IoT and Machine Learning workshop in Palo Alto – part of the Internet of Things World event

 

 

 

 

 

As you know from previous posts, I have been very interested in IoT / Smart cities and Algorithms

So, its nice to conduct this workshop based on the program ”Big data analytics and algorithms for cities” at the City sciences program for the Technical University of Madrid

 IoT and Machine Learning is a unique one day workshop which explores Machine learning techniques for IOT.

The workshop is designed as an exploratory/introductory workshop for participants who are interested in using machine learning techniques for IoT data.

Arthur Samuel, the pioneeing AI scientist, defined machine learning as – ‘The field of study that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed’.  Machine learning includes examples such as the Driverless car which require data from other cars, street lights, people and a range of sensors coupled with the analytics to make real-time decisions.

Hence, unlike programmers who work with pre-defined logic for a problem domain( using statements like if-then-else, loops etc), for data scientistics, the logic is often non-deterministic.

Thus, given an IOT data set, the machine learning algorithm has to deduce a logic based on a pattern in the data.

The first part of the workshop will explain Machine learning techniques. This will be followed by understanding how these techniques could be applied to IOT datasets. We will use Smart city datasets to explore Machine learning and we will explore specific techniques like sensor fusion.

Machine learning techniques we explore are:

  • Supervised and unsupervised learning
  • Neural Networks
  • Machine Learning System Design
  • Clustering
  • Anomaly Detection
  • Recommender Systems
  • Large-Scale Machine learning systems
  • Programming paradigms and Languages for machine learning
  • Computation at the edge or Computation at the core

Problem domains include:

  • Prediction Examples  bassed on datasets (energy, pollution)
  • Optimzation based (traffic routing, commute optimization)
  • Pattern identifying (predict hotspots based on health care data)
  • New business proceeses based on machine learning for objects that have to navigate an unpredictable domain (driverless cars, drones)

Note that this course is introductory but still needs basic understand and aptitude for Mathematics

Please contact me for any queries/thoughts/comments

workshop link  in Palo Alto on IoT and Machine Learning

webinos – sensor based scenarios – managed service scenarios for sensor networks ..

 
Firstly, some goals of the webinos project adapted from the webinos introduction

The purpose of the Webinos project is to define and deliver an Open Source platform, which will enable web applications and services to be used and shared consistently and securely over a broad spectrum of connected devices.

In practice, this is more than the APIs on individual devices. So, within a web based scenario, the service should be able to potentially

-  Run across devices and domains

-  Share preferences, status and synchronized information across multiple devices

-  This applies to device features as well – ex to use smart phones as input devices

-  Allow consistent access to developers

-  Manage user authentication, cross device events, metrics and application distribution across devices

The tagline of the webinos project is “Secure Web Operating System Application Delivery Environment”, indicating that security (and also privacy)  is a significant part of the project.

Some of the functionality already exists in proprietary implementations – for example Sky go – which allows Sky subscribers to watch Sky TV on their designated iPhone and iPad devices. Webinos aims to do this and LOT more for the web across platforms by creating truly distributed applications.

In practice, this means for web based applications, webinos will allow for the following:

  • Applications which make optimal use of the resources on the featured devices of TV, Automotive, Tablet, PC and Mobile
  • Applications which interoperate over diverse device types
  • Applications which can make use of services on other devices owned by the same person
  • Applications which can make use of services on devices owned by other people
  • Discovery mechanisms to find services, devices and people, on multiple interconnect technologies – even when they are not connected to the internet
  • Efficient communication mechanisms, that can pass messages over different physical bearers, can navigate firewalls, and make sensible use of scarce network resources
  • Promiscuous communication mechanisms, that will find the best physical connection to pass messages over (not just IP)
  • Strongly authenticated, communication mechanisms that work bi directionally – we know we really are talking to the remote service, device we thought we were – tackling head on the spoofing and phishing weaknesses of the web
  • And finally, implementing distributed, user centric policy:
    • allowing the user to define what applications work on what devices,
    • to define what information is exposed to other services
    • and ensuring these capabilities are interoperable and transferable – ensuring a user stays in control of their devices and their applications

