back to article WTF is... Weightless?

Weightless, the would-be world standard that allows devices to talk to devices without human intervention, reaches its first major release milestone this spring. Version 1.0 of the technology specification is set to be published in March or April and then it will be able to begin making the much-hyped but yet to be delivered ‘ …

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  1. FartingHippo
    Alert

    Doomed from the start

    I give it 3 months before the fridge is sending the cooker pictures of kittens milk cartons saying "can i haz cream". The cooker wont notice, as it's spending all it's time looking at utensil porn.

    And thus the internet's remaining bandwidth will shrivel and die.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Doomed from the start

      >utensil porn.

      "Ohh-err, I don't half fancy that vibrating fork I saw at CES"

    2. frank ly

      Re: Doomed from the start

      The reason you know this is that your credit card has been talking to your cooker, which is now logged in to premium utensil porn.

    3. Crisp

      Re: utensil porn

      At least the cooker isn't looking at real filth like sporks.

  2. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Says the toaster: "Whoops, I over did that"

    Replies the fire alarm: "Okay, I'll hold on for a minute... can you ask the TV to bring this to the attention of the meatbag?"

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      TV replies "sorry but I can't get the remote off the damned cooker, says it's bidding on a vibrating fork"

  3. annodomini2
    Terminator

    [See image]

  4. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Lots of people would happily pay money to be free of that nagging thought "I am sure I turned off the gas hob?", as they are their way to the train station.

    Another would be a telephone that turns down your TV or stereo when a call comes in (Bang and Olufsen do this already).

    I can imagine many uses that this 'internet of things' will be put to have already been pioneered in making kit for disabled people (blinking lights to alert deaf people to their doorbell, for example)

    1. James Micallef Silver badge
      Pint

      " (blinking lights to alert deaf people to their doorbell, for example)"

      hehe, reminds me of a mate who, on seeing a phone with a flashing light to supplement the ringtone, declared confidently

      "Ah, it must be designed for blind people to use "

      cue a mouth-agape + WTF-are-you-talking-about stare from yours truly. Realizing he had sounded off mouth without engaging brain*, he quickly corrected himself (unfortunatley with brain still disengaged):

      ""Ah, it must be designed for DEAF people to use"

      That time I was literally ROTFL

      *possibly related to the number of pints that had been pre-consumed

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Happy

        This might clarify things

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7L3iSZsNpY

  5. Trollslayer Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Hmm...

    IoT also standds for interoperability tseting, I can see way too many things to go wrong here.

    Up to 4W? Under the right conditions that can go for many miles as well as penetrating buildings.

    What happens if there isn't any white space available when you need it? Car - car - crunch.

    1. Return To Sender
      Go

      Re: Hmm...

      Err, the idea of this is to get coverage, not performance per se. Miles would be good. And you wouldn't be using it for time-critical applications (like road trains), so if there's no white space, no problem. Unless, of course, you're driving a camper van and your cooker was trying to chat up the multimedia system in that feck off swish wagon in the queue behind you....

  6. David Black
    Thumb Up

    Cyclists

    Best use case that I ever heard for this technology was for fitting it to bikes, particularly in urban environments. Get's around the whole numberplate identity issue. Then the small number of cyclists who ride like idots in heavilly populated areas can be held to account.

    The same guys also explained how it could make rural/single-carriageway roads MUCH safer as apparently a horrendous amount of the serious accidents are due to dirvers being unaware of other vehicles (oncomming, stopped at junctions, tractors etc.) but they also mentioned it being wearable by rural pedestrians and sheep too... not sure about the sheep bit though, but I think that's cause they'd be wearing the tags anyway to make them traceable.

    1. John Robson Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Cyclists

      Apart from the fact that we can't seem to hold to account motorists who drive like idiots....

      That application doesn't need range - it needs good directionality and low range (order of 10's to 100's of yards).

      And then it needs 100% take up, because otherwise it will just be another beep that it ignored in the cab, or a beep that is totally relied up - precluding the use of protoplasmic scanners.

