The IP for Smart Objects Alliance (IPSO, www.ipso-alliance.org) annnouced on Feb. 3 that it has grown its membership by more than 50 percent since its formation by 25 founding companies in September 2008, adding Texas Instruments, Ericsson, Landis+Gyr/Cellnet and 10 other new members. The Alliance has also set an agenda of multi-vendor product interoperability tests for 2009, with the first test event scheduled for March.
The IPSO Alliance promotes the concept that Internet Protocol (IP) is the networking technology best suited for connecting sensor-equipped or “smart” objects and delivering information gathered by those objects. Smart
objects transmit information about their condition or environment (e.g., temperature, light, motion, health status) to locations where the information can be analyzed, correlated with other data and acted upon. They are used in automated homes and offices, factory automation, asset tracking, hospital patient monitoring, safety, industrial and other applications.
“Our first few months as an organization have yielded results exceeding our expectations,” said Geoff Mulligan, IPSO Alliance chairman. “The ‘Internet of Things’ and the IPSO Alliance were included in ‘Time Magazine's’ 50 ‘Best Inventions of 2008.’ We've seen strong cross-industry participation from semiconductor makers, software companies and systems integrators. Most significantly, more and more utilities and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are viewing embedded IP as the long-term solution—and proprietary approaches and ad-hoc alliances as merely an interim step. They are recognizing that only IP can support a wide variety of networking technologies with the needed scalability and interoperability that organizations require.”
To this end, the Alliance's plans call for up to three large-scale interoperability test events in 2009. The first event, slated for March 4, will test end-to-end IP- based interoperability across the Internet via the next- generation IPv6 protocol over local (wireless or wired) and wide-area communication media. The event will demonstrate open international standards-based sensor networking solutions that deliver the global scalability, security, performance and flexibility needed for future applications, the Alliance said. The test site will be located in the San Francisco Bay Area, but, because IP is used virtually everywhere, companies anywhere on the globe can participate in the test as if they were at the local site.
Test events are planned later in the year to include demonstrations of multi-vendor devices communicating within a sensor network using the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) IPv6 over Low power Wireless Personal Area Networks, or 6LoWPAN, standard. Each subsequent test will increase the scope of vendors and the diversity of media types (e.g., IEEE 802.15.4, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, WiMAX and more) interoperating.
Mulligan also noted that other standards, such as ISA100 for industrial wireless sensor networks, are using embedded IP and 6LoWPAN formatting, and that more than a dozen embedded IP stacks are now available for Atmel, TI, Freescale, Jennic and Hitachi microcontrollers, along with a number of open-source stacks, some less than 20 kilobytes in code size.
The new members who have joined the IPSO Alliance since September include Centria, ELIKO, Ericsson, Gainspan, Kitworks, Landis+Gyr/Cellnet, Lulea University of Technology, Mocana, National Instruments, Primex,
SmartSynch, Texas Instruments and TZ/Intevia.
Founding members are Arch Rock, Atmel, Cimetrics, Cisco, Duke Energy, Dust Networks, eka systems, EDF (Électricité de France) R&D, Emerson, Freescale, IP Infusion, Jennic, Kinney Consulting, Nivis, PicosNet, Proto6, ROAM, SAP, Sensinode, SICS, Silver Spring Networks, Sun Microsystems, University of Tampere, Watteco and Zensys.