back to article The Internet of Things edges toward a practical reality

There are countless problems with making the so-called "internet of things" (IoT) a pragmatic reality: hardware, software and standards to name the big three. But this week at the Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco, at least two of them have started to find solutions. During one of its exec's main keynotes, Samsung …

  1. redpawn Silver badge

    Let's turn everything into a sensor

    Lets have each switch, lightbulb, door knob, utility pole, package, appliance, table, paperweight etc. become a data collection object with proprietary communications formats. You know you want this. The world would be more connected. What could go wrong?

    Connections are good. Without them we would er....be unconnected.

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Just imagine if all of the 170 million utility poles in the United States had sound or vibration monitors.

    Other than surveillance, this one escapes me.... Maybe to let the home office know if the pole falls over? <walks away muttering><wonders what all the hype is about>

    1. Ole Juul

      utility poles and vibrations

      I am not a fan of IoT, but this one caught my fancy. I have several times called the utility company to report an outage. It always surprises me that they don't know where the break is. This would help them, and by extension, me. Also, cannot this kind of network be a great way to locate many other things, like explosions or earth quakes?

      I should add that, at least in these parts, power outages are many times caused by a motorist hitting a pole. It takes quite a while to locate the problem. In any case, those stupid smart meters have not proven to be useful in detecting outages (or their location) here. Also, "microphones" aren't necessarily sensitive in the voice, or audible, range.

      1. frank ly

        Re: utility poles and vibrations

        For a broken/fallen utility pole, can't they send a pulse down the line, using simple portable equipment, then note the timing/distance of the large reflection caused by the break?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: utility poles and vibrations

        "a great way to locate many other things, like [...] earth quakes?"

        Hah! That would be awesome...with a sensor density at the same level as utility poles, you could watch the quake ripple across a city/country in real time. Possibly doing some science as well as admiring the visuals - although I suppose calibration of the accelerometer readings might be tricky.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "In general you could not assume that you were much safer in the country than in London. There were no telescreens, of course, but there was always the danger of concealed microphones by which your voice might be picked up and recognized."

  4. gerdesj Silver badge

    Samsung

    *sigh* Samsung: I love you *sigh* and so do all el Reg commentards.

    Anyway, time for something insightful or something. I'm scared of my Sammy telly. The bloody thing has a mic and I know it listens. It is on it's own VLAN and I must get around to cracking it: I know it port scans the local area (I have the logs) and if I were to be a little uncharitable I might suggest that it is a bit of a trojan horse (for ad revenue).

  5. Oengus Silver badge

    Making Money

    The hard part then comes in figuring out how to make money.

    Easy - sell the chips.

    Leave the data alone. Let the buyer decide how to collect the data and what to do with it. That way the buyer comes up with a business case for the chips/devices containing them. Don't factor in the data to the business case of creating and selling the chips.

    If the customer wants you to gather and process the data from the chips, charge that as a separate service (this way you might even be able to make money from other manufacturer's chips).

  6. inmypjs Silver badge

    "number one biggest problem: standards"

    Nope the number one biggest problem is lack of valid use cases for things not already connected to the internet.

    The VP said it himself 170 million poles with sound and vibration sensors - yep I can imagine that what I can't imagine is what use they are going to be. The 17 million shipping containers I can't imagine because he can't even imagine what kind of sensor they should be fitted with never mind what use they would be.

    Standards are driven by requirements and the 'internet of things' being 90% bullshit doesn't have the requirements and that's why standards are lacking.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "number one biggest problem: standards"

      "The 17 million shipping containers I can't imagine because he can't even imagine what kind of sensor they should be fitted with never mind what use they would be."

      That's a use I can think of. Finding out where they've got to.

      My brother in law used to be a mechanic for a skip hire company. The drivers each had their own locations up and down the county where they'd stash skips that had gone AWOL from the main business so they could do a few jobs on the side. I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing happened to containers.

    2. D@v3

      Re: "number one biggest problem: standards"

      ahhh, standards.

      I'll just leave this here

      http://xkcd.com/927/

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why would you spend money on sensors that only connect to one company's servers? The less frivolous your potential use is, the more stupid that idea becomes. Even if you're doing something on a truly epic scale where it makes sense to farm out some of the workload; you're giving that company a firm grip on your knackers right from the start.

  8. Neoc

    Nope.

    So one idiot with a backhoe taking out the main data cable between me, my ISP and the Samsung cloud - and all of a sudden I can't turn my lights on or off? I don't think so.

    IoT should *not* have to go through a cloud to be usable IN-HOUSE. There is no reason my frigging light switch needs to talk to a Samsung cloud server before my light responds.

    Go back to the drawing board, Samsung - and remember that commercial and residential are *not* the same thing.

  9. Ray Foulkes

    Nightmare..

    The world is going nuts; every device in your house connected to, and accessible from, the internet is a recipe for disaster. In my house there is going to be ONE controlling device, secured as best I can, which will communicate with all the others. Those can communicate amongst themselves if they like but they are going to be firewalled off from the Internet. If devices won't work like that, then I ain't going to buy them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nightmare..

      " In my house there is going to be ONE controlling device" - already have that, it's called my finger...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nightmare..

        " it's called my finger..."

        To conform to Samsung's API that should be your middle finger

  10. Ru'

    "hardware, software and standards to name the big three"

    Security, Security and Security to name the big three...

    (Assuming we ignore the Why, Why and Why)

    1. VinceH

      Yes, I was going to comment that the "big three" should be a "big five" with security and privacy being top of the list.

      Also:

      "He's not responsible for the server, so no 2:00am calls. And once set up, it is easy to add other devices and get them to talk to one another. And best of all, data security is handled by Samsung."

      IOW: "We can ignore security and if it goes wrong, we can blame it on someone else. Yay!"

    2. AndyS

      What about "length of support."

      The idea that a light switch should stop functioning because the company you bought it from decides it is no longer profitable to "support" is is ludicrous, and yet Google has just done exactly that.

  11. jake Silver badge

    "There are countless problems" ... Indeed.

    "There are countless problems with making the so-called "internet of things" (IoT) a pragmatic reality: hardware, software and standards to name the big three."

    You can't count to three? Allow me to help:

    [0] Security

    [1] Hardware

    [2] Code (Software is merely the current state of the hardware).

    [3] Standards

    1. AndyS

      Re: "There are countless problems" ... Indeed.

      > Code (Software is merely the current state of the hardware)

      > Idiot (pedantry is merely the current state of the moron)

      1. jake Silver badge

        @AndyS (was Re: "There are countless problems" ... Indeed.)

        Nice AdHom.

        Sad that you don't know the difference between code & software.

        BSD code runs on all kinds of hardware without further editing.

        When it is running, it's software.

        It's not pedantry, it's reality. Learn it. Live it. Love it. Or leave it.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "There are countless problems" ... Indeed.

      "[3] Standards"

      3?

  12. calmeilles

    Life changing features you never knew you needed.

    Yesterday someone told me that they'd bought an oven with built-in webcam.

    Great. Now you can watch your soufflé rise from the comfort of your armchair. And so can the rest of the world.

    I can't help feeling that the IoT might have jumped the shark, but only if the shark is 802.11b/g/n enabled.

  13. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "One part of the solution is the launch of Artik Cloud"

    Somebody else's computer. What happens when somebody else loses interest and wanders off to do something else? How do you Resolv that problem?

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