Comments: The Internets of Things


It appears we are indeed headed towards a multiple Internet - an "internets" - model.

DRM efforts alone - designed with the ambition of turning all sound and image manipulating devices into copyright enforcing rental properties - will create a force field protected zone of digital communication existing within the global Internet.

There are other examples.

Now that I think of it, I believe Sterling's "Snow Crash" depicts - perhaps accidentally - just such a paradoxically connected world of disconnects.

Snow Crash was written by Neal Stephenson, but it took Bruce Sterling to make it a Gizmo.

Wasn't the "inter" the whole point of IP in the first place? There were already networks, the Internet was originally the InterNetwork, the network of networks.

We already have networks of things, similar to the military and educational networks that were linked by the internet. I think it's implicit in Greenfield and Sterling that we need one protocol for those networks of things to communicate with - an internet of things.

But now that the Internet itself is on the verge of fragmenting, it does seem less likely that any new internetwork protocol will become standard.

It's a really good point on the "inter" but I've never seen any indication that anyone writing about the "internet of things" has particularly taken it into account. Certainly from that little exchange on v-2 it seemed pretty clear that Sterling never took it into account at all. Adam does write about protocol a bit in _Everywear_ but he never makes any case for how there might be some unification of protocol occurring. And that's precisely the point of this post.

Not so sure about the internet fragmenting bit. Any fragmentation that occurs seems to be happening above the level of TCP/IP (and UDP/IP). I'm sure there are some minor exceptions (maybe some of the on demand digital cable services), but when you are talking about wired two way communications IP is pretty damn ubiquitous, and unless you want to run your own wires you pretty much need to run on top of it. Wireless devices just don't have that limitation. Some company in China can build a new device with it's own protocol and if it sells there is a new network right there. You and me can make our own device and if it sell boom we have our own network. No inter so yeah maybe it's just a network, but the internets of things works better in the PR machine...

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