We discussed the growing hype around the so-called internet of things in the wake of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January — and the same trend seems to be shaping up at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, with new peer-to-peer (P2P) software from Qualcomm seeking the spotlight.
The internet of things comprises the growing number of everyday items — refrigerators, cars, stereos and coffeemakers — functioning on wireless networks to communicate with consumers over mobile devices. P2P communication will enable practical appliances like lamps to alert users when they’ve been left on, or refrigerators to prompt users when they have run out of an item and automatically add it to the grocery list on their phones. These kinds of technologies require networks to uphold them, and that networking is part of the discussion amongst carriers and hardware manufacturers alike at Mobile World Congress.
Qualcomm — one of the biggest semiconductor manufacturers in the world — aims to further the progress of the internet of things towards the internet of everything with its open-source software framework AllJoyn. The software allows developers to harness P2P communication to create connected apps, and allows devices to communicate with one another. The unique element of AllJoyn is its open-source nature, which will enable connectivity across various operating systems, platforms, and devices – a necessity for creating a functional ecosystem of smart objects, mobile devices and ever-more-plugged-in users.
Of course, wireless carriers have been exploring the roles they can play in this developing ecosystem as well — AT&T perhaps most prominent among them. The Dallas-based telco titan went so far as to announce a partnership with Qualcomm at CES to secure its foothold in the machine-to-machine market. It also revealed a project with Cisco to create a wirelessly connected home built with Cisco communications technology and running on AT&T’s wireless network.
These unveilings in Barcelona reflect the tech world’s latest growing obsession with connecting any and all devices to the internet. Why? Perhaps simply because we can. Google Glass and Apple’s iWatch have been front-page news as the notion of an internet-connected accessory gains appeal. Whether motivated by some serious philosophical plan or simply consumerist whimsy, manufacturers are making the objects in our everyday lives smarter and smarter — and networks and software developments standards are racing to adjust.