back to article I'm the wire starter: ARM, IBM tout plug 'n' play Internet of Stuff kit

ARM and IBM today hope to lure a few more engineers, tinkerers and the like into their Internet of Things (IoT) world with a cloud-connected development kit bundle. The new Ethernet IoT Starter Kit combines the gizmo-laden mbed Application Shield with a Cortex-M4-powered board from Freescale. You plug the two together, hook …

  1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

    How much!

    If it's at Pi-prices, I'd bite!

    1. Simon Harris

      Re: How much!

      According to the BBC version of the story...

      "The price has yet to be set, but ARM said it should be somewhere between $50 (£32) and $200."

      1. Maurice Walshe

        Re: How much!

        ah so in the uk £75 to £200 IBM is never cheap i can by anaudunio clone for chinal for less than a fiver

  2. x 7

    But how do I connect it to a lightbulb?

    1. Captain DaFt

      "But how do I connect it to a lightbulb?"

      Duck Tape!

      1. Richard Taylor 2

        Re: "But how do I connect it to a lightbulb?"

        Cruel to ducks and very smelly. I suggest duct tape.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "But how do I connect it to a lightbulb?"

          "Cruel to ducks and very smelly. I suggest duct tape."

          No, he is right. It's Duck Tape (brand name). Despite its usefulness for taping stuff to ducts, it is not actually duct tape. I got this wrong for years.

          1. Benchops

            Re: "But how do I connect it to a lightbulb?"

            Actually it's both. Originally invented for US military (I think) and adopted for genuinely fixing ducting together, there is now a branded Duck tape too. Either way, it and sugru have it covered!

          2. Richard Plinston

            Re: "But how do I connect it to a lightbulb?"

            > No, he is right. It's Duck Tape (brand name).

            It is not only a brand name but it refers to the material used in the tape. 'Cotton duck' is a type of tightly woven cotton fabric, often used for tents. The name derives from the Dutch 'doek'. 'Duck tape' is made from duck fabric. 'Duct tape' is any tape which can be used to seal ducts (such as air ducts), and may be 'duck tape', 'Duck Tape (tm)' or other.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      But how do I connect it to a lightbulb?

      Why would you want to connect it to anything soo low tech and soo yesterday?

      The kit does have voltage out connections, so you should be able to simply plug in a couple of LED's and you've got a little light! Want to illuminate a room, then make a 'feature' of you IoT by simply adding another few dozen kits and attach to ceiling etc.

    3. MyffyW Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      x 7, you should know, hun, that since the early days of the Phoebus cartel light bulbs are already connected to a globe-spanning super-intelligence.

      Tulip bulbs, on the other hand, remain to be tamed.

    4. martinusher Silver badge

      Lightbulb hookup

      (But how do I hook it up to a lightbulb?) depends on exactly what you want to do, how much experience you have and what budget you're working with. For the well budgeted there's a whole world of DIN rails, interfaces, PLCs and what-have-you out there -- its a big business. Huge, in fact. For the more domestic there's intelligent power strips (Levitron), existing powerline controllers (been around for decades) and the like. For the engineer its a bit of a non-question, hooking stuff up to networks is what people do when they're working with embedded computers.

      BTW -- are you sure about this "light bulb" thing? They're pretty much extinct these days....

  3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Potentiometer + cloud

    I'm having a bit of trouble seeing the advantage of being able to see the results of twiddling a dial in the cloud. Especially since the bit of kit sending the twiddling to the cloud has more processing power than you need to do anything reasonable with the twiddlige.

    1. kalqlate

      Re: Potentiometer + cloud

      With management in the cloud, it frees all devices in the local network from having to be concerned about coordination and cooperation. All of that is pushed off to the cloud, thus making a "smart" home a snap and truly plug-n-play. Further, in the IoT paradigm, if a particular product proliferates, there can be some pretty amazing device "smarts" and "awareness" developed through Big Data analytics of all the data streaming from devices around the world.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re:Re: Potentiometer + cloud

        "With management in the cloud"

        Not been paying attention for the last 40 years have you?

      2. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

        Re: Potentiometer + cloud

        With management in the cloud....

        Yes all those cloud devices can do those things. Right up to the point your ISP goes down, a JCB goes through the fibre to your exchange, the server goes titsup, the cloud service gets retired or an incompatible upgrade or a gazillion other things you have no control over.

        Or you could go the extra mile to get the smart devices to talk directly to one another and have independence & privacy. Plus, when it stops working you will know that the scope for where the problem lies rather than being 'somewhere on the planet' is 'somewhere in your house'.

        1. Zog_but_not_the_first

          Re: Potentiometer + cloud

          Quite. Why do these things have to be vectored through "the cloud".


          Sorry - just woke up.

          1. GreenJimll

            Re: Potentiometer + cloud

            Folk want to vector you into the cloud so that they can be involved and flog you an ongoing service, rather than do what sane people would and buy the product outright and have the management internal to your own home. Heck, its not as if web based management interface need a Cray to run on.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Potentiometer + cloud

          >Yes all those cloud devices can do those things.

          I hadn't even got that far, I was still working out the provisioning and registration of all these devices as they will all need to be individually identified and registered on to my management cloud. With the mbed IBM automatically register the device on their BlueMIX cloud, but the user has to use the USB connection to obtain the device id so that they can 'claim' the device in the cloud.

          Also playing around with the changing a lightbulb scenario, IoT makes this much much more involved. Having just had both of my cars serviced I know the real difference 'chipped' parts make to a job. One car a new set of spark plugs was needed - £8 each, a spanner is the only tool required and job can be performed on the drive. The other a set of 'chipped' injectors that also need to be registered with the engine management system, here the injectors were £130+ each and the job had to be done by a local garage... But IoT will add another complexity, devices will most probably be pre-registered to different management clouds, just as the majority of mobile phones are today and hence will need to be ported to my cloud...

