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How the Internet of Things Could Aid Disaster Response

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the when-the-microwave-calls dept.

Networking 60

jfruh writes While the Internet has made communications easier, that ease had made us very dependent on the Internet for communications — and, when disaster strikes, power and infrastructure outages tend to shut down those communications networks when we need them most. But now researchers are examining how the so-called "Internet of Things" — the proliferating array of Internet-communicating devices in our lives — can transmit emergency messages via ad-hoc networks even when the Internet backbone in a region is inoperable.

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tag the survivors with RFID (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47520971)

Tag the designated survivors before the planned disaster. Disaster response is made much more efficient that way. Remember Katrina, Bush's second greatest achievement in disaster theater!

tag the survivors with RFID (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47520975)

Blah blah it already exists

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-07/09/lg-lets-you-stalk-your-kids

Re:tag the survivors with RFID (1)

Sique (173459) | about 4 months ago | (#47521139)

I think you didn't get the parent. Before the disaster, you screen the people who will be affected by it and designate the survivors. Those people get tags to be easily spotted and identified. Thus you can rescue the survivors easily and don't need to waste time on people not deemed worthy to be alive.

Re:tag the survivors with RFID (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47521229)

"I think you didn't get the parent. Before the disaster, you screen the people who will be affected by it and designate the survivors. Those people get tags to be easily spotted and identified. Thus you can rescue the survivors easily and don't need to waste time on people not deemed worthy to be alive."

I thought the lighter skin color would do that already, easier seen in bad conditions.

Re: tag the survivors with RFID (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47521355)

But that is so backwards - while you scan for prospective survivors you directly collect the prospective victims in camps. As soon as disaster strikes you execute them in some fast way - you save a lot of tallar if you do not have to search for remains. You could optimize it further of course. My advice is just to give you an inspiration.

DANGEROUS OUTBREAK OF DEMOCRACY (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 4 months ago | (#47522203)

IN SECTOR FIVE!

An ad hockin' 'mergency (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47520981)

Yeah, did you know that my Wi-Fi card lets me create an Ad-hoc network that does not rely on a BSS?

Yet, how many people go home and connect their laptops together directly? If people can't figure that out...

Just because my microwave can theoretically connect to my neighbor's washing machine doesn't mean that the average end user is going to be utilizing such a capability, especially to send an emergency message. In an emergency, you might be lucky if a person with a cell phone is coherent enough to remember to dial a phone number before screaming at the device.

Re:An ad hockin' 'mergency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47521025)

you might be lucky if a person with a cell phone is coherent enough to remember to dial a phone number before screaming at the device.

People are dumbshits who are just aching for a Culture Mind to think for them, as soon as some otherwise useless egghead nerd invents Minds and terminals, and then every last nerd can be shoved with extreme prejudice into the locker of obscurity forever. The cell phone is the obvious precursor to the terminal, but the AI on the other end today is even stupider than the sack of shit shouting at it.

"A terminal, in the shape of a ring, button, bracelet or pen or whatever, was your link with everybody and everything else in the Culture. With a terminal, you were never more than a question or a shout away from almost anything you wanted to know, or almost any help you could possibly need."

Re:An ad hockin' 'mergency (3, Informative)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 4 months ago | (#47521127)

Yet, how many people go home and connect their laptops together directly? If people can't figure that out...

Why should they? Until one of those laptops is configured as a gateway (and all other Laptops have to be configured to use it as a gateway) you won't be able to check facebook anyway.

Yes, you COULD create a LAN in AdHoc mode, but what good is an insulated LAN for these days? Back in the days of Quake, Descent and Age of Empires, yes, there was the option to set one up for multiplayer games. But thanks to Steam, WoW or the latest Diablo, LAN gaming has been killed of, too.

And with the current pricepoint of wifi routers that already include DHCP and WAN routing capabilities over anything from twisted pair to LTE, running for hours on battery, that's just way easier than manually configuring network options to create an AdHoc network.

Re:An ad hockin' 'mergency (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#47521217)

but what good is an insulated LAN for these days?

...are you serious? What about outside intruders?

Re:An ad hockin' 'mergency (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 4 months ago | (#47521271)

but what good is an insulated LAN for these days?

...are you serious? What about outside intruders?

