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Posts tagged ‘internet of things’

The Internet of Things: Toolbox to Help Objects Communicating Via the Net

Increasingly, the things people use on a daily basis can be connected to the Internet. An alarm clock not only rings, but can also switch on the coffee machine while turning on the light. But what is needed to ensure that the Internet of Things operates as efficiently as possible?

Thus far, the Internet has been an arena reserved for people. But now more and more physical objects are being connected to the Internet: we read emails on our mobile telephones, we have electricity meters that report readings automatically, and pulse monitors and running shoes that publish information about our daily jog directly on Facebook.

Tools for collaboration The Internet of Things will introduce new smart objects to our homes. One challenge is to find effective solutions to enable different products to work together. Currently no standardised tools or distribution platforms exist in this area.

A group of Norwegian researchers have been addressing this issue. In the research project Infrastructure for Integrated Services (ISIS) they have created a platform for developing and distributing applications for the Internet of Things. The platform encompasses a programming tool for developers, called Arctis and the website ISIS Store for downloading applications. The project has received funding from the Research Council of Norway’s Large-scale Programme VERDIKT.

More info here.


Prepare for the 'internet of things', where socks stay connected

FACEBOOK that looks more like Flickr, and the ”internet of things”, where ovens email you when they need cleaning and socks have microchips so they can find each other: Welcome to social media and the internet in 2020, as predicted by the top boffin at Yahoo!.

As principal research scientist at Yahoo! San Francisco, Elizabeth Churchill’s job is to gaze into the web’s crystal ball. And as one of the keynote speakers at the Web 3.0 and the Future of Social Media Forum in Sydney this week, she’ll be sharing her visions of the future.

”Facebook I think will be a very different look and feel in five years and there will be other platforms that will be competing,” Dr Churchill says.

Part of the problem with Facebook, she says, is that content – photographs, music, documents – comes second. ”It’s not really a content-posting site. Content is there to drive the social interaction. If you try to search for stuff on Facebook it’s very hard to find because content is not the primary object.”

Contrast that with Flickr. Superficially just a photo-posting site, it has the type of flexibility that could well be the prototype of future social media.

”I can go onto Flickr and it can be primarily conversational. Or I can go onto Flickr and it’s primarily a photo-hosting site. Or I can go onto Flickr and it can primarily be a platform for me to show off my photographs, my cake-baking, my knitting or my engineering,” she says. ”I think we’re going to see much more of that kind of open platform for exploration.”

More info here.

New system brings 'Internet of Things' to China's waterways

Almost all of China’s coastal waters and its inland waterways with grades higher than four have been covered by an Automatic Identification System for ships, according to a recent announcement from the Maritime Safety Administration of China.

The Automatic Identification System for ships involves modern communication, network and information technology. Via ship-based Automatic Identification System devices and a shore-based network, the exchange of data, including identification code, position, course and speed can be realized.

Based on the Automatic Identification System platform, a maritime Internet of Things, which signifies the transformation from traditional navigation to “smart navigation,” can be built. By July 1, 2012, 134,000 ships will carry Automatic Identification System devices.

More info here.

The Internet Of Things: How Will We Trust A Word It Says?

From the WSJ:

Cisco ran a rather grandiosely named “Pan-European Security Council” yesterday, which wasn’t really any such thing. Nor, alas, did it deliver on its promise to look at the security issues surrounding the future internet when 50 billion or more devices are wired up, the so-called “internet of things”.

This was a missed opportunity because this is an area worth investigating, and a networking company like Cisco could have brought some real insight. Instead we were treated to the usual diet of how teenagers use Facebook and, that hoariest of hoary internet subjects, the internet-enabled fridge.

But what are the security issues surrounding an internet of 50 billion devices, 48 billion of which are going to be cheap remote sensors of some kind? And what are the security implications?

One of the key issues is data integrity. How do you trust the data your sensors are sending? In fact how do you even know it is a sensor that is sending data at all, and not a bot or piece of malware?

Then there is the problem of encryption. When smart meters are installed across the grid you can be sure that they will have a high degree of encryption built into them—after all they are likely to be pretty expensive pieces of kit. You can be sure that authentication and encryption will be built in.

But what about a cheap (less than €1) sensor that is, say, responsible for reporting whether a parking place is occupied, or one that reports on the tensions in a restraining cable. How much encryption will be built into a 10¢ chip? But if it sends its data unencrypted, and it doesn’t use proper authentication, then it really is a simple matter of jumping in and adding whatever data you want to that stream.

So what? Why does this matter? Well it comes down to data integrity. There are two sorts of cyber criminals (actually there are loads, but let’s just take two for now); those out to make a quick buck, and those who are rather more sophisticated and perhaps have other, more destructive, aims.

More info here.

The internet of hype

A provocative article on the hype about the Internet of Things is available here. The comments are worth reading as well.

