SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., September 16, 2008 - A group of leading technology vendors and users have formed the IP for Smart Objects (IPSO) Alliance, whose goal is promoting the Internet Protocol (IP) as the networking technology best suited for connecting sensor- and actuator-equipped or "smart" objects and delivering information gathered by those objects.
Smart objects are objects in the physical world that - typically with the help of embedded devices - 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. Applications range from automated and energy-efficient homes and office buildings, factory equipment maintenance and asset tracking to hospital patient monitoring and safety and compliance assurance.
Intended to complement the efforts of entities such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which develop and ratify technical standards in the Internet community, the IPSO Alliance will perform interoperability tests, document the use of new IP-based technologies, conduct marketing activities and serve as an information repository for users seeking to understand the role of IP in networks of physical objects. The alliance seeks to advocate how networks of objects of all types have the potential to be converged onto IP.
Founding members of the IPSO Alliance are Arch Rock, Atmel, Cimetrics, Cisco, Duke Energy, Dust Networks, EDF R&D, eka systems, Emerson, Freescale, IP Infusion, Jennic, Kinney Consulting, Nivis, PicosNet, Proto6, ROAM, SAP, Sensinode, SICS, Silver Spring Networks, Sun Microsystems, Tampere University, Watteco and Zensys.
Geoff Mulligan, industry consultant and IPSO Alliance chairman, said, "In recent years IP has emerged as the most efficient and scalable networking technology not just in the traditional IT realm but in scenarios with low power, restricted memory, rugged surroundings and tens of thousands of often unattended devices. Users are recognizing that the proven, ubiquitous IP standard is a much better alternative to using a patchwork of proprietary protocols that have no guarantee of scalability or interoperability, and require complex gateways that are difficult to deploy and manage. The aim of the Alliance is to provide the community with more information on smart objects and the industries and markets where they play an effective role. We will offer case studies and white papers, track IETF and other standards, and organize demonstrations and interoperability events."
"Unlike proprietary technologies, which typically are constrained to a single physical medium, IP allows users virtually limitless flexibility thanks to a layered architecture. It works on any physical layer from wired to Wi-Fi to low-power radio and more," said Jean-Philippe Vasseur, distinguished engineer at Cisco and chairman of the Alliance's Technical Advisory Board. "As a result, the IPSO Alliance isn't defined by a narrow focus on a single medium, but embraces a broad spectrum of options that address various user requirements."
"The IPSO Alliance is a significant step forward for organizations whose businesses depend on coherent extended network architectures to retrieve critical information from the edge of their enterprises, said Ted Russ, general manager for ROAM, a provider of streetlight-monitoring solutions and a division of Acuity Brands Technology Services. "The advocacy and expertise of the IPSO Alliance will allow ROAM to focus more on providing new products and services, and less on deciphering disparate and conflicting protocols."
IPSO Alliance membership is open to any organization advocating an IP-based approach to connecting smart objects. There are two levels of membership: Contributor members, who currently pay $2,500 per year, may use the Alliance's technical guidelines and case studies, participate in meetings and committees, demonstrate their products at meetings, trade shows and other Alliance events, and qualify their products and services in the interoperability program. Promoter members, who currently pay $5,000 per year, are also eligible to vote, serve on the Alliance's board of directors, and chair committees.