1. Light up your life with the Internet of Things

Ericsson Research Blog

Light up your life with the Internet of Things

StreetLamp

Ericsson shows how social media and light bulbs with IP addresses can bring a brighter future.

Ericsson participated in an IPSO (IP Smart Objects) Alliance demo session at the 85th IETF meeting in Atlanta to show what is possible when the technologies we are developing work together seamlessly across different vendors and platforms.

The IPSO Alliance promotes a future where everyday objects include technology that allows them to communicate via the Internet. At the IETF, IPSO had invited NXP, Sensinode, Nivis, Proto6, and Ericsson to demonstrate IP-based smart object technology. The demonstration included IP-based light bulbs, control of city lights on a web-based platform, smart electric meters, and motion sensors. Ericsson demonstrated how social networking can be integrated with smart objects.

Showing full-size street lights on a demo table is a bit difficult, so Sensinode had built a Lego-model of a street with office and home buildings. The street had lights on both side, the home couple of lights at the front porch, and the office building lights in the cubicles inside. All these lights could be controlled directly by communicating with the lights using IPv6 and CoAP (Constrained Application Protocol). The lights were also connected to servers running in the cloud, so that a web user interface with regular HTTP/REST API could be used to control them.

Earlier, we, at Ericsson, have demonstrated how social networking tools can be powerful in providing human-friendly interfaces for many of those billions of devices and things (such as igloos or toasters) that can, and likely will, be connected to the Internet in the near future. Instead of having specialized interfaces or applications that you have to install and learn to use, we have initiated a social networking interface so that things become part of your social network and can be controlled using the same applications and interfaces that you use for communicating with your friends and family.

For example, during our demo, the users could chat with their “IoT Street Lights” Facebook friend. In addition to simply asking it to turn some of the lights on and off, you could also let it know when you are coming home from the office so that it could turn your office light off (in case you forgot) and turn on front porch lights at home so that you would easily find your way. Of course it was also happy to answer any questions about the current state of the lights and other information provided by the devices. For the more adventurous, it was possible to even ask for a full-blown light show.

Lego-model and the Facebook friend in action

Lego-model and the Facebook friend in action

The fact that all the prototypes demonstrated at the IPSO demo session used standardized IP-based protocols and web-based communication methods allowed us to easily integrate various demo pieces together. For example, integrating our earlier prototypes to this new context and having the first interoperable implementation controlling the lights was done in just one afternoon and the full demo was set up in couple of days (and actually much of the time was spent on teaching the Facebook bot to understand human language and commands for light control). Similarly, the independent protocol implementation from Nivis and the prototype from Proto6 were integrated to the Sensinode’s CoAP light system during the days leading up to the session. All this shows how IP smart objects, web technologies, and social network interfaces can make the transition to a brighter future just a little bit easier.

Demo setups lighting up the IPSO table

Demo setups lighting up the IPSO table