Rules for smart devices and further discussion of the upcoming problems….

The three components of CPS futures. Not three ghosts visiting you in a single evening. Rather the three pieces of a increasing complex puzzle. Data, Access and Power.

110 zB or Zeta bytes of information currently produced by CPS sensors and devices every year. Based on an installed base of 10 – 14 billion CPS devices. A number that increases every year and is projected by 2020 to be near 46 billion deployed devices or if you are doing the math – 4 times what we have deployed today. We can assume with smart devices we won’t have a linear increase in data produced but you can safely assume that there will be between 200-300 zB of information produced by CPS devices.

Smart Device Rule: Only report when there is a change outside of your known good range. (easy one – if you are a river level monitor and the river changes 1 inch don’t report it. If the river changes to near flood stage report it).

So that CPS device has to have some level of security. There needs to be a level of security on the device. Personally I think of the show “Person of Interest” as an example of why there needs to be cloud, transport and device level security. It shouldn’t be that easy to tap into the video feeds of New York City. So Access to what and how becomes important. Who grants access and who revokes access to a CPS implementation. Where possible access and revocation should be automated.

Smart Device Rule 2: Be aware of how much data you are moving and the amount of bandwidth you have available.

The last piece of my puzzle is power. Every year in the fall I change the batteries in the smoke detectors in my house. They are now NEST connected so they are CPS devices. They have rechargeable batteries so I don’t have to change them weekly but you do have to change them from time to time. Easier just to do it once a year.

Smart Device Rule 3: Buy power on the sport market – use power intelligently. When possible balance battery versus charging.

Reality is there is a fourth problem (Bandwidth). I’ve been trying to beat a fart out of that dead horse for a long time. Today most homes will have bandwidth problems very soon. Cable companies advertise that they provide the fastest in home Wi-Fi connections. They may, but that router only has one cache and your CPS devices are chewing up that bandwidth and cache by the second. The risk of CPS devices in the home is who can touch them, see them and use them. The value is that you can access them and use them. But if your router is overloaded you won’t be able.

Smart Device Rule 4: Understand who should use your data. Report violations of data integrity and device access.



The evolution of the smart device.

The smartest device is one that adapts quickly to new requirements. The innovations and the smart devices however don’t always come from traditional sources. I think that is the big evolution of the past five years.

I know the graphic on the left is funny. I choose it on purpose. The first big feature added to smart devices was GPS. I remember the addition of GPS quite vividly. Back in the day I traveled a lot. I used to have to get my laptop out and connect my GPS connector to the USB board and load Co-Pilot. Landing in a new city virtually every day made it easy to get lost. The first PPC phone with GPS installed was the HP. Now I just take my cellular device out of my pocket, I still load Co-Pilot but now my laptop stays in my bag.

That initial evolution of smart devices made a huge difference. But it was only the tip of the spear. Much was to come that was even more innovative.

Now you can simply plug a weather station right into the audio in port of your cellular device. You will know very quickly what the weather is where you are. Barometric pressure and current temperature as well as the moisture in the air. Everything at your fingertips and you don’t have to install a huge weather station.

But that is child’s play. Now there are new devices appearing that make the weather station and GPS seem like tiny evolutions. They aren’t mind you, they are huge but these new things are making huge evolutionary leaps forward.

First of all – drinking and driving just isn’t smart. But now you can connect a breathalyzer to your cellular device. You can check your BAC before you get into the car. It isn’t as accurate as the one held by the officer in the picture but it will tell you close enough that you shouldn’t be driving.

Thermal imaging cameras, laser measurement, 3d scanners, 3d cameras all now available and simply running on the software on your smart phone.

  • Spike from Ike: Awesome laser measurement device and software.
  • Structure: 3d scanner that fits snugly on your iPad or Android Tablet.
  • Breathometer: breathalyzer attached to your cellular phone
  • Seek: Thermal imaging camera
  • Sleipnir: Wind speed and wind directional meter attached to your cellular device
  • Bubl Camera: 3d camera you connect to your smart phone via software
  • Deeper: Sonar that connects to your smart phone

All of these things are available now, on the market and have stable software. The smart device is evolving around us. Now the question is how fast and how far. I used to carry a pocket pc and two sleeves to do what my iPhone can do out of the box. I can add software that makes what my pocket pc did for me then obsolete. And I don’t have to carry a bunch of sleeves and cards with me.