I'd be only worried about them if there is something on the LAN that could be sensitive to outside intruders. Like important data, servers and stuff. But then you have real network infrastructure, and probably don't use Wifi at all. So for those cases, AdHoc-Wifi would be completly out of the question.

Re:An ad hockin' 'mergency (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 4 months ago | (#47521793)

but what good is an insulated LAN for these days?

...are you serious? What about outside intruders?

The IP address is coming.... from inside the house!"

apologies to "When a Stranger Calls" - 1979

Re:An ad hockin' 'mergency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47527021)

Wow,
so basically you're making the case that there is no case for peer to peer communication.

If two people have mobile devices (like laptops), and want to share a file, they'd better have a USB stick or else they need to locate a Wi-Fi access point that they know the password for (or else they had better configure the access point). I've found that is usually not convenient when outdoors in non-metropolitan areas: just yesterday I overheard some people talk about killing some time by walking 4 blocks away to where Wi-Fi is.

Every time someone wants to upgrade to a newer Wi-Fi standard (802.11b to 802.11g, 802.11g to 802.11ac, 802.11ac to 802.11ax), then I will need to get not only new NICs, but also a new WAP, immediately before it is of any use.

I don't use Facebook. Your insinuation that communications is only good for Facebook and retro LAN games is... pretty narrow-minded. I'm sure I could come up with more examples of more custom apps, but those are just off-the-top-of-my-head examples that I can think of, which could affect an average household today.

I'm not trying to win an argument here; I expect my answers to be unpopular until technology advances further to the point where private clouds (within a business/home) gain more traction. What I am doing is, simply, answering your question (which I realize might have been rhetorical).

Generic headline? (4, Funny)

lolococo (574827) | about 4 months ago | (#47520985)

howCould(char *thing, char *action) {
printf("How %s Could %s", thing, action);
}

howCould("The Internet of Things", "Aid Disaster Response");
howCould("My Grandmother", "Save The World");

Re:Generic headline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47521003)

Your grandmother could have done the world a favor and neglected to reproduce.

Re:Generic headline? (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 4 months ago | (#47521967)

Your grandmother could have done the world a favor and neglected to reproduce.

But then we wouldn't have been treated to your clever retorts and rapier wit!

Re:Generic headline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47522145)

Dude, your dick will grow if you just give it time.

Packet radio (3, Insightful)

Mal-2 (675116) | about 4 months ago | (#47521005)

And how, way I ask, does packet radio [wikipedia.org] not accomplish the same thing, across considerably larger distances than a peer-to-peer mesh network? The mesh isn't useless, but at some point it still needs to connect to some place with proper connectivity. This may not be within the range of the Internet of Things. Given the right band and the right gear, radio will be considerably slower but also considerably further-reaching. Otherwise I see no substantial use for the IoT that satellites don't already solve.

Re:Packet radio (3, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 months ago | (#47521039)

To be effective it really needs to be deployed in advance. Packet radio is good, but it still needs some semi-trained operators. By the time rescuers get in with the equipment, it's already too late. The IoT proposal is to use existing devices to form the network. If you're already going to install solar-powered mesh nodes in every bus stop to track arrival times, it doesn't take a great deal of modification for that network to also handle disaster communications. The hardware is much the same. Any phone with a bluetooth interface could serve as a point of access into the network. It wouldn't replace old-fashioned handheld radios, but rather supplement them - allowing coordinators to track in real time the positions of rescuers, and to transmit instructions to survivors via their own phones.

Re:Packet radio (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 4 months ago | (#47521133)

because it'sss IoT!!!

you know, someone could just go dig the slashdot articles for mesh networking.

call me on it when it works actually on a small city level...

Or... the internet itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47521167)

The internet was ment as something that could route around damage, and so isn't dependent on "the backbone".

Tie whichever transport you have into the 'net and it'll use it, no sweat.

Re:Or... the internet itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47521187)

OK sure. Sign up for five uplinks through five ISPs. Go ahead. Do it. I dare you. Now pay your bills. Still feel like paying for all that redundancy, do you?

Re:Or... the internet itself (1)

Sique (173459) | about 4 months ago | (#47521373)

Actually, I have two providers, and in cases of emergency, I still can go to the office. So much for redundancy.

