Last week I went to my first Meetup event in Silicon Valley, one located in the Hacker Dojo and focused on the Internet of Things. The location alone deserves another visit because I saw lots of groups working on interesting hardware projects.
For as little as $100 a month you can use the space to meet, solder, code, and work on your nerd passion. If there is a version of this in your town, and you need space to work, then go check it out.
This meetup was hosted by Luke D'Arcy of Neul Ltd., a Cambridge, UK, company promoting the use for IoT of white spaces, the radio spectrum between broadcast TV bands. EE Times has covered Neul and its initiative for a while, including a recent interview by Peter Clarke with Neul's new CEO.
When I first started writing about the Internet of Things, I broke down what it will take for market success into eight factors including two major barriers around communications and data ownership. Neul is trying to address the communications issue, and I wish them well, but as Luke pointed out in his talk it's a Gargantuan task to build a new nationwide white-space network.
Building a new white-space network for IoT could be the spark that gets us to billions of connected devices. It makes a lot of sense for the major players (Cisco, AT&T, Verizon, Qualcomm, ARM, Google, IBM, etc.) to get it done. Existing cellular networks are optimized now for high bandwidth data like video, and WiFi uses the wrong frequencies for good propagation. UHF TV bands are perfect for the low-data-rate but reliable wide-area network that IoT needs.
There is an industry group in place to promote the white-space initiative called the Weightless SIG. It has 700 members already, so there is momentum, but it's going to take a massive investment by a few key leaders to make this happen. What do you think the odds are?