China taps into Internet of Things world

19:40, March 15, 2010      

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The idea in a world even everyday objects such as books and air conditioners are plugged into a network -- Internet of Things, seems like a scenario from a science-fiction movie.

China is tapping into such a world.

In Wuxi City of east China's Jiangsu Province, an intelligent transportation system is under construction, which by using the Internet of Things technologies, would enable traffic lights to change automatically according to traffic flows.

The system would also help drivers avoid traffic congestions by sending messages about road conditions and suggesting driving routes, said Zhang Xin, vice manager of Wuxi public bus company.

Some 2,153 buses in Wuxi, or 92 percent of the total, are the first batch of the country's "smart buses" using the network, Zhang said.

Through a combination of GIS (geographic information system), GPS (global positioning system) and electronic controls, people can learn nearly everything about a bus, including its location, speed and road conditions, he said.

The Internet of Things, or the sensor web, is a network of real-world objects linked by the Internet and interacting through web services. Technologies such as radio frequency identification and sensors were the basis of the network.

According to the International Telecommunication Union, in the future world, the Internet of Things, by embedding short-range mobile transceivers into a wide array of additional gadgets and everyday items, enables new forms of communication between people and things, and between things themselves.

The Internet of Things is considered as the third wave in information industry since the introduction of computers and Internet.

In the government work report delivered to the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, Premier Wen Jiabao set forth an ambitious plan last week for the country to mount the commanding height of science and technological innovation, such as in the field of Internet of Things and new energy-powered vehicles.

The research and development of the network has been booming in China since the second half of last year after the government decided to promote the promising industry, along with industries such as new energy, new materials and information networks.

In China, the network, integrating various technologies, has been applied to safety monitoring, public transportation and logistics.

China set up its first Internet of Things center in Shanghai last week. With a total investment of 800 million yuan (117.13 million U.S. dollars), the 170,000-square-meter center is designed to study technologies and industrial standards in the field.

Liu Haitao, head of the Wuxi research institute of Internet of Things, said China has gained an initial advantage as it starts early on research and development in the sector.

However, industry analysts believed there are still many obstacles.

"China should step up efforts to standardize the industry and develop a technological system with independent intellectual property rights," said Jian Qin, the board chairman of China Mobile's branch in Jiangxi Province.

Jian, also a deputy of the NPC, suggested that the government work out regulations and laws to guarantee legal use of the network as "like the Internet, the network will exert challenge on information safety and privacy."

Source: Xinhua
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