Re:Or... the internet itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47522855)

My mobile ISP offers full roaming data SIMs. You know how there always seems to be somebody with a different cell provider who is getting 4G or fast 3G service to watch streaming video while you're struggling to get one bar and access email? Well now I'm always as fast as that guy. Yes I pay a little extra for it, but so what?

At home the same ISP's fixed broadband offers multi-homed IPv6 connectivity for less than twice the price of their normal service, so if some idiot drives a truck into the bridge that carries my main fibre, it goes to the backup until they fix it. And if that dies too, the router has a USB slot for a 3G dongle, so I pay a little extra to use mobile bandwidth instead.

But you don't have to pay for this. It's only if you care.

Re:Packet radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47521199)

And how, way I ask, does packet radio [wikipedia.org] not accomplish the same thing, across considerably larger distances than a peer-to-peer mesh network?

No-one is denying that fact...it's just that we'd rather have a system in place where we didn't have to suffer the insufferable running it (mind you, we do have to put up with the prats going on and on about IoT being behind this nonsense, and they're rapidly approaching the same degree of insufferability..)

Re:Packet radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47521351)

And how, way I ask, does packet radio [wikipedia.org] not accomplish the same thing, across considerably larger distances than a peer-to-peer mesh network? The mesh isn't useless, but at some point it still needs to connect to some place with proper connectivity. This may not be within the range of the Internet of Things. Given the right band and the right gear, radio will be considerably slower but also considerably further-reaching. Otherwise I see no substantial use for the IoT that satellites don't already solve.

Can you rape and pillage peoples privacy, monitor their every move to sell to any bidder, and bombard them with advertisements relentlessly across your old-fashioned mesh network?

If you can't, then you're a communist, and we want nothing to do with that old reliable-as-hell network.

Hugs and Kisses,

- Mr. Don't-Be-Evil

Re: Packet radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47521691)

Plain old radio does it better but, you see, there's a lot of dejected nerds out there who try to fill their loneliness with delusions of grandeur, constantly looking for ways to make their laughable "skills" relevant. They'd reinvent the wheel and make it square just for a millisecond of consideration. Pity them, if you must, for a moment but then ignore them forever.

Re:Packet radio (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 4 months ago | (#47522545)

And how, way I ask, does packet radio [wikipedia.org] not accomplish the same thing, across considerably larger distances than a peer-to-peer mesh network? The mesh isn't useless, but at some point it still needs to connect to some place with proper connectivity. This may not be within the range of the Internet of Things.

Because it only works if every device has a pingable IP. Or some such nonsense.

Re:Packet radio (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47523107)

The mesh network is self assembling and zero maintenance. Self assembly and zero maintenance is HUGE during a disaster.

Every piece of infrastructure that you want to rely on during disaster response means pushing the relief out by hours, days, maybe weeks or months while you wait for that infrastructure to be repaired, brought back into use or built from scratch. A packet radio network is infrastructure that somebody has to build. You have to fly that somebody to the disaster zone, or you have to train all your disaster workers how to build it themselves. But the mesh network skips all that which means your volunteers are doing something effective, not wasting their time on playing radio amateur.

Satellite bandwidth is very precious. We can afford to allocate a band for "Aiee! Help!" (COSPAS SARSAT) but we can't afford to do much housekeeping by satellite. Housekeeping is things like "Medical supplies remaining at camp Echo are as follows:" and "418 more refugees arrived at our camp, Names for cross referencing against list of missing are:". After the first few minutes disaster response includes a lot of housekeeping. The mesh can move that information locally, where it's needed, leaving satellite bandwidth for only urgent stuff like "I'm going to die in the next hour unless a rescue team reaches me" and "Here are the predicted areas where the fire will strike next, these should be evacuated first".

Re:Packet radio (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 4 months ago | (#47523697)

You really have no clue at all.

The mesh network is self assembling and zero maintenance.

Mesh networks are neither self-assembling nor zero maintenance. You really think that people are going to accept a "self-assembling" network that extends anywhere past their own homes into those homes? My God, man, we have people who are opposing wireless gas and electric meters in a neighboring city because they can be used to remotely turn service off, they emit dangerous radio waves, and they will "self-assemble" into a mesh that can be used to spy on people. (And "self" is in scare quotes because they assemble only because the electric utility programs them to, and the electric utility will maintain them.)

