back to article WAIT! What's that sound? It's Intel stomping into the 'Internet of Things'

Intel has set up an entire business unit to make sure that it doesn't miss out on the the whole "internet of things" movement. The chipmaker wants to make sure that it's not behind the curve on efforts to create a vast army of network-connected gadgets and sensors – ideally everything from remote-controllable toasters to your …

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  1. Flawless101

    Stop.

    "Internet of Things", why is this a phrase and why is the idea of it actually needed. I've never been at work and thought "shit, if only I could check my fridge or microwave", maybe if I was a project manager I would but I am not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stop.

      I've often been leaving work and thought "I wish I could turn the heating on now, then it'd be lovelly and warm when I got home."

      1. Big_Ted

        @ Richard Bolingbroke

        Then set the timer before going to work........

        Go on embrase your inner technophobe for once......

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stop.

        especially after the 3 hour delay on the Victoria line

    2. Big_Ted
      WTF?

      Re: Stop......+1

      We have had chips in things like tv's cars, washing machines etc for years. They all work very nicely thankyou, What is the point of my vacuum cleaner being able to talk to my fridge ?

      They have been trying to do the fridge ordering stuff as you use it for ages as well. Look how popular that is.

      "Internet of things" is another thing like ultrabooks, an idea to sale lots of stuff desperately looking for a market. Its up there with the creepy idea of an iphone knowing your heading home and switching on the lights.

      I want it as much as an arm based surface tablet as my only device larger than a phone......

      1. firefly

        Re: Stop......+1

        I'd also like to know what exactly Intel are bringing to the table here. How is having an Intel chip in my washing machine going to offer so much more functionality than an ARM chip that costs 50p?

        1. Suricou Raven

          Re: Stop......+1

          ARM chips are overkill for a washing machine. That's more a job for something like a PIC.

          1. ian 22
            Black Helicopters

            Re: Stop......+1

            However a PIC is not adequate for the washing machine's HD bit mapped display, is it. Not to mentioned the 1000Mb HTTPS server (wouldn't want your tightie whiteies hacked, would you), and the client used by your electric company to control your power demand...

            Thinking about it, I'm certain corporations the world over would love to reach a tentacle into every device in your home. To measure your usage by time of day, to control your usage, to display any messages they might find desirable. And then there are our friends NSA, GCHQ, etc.

            Given the Internet of things, what need of black helicopters? God,where are my meds?

          2. Chris Evans

            Re: Stop......+1

            Ironic given that Intel's first CPU the 4004 is regularly reported as being a washing machine controller!

            4004 begat the 8008 which begat the 8086....

            I do agree that a PIC would normally suffice, though being able to monitor it could be useful:

            Fault finding.

            Control to use off peak electricity etc

            Logging usage (various uses)

            I'm sure there must be more

    3. KitD

      Re: Stop.

      I realise going against the Reg hivemind is risky, but there's a whole world outside the home & kitchen.

      Where I used to live, we had new streetlights installed that could be dimmed remotely and report back to base if it failed. That's what's really meant by the Internet of Things, not fridges and toasters which have constant human proximity.

      Oil pipelines that actually tell their operators when they start leaking, river sluices that notify of changes in water levels, traffic lights that tell the road authorities when they have stopped working, animal feed troughs that need refilling. It's all the remote stuff that nobody can police 24/7. Management by exception, etc, etc needs the "Things" to be "Internetted".

      HTH.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        @KitD

        I see no issue with that kind of "Things" in the Internet of Things. On the contrary, I understand perfectly well that oversight of basic public/industrial infrastructure is an ongoing issue, and making it easier is a very welcome goal.

        But that is not how this Internet of Things is being marketed. We are not being told about monitoring streetlights, we're being told about how wonderful it will be to have a skiddie shut our fridge down without our knowing about it.

        And most of us just do not accept that that is a useful development for us, individually.

        As far as I am concerned, making public or industrial infrastructure report to its control center may be a good idea, but even in that case, I can't help thinking that we're getting that much closer to living in an Eagle Eye world, or worse, a Die Harder one. I don't like that perspective any better, but to avoid that means implementing security measures including encryption, and that means much more processing power and energy consumption for a lowly streetlamp than might be economically feasible.

        So, one way or the other, I still don't see this happening. Not unless those streetlamps/streetlights/whatever are on a closed network, isolated from the WWW. And that seems unlikely, given the costs and the historical record of public authorities not giving a hoot about security until the horse had bolted and the barn had been burned to the ground.

      2. firefly

        @KitD

        What you're describing is telemetry, which is already in place for most of the things you describe and has been around for decades.

    4. M. B.

      Re: Stop.

      "Internet of Things", why is this a phrase

      > Cisco came up with it to describe an everything-connected world, blame their marketing team

      and why is the idea of it actually needed

      > Internet-connected "things" means more ports sold, which is pretty important to a networking company

      I've never been at work and thought "shit, if only I could check my fridge or microwave", maybe if I was a project manager I would but I am not.

      > Nor have I, and I particularly hate it when someone buys a home surveillance camera which takes pictures based on movement and then emails them to peoples work addresses. Not everything needs to be Internet-connected or accessible 24/7 (but my boss loves changing the channel on his wife from his desk).

  2. John 172

    Not more appliances that need boot up time!

    Does that mean I'm going to need to wait a few minutes for my toaster to boot before I can make any toast?

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Not more appliances that need boot up time!

      Fridges will crash with the blue screen of yoghurt.

      Actually, getting a text that you've left the door (either...) open would be useful.

      (Unless you're on the way to the airport.)

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: wait a few minutes for my toaster to boot

      If it's a Sony toaster you'll not only have to wait for it boot, but you'll also have to wait for the latest Java update to download and your toaster to reboot before you can hope for a piece of toast.

      And God help you if the screen uses Flash animations . . .

  3. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

    Re: why is the idea of it actually needed

    It is needed in order to allow the grooming police to know that you need to be taken away for re-education because your nose hair trimmer hasn't been reporting back to base sufficiently frequently.

  4. Charles Manning

    Why? To sell you more iTat.

    IoT might actually make the iWatch useful. Though of course the function itself might not be.

    But Intel is never going to be a player in this market. 50c microcontrollers are already overkill and overpriced for stuffing into lightbulbs and toasters.

    The microcontroller does not live in isolation either. They need power supply circuitry etc. Many, if not most, 8-bit microcontrollers can live very happily on really shitty (and cheap) power supply circuits with a wide voltage range. I have an AVR here that will continue to work fine when powered with anywhere from 1.5V to 6V. That's headroom for a lot of ripple. 3 cents of components and you're done.

    Most 32-bit micros (including cheap ARMs) need 3V3 and, maybe, 1V8 supplies with less than 100mV or so of ripple. Atom are even more onerous, never mind the space needed.

    So why are Intel playing the whole IoT game? Well they have to be seen to be doing the up-to-date buzz-wordy stuff or Wall St will punish them.

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