called the phenomenon the Internet of Things, the Internet of Everything or the Industrial Internet (inappropriate, according to Wasik, because most of the devices aren’t actually on ‘the internet’) or the Sensor Revolution (inappropriate because it ignores the devices themselves).
In 2013, Cisco calculates that companies could produce $613 billion of mostly incremental profit by harnessing the growing networked world of people and things.