Things of the Internet are power players too

Reported by Gail Purvis, European Editor, Power Systems Design



One of the more intriguing approaches to the increasing intertwine of IT and electronics is being undertaken by Finland's VTT Technical Research Centre which together with its Japanese partner, the University of Tokyo, is developing uID or a universal identification technology. Research Professor, Heikki Ailisto says this will enable the identification and tracking of individual products, components, and food items that will allow the information on origin, manufacture and history to be attached to the most commonplace items over their entire life cycle. A timber plank, for instance, can be tagged with information on which forest the timber was cut from, where it was sawn, how many times it has been painted, and with what paints." Ailisto says that the Internet of Things (IoT) is the third of identifiably big telecommunication waves. The phone connected 500 million places. The mobile phone connects 5 billion people. IoT will connect 50 billion devices, machines and objects. Objects do not require an actual data connection, but can be named and connected to background systems, with identifiers. Ubiquitous computing and the IoT will revolutionise technology and business and VTT has been developing its ubiquitous computing applications and basic technology in the OPENS (Open Smart Spaces) programme. The achievements to date include the implementation of interoperability platform Smart M3, which enables various appliances and objects in the home or office to converse, understand each other, and share information. US technology research consultancy, Gartner, has recently named its top 10 strategic technologies for organisations in 2013, ranking IoT the 5th slot. It is preceded by after the mobile device battles and the need to support a variety of form factors with Windows 8, Google' Android, and Apple iOS; more Web apps as HTML5 becomes capable with enterprises facing complex app stores models in turn delivering mobile apps through their own private application stores, and providing an apptrepreneurs support ecosystems. The PC (personal cloud) is becoming the location of choice for individual personal content and how consumers will connect with the numerous web of devices they choose to use during different aspects of their daily lives. And of course the Cloud is an essential element for IoT, which Gartner simply sees as enabling a wide range of new applications and services, while raising many new challenges. Mobile, points out Gartner, no longer refers only to cellular handsets or tablets but is being embedded among things, as in pharmaceutical containers and automobiles. Objects like smart meters, now communicate via NFC, Bluetooth, LE, and Wi-Fi to a wide range of devices and peripherals, such as wristwatch displays, healthcare sensors, smart posters, smart shirts and clothing, as well as home entertainment systems. The IoT is a power player and an enabler, offering a wide range of new applications and services, but in turn raising many new challenges. Power Systems Design