To implement functionality, webinos architecture introduces three components: the webinos web runtime, the webinos personal zone hub(PZH) and the webinos personal zone proxy(PZP)

A webinos web runtime, is a special type of browser which is capable rendering the latest Javascript, HTML4/5 and CSS specifications. It is responsible for rendering the UI elements of the webinos application. A webinos WRT must be able to access the webinos root object from Javascript. Via this root object the third party developer will be able to access the webinos functionality. A webinos WRT differs from a normal browser or web runtime in that all extended Javascript functions as well as some normal browser behaviours (such as XHR) must be mediated by the webinos policy enforcement layer. The webinos web runtime is tightly coupled to the PZP and presents environmental properties and critical events to the PZP.

 

 

In webinos, the Personal Zone is a conceptual construct, that is implemented on a distributed basis from a single Personal Zone Hub (PZH) and multiple Personal Zone Proxy (PZP)s

The webinos personal zone hub PZH provides a a fixed entity to which all requests and messages can be sent to and routed on – a personal postbox as it were. The PZH is also the authoritative master copy of a number of critical data elements that are to synced between Personal Zone Proxy (PZP)s and Personal Zone Hub (PZH) – for example certificates.

The PZH enables functionality like the creation of a User authentication service,  secure session creation for transport of messages and synchronisation between the PZP and PZH. The PZH also stores the policy files.

The webinos personal zone proxy PZP  acts in place of the Personal Zone hub, when there is no internet access to the central server. The PZP fulfils most, if not all of the above functions described above, when there is no PZH access. In addition to the PZH proxy function, the PZP is responsible for all discovery using local hardware based bearers (bluetooth, zigbee , NFC etc). Unlike the PZH, the PZH does not issue certificates and identities.

For optimisation reasons PZPs are capable of talking directly PZP-PZP, without routing messages through the PZH

Thus, a webinos application has the folowing characteristics:

-  A webinos application runs “on device” (where that device could also be internet addressable i.e. a server).

-  A webinos application is packaged, as per packaging specifications, and executes within the WRT.

-  A webinos application has its access to security sensitive capabilities, mediated by the active policy.

-  A webinos application can expose some or all of its capability as a webinos service

-  An application developer is granted access to webinos capabilities via the webinos root JavaScript object.

An application developer programs and packages the application according to the webinos specification. They use the API to gain access to functionality. While much of the distributed capabilities of webinos are transparent to the developer, the developer is able to access functionality like discovery and service binding.

So, how will this all work for sensor based devices(zero screen) especially in a smart cities ecosystem?

This is the problem I am trying to address:

Consider some use cases: In all cases, we are essentially considering a group of managed devices under some secure, distributed, private and managed data scenario (for example – the data is owned by the customer)

a)  Consider a standard bluetooth heart rate monitor which could be worn by a customer. In this case, the data is stored on the mobile device and accessed by the customer. However, a variant of this use case is – the data could be transmitted to the physician. This is no different than wearing the more expensive heart rate monitors which doctors normally prescribe – except that the data in this case could be transmitted to the doctor in close to real time. In this case, the PZP would be on the mobile device and the PZH would be on the server or with the doctor. In this case, we could even conceive of a ‘managed third party service’ which is specialised in handling data from multiple customers on their behalf and which the doctor can access. Such a managed service would need the security framework which webinos provides but would be far cheaper than existing medical alternatives since it is based on inexpensive devices which can be hooked together

 

 b)  A second scenario could be based on an open energy monitor based device such as emonbase. It is based on the idea that customers own their own data and consequently could use that data to either negotiate or switch energy providers. Once again, you could have many devices within the home each running a PZP connected to a PZH which runs on a PC or a home gateway. The above principles apply for distributed and secure data management and also for a secure, third party managed service independent of the specific energy provider (in which case, the PZH is managed by the third party).
These are exploratory ideas and I am still thinking about them – hence they will evolve. Comments and feedback welcome

