'AllJoyn' Connects Your Home Appliances to the Web

Dennis Faas's picture

Several major technology firms have reached a deal that could make it easier for people to connect ordinary household gadgets to the Internet. That could make life easier for consumers, but it also raises concerns about security.

For many years tech experts have talked about "the Internet of things," or the idea that it's limiting to think of the web as simply a bunch of computers connected to one another.

Instead, we now have numerous devices that can use an Internet connection: from televisions that can access on-demand services such as Netflix, to heating systems that can check weather forecasts online and start heating up your house before a cold snap hits.

There are even blood pressure and heart-rate monitors that can alert your doctor if a health condition changes.

There are now so many non-computer devices using the Internet that the "Internet Protocol" system used for numbering individual connections had to be rethought when it began hitting a limit of four billion devices. It's a limit that was once considered untouchable.

Rival Computer Code Means Devices Can't Communicate

One problem is that many of the non-traditional devices that now use the Internet run their own operating systems, use their own programming code, or connect wirelessly through different technologies.

That makes it hard to integrate different devices and can mean that once you use a particular brand of device, you are stuck with it.

Almost two dozen companies -- including LG, Panasonic, Cisco, and HTC -- have now formed a partnership to tackle this problem. They are using a common computer code known as 'AllJoyn', but have decided for marketing reasons to call themselves the 'AllSeen Alliance'. (Source: gigaom.com)

The idea behind AllSeen is that all the Internet-connected devices in your home will automatically "see" one another and be able to communicate without experiencing technical problems.

Gadget Communication Could Make Life Easier

If the system takes off, it opens countless possibilities for making your life easier. For example, if your phone rings and you pick it up, your DVD player automatically pauses playback.

Another possibility involves setting your washing machine to run a cycle that finishes just as you get home.

It's still not known how many companies will wind up joining the project, meaning it's not yet clear if the idea will really take off.

Another problem: connecting many different devices would increase the potential damage a hacker could inflict if they were able to access a home network. (Source: gigaom.com)

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