Smart Device dreamer

I will gladly trade you a KW today for two tonight…

Some of my readers get frustrated when I get stuck in a blog rut. Blog rut by the way is not my term it was shared with me by one of my oldest readers to describe a long series of blogs on a single topic about 4 years ago.

My current rut is IoT/CPS, Transactive Energy and the reality of smart devices. I do in fact realize I’ve posted a lot about the topic in the past couple of months. I am wandering through my thinking trying to decide what my concerns are for a number of these technology solutions and implementations.

On a side note: I used to drive in rural southern Indiana. We used to measure ruts by how many cars could fit across the rut. There were a lot of places where off road really meant off road. There were a lot of places where it was critical to avoid the two ruts that were deep and full of mud. If you hit the rut you got stuck for a long time. Which I think is why my long time reader calls it my rut. Once you hit the rut you are stuck in it for a long time.

This one has a few more bumps to go so hang on. I think the ride is going to go on for a bit. At the very least there is today’s post and a few others. The concept of intelligent or smart devices is intriguing to me. First off because it is a combination of a number of other solutions that I am interested in. I can see where the reality of CPS, Cloud Broker and Continuation come together as we go forward. An apex of technology intersection to quote a dear friend of mine.

So this new world order that will be created presents some very interesting concepts for consideration. The first concept is how will we going forward secure these new solutions. It’s one thing to secure a billion objects. It is quite another thing to secure 50 billion objects.

I haven’t even gotten into the TE argument of centralized versus decentralized control. Today the power companies have for the most part centralized control that goes from the production system to the consumer. In the future that is going to change as the consumer may also be the producer.

Power storage becomes a very interesting problem at that point. As cloud storage was about 5 years ago power storage will become a commodity. How much though and where you store your “extra” generated power and how much that will cost will become interesting. The storage power that is trickled back to your house at night when your solar system is less effective has to be cheaper than the power provided by your backup system (current power utility). But power storage isn’t cheap.

You have to consider the following.

1. It needs to be pretty close. We are not talking massive amounts of energy and the cost has to be maintained. Currently you can get a battery system for your solar implementation but the cost can be as much as 20% of the overall cost of the system.

2. You will have to rent power lines from the Utility company. In order to move energy in and out of the neighborhood (out during the day in at night). This requires a different relationship with the power company.

3. The batteries will need to be protected from extreme heat and cold. They do produce a lot of heat also, so you need to be able to cool them effectively.

Oh to live in power production times.


Wondering about the future of the future…

The dawn of the age of smart devices…

Yesterday I talked about the concept of the smart device, able to understand the limitations of the protocols it has available and use the one that has the greatest probability of message success. The other side is paying attention to the cost and type of power available as well. As the power market slowly evolves into a more pay as you go market, devices will need the intelligence to choose both when and how they consume power, and the type of power they consume.

It goes beyond power and connection. Smart devices begin to create consumption and capabilities maps. Entering a room you will know that there is printer that allows mobile devices to print to it. Or scan from it. There is a screen that supports mobile device connections. So you can carry your mobile device and nothing else on a business trip.

Smart devices won’t just be the ones you carry or wear. The expansion of Cyber Physical Systems and the capabilities of devices will create a marketplace of sorts. As you walk into a room you will have the option of consuming services of that room. As if conference rooms were actually service oriented rooms. Created as a set of consumable capabilities. The screen easily connected to by your mobile device. You can do that today with the Chromecast and the Microsoft Screen Extender, as well as 20 other devices on the market. The difference being today you have to initiate the connection. In the future you will simply walk into the room and there will be an advertised screen for the room. Automated services that are available.