 

Apps for smart cities event


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am happy to announce the Apps for Smart Cities event to be held in Amsterdam in 2012 (end of march). Here is some background how this idea came out and I would welcome your comments/speaking proposals etc. Please email me at ajit.jaokar at futuretext.com

Background:

A couple of weeks ago, I gave the keynote at PICNIC in Amsterdam where I spoke on the topic of ‘What makes a city smart’. My view was, the closer a city behaves to the Internet, the ‘smarter’ it is. While this definition sounds very generic, it is relevant because the Internet is a platform and is thus an enabler of innovation. This innovation is created by the people.  So, in discussion with Appsterdam, we proposed the idea of ‘Apps for Smart cities’ – an event about grassroots innovation for Smart cities. Today, apps are a core component of the Mobile and also the Web ecosystem.  So, most people are familiar with apps – either as developers or as users. When we extend the idea to ‘apps for smart cities’, we get the concept of apps which incorporate both hardware and software.

So, what does a Smart City look like?

I am also on the advisory board of the World Smart Capital   program , which is modelled on the lines of the World design capital. The world smart capital has produced a Smart cities manifesto at PICNIC.

They define a Smart city as:

A city can be defined as smart when investments in human and social capital and traditional (ex transport) and modern(ex ICT) communications infrastructure fuel sustainable economic development and a high quality of life with a wise management of natural resources through participatory governance

 

This is a very comprehensive definition. It is beyond the traditional – IT led – emphasis on  sensors and embedded systems.

 

The concept of smart city seems to rotate around six areas:

- Smart mobility

-   Smart economy

-   Smart environment

-   Smart living

-   Smart people

-   Smart governance

 

Obviously, mobility plays an important role especially with mobile phones today which incorporate multiple sensors.  Finally smart cities lead to a change of participatory governance style and emphasis on new challenges like Privacy and Security for citizens.

 

So, the Apps for smart cities event will focus on creating apps for the above including hardware and software and also mobile devices.

Already, we have some interesting supporters like Pachube and we are pleased to have them aboard. We are also speaking through appsterdam with various other organizations as well. So, watch this space  :)

There is a deeper philosophy behind this:

-          The value of open hardware is in the empowerment of communities  which Chris Anderson has famously termed the next Industrial Revolution or ‘the long tail of things’.

-          The tools of factory production, from electronics assembly to 3-D printing, are now available to individuals, in batches as small as a single unit and “Hardware is becoming much more like software,” as MIT professor Eric von Hippel puts it.

-          As Chris Anderson says: We’ve seen this picture before: It’s what happens just before monolithic industries fragment in the face of countless small entrants, from the music industry to newspapers. Lower the barriers to entry and the crowd pours in. and Thus the new industrial organizational model. It’s built around small pieces, loosely joined. Companies are small, virtual, and informal.

These are the ideas we want to explore in the Apps for Smart Cities event.

We welcome your comments. Contact me on ajit.jaokar at futurtext.com. We are looking for speakers/ sponsors and ideas.

So, what are the toolkits on my radar? (Please free to suggest more)

Apart from arduino ofcourse + Cisco, IBM, Vodafone , here are some more ideas on my radar:


BUG
 http://www.buglabs.net/

is a modular, open source system for building devices. a US based open source hardware company, quite famous , recently it unveils a plan to corporate with Ford    

Funnel  http://gainer.cc/

Funnel is a toolkit to sketch your idea physically, and consists of software libraries and hardware. By using Funnel, the user can handle sensors and/or actuators with various programming languages such as ActionScript 3, Processing, and Ruby. In addition, the user can set filters to input or outputs ports: range division, filtering (e.g. LPF, HPF), scaling and oscillators. It is actually a  redesigned arduino platform

Gainer  http://gainer.cc/

Gainer is an environment for user interfaces and media installations. By using the Gainer environment, the user can handle sensors and/or actuators with a PC on various programming environments such as Flash, Max/MSP, Processing and so on.

