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Why the Internet of Things finally makes sense

After a decade of hearing about "the Internet of things", where everything will have an IP address, I'm starting to finally believe it. What's changed? The Open Hardware movement, which is doing for connected devices what the Web did for information.

The old vision of the Internet of Things came to us from the likes of Cisco and Nokia, which were trying to promote end-to-end connected device standards (that used their gear, natch). Think of that as the 'Information Superhighway" era of the net, those days in the early 90s when the wired future was going to be brought to us by AT&T and Cablevision.

The new vision is more akin to the Web, which was brought to us by, well, us. The engineers agreed on some basic open standards -- HTTP, HTML, TCP/IP -- and we did all the rest, creating the Web with our own ideas, uses and creativity.

Today, the new Internet of Things model is based on simple open standards: Arduino, WiFi and Web APIs. The model is open innovation and community creation. And the devices are being created by regular people with their own needs, not big companies.

Look around your house. Everything that has a proprietary embedded processor in it is a candidate for being reinvented with Open Hardware. That's how the Internet of Things is going to finally become a reality.

Here are just a few examples:

Thermostats (
Alarm systems (
Appliance controllers (
Sprinkler systems (
Power meters (

And finally, hot tub controllers! (below)
[Ryan] and the roomies decided that a hot tub was just what they needed to spice up the place. They hit Craig's List and found one for the right price. After acquisition and setup they were pleased to...
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Andy Huntington has called the latest developments 'the GeoCities of Things' stage.

This space will really start moving once Arduino releases their planned official Wi-Fi shield that will carry the full TCP-IP stack.

Besides Arduino as the front-runner, there have also been a bunch of other Open Hardware projects popping up to help support the IoT that are worth mentioning:

Rascal Micro:

Interactive product development kits:

The site covers this topic well and at (insert self plug) we are trying to cover the Internet of Things topic in general.
and to think the Arduino team said that 'something'-duino is not creative. SPAduino! That is genius!
As a long-term embedded developer I applaud these things. I'm a more traditional C-development-platform person and haven't used an Arduino, but seeing announcements that the latest one uses the ARM is the right move for 1. substantially more computing horsepower than the AVR, and 2. just about EVERY microcontroller manufacturer makes some flavor of ARM, so even though it's a licensed product, it's the closest thing to an open-source microcontroller. If Atmel/AVR folds, others makers'' ARM chips can reasonably replace it without too much trouble.

And I may have mentioned this before somewhere, but hope I'm not repeating the obvious - Microchip made its PIC microcontroller popular (so much so that I've heard "PIC" used as a generic term for microcontroller!) over the decades by making and selling very inexpensive development systems to hobbyists, many of which became engineers and used PICs in high-volume commercial designs. TI is finally doing the same with the Launchpad board for the MSP430 series, getting people buying them who barely know what it is, but want to learn. Microcontrollers are becoming something even beyond ubiquitous. Not only are they hidden in more and more products, more and more people are learning how to use them, and IMHO that's a Good Thing.

I have one more related comment, though I should make a separate post out of it: I've got a wifi router, and my next-door neighbor has a wifi router - why do we need to go through our ISP's, and possibly "the backbone" to talk to each other? These things only need software to be able to be nodes that can pass traffic among one another, making an Internet that relies less on direct connection specific services and more on hardware that so many people already have. This "neighbornet" (my name for it) would bypass ISP's and even laws such as this SOPA bill that people are so worried about. A mesh of wifi nodes could cover substantial parts of a metropolitan area, even though the traffic through each node might be high. Higher power repeaters could be used to connect between different neighborhoods, filling the gaps between less close areas that wifi doesn't reach. That's what the Internet was originally designed for, to route around damage, and possible future laws such as SOPA are certainly considered damage by interested parties.
I like the arduino as a starting platform, but as an old hand I baulk at the price of some of the ready-made kits.
(I understand the development costs, but seriously, look up the price of a TinkerKit red led module.)

Lately I've been using re-flashed USBASPs for small projects, and they're cheap enough to give to the kids without worrying if they'll blow it up.
I aggree with +Chris Anderson on this. The internet of things is more an innovation in the business space then on the technology itself. The technology to interconnect all devices is there for 10-20 years. The price of connectivity was to high in the past, in particually the last "inches" (and not miles) as there we are still missing connect-and-operate (and not plug-and-play) accessability for sensors and devices. This can only be achived with a business ecosystem approach and an open source platform (similar to Eclipse).
I assume you've also looked at IBM's recent donation of +MQTT - MQ Telemetry Transport to the Eclipse Foundation - whilst web APIs absolutely are important here, for restricted devices, this protocol is incredibly effective (and it is also great for low-power and low-bandwidth mobile uses, e.g. Facebook Messenger). There's an Arduino client, too... :-)
After reading this article and after making some researches, I wrote an article [1] were I sum up the best solutions (opinionated) to build the Internet of Things. It includes #arduino #nanode #waspmote #netduino #openpicus and I compare prices and pros/cons.

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