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Open Source The Internet Hardware

AllSeen Alliance Wants To Open-Source the 'Internet of Things' 86

Posted by timothy
from the what's-your-angle-college-boy? dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "The so-called "Internet of Things" has rapidly become a buzzword du jour, with everyone from tech-giant CEOs to analysts rhapsodizing about the benefits of connecting everyday objects and appliances to the Web. Despite all the hype, some significant obstacles remain to fulfilling that vision of a massively interconnected world. For starters, all the players involved need to agree on shared frameworks for building compatible software—something that seems well on its way with the just-announced AllSeen Alliance, which includes Sharp, Cisco, LG Electronics, Qualcomm, Panasonic, D-Link, and the Linux Foundation (among many others). In theory, the AllSeen Alliance's combined software and engineering resources will result in open-source systems capable of seamless communication with one another. The Alliance will base its initial framework on AllJoyn, an open-source framework first developed by Qualcomm and subsequently elaborated upon by other firms. Applications and services that support AllJoyn can communicate "regardless of manufacturer or operating system and without the need for Internet access," according to the Alliance, whose Website offers the initial codebase. "Open source is the ideal, neutral staging area for collaboration that can provide the interoperability layer needed to make the Internet of Everything a reality," read a Dec. 10 note on the Linux Foundation's official blog. "When everyone jointly develops and uses the same freely available code, companies can develop innovative services on top of it and get them to market faster." However, not all companies interested in exploring the Internet of Things have joined the AllSeen Alliance. For example, Intel isn't a partner, despite having recently created a new division, the Internet of Things Solutions Group, to explore how to best make devices and networks more connected and aware."
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AllSeen Alliance Wants To Open-Source the 'Internet of Things'

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  • Big Data (Score:1, Redundant)

    by Gothmolly (148874)

    Who wins with the Internet of Things? Corporations and Governments. If you're not a hobbyist, why do you need a *BSD-powered toaster?

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Who wins with the Internet of Things? Corporations and Governments. If you're not a hobbyist, why do you need a *BSD-powered toaster?

      The thing is, the "Internet of Things" has been toyed around with since the dot-com days. Everyone's been talking about wiring up appliances, toasters and all that.

      Heck, even the common scenario has been around for decades - you ask your computer what to make for dinner, and it talks to your fridge and other appliances to figure out what you have, then consults recipes that yo

      • by jabberw0k (62554)
        Back in 1993 there was Microsoft at Work [wikipedia.org], "a short-lived effort promoted by Microsoft to tie together common business machinery, like fax machines and photocopiers, with a common communications protocol allowing control and status information to be shared with computers running Microsoft Windows..."

        Bad idea then, ... bad idea now?

      • by icebike (68054)

        All well and good, but not realistic.
        People don't want this. No one wants their fridge to place orders just because that 20 pound turkey is almost gone.
        Lets get grocery delivery working before we have fridges ordering food for us.
        We would be more successful bar code scanning what cans and packages that we throw in the trash
        to create a shopping list, but even the supermarkets can't get bar code scanning fool proof yet.

        We need to concentrate on what is practical, not attempt to remake civilization.

        Manage pow

        • People don't want this. No one wants their fridge to place orders just because that 20 pound turkey is almost gone.

          some pretty large silicon companies want this, though. they call it "M2M" (machine to machine). search on it and you may find its going to be a Big Thing(tm) soon. whether we, the people, want it or not does not matter. silicon companies see this as a new high volume way to sell hardware and support and 'service' leverage.

          • by icebike (68054)

            It makes perfect sense in industry. Plant automation is a huge field.

            To date, this has all been done with limit switches, really simple devices that sense moving parts along conveyors.
            Break one of the limit switches and the whole place comes crashing down.
            M2M would make a lot of sense in this regard, but its not clear that your average home would benefit all that much,
            nor the average home owner.

      • by mspohr (589790)

        Years ago I found this cartoon which is surprisingly au courant:
        http://zapmed.com/Downloads/TOAST.jpg [zapmed.com]

    • Re:Big Data (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @01:04PM (#45651745) Homepage

      Who wins with the Internet of Things? Corporations and Governments. If you're not a hobbyist, why do you need a *BSD-powered toaster?