Make controller   http://www.makingthings.com/resources/downloads/

The Make Controller 2.0 & Interface Board Kit includes the Make Controller Version 2.0 and the new Interface Board that makes adding sensors and motors easier than ever! Also available with the Application Board. The Make Controller is built around the AT91SAM7X256, and adds the essential components (like the crystal, voltage regulator, filter capacitors, etc.) required to run it, while bringing almost all the processor’s signal lines out to standard 0.1″ spaced sockets.

Wiring   http://wiring.org.co/

Wiring is an open source programming environment and electronics i/o board for exploring the electronic arts, tangible media, teaching and learning computer programming and prototyping with electronics. It illustrates the concept of programming with electronics and the physical realm of hardware control which are necessary to explore physical interaction design and tangible

Sun SPOTs   https://spots-hardware.dev.java.net/

Project Sun SPOT was created to encourage the development of new applications and devices. It is designed from the ground up to allow programmers who never before worked with embedded devices to think beyond the keyboard, mouse and screen and write programs that interact with each other, the environment and their users in completely new ways. A Java programmer can use standard Java development tools such as NetBeans to write code.

Pinguino    http://pinguino.cc/

Pinguino is an Arduino-like prototyping platform based on 8-bit or powerful 32-bit ©Microchip PIC Microcontrollers with built-in USB module (no FTDI chip).

Speaking at World smart capital – Amsterdam – What makes a city smart ..

Speaking at World smart capital – Amsterdam – What makes a city smart ..

Will post details of my talk here soon and slides

Book review – Internet of Things – Global Technological and Societal Trends Smart Environments and Spaces to Green


Book review: Internet of Things – Global Technological and Societal Trends Smart Environments and Spaces to Green ICT by Ovidiu Vermesan and Peter Friess

I have an interest in the Internet of things both from a business perspective but also from a PhD / research perspective. I have covered IOT before for ex How would the Internet of things look like if it were driven by NFC (vs RFID). Hence, I was interested in the book and the publishers kindly sent me a complimentary copy for review.

At around 95 euros, the book is clearly a reference book and I asked about the pricing / positioning of the book. The book is a collection of papers specifically written for the publication by various experts. In that sense, the papers are not available elsewhere (for example on Google Scholar) as I understand it. The editors, who are clearly well known in this space, have thus created a collection of papers on IOT with a specific perspective.

So, with that in mind, here are my comments

The book is a collection of papers each focussed on specific themes:

Chapters 1, 2 and 3 – focus on the IOT vision in Europe. IOT in Europe has a lot of visibility at the European commission and FP projects and EU documents are often complex and hard to read. Hence, these three chapters provide a good view of EU priorities, themes and research clusters

Chapter 4 is from Dr Alessandro Bassi of the iot-A project. This project is an ambitious attempt to create a reference architecture for IOT but the chapter itself is quite high level

Chapter 5 is from a good friend Rob van Kranenburg and as usual Rob takes a visionary, socio economic perspective of IOT and does a good job

Chapter 6 is from Prof Ken Sakamura who is one of the best known experts in this space. He provides a Japanese/ uiD perspective

Chapter 7 governs technologies, applications and governance in the Internet of things. This chapter covers technologies in detail but it is also written by Chinese authors. This makes it even more interesting for me since IOT has a lot of emphasis in China.

Chapter 8 discusses IOT from a perspective of mobile. This could be a whole book! But the chapter is very interesting albeit limited by the structure of one chapter.

Chapter 9. Opportunities and challenges for IOT technologies is a long chapter about technologies and future challenges like security, privacy etc. Again, this could be a whole book!

