Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Networking Communications The Internet

Cisco Launches Alliance For the 'Internet of Things' 96

Yannis B. writes "This week, a group of leading technology vendors that includes Cisco, Sun, Ericsson, Atmel, Freescale, and embedded open source developers, founded the Internet Protocol for Smart Objects Alliance to promote the 'Internet of Things,' in which everyday objects such as thermometers, radiators, and light switches are given IP addresses and are connected to the Internet. Such IP-enabled 'smart objects' give rise to a wide range of applications, from energy-efficient homes and offices to factory equipment maintenance and hospital patient monitoring. For Slashdot readers who are interested in the underlying technology, a white paper written by well-known embedded open source developer Adam Dunkels and IETF ROLL working group chair JP Vasseur establishes the technical basis of the alliance (PDF)."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Cisco Launches Alliance For the 'Internet of Things'

Comments Filter:
  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @10:57AM (#25093073) Homepage Journal
    you will wind up with a picture of the Goatse man emblazoned on your toast every morning.
  • "Hi, this is Sandra from accounting- my pencil has a virus! It won't write words anymore and just keeps drawing a picture of a man doing... SOMETHING to his anus!"


    "I'll be right there."

  • by compumike ( 454538 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @11:01AM (#25093111) Homepage

    Nobody wants to run ethernet cable to their toaster... so I really think that making cheap Wi-fi chipsets is the answer here. Unfortunately it still costs at a very minimum $5+ to add wireless to something, so it's going to take a little while for a $2 light switch to get these.

    Hey code monkey... learn electronics! Powerful microcontroller kits for the digital generation. []

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That, or you could just use X11 or a similar power line protocol.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Curtman ( 556920 )

        That, or you could just use X11 or a similar power line protocol.

        X10 [] might work better. ;)

        • But eleven is so much more awesome!

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by dasunt ( 249686 )

          While I understand your humor, there are a few limiting factors about using X10 -- very little bandwidth and the inability to see the other "leg" of the house voltage -- which means that in a typical home in the US, half the outlets can't communicate with the other half*. X10 is also limited to 256 devices.

          Supposedly, there are also reliability problems with the protocol, but I've never noticed them.

          I use X10 at home for a few purposes, and it works well for what I need it to do (switching on/off ligh

    • I would think that since almost every stationary object we would want to connect to the internet also needs electricity, broadband over power line would be best suited for it. A router and firewall in your breaker panel could handle access to the outside world. I wonder how small and cheap a BPL NIC could be? It would have to be small for things like a light switch, to fit in standard wall boxes. I don't see cost as a huge factor in the light switch example, Lutron already sells plenty of 30 dollar prog
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by spazdor ( 902907 )

        Broadband over power is already terrible, and it will only get worse as more and more people plug devices in.

        Y'know those little filter plugs the DSL company gives you for your analog phones? Imagine doing the same to every AC-powered load in your house.

    • by totally bogus dude ( 1040246 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:02PM (#25093485)

      You can already use electrical cabling for networking [], and given that appliances are all going to have to be connected to power anyway that seems a logical method. It could also simplify discovery and autoconfiguration.

    • by klapaucjusz ( 1167407 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:05PM (#25093511) Homepage

      making cheap Wi-fi chipsets is the answer here

      If you read the announcement, you'll find that the major benefit of using a layered architecture such as IP is the ability to use different physical media, depending on the application.

      For short-range applications, there are technologies that are both cheaper and more power-efficient than wifi. Off the top of my head, there's Zigbee [], Bluetooth [] and probably lots of others.

      And for even lower range applications, nothing beats the cost of an infra-red diode [].

    • I don't think its a question of being wifi or cat 5. the bigger question is why the hell for?

    • You must be new here ! People already have web servers running on their toasters since years ! []
    • by Nursie ( 632944 )

      I don't know about you, but I don't want my toaster or my light switch given a public IP address, or any connectivity to anything at all.

      My toaster has a function - make toast. I push the thingy down, it heats bread. I don't want it suggesting different toast-related foodstuffs, phoning home to see if it's allowed to make my toast today or catching fire because some leet H4XX0R has found a way to break in and override the thermal cutoff.