Cisco Clearing Path to the "Internet of Things"

The Internet of Things is a tantalizingly ambitious concept for the next iteration of the Information Age in which almost any object or environmental condition can be monitored, possibly controlled and tied into the digital universe. By some estimates, the Internet of Things will be able to connect at least as many objects as there are atoms on the surface of the Earth.

Unfortunately, there have been almost as many opinions about how this new era should take shape.

Since the idea for the Internet of Things was coined more than a decade ago, researchers and technology companies have struggled to make it a reality. Most significantly, a myriad of approaches for building this new kind of network have divided the market, fragmenting the Internet of Things into hundreds of islands of information separated by their own communications systems.

During the past five years, however, Cisco Systems has tackled the task of bringing at least some consensus to this matter. At stake is nothing short of a computing revolution that promises to radically improve upon the profound safety, efficiency and quality-of-life benefits already offered by today’s Internet.

More info here.

You Too Can Join the Internet Of Things

For many years now, Silicon Valley has hyped a concept known as the Internet of Things.

The thinking goes that just about everything, be it a shirt, toy, wall or milk jug, will have a chip or some kind of sensor in it that transmits information. People talk about refrigerators that can discern what’s inside of them and recommend recipes or order more milk for delivery just as that gallon jug begins to run out. Or maybe a restaurant gleans some kind of information about its wait staff based on the movement of plates.

A lot of the stuff sounds hokey and adds complexity to situations where the current order of things works just fine. But advocates of the Internet of Things argue that it’s tough for us to really grasp what useful creations people will build with the sensors in these early days with the technology.

ARM Holdings, the British chip designer, has created a program meant to spur those creations by unleashing people’s imaginations. (I wrote a profile of ARMin Monday’s paper, detailing its likely prominent role in the Internet of Things.)

Called mbed, the research effort puts a kit for a microcontroller – sort of a basic, low-power computer on a chip – in the hands of engineers and hobbyists for about $59. Then, ARM provides a set of software tools for bringing that microcontroller to life and linking it with other interesting itemslike accelerometers, gyroscopes, cameras, displays and thermometers.

Simon Ford, the ARM researcher leading mbed, said that the package of hardware and software he had created should open microcontrollers up to a new audience by removing some of the technical headaches associated with programming the chips.

The mbed device can plug straight into a U.S.B. port on a computer, appearing as a flash drive to the PC. People can then create programs or download existing modules from the mbed Web site and get off and running in a matter of minutes.

More info here and here.

IoT Conference Report 2010

The report entitled “IoT Conference Report 2010” is now online and downloadable. It was written by Rob van Kranenburg of Council, Knowledge Partner. Here are the provisional conclusions:

On a technological level we see a tendency towards many platforms, a high number of solutions and open standards and we foresee a deluge of data. Much like the end of the 90’s when RFID got under the penny cost and database storage became cheaper and cheaper, storage as such might not be the real issue, but turning data into meaningful information for end users remains the key challenge. Especially when we are confronted with a tendency to making data public by governments and by public making data through all kinds of emerging services like Pachube, Arrayent and AlertMe. Is it possible to build a generic service layer between end users and the applications, appliances and devices in the home, work and fun sphere? Confronted with younger generations that want to stage their lives and are accustomed to sharing so they might want to ‘stage’ their homes by tweeting every change, new notions of privacy and privacies become crucial if we want to balance a productive and innovative relationship between individuals and groups.

More info here.

SecIoT 2010

The 1st Workshop on the Security of the Internet of Things

Tokyo, Japan – November 29, 2010, in conjunction with Internet of Things 2010

Important Dates

Paper Submission due: 10 September 2010
Acceptance notification: 5 October 2010
Final papers due: 12 October 2010
Workshop date: 29 November 2010

Before the Internet of Things (IoT) vision takes its first steps, it is essential to consider the security implications of billions of intelligent things cooperating with other real and virtual entities over the Internet. In fact, we need to plan well in advance what kind of technological mechanisms, protocols and standard infrastructures we will need in order to protect the IoT.

Consequently, the main goal of this workshop is to spark debate on how to deal with the different security challenges that are related to the IoT. We aim to take a holistic point of view on this matter, giving importance to both the technologies that enable the IoT (such as Wireless Sensor Networks) and their interrelations.

Authors of selected papers will be invited to submit an extended version for possible publication in the “Protecting the Internet of Things” special issue of Wiley’s Security and Communication Networks Journal, which is indexed in almost all important technical journal index systems, such as ISI, SCI, EI, SCOPUS, etc.

More information about this workshop is available here

Internet of Things Takes Cisco I-Prize

From ReadWriteWeb

Rhinnovation, a group of Mexican university students, created the “Life Account,” a melding of the Internet of Things and social media to win Cisco’s second I-Prize.

The Life Account is a platform that gathers information about users through connected devices in the physical world and online data from the virtual world. This data is then aggregated to generate a virtual profile that understands habits and behavior patterns of the user. The winning team was selected on the basis of their idea’s technological innovation as well as the promise of the new business opportunity for Cisco. The prize carries a cash award of $250,000.

More info available here