Chapter 10 is about IOT and network virtualization written by authors from ETRI in Korea, ETRI does some very cutting edge work so it is insightful

Chapter 11 is about interoperability, standardization and governance about IOT and chapter 12 is about Ipv6, IOT and M2M

My analysis:

This book is an excellent reference book and its core strength lies in providing a ‘on ramp’ for IOT and in multiple perspectives. IOT is complex and will develop differently in various geographies (for example China and EU). Each topic can be explored in detail but its nice to have a quick starting point for sectors(anyone who has seen IOT FP7 projects will agree that there is often too much documentation – rather than too little!)

Thus, there is a lot of value which the book brings

My only suggestion would be that perhaps that the editors could have provided greater editorial across the papers – ex their view on China, Japan etc. Since each of the authors are also well respected, readers get value from the specific chapters but maybe there could be more across the chapters.

Also, I could not find any emphasis on ‘Green ICT’ although the title suggests that. In any case, if you have a commercial/ research interest in this space, I would recommend it.

The publishers link is: River publishers – Internet of Things – Global Technological and Societal Trends Smart Environments and Spaces to Green ICT

How would the Internet of things look like if it were driven by NFC (vs RFID)

As NFC catches momentum in Europe and North America, I have been thinking of yet another gedankenexperiment :

How the industry would shape up if the Internet of things were driven by NFC?

To understand this, we have to break down the concepts.

Internet of things

Firstly, Internet of things is a concept driven largely by academia so far.

There are several partially overlapping definitions: (source Wikipedia)

Casagras:[5]: “A global network infrastructure, linking physical and virtual objects through the exploitation of data capture and communication capabilities. This infrastructure includes existing and evolving Internet and network developments. It will offer specific object-identification, sensor and connection capability as the basis for the development of independent cooperative services and applications. These will be characterised by a high degree of autonomous data capture, event transfer, network connectivity and interoperability

SAP:[6]: “A world where physical objects are seamlessly integrated into the information network, and where the physical objects can become active participants in business processes. Services are available to interact with these ‘smart objects’ over the Internet, query and change their state and any information associated with them, taking into account security and privacy issues.

ETP EPOSS:[7]:”The network formed by things/objects having identities, virtual personalities operating in smart spaces using intelligent interfaces to connect and communicate with the users, social and environmental contexts

CERP-IoT: [8]:”Internet of Things (IoT) is an integrated part of Future Internet and could be defined as a dynamic global network infrastructure with self configuring capabilities based on standard and interoperable communication protocols where physical and virtual ‘things’ have identities, physical attributes, and virtual personalities and use intelligent interfaces, and are seamlessly integrated into the information network. In the IoT, ‘things’ are expected to become active participants in business, information and social processes where they are enabled to interact and communicate among themselves and with the environment by exchanging data and information ‘sensed’ about the environment, while reacting autonomously to the ‘real/physical world’ events and influencing it by running processes that trigger actions and create services with or without direct human intervention. Interfaces in the form of services facilitate interactions with these ‘smart things’ over the Internet, query and change their state and any information associated with them, taking into account security and privacy issues.

Other:[9]:”The future Internet of Things links uniquely identifiable things to their virtual representations in the Internet containing or linking to additional information on their identity, status, location or any other business, social or privately relevant information at a financial or non-financial pay-off that exceeds the efforts of information provisioning and offers information access to non-predefined participants. The provided accurate and appropriate information may be accessed in the right quantity and condition, at the right time and place at the right price. The Internet of Things is not synonymous with ubiquitous / pervasive computing, the Internet Protocol (IP), communication technology, embedded devices, its applications, the Internet of People or the Intranet / Extranet of Things, yet it combines aspects and technologies of all of these approaches.

If we identify the common elements for IOT then:

1)      Objects should be uniquely identified

2)      They should be network enabled and hence objects can be queried and activated remotely

3)      Services enabled through such ‘smart objects’ will be co-operative

In addition, some other notes for IOT

1)     The original idea of the Auto-ID Center is based RFID-tags and unique identification through the Electronic Product Code. So, IOT is tied to the idea of RFID/Barcodes

2)     IOT is different from ambient intelligence / pervasive computing / ubiquitous computing which are ideas designed  such that machines modify their behaviour to fit into the environment instead of humans forcing humans to change their behaviour.