      I'd quite like to have a cycle computer using this - small battery on board, take 6V AC from the dynamo and have my trip data available at home/online wherever I am...

      Of course the base stations would need to relay, sometimes across most of the country, but I assume that's the point.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: Cyclists

        feckin cyclists

        thats all

        1. Naughtyhorse
          Trollface

          Re: Cyclists

          You cyclists are a bunch of grumpy fuckers, when you aren't holding me up, out of puff, on a bit of a hill.

          actually ESPECIALLY when you are holding me up... etc etc etc

  7. resoldab
    Alert

    Cyberdyne here we go

    After 15ns of the fridge being connected is cancels your supermarket order and signals the T.V to only show keep fit videos and then locks the door while your car heads out of the garage to park only it knows where so you will have to walk once starvation sets in.

    I for one welcom our connected hoover overlords!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vibrating fork? Nah. FILFs.

  9. The FunkeyGibbon

    Cart before horse?

    It's an interesting idea but - and I may be being thick here - this is still a method for transmission and not a new protocol, right? So until IPv6 is actually used in anger, there are going to be no addresses for the cooker or any other device to use anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cart before horse?

      Define "addresses". Or are you under the impression that TCP/IP is needed for communication? The world had wireless communication prior to TCP/IP.

      It actually might be more secure if you kept TCP/IP out of this domain, but some form of encryption or serialization would be a must. Maybe generate a key off your thumb print? Something like that should ensure uniqueness to a local 100 mile radius at any given time. Obviously something will be put in play, otherwise it will be the equivalent of car alarms going off at random times of the day.

  10. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    How does this differ from the "Neuron" chip in everything concept.

    I'm not sure.

    The idea of "stuff" sharing various useful facts with other devices in the immediate vicinity has always sounded useful but the jokers have always been a)Proprietary lockin. I want whatever stuff I buy to work with the stuff I already got regardless of brand. b) What stuff is be being shared?

    It'll be intriguing to see if this gets traction. A few big wins could move this form "interesting idea" up to "We've got to design this into our next mobile/satnav/cooker/doorbell/whatever.

  11. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Terminator

    Fridge - :-)

    Stove - ;-)

    Fridge - :-O

    Stove - :-P

  12. Harry

    Re "A wireless car, for example, becomes useless if it moves beyond range of a base-station."

    Does it?

    Since this is supposed to be Machine to Machine, not Machine to base station, the implementation should surely be that which maintains its usefulness so long as the two *machines* that wish to communicate are in range of each other.

    All of which makes perfect sense. Only the particular traffic light I'm approaching (and maybe the next one down the road) needs to know that I'm approaching and in which direction I'm heading. That's enough tor it to optimise the junction priorites (no more long green lights to the only route that doesn't have any traffic) and tell my car it should slow down to conserve fuel, so that it doesn't reach the junction before it turns green. And traffic lights are rarely so far apart that they can't pass on messages about jams further along my route and suggest a better route.

    What's that I hear? Even though its supposedly M2M, it has to be designed to go via a base station so that some mega corporation can *charge* for the service?

  13. Camilla Smythe

    Does the..

    Fridge, other appliance, clean itself?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It'll all be OK when

    My lawnmower can tell my Microwave to wake me up because the neighbour's pretty daughter is sunbathing topless again.....

    Eh? Oh... just me then!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It'll all be OK when

      Is this the first genuine practical application?

  15. jubtastic1
    Mushroom

    Kill it with fire

    Yet another half baked technoutopian wet dream for soulless wankers to market to fucking idiots.

    It will never work, well, it will work for a bit, then it will fuck up and you'll find your smoke alarm has been going off every time you leave the house, your cooker keeps calling out engineers, who keep replacing the bit that keeps calling them out, your fridge has ordered 20 litres of sour cream, your washing machine refuses to unlock the door and your telly keeps randomly switching to channel3 because the microwave told it to.

    And those will just be the bugs, which the whole system will be riddled with. Once the "hackers" get in on the fun you might as well sell your house and live in a tent before some twat fires up your oven and burns it down for the lols.

    TL;DR Fuck the internet of things.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    eh ?

