New Industry Alliance Promotes the use of IP in Networks of Smart Objects

16 September, 2008 - 10:12

Cisco, SAP and Sun Among 25 Charter Members of the IPSO Alliance Offering Education, Interoperability Testing for Embedded IP Applications

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, 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, Tampere University, Watteco and

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.


Adam DunkelsSICS08-633 1614adam [at]