3)     There is an alternate view of IOT which is fulfilled by making objects web addressable and that means the object has an agent in the cloud and objects can communicate in the cloud without directly communicating with each other. Ipv6 has a role to play in this space ie if objects become internet addressable

4)     IOT systems will be event driven, complex (ie not deterministic)

5)     But the most important consideration for IOT is the scale: IOT aims for trillions of objects which will lead to billions of parallel and simultaneous interactions requiring massively parallel systems

The uptake of NFC

The original concept for IOT came from the RFID ecosystem. NFC could be seen to be a subset of IOT. NFC is compatible with RFID and the main difference is the range. Also, RFID started with supply chain, asset tracking etc and NFC with transportation. So far, RFID has not become ubiquitous as a technology. But NFC is on the verge of a major uptake in Europe and North America. NFC has applications in access control, access control, consumer electronics, healthcare, information exchange, coupons, payments and transportation.  Thus at an application level, NFC and RFID are comparable.

The uptake of NFC in EU and North America is driven by various factors:

a)     Three different constituencies are driving NFC  - credit cards(visa), telecoms(SIM), Web(Google wallet, paypal)

b)    NFC will show an initial uptake through interactions(informational type requests) and a portion of these could be transactions

Analysis for IOT

As we have seen before, the various definitions of IOT have some common elements. But let us imagine what IOT would look like if NFC were the driving technology

The key requirement to fullfill the true potential of IOT is the scale. Now, if NFC takes off then most of the requirements for IOT could be fulfilled except the scale of interactions. This means, the more emergent/ complex services for IOT may not emerge (at least initially) with NFC but still NFC will be useful.

In addition:

a)     If mobile devices will take up NFC, then we are likely to see more A2P (application to person – ex payment) rather than person to person services. This is good because it provides an initial use case and then as more devices and objects become NFC enabled, more complex use cases will emerge leading to network effects

b)    Hence, the larger scale vision of IOT will not be realised unless you achieve  large scale standardization and interoperability. In the West, I do not see governments attempting this level of standardization. Which makes NFC very significant because much of the promise of IOT will be achieved through NFC but without the scale

c)     Japan, South Korea,Singapore and ofcourse China could achieve standardization in their respective countries. That could achieve scale / IOT vision within their local geographies

d)      China is different since it is a large scale market in addition to a creator of technology. So, internally within China, a lot could be achieved which will add value especially considering the emphasis in China based on the Chinese premier Wen Jiabo’s vision that: Internet + Internet of Things = Wisdom of the Earth.

e)      Can China influence standards? This is a more complex and perhaps a non technological question. But the observation I make it – the rate of uptake of NFC will mean that in the west a parallel ecosystem will develop based on NFC which will mean that influencing standards on a global basis may not be so relevant as a competitive advantage.

Conclusion :

I suspect that NFC will achieve much of the goals for IOT but not on scale but we may see scale in specific geographies where governments can influence standards and achieve interoperability. We saw the same with Korea and Japan for mobile ecosystems. Both achieved high mobile growth within their respective geographies but could not translate it into global uptake.

I also find the alternative view of IOT(that of making objects web addressable) interesting especially when tied to the Cloud

In any case, I love studying ecosystems and IOT will be very interesting ..

Connected Home Global Summit

Connected Home Global Summit is another interesting event which I am tracking.

Verizon Wireless, Comcast, Vodafone, BBC, Telecom Italia Cable and Wireless and Virgin Mobile are some of the 20 operators, broadcasters and content providers confirmed to speak at the 2nd annual Connected Home Global Summit, 24 – 26 May, London, UK

Focused on the technology choices and business models that will monetize the Connected Home, the event is co-located with the inaugural Connected Home Global Industry Awards which celebrates excellence and innovation in the bourgeoning marketplace.

