Monthly Archives: April 2014

Billions of devices unable to talk to each other #IoT #M2M


It’s the fourth international Internet of Things day today (IoT day). So today we celebrate a day with cake, balloons and fireworks for all the billions of devices of the world that can’t talk to each other.

Every day now there is a new paper and a new protocol that is said top be the killer protocol. The bigger the company that releases the protocol the more follower it will get and people start to send their data using the protocol. Sometimes the bit’s and zeros also is received by the other side and at least at one occasion I heard of a secure link where the neighbour actually could not see the data. But even if security is forgotten and most can read the data, very few can understand it anyway so it is secure than isn’t it. It’s all OK if the device comes from one manufacturer and the receiver is also from the same manufacturer, but if not there is always problems.

Think of a device sending a temperature today. It may be sent using fancy things like 6LowPan and even MQTT on top of that. Even satellite links may be used. But when it comes through on the other end it is


So what is this “23.43”? Is it a the time when the message was sent? Is it the birth weight of a giraffe? Is it… So we phone the other side and ask. Which is the ISS in this case, orbiting the earth. It’s a temperature they say. In Russian of course but as we took that class so we understand “температура” or at least think we understand, so we hang up. Then we know that some temperature is 23.43 degrees on the IIS orbiting the earth. Hmm… but is it 23.43 degrees Kelvin, or is it 23.43 degrees Celsius, or is it 23.43 degrees Fahrenheit? Or does the Russians have their own Putin scale? If this is the temperature inside the IIS it may matter. So we phone again..

And we should not even look at how we should discover a newly installed device,


configure it to do what we want it to do. If there will be billions of devices and each is configured in its own way we are in for a treat. All talking their own language, all interpreting data differently. Is IoT a joke!?

So for soon fourteen years ago when we started the VSCP project ( we solved this. Just by using some simple abstractions that could live along side all the fancy company developed stuff or even live on its own and do so in the lowest resource end devices. Making devices talk to and understand each other and tell us how they can be configured and what they can do. But I’m sure the IoT headlines also today will present the next killer protocol. Not a solution like the web(html/http) and email(pop/smtp) was for that other Internet, the successful one. The headlines every day just present another playful thing that add to the already high pile of transport mechanisms. When content is what matters. It’s always content my friends.

Bill Gates and my realationship.


I have been walking besides Bill Gates since before the personal computer entered the scene and the richer he got the poorer I got. I have drunk a beer with Mr Balmer but never meet Bill personally even if we been in the same room many times in the past.  Anyway we are linked. He in the big and I in the small.

I think he has done good. Not just the money. I once talked to a programmer in one of Microsofts teams and he told me Bill occasionally personally contacted him  with insightful technical questions. That is a hard thing to do and to keep up the technical knowledge when you also run a big company on a daily basis.

Now he does even better with Melindas and his foundation. Hats off for you Bill from a poor programmer to a richer programmer. Respects from a Linux user! 😉

TED talk with Bill and Melinda