So, you heard about IoT. You got your Apple Watch and your Intel Edison and you're putting Doom on everything and your refrigerator is sending all kinds of emails. All you have left to do is check all the entries on your IoT shopping list and get your home fully automated, bring your life into the future. Before you worry about the technological singularity, though, you may want to consider something more immediately threatening: your rapidly emptying bank account. According to Terence Eden's recent look at the price of Things, a truly automated home is a bigger economic undertaking than it might seem to be at first glance. First, he points to sensors for his windows: After a traipse through my family home, I discover that I have 20 separate external doors and windows. I don't live in a mansion - but all my windows are split into two different sections. So, if I want my windows to become part of "The Internet of Things" I'm going to be shelling out £600. That's quite a lot of money. And that's only for a passive system. And, as Eden points out, that's just to let you know whether the window is open or not. It doesn't lock or unlock your window. It doesn't close or open your window. That's £600 - $980.30 USD according to my extensive research - just to keep you from worrying about your carpet when it starts raining. But it gets worse from there. Eden also looks at more branded scenarios, such as decking out your IoT house with some better lighting: Suppose I want some smart lightbulbs? The highly desirable Philips Hue Personal Wireless Light Bulbs are FIFTY QUID EACH . . . If I were to deck my place out completely in Philips Hue bulbs, I wouldn't have much change left from £1,250. And those are just a few of the items that the home of the future would likely include. Eden briefly looks at iBeacons and NFC tags, for example, and his conclusion is the same: IoT is expensive. Certainly these prices will drop over time, and it's definitely not an all-or-nothing game when it comes to these devices, but either way, Eden presents an interesting look at a less-often-explored aspect of the Internet of Things. There are a lot of exciting things happening right now, but to what degree will we actually have access to them?
If you're interested in getting involved with IoT - maybe you're one of those Java developers who just got a fun set of tools - it looks like the next few years are going to be a good time to do it, because according to Business Insider's BI Intelligence report, the Internet of Things is growing. A lot. Specifically, the report is measuring the growth of internet-connected "everyday" and "enterprise" devices, which I assume refers to any internet-connected device that one would not traditionally expect to have an internet connection. In other words, your refrigerator, or your toaster, or your dog. According to Business Insider, there are approximately 1.9 billion of these devices today, and by 2018, there will be about 9 billion. Again, that's not including smartphones, wearables, traditional computers, and other things you expect to be internet connected - in fact, that 9 billion figure is greater than the predicted numbers of all those other devices put together. That's a lot of things, and it makes sense, given what we've already heard about all the IoT money and IoT jobs. Business Insider also points to a few potential sources of this influx of IoT devices: connected billboards, for example, and flexible electricity grids that compensate and adjust for various energy usage scenarios. In short, IoT is already here, and it's going to get a lot bigger. Soon, this will be your life: pic.twitter.com/0fmnhs7BvG — Omer Shapira (@omershapira) September 26, 2014 Or, you know, something along those lines. Check out Business Insider's full article - a preview for their BI Intelligence report, which requires a sign-up - for all the details.
A lot of people are getting interested in IoT - there's big money coming, apparently, and just about everybody is going to get hired - but it's not always the easiest thing to get started with. That's where the Eclipse Foundation's announcement from JavaOne comes in: the Internet of Things is now quite a bit more Java-friendly. (via iot.eclipse.org) This isn't a single standard to tie everything together - that's unlikely. Instead it's a stack to support three of the major IoT standards: MQTT, CoAP, and Lightweight M2M standards. Steven Lawson at IDG News Service describes the release as follows: The stack includes implementations of three standards, coming from different projects within Eclipse: Paho, already being used by IBM, is a Java implementation of the client for MQTT, a widely used machine-to-machine connectivity protocol, and Moquette is a Java-based MQTT broker. The Californium project implements CoAP (Constrained Application Protocol), a Web transfer protocol from the Internet Engineering Task Force. Another project, Leshan, brings a Java implementation of Lightweight M2M, an Open Mobile Alliance interface between IoT clients and servers. And given the prevalence and popularity of Java, the Open Stack for IoT should bring a lot more developers to IoT. If you're interested in first steps as far as Java and IoT go, the Eclipse Foundation's Ian Skerrett has already written up a few suggestions. Or, if you just want to dive in and see what it's all about, check out iot.eclipse.org and see if you can start automating your home, or whatever else you might want to do. In Java, though.
Security in the Internet of Things is a fairly common concern these days - you know, Heartbleed, toasters, that kind of thing - but you may not even have considered the greatest threat to your connected devices: classic 1990s first person shooters. That's the scenario presented in this recent experiment from Context Information Security. By taking advantage of a web interface that require no user authentication, the Context team managed to get Doom up and running on a Canon Pixma printer. Obviously Doom is not the point in itself, so much as an illustration of the vulnerability, but it definitely gets the idea across. According to Michael Jordon at Context, the vulnerability was fairly serious: At first glance the functionality seems to be relatively benign, you could print out hundreds of test pages and use up all the ink and paper, so what? The issue is with the firmware update process. While you can trigger a firmware update you can also change the web proxy settings and the DNS server. If you can change these then you can redirect where the printer goes to check for a new firmware. So what protection does Canon use to prevent a malicious person from providing a malicious firmware? In a nutshell - nothing... Jordon's post goes into detail on how the encryption was broken. Canon was contacted and informed of the problem, and responded that it would be fixed, but Jordon warns that it's not a unique scenario. While this particular technique is not currently a common concern, it demonstrates the reality of security concerns when it comes to IoT devices. Once everything is connected, how many devices will be vulnerable? How confident can we be that the creators of these devices will be cognizant of these issues? As a potential catch-all solution, Context offers a strange bit of advice: Context recommends that you do not put your wireless printers on the Internet, or any other ‘Internet of Things’ device. So, there you go - one way to be sure. The Internet of Things can't help but be secure if you get rid of that whole "Internet" part.
if you've been looking forward to intel's edison development platform since it was announced, your time has come. at the idf 2014 keynote a few days ago, edison was released. intel has brought us iot. it's a slick little package. you can't read about it anywhere without hearing about how small it is - it's the size of a postage stamp, you see. it's small! (via anandtech ) if it's the specs you're looking for, intel can help . edison includes: ...a 22-nm intel® atom™ soc, formerly silvermont that includes a dual core, dual threaded cpu at 500 mhz and a 32-bit intel® quark™ processor mcu at 100 mhz... [and] 40 gpios and includes: 1 gb lpddr3, 4 gb emmc, and dual-band wifi and bluetooth® low energy... and it supports: ...development with arduino* and c/c++, followed by node.js, python, rtos, and visual programming support in the near future. it'll be retailing for $50. that's a pretty manageable hit to take in your iot budget - after all, it's just 1/7th the price of that shiny new apple watch .