From the agenda, I find these themes interesting

- A View of the Technological Roadmap and Services Enabled by a Broadband Connected Home
- DLNA – The Platform Enabling Seamless and Interoperable
- Environment for Sharing Multimedia In and Around the Connected Home
- Multi-room/multi-device Content: How operators can keep ownership of the connected home? (I smile :)
- Case Study: Delivering a 3 Screen Strategy
- Bouygues Telecom Case Study: Connected Home Services Delivered Through a Box
- Enabling Secure and Guaranteed Delivery to CE Devices in the Home
- Exploring Net Neutrality – The Equality of Internet Traffic
- Applications and Services – Monetising the Connected Home Eco-System
- Assessing how Content and Services will Drive the Connected Home
- Unpicking the Value Chain: Who Owns What, and Who Pays Who For It?
- The Connected Home as a Brokerage Platform for Broadband Operators – Ingredients and Recipes
- Understanding the Extent to which Usability is a Key Differentiator for Connected Home Services
- The Impact Content Delivery Networks will have on the Connected Home
- Orange Case Study: Social TV, Taking TV Beyond the Television Screen
- In Search of Seamless Connectivity & Content Sharing: Assessing the Use of Tablets as Universal Remote Controls of the Connected Home
- Tablet Mania – Which Devices will Drive the Connected Home?
- How can “There” be Made Part of “Here”? – Exploring the Trends and Opportunities around Open TV Platforms
- Getting the Best out of Combining Mobile and TV Applications
- Smart TVs: Opportunities for pay-TV operators
- From Single Connected Devices to a Central Point of Access and Control
- The Future Connected Home – Focus on the Users, and All Else Will Follow
- Future Technologies – What’s Next? Exploring the Future of Connected TVs, 3D and Beyond
- Applications and Services – Monetising the Connected Home Eco-System
- Opening the Home Gateway to the Outside World
- Content Everywhere – Value Added Services for the Connected Consumer
- Understanding the Extent to which Usability is a Key Differentiator for Connected Home Services

more at
Connected Home Global Summit

Does net neutrality apply to machine to machine communications?

Does net neutrality apply to machine to machine communications?

I am exploring this for a talk at LTE summit in Amsterdam next week

In a nutshell

Net neutrality = all packets are created (commercially) equal

It matters because networks are about communication and innovation shifts to the edge of the network

However, this innovation is driven by people(who are at the edge of the network)

So, in a M2M(vs a P2P scenario), there are no ‘people at the edge’ to innovate

Furthermore, network traffic is predictable

Machines don’t want to talk more than what they are designed to

When they do communicate, they often need network level QOS

So, does net neutrality apply to M2M networks?

thoughts?

Image source: Telecoms.com

Good news: Operators like Machine to Machine applications. Bad news: Operators like Machine to Machine applications ..

I believe that M2M (Machine to Machine) applications are an important part of the future of Telecoms. I spoke to a Telco exec who said that Operators are excited about M2M apps.

This was interesting for me .. Until I asked him for the reason why ..

He said something along these lines:

Machines consume less data. They don’t call the helpdesk. They pay their bills on time. Machines are ‘one to many’ connections (one person may have more than one connection). The end customer devices are simple (like Smart meters). This is all more revenue to Operators and less pain to manage it

But this is sad .. And in my view, very limited thinking ..

Should new applications and innovation be tied to limited date usage? If that’s the only criteria (as it appears to be), it will stifle innovation

I said before that: Now that the Data tsunami wars are over, the Operators will face more regulatory and customer pressure to deliver and there is no fallback(to the bandwidth hogs).

After all, spectrum is a national resource and the entire discussion of new services like Machine to Machine applications should not come down to limited data usage.

Connections to Operator are good but they are only the beginning and not an end in itself.

Thoughts?

Is Twittter the glue for the Internet of things?