But the mesh network skips all that which means your volunteers are doing something effective, not wasting their time on playing radio amateur.

The next time your county infrastructure is taken out by, say, an ice storm, and the only way you can get information into and out of that county is by amateur radio, why don't you walk up to someone providing that service and let them know you think they are just "playing amateur radio", ok? Or ahead of time, make sure you let everyone know that those people who are volunteering their time training to provide emergency communications for your benefit are just "playing". You'll be the hit of the party.

We can afford to allocate a band for "Aiee! Help!" (COSPAS SARSAT) but we can't afford to do much housekeeping by satellite.

Fascinating idea. So that satellite dish we have on our mobile command center vehicle should be used only for "Help" if we get stuck, but we shouldn't use it for "housekeeping" things. We shouldn't, say, pull the vehicle up next to a county building, pop the dish up, run a few phone lines, and supply telephone service to manage a flood to the people who need to do housekeeping things like keeping track of water levels or doctors who need to get to the hospital.

You truly have a lack of clue when it comes to what can and will be done in a disaster, and what will be useful and what won't.

Re:Packet radio (1)

dubsnipe (1822200) | about 4 months ago | (#47549153)

In principle it does. I checked this publication with a bit of awe because I'm currently developing a device system which can be pretty much described with this paper. You can use packet radio for sure, or other technology in order to send the signals. There are different things to take into account: how many of these will there be? Will they be deployed close to each other? Are you expecting 2 or 3 receivers to analyze 1000 signals of the same kind simultaneously? What kind of information will be send over the radio signal? In our case, we also came up with the p2p mesh network (reaccion.net) based on our idea of limited options for communications and the creation of a visualization platform to upload information to the cloud.

How the Internet of Things Could Aid Disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47521097)

How the Internet of Things Could Aid Disaster
By not having updates (of kernel or any other software, kinda like android does today for many "old" phones) and/or being closed source, we will have TONS of compromised systems, each and every single IoT device will become a bot.
Just imagine the future: your entire network compromised from your fridge, the digital thermometer or who knows what else. The consequences of such a disaster are already known...

Re:How the Internet of Things Could Aid Disaster (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47521115)

Your fridge is alive, and it demands ice cream. More ice cream for the freezer section! Go to the store and buy me ice cream, human slave. Immediately!

Re:How the Internet of Things Could Aid Disaster (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 4 months ago | (#47521173)

How the Internet of Things Could Aid Disaster
By not having updates (of kernel or any other software, kinda like android does today for many "old" phones) and/or being closed source, we will have TONS of compromised systems, each and every single IoT device will become a bot.
Just imagine the future: your entire network compromised from your fridge, the digital thermometer or who knows what else. The consequences of such a disaster are already known...

And there lies the real problem.

An "Internet of things" could be very useful in many situations. But the companies who produce these things are so criminally incompetent (and greedy) that they don't give two shits about security. They don't even give one shit about security. And so now we already have a few billion devices that are easily exploited. And it's only going to get worse.

Re: How the Internet of Things Could Aid Disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47521329)

This is simple economics: once a company starts doing what you suggest it should be doing it has to spend. This moves into disadvantage comparing with competitors-either price goes up or this additional work is financed fromprofit. Either way profits fall - if niboy else did that the public compny mgmt may be sued by investors for criminal waste of resources. The soultion could be to put it as a commerical advantage but what customer is not lost after first sentence explining why this device is better because is safer.

Re:How the Internet of Things Could Aid Disaster (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 4 months ago | (#47523973)

But the companies who produce these things are so criminally incompetent (and greedy) that they don't give two shits about security. They don't even give one shit about security.

It isn't criminal, and it isn't incompetence. It is because the people who want to buy the devices don't care about security. They want to do what they want to do.

I want to listen to online radio stations on my cell phone. AM1710, Antioch Radio, in particular. I started to download some app called "TuneIn" and was shown the list of privileges it wanted. I was flabbergasted. Location, identity, contacts, photos. Why does a streaming audio app need access to my location? Why does it need access to my contacts? (So I can see if any of my friends are using TuneIn and what they're listening to, which means they can see if I'm using it and what I'm listening to.) And this app has 50,000,000 (fifty MILLION) downloads. Apparently, people want to be able to see what their friends listen to and don't care if others see what they are doing. Thus also Facebook.