    • by thewiz ( 24994 )
      Dude, screw toasters! I'm worried about them giving me a pacemaker with Wi-Fi. Talk about a new meaning for "Ping-Of-Death!"
      • Just to bring you up to speed: pacemakers can already be accessed wirelessly, it's much more convenient than a wire sticking out of your chest. And it has already been hacked too [].

    • My answer: ZigBee! [] They're mesh topology, so you don't have to have line-of-sight to the coordinator. They have interoperability as part of the ZigBee spec [] by using defined profiles [].

      These specific devices [] are essentially rs-232 devices with some A/D and digital I/O lines. The end device incarnation can sleep most of the time and awake to take samples. You can run a 'sleepy' endpoint on batteries for 1 yr+. With a decent antenna, you can get pretty far on 1-2mW, and if you've got power available, they sell

  • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @11:01AM (#25093129) Homepage Journal

    over the prospect of all DVRs and DVD players having an internet connection. How long before your DVD player has to phone home to see if you're allowed to watch that DVD?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Firehed ( 942385 )

      Blu-ray players already have an ethernet jack, that could plausibly be used for this in future if an (in)appropriate firmware upgrade was made.

      Though I think the MPAA would care a lot more than the RIAA.

      • You're thinking of HD-DVD, not Blu-ray. An Ethernet connection is (was?) required on HD-DVD drives, but only Blu-ray 2.0 drives (of which there are only 2 or 3, I think) require Ethernet.
        • by Firehed ( 942385 )

          I said it's present, not required. That could very easily change with a software upgrade (or downgrade, if you will).

          I don't see who would be crazy enough to invest in a media playback format that requires always-on internet connectivity, but that's a separate issue entirely.

    • Or worse, wait until your fridge has to phone up to find out if you've paid for the patents used in the food we eat every day...

      There are some things which should just *not* be networked.

      Or better yet, wait until it is the AC hooked up (as suggested in the summary) and then when someone decides that "this really important document must be sent priority" for some random thing and the network guy unplugs everything in the rack to send it over the T1... Right now we just loose the internet and the phones

  • of course (IMHO) their only hope is to follow in the footsteps of most every other widely adopted specification and make freely available all the protocols and templates for sample implementations.

    Cases in point: IBM PC, just about every programming language, PDF, ... to many to list.

    For the widely adopted protocols that are not open, well they soon get hacked and become defacto open anyway (think RIAA, MPAA backed technologies).

    Note: Did'nt RTFA

  • Is that, like, when you say you have a new awesome spec for an upcoming standard, but then just link to and say "you can find it here"?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mbone ( 558574 )

      This is an IETF working group - Routing Over Low power and Lossy networks (ROLL). Like all IETF WG, it has a Charter [] which you can read to find out more, and 4 outstanding Internet drafts (listed in the charter).

  • Before every 'smart' object in your house decides it needs to do... whatever it is smart objects do.
    Perhaps reporting on the kind of cookies being consumed in my smart cookie jar, and my toothbrush can email my dentist if it detects a filling from too many cookies? Maybe they can work together?
    (Wireless, less space than normal cookie jar... lame)
    • Re:Got more IPV6? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mikael_j ( 106439 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @11:44AM (#25093381)

      I've actually been waiting for both something like this and IPv6 for a long time, but I suspect the day when I can monitor the temperature of my fridge and oven as well as if they're powered on or not using SNMP is pretty far off.


    • Frankly, I'd prefer to put my cookie jar behind NAT. I mean, it's not like it's going to use more than one or two ports, right? And do we really need to let, say, evil people hiding in secret moon bases be able to target our kitchen appliances individually during DoS attacks? I'd rather have a gateway machine take the hit than my poor goatse toaster :\
      • You'd still most likely have a "gateway machine", only it would only be doing packet filtering and not address translation, and this is a good thing since it allows end-to-end connectivity, one of the things that the internet protocol was supposed to help provide.


        • by Nursie ( 632944 )

          I have end to end with port forwarding. And what's more, most of my devices don't have any exposure to the big bad internets at large.