      Not the consumer.

      See, once these things have a digital component, your toaster isn't technically "yours", but is covered under a 'licensing agreement' which says the data about how you use your toaster is theirs, and removing/disabling this is illegal.

      I don't see any benefit for the consumer, and I see a lot of downsides.

      When the DMCA applies to your toaster and the like, you don't own anything and your information becomes the property of someone else. It's just more scope creep of corporations more or less asserting control and ownership of the things we buy for their own ends, and giving us zero in return.

      And then you quickly find there are no devices which don't have this shit in it, and it's a criminal offense to remove it since that would be violating the 'rights' of the companies who sold it to you.

      Behold, the dystopian future is upon us. The corporations have all the power, cut our jobs, and leave us beholden to them.

      • by skids (119237)

        That's why I predict that the Open Source protocol will be a bit player in a market dominated by an inferior protocol that does require internet access (it will be called "cloud access" soon enough), is completely insecure, and the developers of which are more interested in data harvesting than making it work better. Because sticker prices will be lower due to offsets from revenue from advertising/market intelligence, and consumers are stupid.

        It seems to be the way of the world.

        • That's why I predict that the Open Source protocol will be a bit player in a market dominated by an inferior protocol that does require internet access (it will be called "cloud access" soon enough), is completely insecure, and the developers of which are more interested in data harvesting than making it work better.

          This brings up the point I was going to cover: security. Without robust encryption, even if consumers did want this (they don't, at least today), if these devices and protocols did not have robust encryption built in, it would soon become "the internet of other peoples' things."

          There is a lot of potential for societal disaster here. Let's definitely not forget that.

    • If you're not a hobbyist, why do you need a *BSD-powered toaster?

      Perhaps not a toaster, but smart washing machines and dishwashers would be spiffy. An AC and heating as well. How else are you going to take advantage of the spikes in renewable electricity production?

    • by zlives (2009072)

      i would think Sauron mostly

    • Re:Big Data (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @01:59PM (#45652513)

      I can't believe I'm reading stuff like this from people on Slashdot of all places.

      Why can't my washing machine/dryer/microwave send my cellphone an alert when it's done and I'm in another room?

      Why can't I turn on the lights at home from the grocery store so I don't have to carry my groceries in while it's dark?

      Why can't I turn on the jacuzzi during a rough day at work so it's ready when I get home?

      Why can't my DVD player turn off my lights and close my blinds when it's time to watch a movie and then turn the lights back on when I pause it to get a drink?

      Why can't my refrigerator detect what's in it and suggest recipes and tell me what's expired?

      Why can't I check to see if I forgot to turn the stove off after I left the house?

      Why can't my sprinklers check the weather forcast and put off watering if it's supposed to rain?

      Why can't my blinds and windows automatically open and close to regulate the temperature in the house?

      There's no reason all of this couldn't be done. TFA describes something I've always thought was needed. If anyone was able to write software to communicate between the things in your house (and the price of automation went down), I think that the popularity of communications-enabled appliances would soar as developers opened up all of these possibilities and more.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        Of course Slashdot is going to have a lot of naysayers. We're the people that actually understand this stuff. We may have even tried to implement this stuff already.

        Or as someone else put it:

        > Wow, what could possibly go wrong with that? Devices which will communicate whether you want them to or not, and with all of that information in the hands of greedy assholes.

        We just had the scandal break about LG smart TVs. Now I want to neuter mine and have a lot less interest in my other appliances being able to

        • If it's open source, you can examine the packets being sent by the device yourself. You're free to put the devices behind a firewall to prevent anything you don't want from getting in or out. TFA also mentions that the devices should be able to communicate with each other completely without the internet so you can just cut them off completely, if you want.