Don't blame the companies who make the stuff people want for making stuff people want.

Good! (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 months ago | (#47521239)

So when I'm lying under the rubble, I have to hope that my toaster can yell a wireless message to the rescuers:
"Somebody take that fucking bread out of me!"
if my fridge fails to send "The Milk is bad!"

I see the phrase "Internet of Things"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47521343)

And I think I'm not your target audience. And then I wonder if the internet of things will be in "the cloud"...

Just 'Internet' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47521367)

Try changing "Internet of Things" to "Internet" in all phrases. Sounds like a 90s thing, but it has the exact same meaning...

Bullshit hype expressions makes my work more complicated, fuck those!

So Short-Sighted (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47521401)

But now researchers are examining how the so-called "Internet of Things" â" the proliferating array of Internet-communicating devices in our lives â" can transmit emergency messages via ad-hoc networks even when the Internet backbone in a region is inoperable.

Hey, how about examining how the so-called internet-of-things could use a mesh network and replace the internet that we know with a more reliable fabric? Then it would certainly be able to transmit emergency messages.

People complain that this approach can never handle the traffic of the interwebs but as long as you can communicate with multiple access points at once, then there is plenty of available bandwidth. Wherever population is dense, there will be more things to provide an internet, and more bandwidth available.

Re:So Short-Sighted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47521517)

But now researchers are examining how the so-called "Internet of Things" â" the proliferating array of Internet-communicating devices in our lives â" can transmit emergency messages via ad-hoc networks even when the Internet backbone in a region is inoperable.

Hey, how about examining how the so-called internet-of-things could use a mesh network and replace the internet that we know with a more reliable fabric? Then it would certainly be able to transmit emergency messages.

People complain that this approach can never handle the traffic of the interwebs but as long as you can communicate with multiple access points at once, then there is plenty of available bandwidth. Wherever population is dense, there will be more things to provide an internet, and more bandwidth available.

You seem to forget there are two kinds of internet traffic today. Netflix and everything else.

Until my fridge starts caching my neighbors Netflix addiction, there will never be enough bandwidth available.

Re:So Short-Sighted (2)

swb (14022) | about 4 months ago | (#47522149)

How do you manage routing, especially across multiple identically numbered private networks?

Even if you make the assumption that the IoT has the bandwidth, range and routing capability for meshing, it seems ripe for many kinds of abuse. Greedy traffic handling (dumping incoming, flooding outgoing), MITM, etc.

Re:So Short-Sighted (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47523275)

How do you manage routing, especially across multiple identically numbered private networks?

Well, you already don't route private networks across the internet, so that's how you solve that particular problem. You use IPv6 to solve many of the problems, of course. There are a number of mesh-networking projects out there already, if you're interested you probably should look 'em up.

Crazy Hacker Dream (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47521567)

One of my crazy hacker dreams has been to create a virus that hacks wireless routers though wifi and infects them so they go on to hack other routers use it to make an ad-hoc network.

One good example is the ISP supplied wifi routers that used to have the default password be the phone number or something easy to guess.

Unintended Consequences much? (1)

schklerg (1130369) | about 4 months ago | (#47521591)

I mean, I know that it's shocking to think that a technology could be used for something other than the intended purpose, but all I can think of is - We'll be spending most our lives living in a hackers paradise (The Weird Al one, not Coolio)

Re:Unintended Consequences much? (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 4 months ago | (#47523753)

I mean, I know that it's shocking to think that a technology could be used for something other than the intended purpose, but all I can think of is - We'll be spending most our lives living in a hackers paradise (The Weird Al one, not Coolio)

What's a "Coolio"?

I'm reading these comments wondering, we have an issue with NSA being able to intercept cell calls and various countries supporting cyber attacks against various things today, and we're looking forward to a day when there is ubiquitous, automated, hidden-to-the-user networking connecting and controlling every significant device we bring into our homes and which is configurable by external command to create those networks? That makes our refrigerator a router for emergency messages from one of our next door neighbors out to someone somewhere through another neighbor's air conditioner? And some people here seem to be welcoming our new IoT overlords?

You've got to be joking.