          Once the devices are actually in my cloud I can begin to worry about management...

          1. Yes Me Silver badge

            Re: Potentiometer + cloud + monopoly

            It all needs to be autonomic and self-configuring, including secure enrollment of new devices. What it doesn't need (from the consumer's point of view) is to depend on proprietary or cartel solutions for that. That's the difference between your £8 spark plugs and £130 injectors (whose fair price is probably £30 at a guess). So beware of Big Blue (or Cisco, or anyone else) who offers the One True Solution for IoT security. The One True Solution includes a monopoly rent.

    2. kalqlate

      Re: Potentiometer + cloud

      Take note that it's called the Internet of ThingS, not Internet of Thing.

      Being able to push management, control, communications, and coordination to the cloud...

      ...(1) frees up devices on the local network to focus on their specific task(s) and allows easy, easy development of "smart" homes, "smart" swarms, etc.

      ...(2) if a device has a particular type of sensor and streams its reading to the cloud, and devices with that particular type of sensor proliferate and also stream to the cloud in a common collective, new levels of "intelligence" can be imbued into devices with that sensor via Big Data analysis of all of the data streaming from hundreds to millions of sensors from around the world.

  4. kalqlate

    Cortex-M7, please

    A Cortex-M4 at 120 MHz is pretty good, but the newer generation Cortex-M7 would assure support for projects requiring extra oomph. Hopefully, the Cortex-M7 version won't be trailing too far behind.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cortex-M7, please

      Processor speed isn't the major issue with IoT platforms. Having enough RAM to do crypto (TLS etc) properly is much more of a concern.

  5. Bronek Kozicki

    embed OS is not exclusively tied to Big Blue's cloud

    I take this means I could run my own cloud, i.e. server side at home, by installing and configuring some open source package on my Linux machine? Asking because that is the only way I would use such a thing

    1. Steve Graham

      Re: embed OS is not exclusively tied to Big Blue's cloud

      I was thinking exactly the same thing. A home system which only functions by the grace of someone else's servers in some other country just doesn't appeal to me either.

      You'd want a "server" on your home network, but even a Raspberry Pi would be vastly over-spec'd.

  6. All names Taken

    Re: But how do I connect it to a lightbulb?

    Easy-peasy with this kit:


    Nope, I am not connected with the company/organisation nor have been apart from purchasing consumer via Maplins (in the UK)

  7. A Non e-mouse Silver badge


    At least El Reg didn't take inspiration from another Prodigy song ("Slap my *ahem* up")

    1. tony2heads

      Re: Headline



  8. Archivist

    I accept the insult

    "A low level engineer" (read the article)..

  9. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Seal of approval

    From NSA and GCHQ?

  10. Stevie


    All your fridge are belong to us.

  11. Chris Evans

    Long term (Free?)server access?

    With anything inside the home that you want to access from outside, there is a fundamental problem that I've not seen a good solution for. Either you have to open up your router to allow access (Something that the average user is not up to and has significant security implications) or you use a third party server (Often in the cloud) but unless you are paying for it, it could quickly disappear, and if you are paying for it they could jack the price up or close the service leaving you with a lot of hassle trying to reconfigure kit!

    I'd hope for 10-20 years life out of home automation kit, how many times might the occupants have changed over those years.

    The only solution I've thought of is if a standard could be adopted that came as part of your ISP contract using their servers and could be automatically transferred when you changed ISPs

    Or has some one come up with another solution I've missed.

    1. Stevie

      Re: Long term (Free?)server access?

      Well, since we are talking access through a portable smart device aka telephone, why not revisit that old stand-by: dialback? You ask the device if you can have a conversation just like normal, but instead of the device taking your word that you are and suggesting a socket it calls the device back, establishing the full address for itself rather than accepting the one it is given.

      Not useful for all cases, but as part of a portfolio of tools, not halfway bad from where I'm sitting.

    2. Cameron Colley

      Re: Long term (Free?)server access?

      Open a non-standard port* and use certificates** with either SSH or a VPN to tunnel traffic through something like a Pi or other low power device set up as a server.

      *To stop your logs filling up.

      **To prevent brute force.

  12. Cynic_999

    Why USB?

    If you are connected via Ethernet (presumably to the same LAN your PC is connected to), why the heck do you need an additional USB cable as well?

  13. stu 4

    dumb imho

    the whole idea of IOT is to have small, cheap devices.

    Every single one doesn't need to have a full network stack and talk to the cloud FFS - it makes far far more sense to have a central home hub type devices to do that - all talk to the cheap minions.

    arduino is the ideal tool for the minions - I can build a wireless connected arduino controlling [enter your requirement here] for less than a fiver (2 quid arduino pro mini, 2 quid 2.4ghz transciever, 1 quid left for lights, battery, relay or whatever you need).

    Hell, you can even use 433mhz and have them ape X10.

    If I'm supposed to have (and I still fail to see the real applications for most of this) 10 or 20 IOT things in my house - and they all have to connect to the fucking internet through the one hub I have anyway - the modem that connects me to the fecking internet - then that's the place to put the small cloud pish, not in 20 odd devices all over the house.

  14. jelabarre59

    more IBM cr*p

    Typical IBM product; obsolete, underpowered and overpriced. OK, perhaps in this application it might be a good price, but since I don't have a use for this bogus P.o.S., I couldn't tell you.

  15. ecofeco Silver badge

    embedded engineer?

    Is this the mythical engineer that gets sex regularly?

    (really they just fucking make up stupid fucking phrases, don't they?)

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022