          • by Gryle (933382)
            While we're all free to do so, not everyone has the capability to do so. Yes, there are tutorials freely available on the web, but, frankly, not everyone is computer-savy enough or intelligent enough to grasp them. Asking someone else to do it kind of defeats the point of examining it yourself. I imagine it would also be an enormous pain in the ass to examine the washing machine, dryer, microwave, light fixtures, jacuzzi, DVD player, window fixtures, refrigerator, stove, sprinklers, and thermostat each time
            • By the sound of your message, I'm guessing you examine every open source operating system, encryption method, web browser, word processor, music player, image manipulator, etc etc that you use on your computer. Most people don't. However, there are tons of professional security researchers, professors, college students, and hobbyists that can and do. If you're sending messages using an open source protocol, you can't hide it. Someone will notice.

              With an open source protocol, it becomes simple to create (and

        • The devices are a part of a network like any other. Put them behind a default-deny firewall, strong password accessible only through some random high-numbered port. With an open protocol, it would be trivial to tie all of it together. Hackers stand to earn exactly $0 by playing with your light switches so all you're going to attract are trollish script-kiddies and they're not that hard to defend against.

          • by Xaedalus (1192463)
            What you said is gibberish to most of America, and that's the problem. YOU would be able to construct an adequate defense against scriptkiddies, but for the majority of America, a packaged security platform sold by the likes of Kaspersky or McAfee is going to be necessary. And that's even assuming people install, use, and update those packages appropriately. You're failing to account for the power of human stupidity.
            • A packaged security platform? An OS or email virus scanner has to check an arbitrary file and determine if the intent of that file is to harm you or if it's a legitimate tool you want installed. It's WAY more complicated than what this requires. With an open source protocol, we're talking about well-defined packets flowing from one device to another. A packet gets sent to your thermostat that says "Hey you! Turn on!". Don't want that to happen? Filter those messages. A reliable and open source firewall cou

      • I can't believe I'm reading stuff like this from people on Slashdot of all places.

        Why can't my washing machine/dryer/microwave send my cellphone an alert when it's done and I'm in another room?

        Why can't I turn on the lights at home from the grocery store so I don't have to carry my groceries in while it's dark?

        Why can't I turn on the jacuzzi during a rough day at work so it's ready when I get home?

        ... etc.

        Why can't hackers turn my microwave/dryer/jacuzzi heater on when I'm not home and burn up the heating elements (and possibly my house)?
        Why can't they open the blinds and windows while I am in my undergarments?
        Why can't they set my fridge to 70 degrees and spoil all my food (then set it back down to normal before I get home, so I won't know until I eat the food) ?
        Why can't they turn the sprinklers on and flood my backyard?
        Why can't they make my lights randomly flash on and off at 2AM to annoy me (wh

        • Because they're firewall protected inside a LAN? Everything you described will earn the hacker exactly $0. A determined attacker stands to gain nothing from cracking your security and playing with your light switches. At best, you'll have to defend against bored script kiddies and that's not that hard.

      • Why can't my washing machine/dryer/microwave send my cellphone an alert when it's done and I'm in another room?

        https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.samsung.washer&hl=en [google.com]

        Why can't I turn on the lights at home from the grocery store so I don't have to carry my groceries in while it's dark?

        http://www.smarthome.com/android_apps.html [smarthome.com]

        Why can't I turn on the jacuzzi during a rough day at work so it's ready when I get home?

        http://www.balboawatergroup.com/iphone-Application [balboawatergroup.com]

        Why can't my DVD player turn off my lights and close my blinds when it's time to watch a movie and then turn the lights back on when I pause it to get a drink?

        DVD player? What decade are you living in?
        http://wiki.team-mediaportal.com/1_MEDIAPORTAL_1/15_Customization/Home_Automation [team-mediaportal.com]

        Why can't my refrigerator detect what's in it and suggest recipes and tell me what's expired?

        http://www.nbcnews.com/id/50364798/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/ [nbcnews.com]

        Why can't I check to see if I forgot to turn the stove off after I left the house?

        http://www.theverge.com/2012/2/22/2816405/samsung-smart-oven-android-app-control [theverge.com]

        Why can't my sprinklers check the weather forcast and put off watering if it's supposed to rain?

        http://gigaom.com/2013/10/10/smart-lawn-sprinklers-cu [gigaom.com]

    • What I really need is a droid that understands the binary language of moisture vaporators.
    • by unixisc (2429386)

      Not a toaster, but I can think of many things at home. Like my home security system - it would be nice to be able to control it from my cellphone. Or, have it on my garage, so that if after driving a few miles, my wife reaches home and needs it opened since she's misplaced the key, I can remotely open it. Or remotely access my home TV to set it up to TiVo something I forgot to set to record.