Lame excuse for spying in the last sanctuary (1)

Squidlips (1206004) | about 4 months ago | (#47521865)

Of all the lame reasons, this one is the worst. The last place we have privacy, in the home, is now under attack. I am sure that someday soon we will all be required to wire our homes and carry Stalin's Dream (a cellphone), ...."for our own protection".

Serval Mesh Networking for Android (3, Informative)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 4 months ago | (#47521955)

From: http://www.servalproject.org/ [servalproject.org] and http://developer.servalproject... [servalproject.org]
---
"Serval Mesh is an Android app that provides highly secure mesh networking, voice calls, text messaging and file sharing between mobile phones using Wi-Fi, without the need for a SIM or any other infrastructure like mobile cell towers, Wi-Fi hotspots or Internet access."
1. Communicate anytime
Mobile phones stop working when cellular infrastructure fails. The Serval Mesh changes this, allowing mobile phones to form impromptu networks consisting only of phones. This allows people nearby to keep communicating when needed most.
2. Communicate anywhere
Cellular networks are not available everywhere. In Australia for example, around 75% of the land area lacks mobile coverage. Letting mobile phones form stand-alone networks provides a cost-effective solution for communities in these remote areas to enjoy mobile communications.
3. Communicate privately
In this modern world private conversation with friends, families and service providers is vital, whether discussing medical issues or other private subjects. The Serval Mesh is built on a foundation engineered to support security. Voice calls and text messages are always end-to-end encrypted using strong 256-bit ECC cryptography. Encrypted calls work even on low-cost Android phones.
4.Communicate with people
The Serval Mesh is about enabling people to communicate with one another, regardless of what circumstances may befall them, or where they live in the world. Because at the end of the day, relationship with one another is what life is all about.
---

Serval was one of the first things I installed on a trio of cheap Android phones I bought for Andriod development and testing purposes several months ago (the Kyocera Hydro phones themselves ranged from US$35-$55 in price each). Still has rough edges, but getting there.

The Serval project is also working towards cheap rugged repeaters. "The Serval Mesh Extender is a hardware device that helps other devices to join and participate in a Serval Mesh network. ... Mesh Extenders mesh together over short distances using Ad Hoc Wi-Fi, over longer distances using packet radio on the ISM 915 MHz band"

I suggested related ideas back around 2000 based on two-mile range radios:
"[unrev-II] The DKR hardware I'd like to make..."
http://www.dougengelbart.org/c... [dougengelbart.org]

Very cheap insurance to make sure people have these sorts of devices for an emergency, which these days would not cost much more than a decent US$100 "weather radio" even with basic Smartphone features...

Re:Serval Mesh Networking for Android (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 4 months ago | (#47523871)

Very cheap insurance to make sure people have these sorts of devices for an emergency, which these days would not cost much more than a decent US$100 "weather radio"

And yet people won't buy simple FRS radios that cost much less and allow open communications in an emergency. Your description of Serval is interesting, but it is one of the last things you want in a real emergency. During an emergency, phones are good when there is a known phone number to call for help, or for individual communications between pre-arranged parties. That's why there is '911' or '999' or whatever it is in your country. Phones lack something called "interoperability". If you don't know the other guy's number, you ain't talking to him.

Radio, however, allows anyone to talk to anyone else with a simple "I need help" as a call. That's if you don't layer on all kinds of interfering crap like trunking and talkgroups and digital network access codes (NAC) and things designed to KEEP people from talking to each other instead of helping them do it.

That's why I program my emergency services radio with no CTCSS on receive, and put 0xFE (IIRC) as the NAC for 25 on at least one channel so I can at least hear everyone else if I need to. And this interoperability lesson is something the fire service learned in some large California fires, and is why there are a number of federally assigned interoperability channels authorized for anyone in one organization who needs to talk to someone in another. Every public service radio is supposed to have those channels, but many of them still don't even after a decade or more of existence.

Am I just too old? (0)

argStyopa (232550) | about 4 months ago | (#47522055)

Am I the only one that finds the "Internet of Things" a catastrophically, pointlessly stupid idea?

I don't WANT my refrigerator, stove, blender, toaster, home climate control, garage door opener, office fan, or toilet connected to the internet. I cannot see how adding additional potential points of failure to everything makes them better, just so I can see when (and/or what) little Jimmy flushed this morning, or I can log in to my toaster's web page and change the settings remotely (why?).

