November 15, 2011 AT 9:16 am

Why the Internet of Things finally makes sense

Spaduino

Why the Internet of Things finally makes sense… Chris writes -

After a decade of hearing about “the Internet of things”, where everything will have an IP address, I’m starting to finally believe it. What’s changed? The Open Hardware movement, which is doing for connected devices what the Web did for information.

The old vision of the Internet of Things came to us from the likes of Cisco and Nokia, which were trying to promote end-to-end connected device standards (that used their gear, natch). Think of that as the ‘Information Superhighway” era of the net, those days in the early 90s when the wired future was going to be brought to us by AT&T and Cablevision.

The new vision is more akin to the Web, which was brought to us by, well, us. The engineers agreed on some basic open standards — HTTP, HTML, TCP/IP — and we did all the rest, creating the Web with our own ideas, uses and creativity.

Today, the new Internet of Things model is based on simple open standards: Arduino, WiFi and Web APIs. The model is open innovation and community creation. And the devices are being created by regular people with their own needs, not big companies.

Look around your house. Everything that has a proprietary embedded processor in it is a candidate for being reinvented with Open Hardware. That’s how the Internet of Things is going to finally become a reality.

Chris also includes some links to some recent projects too.

Thermostats (http://www.open-electronics.org/web-thermostat-with-arduino/)
Alarm systems (http://www.abbotsfordsecurityalarms.ca/blog/?p=12)
Appliance controllers (http://customctrl.com/)
Sprinkler systems (http://opensprinkler.com)
Power meters (http://openenergymonitor.org/emon/)
And finally, hot tub controllers! (below)
Spaduino heats up a used hot-tub


From our Adafruit point of view, we didn’t want to wait for a big company to try to make a net connected power meter that could do things like tweet our power usage, so we just did it and released it as an open project. We’re seeing more and more of our customers using a variety of our products to get things talking on the net – as Chris said they’re using open standards and open hardware like the Arduino. Not only that, they’re sharing how they made their projects. The projects are incredible!

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6 Comments

  1. Ya, so…

    1. How do we get beyond the "no big company" IPV4 vs. IPV6 barrier?

    2. If we live in IPV4 (imposed by our "big company" ISP’s) we still have no recourse but external "other big company" DNS redirect, and even then there are port issues (not to mention local NAT/PAT to protect us).

    3. How will this "Internet of Things" keep time? Even the most evolved WAN time-keeping protocol today (NTP) has not even begun to address this issue. Who will issue certificates for time references and how do we trust them. The "Internet of Things" will be all about how much your are charged for what your "thing" does and "WHEN" it does it. How can we achieve "Trusted, Independent and Robust" time references?

    4. If in reality, the "Internet of Things" does evolve, what happens if my "Internet Enabled" refrigerator with an LCD display show me the morning news video, and if I forget to turn it off when I go to work, I get slapped with a HUGE bill from my ISP for exceeding my data "cap"?

    4. How in the World of all the stuff that is (even if possible) devices in my home (or anywhere) that are "The Internet of Things" connected, will my privacy be protected? Who will decide how this is done?

    Connectivity can be a wonderful thing, or it can be our demise. Unfortunately Governments will try to decide what is right and wrong – this is a recipe for disaster.

  2. @drone – these are interesting questions, but please keep the one with politics to a minimum here :) – it just distracts from the post, in this case it’s about how the internet of things is happening with makers and open hardware and software, that’s a GOOD thing for sure. thanks!

  3. Adafruit, What are you referring to w.r.t, “Politics” in my post? Be specific.

    I mis-numbered the items, last one should be 5, nor 4, sorry…

  4. hey drone! you wrote – “Unfortunately Governments will try to decide what is right and wrong – this is a recipe for disaster.” – we love your comments here on the blog, we want to keep specific right vs wrong gov stuff to a minimum here :) even we if we agree, we want to make sure the site is a place for everyone to post and enjoy.

  5. My statement about Government sniffing and/or control of traffic in the "Internet of Things" as this evolves is at the pinnacle concern IMO.

    Ok, never-mind. This is your house, and I’m a guest. I will obey.

    But please reconsider: Open speech and lively debate is the corner-stone of a truly free Society – within reason of course (loosely topic-limited to your business offering). But I think you may be over-reaching a bit in this case.

    Best Regards, Drone

  6. @drone – totally cool and thank you. we didn’t remove your comment, we love your comments here – we just want to avoid turning our comment section in to a political debate area. even if we completely agree with you, we’re trying to keep it non-political :)

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