      Get IPv6 @ home, assign a bunch of routable addresses to everything, and then access it from your cellphone.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @12:39PM (#45651423) Homepage

    Applications and services that support AllJoyn can communicate "regardless of manufacturer or operating system and without the need for Internet access,"

    Wow, what could possibly go wrong with that? Devices which will communicate whether you want them to or not, and with all of that information in the hands of greedy assholes.

    This internet of things is a bloody stupid idea to me, and I see precisely zero benefit in having it. Especially if it means everything now becomes a tool for the marketing bastards.

    This isn't enhancing our experience with these things, just making them tools for someone else to exploit.

    • This internet of things is a bloody stupid idea to me, and I see precisely zero benefit in having it.

      Oh please, think of all the free targeted advertising you could get, and once you consider the benefit of the NSA knowing exactly how much laundry detergent you use it's just unbelievably good.

    • This isn't enhancing our experience with these things, just making them tools for someone else to exploit.

      I can hear it already....

      What's that smell?
      The toaster has malware, go back to sleep we were almost out of bread anyway.
      I told you an internet toaster was stupid idea.
      Don't worry the fridge will remind you to pick up bread.
      I don't like the fridge either it keeps saying we are out of cheese because I didn't buy right brand.

    • by Rob Riggs (6418)

      Applications and services that support AllJoyn can communicate "regardless of manufacturer or operating system and without the need for Internet access,"

      Wow, what could possibly go wrong with that? Devices which will communicate whether you want them to or not, and with all of that information in the hands of greedy assholes.

      In order to use this light bulb, and before it can be turned on, you must first agree to this EULA...

      Candles anyone?

    • by mcswell (1102107)

      I think Arthur C Clark anticipated you.

      "I'm sorry, Dave, I can't do that."

      Along with communication satellites and

  • wow, talk about bad timing.
    I don't see how they can sell this in our post-Snowden world.
    Who wants some creepy NSA intern SEXINT'ing all over your pharmacy purchases?
    Much like "the cloud", the NSA's killed this idea deader than a doornail.

    So much for American innovation creating new industries to lead us out this great recession.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Alljoyn is not a cloud based system, and your data never is exposed more than you allow it to. Look at the design of Alljoyn. It's really just dbus extended outside of a single system - they even are compatible with the dbus API. It's backend transports include bluetooth and UDP, so it's no less (or more) secure than using your smartphone for anything else.

      • it's no less (or more) secure than using your smartphone for anything else.

        While your point is well made, I have to say that you chose a very unfortunate example for comparison.

  • Quite frankly, why would anyone? There are places where automation and real time data feeds make sense, like an ICU for example. I have to honestly ask myself, what would this bring me? Happiness? Peace of Mind? Not really. I'm already connected enough. I don't want my appliances, car, whatever... jacked in. I see no real benefit, but a lot of risk.

    When I upgraded my phone the decision not to get a smart phone was easy. What is the payoff? I give easier access to corporations and/or government easier ways

    • You an I are very much the same, here.

      I can't see myself wanting to turn the lights on and off, or adjust the temperature, or start the dish washer from the other side of the earth. Also, not only will there by the tracking etc., but if i can do these things from anywhere - so can some guy with the latest zero day exploit.

      I just don't see the value here and I see a lot of reasons why it is a BAD thing.

      • I can adjust my house temperature when I am away. I love it. Turn it down while on vacation, even if I forgot to before I left, then an hour before getting home, turn it up so it is comfortable.

        Access control is another good one. Allow someone in your home if you are not there.

        There are useful implementations.
        • by mattie_p (2512046)

          Access control is another good one. Allow someone in your home if you are not there.