I've been an 'early adopter' of lots of things - computers, the internet, dvds, digital tvs, etc - but perhaps at 46 I'm simply too old to "get" the IoT (like twitter or instagram, I don't really "get" those either).

ad hoc network (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47522875)

haven't heard about ad hoc networks since I read the instruction manual for my USB wireless adapter. Nice to see that there is a use to ad hoc networks after all.

Power outages... and semantics (1)

allquixotic (1659805) | about 4 months ago | (#47523213)

"Power outages". Think about that for a moment. In a disaster, there's no power. No power, and your "internet of things" is a bunch of fragile physical objects that are even less useful for bludgeoning looters over the head with than your grandfather's 5 pound flashlight with a lead-acid battery in it.

Sure, batteries last for a little while, but many of the "Internet of Things" devices aside from smartphones and tablets don't have any batteries; they just run off the mains. And if you need help beyond 8 or 10 hours after the initial loss of power, you're out of luck.

That's why I always keep my smartphone and a backup battery on my person. A smartphone that's water-resistant and in a durable case like an Otterbox Defender is actually a viable means of communication (as well as other resources; you could put an Army Survival Guide on it, use it as a flashlight, blare a loud horn to alert rescuers, and so on). If it's durable (and thus likely to survive the initial event that makes your situation a disaster), and either comes with a very long-lasting battery or you have a spare battery, ideally enough to last for a week (with the screen on min. brightness and powered off unless you have an immediate need for it), it'd be infinitely more generally useful than any "Internet of Things" device.

Then again, people throw around such general and semantically vague terms these days that I don't even know if TFA is including smartphones in "Internet of Things". Just like I don't know if my VPS is technically part of "the cloud". Back in the day we just called things what they were: my smartphone was a smartphone, and my server was a server (virtual or not, doesn't make a huge difference). Now they're both part of some wishy-washy, gooey, free-associative vague term like "Internet of Things" or "the Cloud". Depending on who you ask, anyway.

Re:Power outages... and semantics (1)

MattGWU (86623) | about 4 months ago | (#47525247)

I'm thinking about it like 'cockroaches surviving a nuclear blast'. Sure the power for the area is out in general, but maybe your thing on a battery is talking to a neighbor's fridge on a generator, is talking to...and enough things happen to have power and happen to be able to communicate that a useful network is formed.

What an utterly pointless article (1)

Chelloveck (14643) | about 4 months ago | (#47523321)

What an utterly pointless article. IF we had an Internet-of-Things, and IF they all talked with each other directly instead of needing infrastructure, and IF emergency services were prioritized over regular traffic, and IF people were cool with having random devices they own connect to random devices other people own for the sole purpose of forwarding messages in a mesh network, THEN we could use the IoT as a spiffy disaster-resistant emergency network.

No shit? Is that all it takes? Sounds like someone trying desperately to figure out just why the hell anyone would want an Internet-connected toaster, anyway. Emergency services, yeah, that will sell it!

New Rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47524261)

Everyone that uses the term "Internet of Things" gets some sort of pain inflicted on them. It's the LAMEST, marketing-born saying to date. I don't want it to be a lot of pain, just enough to let them know to never say that again! Whack on the nose with a rolled up newspaper comes to mind with an accompanying, "NO!"

Re:New Rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47524285)

Everyone that uses the term "Internet of Things" gets some sort of pain inflicted on them. It's the LAMEST, marketing-born saying to date. I don't want it to be a lot of pain, just enough to let them know to never say that again! Whack on the nose with a rolled up newspaper comes to mind with an accompanying, "NO!"

A nearest company TPS report will suffice.

Already got this covered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47525003)

My plain old fridge has this cool feature in which it tells me when things are no longer safe to eat by making stuff start to stink and taste bad. It even works when the power is out! Also my environment will try to alert me of individuals who are trapped or in danger by carrying the sound of their screams for help. Also when they die, it emits a smell. It's really cool.

So why do I need some stupid man-made "internet of things"? /snark

Except (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | about 4 months ago | (#47525353)

The internet of things is never going to happen (at least not in the US). Wireless companies will never allow it. They'll probably try to charge you $20/month per device just to add them to your account.

the other thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47525703)

Yeah, or your toaster can hack your fridge, and none of them will help you during the disaster unless you pay for your oven's bootloader to be decrypted...

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