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Google’s Vint Cerf defines Internet of Things challenges

logoWe are going to have to live through a period of mistakes and challenges before we can make any strong regulations about the privacy issues and other challenges the Internet of Things present.  That was Vint Cerf, vice president and chief internet evangelist for Google’s response to a regulation question at his keynote before today’s Federal Trade Commission’s workshop on the Internet of Things trend. The FTC workshop was examining the issues and challenges of everyday devices to communicate with each other and with people or “The Internet of Things” and ultimately how the agency might regulate that activity.

“Connected devices can communicate with consumers, transmit data back to companies, and compile data for third parties such as researchers, health care providers, or even other consumers, who can measure how their product usage compares with that of their neighbors,” the FTC stated.

Reuters noted that in announcing the workshop in April and soliciting comments, the FTC asked how such gadgets can be updated when security holes are discovered and how to weigh privacy concerns against societal benefits from aggregating data provided by health-tracking gadgets. Cerf was the keynoter of the workshop which also included FTC execs and representatives from GE Appliances, SmartThings, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and others.The issue of privacy was a hot one.  For his part, Cerf said he would not “simply assert privacy is dead” but rather that it will be increasingly difficult to achieve.

“Our social behavior is quite damaging…technology has outraced our social intuition,” he said. Cerf went on to say he wanted to “build a congressional comic book to help them understand the way in which the Internet works…a lightweight cartoon model to help people to understand what laws make sense.”

More info here.

Why the Internet of Things Needs IPv6

The transition to IPv6 is important not only because the 4.3 billion IPv4 addresses are running out, but also because the proliferation of Internet-connected devices is creating a new environment of information. “The Internet of Things is very much upon on us,” said Vint Cerf, Google’s chief Internet evangelist, at the Rocky Mountain IPv6 Summit on Thursday, April 18, in Denver.

Every device that connects to the Internet requires an IP address, and it has been predicted that by 2020 there will be 50 billion Internet-enabled devices in the world. To put that number in perspective, that equates to more than six connected devices per person, based on an expected global population of 7.6 billion people. “With the explosion of mobile devices — especially as asset intelligence and machine-to-machine embed connectivity in literally everything — unique IP addresses are becoming a scarce resource,” according to Deloitte.

Thus the move to IPv6 is necessary as it provides an almost unimaginable number of IP addresses — 18 quintillion blocks of 18 quintillion possible addresses.

In a prerecorded video speech, Cerf said the proliferation of Internet connections will include automobiles. While not as high-tech as Google’s self-driving car, Cerf said in the future, vehicles will report their condition and other information in order to aid maintenance. In addition, medical and scientific instruments will automatically record and report their status as well as the data they collect. “So all of you working on IPv6 are in fact working on a much larger and much more challenging scope and that is this avalanche of content and information,” Cerf said.

In addition to allowing for an increasingly connected world, IPv6 will also benefit public safety communications. Latif Ladid, president of the Global IPv6 Forum, said IPv6-enabled devices, such as iPhones, provide better communication interoperability than first responders currently have. Upgrading to the new protocol will allow public safety workers to use LTE directly, enabling the sharing of not only voice communications, but also photos and videos. However, proprietary solutions and legacy systems can halt progress. “We have found that this is an important area that is going to take more decision-making than just the technology itself,” Ladid said.

More info here.

Connecting Your Car, Socks and Body to the Internet

From the NYT:

Several years ago, I watched Vint Cerf, who helped draft the architecture of the Internet and is now chief Internet evangelist at Google, give a talk about the future of the Internet.

During his presentation, he discussed the early days of the Internet, when he was developing the protocol called TCP/IP with the United States Department of Defense. He talked about some of the strange early networking experiments his team did, but he also talked about his socks. He explained that one day everything would be connected to the Internet, including his socks, and if one should fall behind the washing machine while he was doing laundry, it would be able to notify the other sock of its whereabouts.

The basis for this concept is called “the Internet of things.”

The day when we have communicative socks might not be too far off, according to a report released Monday by McKinsey & Company. The paper highlights some of the major changes that will result from the growing ubiquity from sensors and objects connected to the Internet, including “sensor-driven decision analytics” and “complex autonomous systems.”

The complete article is available here.