          We have that now. They are called robbers. Usually not that great a thing when it happens.

  • "The so-called "Internet of Things" has rapidly become a buzzword du jour, with everyone from tech-giant CEOs to analysts rhapsodizing about the benefits of connecting everyday objects and appliances to the Web.

    Putting stuff on the internet besides computers is a popular idea today among people selling things you can put on the internet. They say those things will be good for you.

    "The internet of things" is such a fucking stupid phrase, but what's worse is that people seem to be talking more about the idea in vague terms. The summary doesn't list one single actual thing that will go on the internet. Are we talking tracking chips for people's kids? Coffee makers that you can turn on remotely so that you don'

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      1. Say you will put more things on the internet
      2.???
      3.???
      4. PROFIT!!!!

      1. Say you will put more things on the internet
      2. Collect information about everything everybody does and lock them in with EULAs
      3. Analyze and sell, and enjoy that you've convinced people to 'buy' things they don't technically 'own'. Share with law enforcement as needed.
      4. PROFIT!!!!

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @01:05PM (#45651751)

    The so-called "Internet of Things" has rapidly become a buzzword du jour

    The "internet of things" was one of the old buzzwords of Sun Microsystems (R.I.P.), along with "the network is the computer" and "write once, run everywhere".

  • FTFA: 'communicate "regardless of manufacturer or operating system and without the need for Internet access,"'

    can anyone explain how AllJoyn differs from the TCP/IP stack?

    • by Oo.et.oO (6530)

      found more on the allSeen website:
      https://allseenalliance.org/allseen/framework [allseenalliance.org]

      "can communicate over various transport layers, such as Wi-Fi, power line or Ethernet"
      "enable fundamental activities such as discovery of adjacent devices, pairing, message routing and security"
      "onboarding to join the user’s network of connected devices; user notifications; a common control panel for creating rich user experiences; and audio streaming for simultaneous playback on multiple speakers."

  • Most homes today don't come with "smart" appliances unless someone specifically requests them during the building phase. That means if you want to have sensors and wifi in all your appliances, you'll have to install and replace them one by one. I might do that if a specific appliance breaks, but I'm not going to do it wholesale as long as any given appliance is still working.
  • by tomhath (637240) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @01:16PM (#45651903)
    One of the earliest devices connected to the internet (actually ARPANET in those days) was a coke machine in the Carnegie Mellon University Comp Sci department. [cmu.edu]It's still online today [cmu.edu]
  • by DeeEff (2370332) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @01:53PM (#45652435)

    It's already open source, and a draft implementation is available on github. (https://github.com/OGC-IoT/ogc-iot-api)

    Arguments against the Internet of Things seem to be based on the idea that you'll lose privacy and only big money / governments will reap the rewards from your privacy loss. However, if you look at it from a different perspective, that is, not implementing the Internet of things as household items but as automated sensors for safety and analytics in the workplace, then many of the complaints no longer exist. I think the Internet of things as a buzzword has been stretched top far, but I don't outright oppose adding sensing capabilities and easier information exchange to some machines and devices.

  • Seriously, this is 2013 already, how much longer do we have to wait for our ISPs and biggest websites to make the switch?

    • Seriously, this is 2013 already, how much longer do we have to wait for our ISPs and biggest websites to make the switch?

      About five years. Most of the network gear deployed today does not handle IPv6 in ASICs, just CPU, which is too intense. Almost all of the Internet needs to be replaced.

    • by jdogalt (961241)

      The reason that in 2013 IPv6 isn't the simple answer is IMHO conspiracy. This new alliance reeks of "don't look over there at just obviously using the 'internet protocol' as designed and intended and independent of our existing transnational corporate influence. Instead, use this shit we 'invent', and in a few years, the ISPs will be filtering everything else because they consider it 'reasonable network management', and they are fellow establishment players like us.". This is just an extra taxation of th

  • And reporting you to the NSA!

  • The first one of this 'alliance' to gain significant market share will start tinkering with the standards and taking those changes private to try and lock their customers in.
  • aka how to remotely exploit everything that was never previously exploitable — and how your toaster now spies on you.

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