This blog is the basis of my talk at the #140 characters event held at the same time as mobile world congress Barcelona(focussing on the Real time internet). It brings a few ideas together.

To me, it indicates the significance of Twitter especially as a platform. I have always been interested in platforms and the disruptive potential of platforms i.e. anything that can be a platform can gain vast competitive advantages over the competition.

So, Twitter is a platform since it is simple, it is free and hence agnostic and it allows unpredictable use. When combined with the Cloud, mobility and sensors twitter could take on a far more disruptive role in the future

Here is how ..

Suppose I enter the room and go ‘swish’ with my mobile device (like a wand)

What happens?

Nothing

What could happen?

Considering the device knows who I am, it should be able to feed this information via sensors and these sensors in turn should be able to activate services that act upon my ‘accelerometer driven’ movement of my mobile device.

What type of services?

Maybe just to say ‘hi’ to my friends on twitter who are in the room.

Now, on a network level – this is possible. Ex Bluetooth has always promised such services .. But not delivered! Other technologies also face the same problem – NFC, RFID etc all work in pockets but not pervasively

Network layer services globally are hard to deploy and take time (costs, device cycles, global interconnect, walled gardens etc etc).

The web is faster and could achieve the same thing

That’s where Twitter comes in

Devices don’t have to talk to each other. They have to communicate to an equivalent object in the Cloud which in turn invokes the ‘other’ object also in the cloud

The communication to and from the cloud is via a combination of sensors, twitter and mobile devices.

Thus, Twitter is the glue/missing link that binds the Internet of Things

What are the options?

Bluetooth has not taken off. SMS is expensive and is not a platform

Twitter could be the best choice for this vision

This is not science fiction.

Tower bridge, Toasters, Popcorn makers, Toilets, laundry, a cat(stockington), a duck, an R2D2 and a whole house have been made to tweet.

Smart grids also need a simple standard to hook up: for example you could capture all this intelligence and compare against existing standards (for carbon footprint for example)

So, for this to work – things must be capable of measurement (sensors), they must interconnecting (Twitter?) and they must be intelligent

Web 2.0 has taught us that people become creators of data. Web 3.0 could be that devices become creators of data (by answering the question – What are you doing now/ What’s happening).

Any ‘event’ can be recorded if it can be sensed – ex a mousetrap,

But ironically the ‘Internet of things’ may not be the best analogy

The Internet of things needs objects to be Internet identifiable. That is fine

But it also implies http protocol

Which may not be the best for devices since it is based on polling a server periodically

Alternatives may include some form of publish – subscribe model.

It could be based on Twitter

But it could also be XMPP

Wired has a great wiki on How to make your Gadgets twitter

You need

• A microcontroller

• Some software for sending tweets

• A network connection of some sort

• A sensor to detect a change in the appliance’s operating state

• A Twitter account for your gadget

The microcontroller is a CPU with some RAM on a small circuit board designed to perform simple dedicated tasks. In addition, the system needs an Ethernet cable jack or a Wi-fi card + software + sensor(s) all of which feeds into a twitter account

To conclude:

• A coming together of Twitter, sensors, Cloud and Mobile could be very disruptive

• Twitter could be the glue that binds the Internet of things. The Internet of Things itself could be a misnomer in this context since the device may be IP enabled but not connected via http(but rather a higher level service like Twitter or XMPP in a publish-subscribe mode)

microcontroller and sensor - twitter - wired.jpg

An Arduino microcontroller board, (left) and A 3-axis accelerometer, (right)

Source – wired

And a video of a house that twitters!

Update

Thanks for the comments and feedback on this talk

I know Twitter is ‘non standard’. And the twitter whale goes belly up more times than we like without managing device communications :)

Having said that ..

Tim o reilly had a post somewhere .. Which said .. Watch where people play ie watch what the hackers are doing to. Spot the next big breakthrough. I don’t see them creating intelligent toasters out of standards yet.

That’s why the trend is significant

Ultimately, standards may emerge but the trend itself is interesting