But why stop there with consuming advertised services. The concept that I have talked previously that of continuation says if I book a conference for a meeting and I walk into the conference room there should an automatic connection to the conference and web meeting. I don’t do anything. In fact, if I am sitting in my office with two co-workers and the conference down the hallway is open and we need to add remote co-workers it should automatically transfer the call from my desk phone to the conference room.

In fact I should be able, in a large company with multiple locations actually add conference rooms. One in Detroit, one in Dallas and the one I want to sit in Washington DC. When the meeting starts, all three rooms are connected. Again all of this is possible today, just not as automated as it will be. The concept of continuation would also continue the actual meeting content. Each created meeting would have a repository. People can work on the meeting repository offline, during the meetings the second screen in the conference room would have the repository content visible.

Services can be consumed during the meeting as well. Planning a new facility? During the meeting launch a remote drone and fly over the physical site you are considering. Creating a new product? Throw the notes and the rough sketch to the 3d printer. Now you have a model to hold and look at. A VR conference room would let you interact with the objects and the files directly with them represented in front of you.

All of this connected by smart devices. Conference rooms that prompt you as you book a meeting “you are working with a 3d model do you want printed copies of the model or do you want to be in a VR room to look at the model virtually?” Or smart rooms that say you need X service and I don’t have that service here are the 4 rooms in your building that do that are available.

Smart devices are coming. Smart Conference rooms are here broadly but they are going to move towards even smarter conference rooms.

I have to go. My smartphone and my smart watch are threatening to make waffles again and I don’t want to have to clean up that mess again.


Smart device futurist

Connections–and the birth of Smart Devices…

To connect. Many years ago I had a colleague (now a dear friend) that loved gadgets as much as I do. We used to spend time talking about how things could and should connect to each other. Not the simple handshake of protocol connection but a secure managed connected.

Bluetooth is an interesting protocol. It does have some issues mostly around the reality of the fact that it is a broadcast protocol. When it is on it is on. Hi-Jacking Bluetooth devices isn’t horribly hard. But it does offer a rapid connect protocol. There are upper limits as to the number of devices you can connect to but for a personal area network Bluetooth is a great starting protocol.

Wi-Fi has much more range and we can expand the security beyond simple Pins. You can have 32 and 64 and more bit passwords. Devices can also move much more data on a Wi-Fi network than over a Bluetooth PAN. As is often the case with great power comes great responsibility. Wi-Fi is more secure than Bluetooth and therefore is able to offer greater range and capacity.

That said it isn’t always the most secure. The reality of Wi-Fi is that everyone wants to connect to it. Sitting in a coffee shop using their Wi-Fi network leaves your computer and therefore everything you are doing open to being attacked.

So the dance begins. Cellular connections are probably the most secure because frankly the cellular companies are charging you to use their service. An easily hacked network hurts them more than it hurts you. The range of Cellular is even greater than Wi-Fi. But with that much more extended range comes the reality of bandwidth. Bandwidth over distance without a way to focus the signal loses bandwidth.

This is why each protocol has found its Niche. It would be nice if Bluetooth would automatically shut down its auto-discover function. You can do that but it takes a little jiggering. Bluetooth creates a PAN or personal area network. Risk it extends about 30 feet from you which means anyone inside that circle can potentially Hi-Jack your phone (or cloning as it is sometimes called).

The other side of a PAN is the number of devices. There is a hard limit on the number of Bluetooth devices (and frankly cellular devices per tower and Wi-Fi connections per router as well) but the Bluetooth is more serious in the short run  as we embark on the reality of Cyber Physical Systems. CPS which encompasses the older named Internet of Things (IoT) and the automation of robotics and other systems changes the potential number of Bluetooth connections you will have. Medical, fitness, car phone, car stereo system, external devices and audio enhancement devices will all connect to your phone. They will splice your Bluetooth bandwidth with handshakes and connections.

