September 21, 2010 AT 4:04 pm

Will the Internet of Things Be Open or Closed?

Will the Internet of Things Be Open or Closed? @ Wired.com

At some point in the future, many more everyday objects will have tiny embedded chips that can communicate with networks. But just as we’re debating net neutrality and the value of the open web vs closed client applications, we will have to decide who will control the internet of things, too.

…Free and open-source vs. ready-for-anyone-to-use out-of-the-box: we’ve been down this road many times before. I doubt this argument will have a clear winner and loser, but it’s important that it’s clearly framed and articulated now, before any one approach gets locked-in as the default option.


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4 Comments

  1. Why does Free and open-source have to be opposed to ready-for-anyone-to-use out-of-the-box. I can’t see any reason why an open source project can’t be at a “polished” level that it can be produce as a ready for anyone to use, out of the box product.

  2. @ashley – the arduino and arduino IDE seems pretty polished and out of the box… they’re approaching a 1.0 release as well so we think it will even be more “polished”.

  3. I think this will become an argument that will be bigger than net-neutrality ever will be, for the simple fact that we’re no longer dealing with a compartmentalized data set. For the moment, the internet is “local” in the sense that it exists on only a few devices — your computer and your phone. But when the internet exists in your toothbrush, your frying pan and your shoes, people will start to get a bit more particular.

    It all depends on rate of change — if it happens over a period of 50 years, it will probably work. But the spirit of commerce demands immediate returns, so it will probably happen in a spurt of 5 to 10 years (I’m being generous, timewise). This will certainly be disconcerting, and strong, passionate arguments will be made for privacy and personal control.

    In the end, human nature being what it is, and with the widespread sharing of information even more prevalent than today, people will discover ways to hack (read: damage) their devices, or they will make their own “inert” toothbrushes, frying pans and shoes.

  4. “In the end, human nature being what it is, and with the widespread sharing of information even more prevalent than today, people will discover ways to hack (read: damage) their devices, or they will make their own “inert” toothbrushes, frying pans and shoes.”

    I can already see it coming…”Your dental insurance has been canceled because iToothbrush failed to detect you brushing your teeth twice daily.” or “Your life insurance premium has been increased by 20% because you didn’t walk N miles in your iShoes.” People are already paying to wear tracking devices. Google has already disallowed phones that used a different tracking scheme. (http://www.osnews.com/story/23817/Skyhook_Google_Wanted_Access_to_Our_Data) Open source that is “OK as long as we like it”. :-/

    People can say it will never happen but these are the same claims that were put forth almost 100 years ago…”Social Security numbers will never be used for tracking people.”

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