          • You missed the OP's point. You can get isolation just as well with a public address. And you avoid having to set up port forwarding and for everything. We can go back to living in a world where port numbers correspond to services and addresses to computers. It's simpler and no less safe than address translation.

      • Right! We need NAT! Because there's no way you could put up a simple firewall between your cookie jar and the Internetses which could deny access to the exact same set of evil hackers that your cute little NAT box did. It's unpossible.
    • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

      Perhaps reporting on the kind of cookies being consumed in my smart cookie jar, and my toothbrush can email my dentist if it detects a filling from too many cookies? Maybe they can work together?

      Just block cookies.

  • ok nice I suspect that "web 2.0" or "web 3.0" or "web 1.5" had already been unm copyrighted.
    So let's go for "things"...this sounds exactly like the result of a brain-thing-storming session made by execs who are, by far, not in touch with any of those "things".

  • For example, a room that uses a lot of heat/light could be a weed nursery. Warmer rooms in a house are more likely to be occupied (in cooler climates ;-). Your devices can effectively contribute to your online profile, if you network them that way.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by MrNaz ( 730548 )

      Alternatively you could use a firewall and a password.

      Just sayin'.

      • by ardle ( 523599 )
        Could Windows Firewall work for my devices too? Or do I have to put a firewall on each one? Isn't that a hidden cost?
  • But maybe they wont be around forever. Maybe we will finally get IPv8 out of this? I think this is a very positive move that like anything worth doing in life will take work. So quit ya bitchin and make it happen.
  • Power surges (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Just think about what happens when you get a power surge. In the past a surge on your phone line might have fried your modem. If you had your electronics plugged into a good surge suppressor they might have been spared from a surge on the power line.

    As soon as you start putting digital circuits into everything then you will have to start worrying about everything failing. Between having sensors fail and having the embedded processors fail, you will end up with a whole lot of devices in your home that cos

    • As soon as you start putting digital circuits into everything then you will have to start worrying about everything failing. Between having sensors fail and having the embedded processors fail, you will end up with a whole lot of devices in your home that cost much more and don't last nearly as long as the cheaper things they are meant to replace.

      Your smart house had better be extremely smart so that it can save enough money to offset all of the higher expenses.

      Gee, sounds like you hit on the reason this would happen in the first place. Not that they would make it try to "offset higher expenses" since that would kinda be the whole point...

  • It's already common for things like HVAC, lighting, UPS, emergnecy generators, etc. to be networked, with that network connected to the internet through a gateway.
    What would giving individual devices public internet addresses add, other than a larger number of points of attack?
  • Good - It's been minutes since we had a pointless fight over standards.

    A quick look at the Internet of Things docs yielded no mentions of the existing Internet of Objects effort. The MIT AutoID consortium, followed by the EPCGlobal organization, have defined an Object Name Service, ECPIS, and Discovery Services.

    Defining an orthogonal standard will lead to our poor entities having existential angst over whether they are an "object" or a "thing".

  • I've heard these ideas for years but, even after RTFA, and the 6Lowpan [] and ROLL [] references, I'm still trying to understand the advantage of these proposals over the existing technology (like ZigBee [], among others). To be practical at all, the "Internet of Things" would have to be wireless, so there has to be an access point somewhere to the wired Internet. And because IP routing performs poorly in a multihop wireless network, the wireless network will have to use a different routing scheme, but still use t

  • The only consolation is imagining Beowulf of "those Internet things".

  • Dear meatbags,

    I understand how busy your insignificant lives can be, running around in manufactured hurries and squandering this planet's resources on wasteful things tofurther your inefficient biologies. To assist you in enjoying what little remains of your lives, I present you with new technology. These inventions will help us all, by allowing every electronic device on the planet to be wired together so that wherever you go, you will always feel safe. Surrounded by the steely grasp of cold, unfeeling tec

  • This seems like a rehash of Prof Yvo Desmedt []'s Things that Think [] project from MIT's media lab [].

    They have been focusing on the security [] and privacy [] impact of networked / intelligent devices since the mid 90s.

    Hopefully these guys will be included (there's no mention of them in the article) as they've already looked at a lot of the key problems and solutions.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky