A newly formed industry alliance aims to take condition monitoring to the next level: A group of technology vendors and users recently created the IP for Smart Objects (IPSO) Alliance, the goal of which is to promote Internet Protocol (IP) as the networking technology best suited for connecting sensor and actuator-equipped objects and delivering information to and from those objects. According to IPSO, “smart objects” are objects in the physical world that — with the help of embedded devices — transmit information about their condition or environment (temperature, light, motion, health status) to locations where the information can be analyzed, correlated with other data, and acted on. Current applications cover everything from building automation that supports energy-efficient homes and offices to industrial automation and asset management.

Intended to support the efforts of entities such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which develop and ratify technical standards in the Internet community, IPSO will run interoperability tests, document the use of new IP-based technologies, conduct marketing activities, and serve as an information clearinghouse.

“Unlike proprietary technologies, which typically are constrained to a single physical medium, IP allows users virtually limitless flexibility thanks to a layered architecture. It works on any physical layer from wired to Wi-Fi to low-power radio and more,” says Jean-Philippe Vasseur, a Cisco engineer and chairman of IPSO's technical advisory board.

The aim of the Alliance is to provide more information on smart objects and the industries and markets where they play a role. The group plans to offer case studies and white papers, track IETF and other standards, and organize demonstrations and interoperability events. For more information, visit www.ipso-alliance.org.