    "maybe a tenth of a bit every second. " One bit every 10s I get, but how do you send 1/10th of a bit ?

    1. Zack Mollusc
      Go

      Re: eh ?

      For a one, just send a tenth of the length at a time, for a zero, send 36 degrees of its circumference. Duh!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Go

        Re: eh ?

        RTFM! "36 degrees" is not portable! Use deg36_t || udeg36_t.

  17. Dragon Leaves
    Mushroom

    Skynet

    run.

  18. david 12 Silver badge

    M2M and IoT proponents talk not only of driverless cars and smart cities, but

    Sure, like they talked of how records, telephones, movies, television, and the internet would revolutionize education.

    Promoters and salesmen always talk of how technology will fix our problems, but our problems are not technological.

  19. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Deja-vu all over again

    My first job 25years ago was at a Philips spinout that was going to connect all your household appliances (or at least all the Philips ones) with a network that ran over mains wiring.

    After all the bold visions of your washing machine talking to your cooker to find out what you had spilled on younr shirt, the only non-laughable application anybody could come up with was having everything sync its clock correctly ever spring/autumn

    1. Nick Rutland

      Re: Deja-vu all over again

      At the back of my mind I have a memory of a survey pointing out that the average domestic microwave consumed more power running its clock than actually heating food. Anyone confirm?

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Boffin

        Re: Deja-vu all over again

        "At the back of my mind I have a memory of a survey pointing out that the average domestic microwave consumed more power running its clock than actually heating food. Anyone confirm?"

        Well an operating microwave consumes 650W to 1000W plus.

        I'd doubt any timer module would need more than 10W

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Deja-vu all over again

          >How about a smoke alarm that shuts down all gas and electrical appliances (or their sockets) in the room its in when it detects smoke?

          I'm probably just illustrating your point about these things being tricky- but wouldn't that example prevent owners of cordless DECT phones from ringing the fire service?

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Boffin

      Re: Deja-vu all over again

      "My first job 25years ago was at a Philips spinout that was going to connect all your household appliances (or at least all the Philips ones) with a network that ran over mains wiring."

      Neatly illustrating the proprietary lockin angle.

      "After all the bold visions of your washing machine talking to your cooker to find out what you had spilled on younr shirt, the only non-laughable application anybody could come up with was having everything sync its clock correctly ever spring/autumn"

      Neatly illustrating the "What do we use it for?" angle.

      M2M is tricky because it takes humans out of the loop. So it has to be something people want to do but may be difficult for a human to keep up (maintaining safe car separation at the exact safe stopping distance for the vehicle speed and road conditions) in a way people are comfortable with.

      How about a smoke alarm that shuts down all gas and electrical appliances (or their sockets) in the room its in when it detects smoke? Burglar alarm warns other appliances the property is now vacant so the power shower you left on shuts off. How about cars that automatically slow down to allow buses to pull out or traffic lights that tell vehicles their state and how long till their next change. Just an advisory but the potential effects on average road speed (and fuel consumption) could be huge.

      The only actual M2M applications I'm aware of are things like industrial machinery monitoring, where sensors detect excess wear and book service appointments most spectacularly jet engines on airliners. Likewise vending machines reporting they have run out of brand X cans (eliminating 1 driver and their vehicle can deliver big savings over a year).

  20. Chairo
    Thumb Up

    I need this!

    car-to-car links that send warnings from vehicle to vehicle to automatically prevent them getting too close...

    Mine is the one with the bomb explosion and machine gun sounds!

  21. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

    I can predict one application - home meters

    electricity, water etc. That would be useful, although not necessarily welcome.

  22. btrower

    The IoT is inevitable

    There comes a time where the economies of scale make it cheaper to build network aware devices entirely rather than have two production lines producing smart or dumb devices.

    Provided we do things sensibly, we should already be able to start the process of switching to smart devices. Some devices, such controllers for heating, lighting, etc should be near or beyond the point where the savings they create pay for the devices. That is, the net operating cost, including accounting for amortization of capital cost of the smart devices will be less than the net operating cost of dumb ones.

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