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 (http://www.open-electronics.org/web-thermostat-with-arduino/)
Alarm systems (http://www.abbotsfordsecurityalarms.ca/blog/?p=12)
Appliance controllers (http://customctrl.com/)
Sprinkler systems (http://opensprinkler.com)
Power meters (http://openenergymonitor.org/emon/)

And finally, hot tub controllers! (below)
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