Reality says it is the dawn of the age of smart devices. DON’T chatter because you can. Talk when you have something to say. We apply that rule to human communication all the time. Its time smart devices start doing that as well. What is the cost of the power I (as a device) am consuming. If the cost exceeds a threshold I need to go into sleep mode unless the conditions I monitor exceed an emergency threshold.

Smart Devices

  • Monitor the cost and amount of power consumed
  • Pay attention to the information I have, and know when it is in a critical band
  • Learn the network around me, if Bluetooth isn’t available connect to a Wi-Fi mesh. Hyper critical information should have cellular and direct satellite uplink capability as well
  • Communication channels require confirmation (two-way)


Smart Device Designer

Learning about Transactive Energy (TE) and the brave new world!

I have had the pleasure recently of listening to some people that are much smarter than I am. The topic of interest was a little outisde my normal area of interest but still is incredibly engaging overall.

The area is energy production. I talked about the concept of flipping the switch and the power is just there a couple of days ago. The concept is Trans active Energy. Beyond simply a centralized system of energy production this incorporates green energy. At the same time we expect the grid. We know that at night solar systems don’t produce well much energy. The reflected sunlight off the moon doesn’t generate the same production.

TE (Transactive Energy) dives into that topic and goes much further. Its why I am intrigued. As you consider building an energy consuming system of systems, there are a number of interesting problems to consider. The first is the reality of centralized control. In order to have a functioning grid you will have to have a level of centralized control.

But a central grid means that you also have to have two way energy flow. Today the grid is for the most part configured as an outbound path. Going from the central source (production) to the consumer (be it business or home). The shift in recent years has been the introduction of home based production systems (solar and wind turbine).

Its more than just home production of energy. Or converting a downtown buildings roof to a solar farm. Its about considering not only the energy that is produced but also how it is consumed and what can the intelligent device do to reduce the overall consumption footprint of a home.

There was a great presentation from Holland about the reality of consumption. You can have people switch from gasoline powered cars to electric powered cars but when they get home that changes the footprint and requirements of the power grid they are in. Smart appliances that turn off when you are not home, tend to be set to turn on when you are home. That also, by the way tends to be when you are charging your electric car. The peak consumption time is expanded based on this.

The interesting part of this conversation for me was the concept of smart devices. Devices that are aware not only of the reality of consuming power but also consider the cost of that power. Where during peak loads that exceed your homes ability to produce solar power the device checks to see if it should turn on.

I find myself geeking out when it comes to this topic. The concept of intelligent devices is something I have driven towards for many years. It isn’t just making me smarter, it is making the information I can gather greater.

Plus there is a certain satisfaction in being able to produce green energy at your home. The sun is there anyway. Why not capture it and use it to cool your home! “Oh Brave New World to have gadgets that are smart in it…”


TE Geek…

Published: Draft 1 IT Architect Standards…

For those of you interested all that wandering around the concepts of ethics and architects led to the publication of the first draft of the code of standards for IT Architects (here).


There is also a more formal board of directors (of IASA) code of standards that will be adopted and published as accepted before we finish the draft code of standards now published in the ITABoK.

The BoD felt that they should adopt standards before asking members to do so. But thank you to everyone who sent me an email. or commented on the code of standards on Linkedin. Your thoughts, ideas and suggestions were incorporated as much as they could be.

Some of the suggested penalties couldn’t be embraced or well considered. We did start a new process where an IT Architect will be able to submit complaints to the ethics committee of the Board of Directors. We as I said before will also be incorporated a much stricter code of standards for members of the Board of Directors.

It has been a long Journey. I started working with IASA in 2005. During the ensuing 10 years I have watched a profession grow. I have seen the world around that profession change. The importance of software architecture and IT Architects hasn’t diminished.

The dawn of the IT Architect profession is here. Take a moment, read and comment on the code of standards. Eventually the IT Architect profession will adopt and embrace the standards of conduct. How you behave as a professional shows much to the world. IT Architects are critical components of what IT builds and delivers to the organizations of the world.

I am very happy that we have this draft out and again I thank everyone that emailed, suggested, argued and of course made fun of the initial thinking process.


Chairman IASA Ethics Committee