Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Internet of Things

Let's get positive for a change...well at least for the start of the post.

Rob Salkowitz has written that "the Internet of things" is ready for prime time. This is the idea that connectivity moves beyond places or people to devices. As he writes;

The enabling technologies -- RFID, ubiquitous wireless and GPRS networks, Bluetooth, and other short-range transmission channels -- have become so cheap, small, and mundane as to be nearly invisible. Appliances increasingly integrate wireless connections, IP addresses, and Web interfaces as part of their basic design. GPS services are becoming standard on mobile devices.

The technology is here, and the economic stars are aligned. It looks like a pretty good bet that 2009 is the year that the Internet of Things finally gets real.

His colleague Jae Engelbrecht wrote in December that we should get ready for a Sensored Internet - in which he wasn't misspelling our filtering discussion but talking about the number of sensing devices now connected to the net.

He wrote;

What is changing is that sensors are becoming cheaper, smaller, and more energy-efficient. As a result, their use is growing exponentially. Companies, governments, and individuals are embedding them everywhere. For example: Motion detectors now switch on lights, turn on water, and dispense towels.

And these sensors are talking. Many are still not directly connected to the Internet, but that is changing fast. With the spread of IPv6, many of these sensors will have their own Internet addresses and in the future will be talking to each other with implications for online “noise” and traffic.

These are the kinds of things that seem to be missing from the DBCDE discussion on the Digital Economy. A big issue for me is that the Internet of Things really only works if we have IPv6. The Government is taking a very sanguine view, believing industry will adopt IPv6 when it is economically justified.

My problem is that IPv6 to work really requires everyone to adopt it. The larger Internet players have reasons not to. They can enhance their market power if they coral their end-users inside "private networks", thus also restricting the use of end-to-end applications. Adoption of IPv6 was strangely absent from the specs for the NBN.

Meanwhil at least full credit to Internode for their IPv6 implementation. See I do love those guys sometimes.

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