Researchers able to connect a 1000 devices to personal networks

European researchers claim that they are close to creating the first Smart Personal Networks – which will be able to automatically link an individual’s devices, which by 2017 could easily exceed one thousand per person.

The World Wireless Research Forum’s (WWRF) predicts there will be 7 trillion devices for 7 billion people by 2017 – in other words, around a thousand devices for each individual.

To link these devices will require a ‘Network of Everything’. Personal Networks, or PNs, are seen as essential for a world where many different devices must work in sync together, known as 4G (fourth generation). It will mean personalised services, low power devices with cheap, ubiquitous and broadband connectivity.

The EU-funded MAGNET (My personal Adaptive Global Net) Beyond project tackled the issues surrounding PNs. These belong to and serves a private entity, a person, a fire fighter, or eventually a car, an aeroplane.

According to the researchers, individuals will be able to link with TVs, stoves and spectacles, which could double as a personal TV screen, and even clothing. They will have a home gateway, to manage all their home devices, and a car gateway while driving.

A person may access remotely personal files from almost anywhere in the world as if he or she were at the office. People will be able to include others in their PN and exchange personal information, or patch into a presentation in another conference room and watch it remotely. Many of these technologies already exist, but over time, they will become more widespread and connected.

In the MAGNET Beyond vision, the devices will be self-organising and will be able to form geographically distributed secure networks of personal devices. This vision includes a platform for a multitude of personal applications and services to support private and professional activities in an unobtrusive, but dependable and trustworthy way.

The research also claimed that these PNs will be able to ‘federate’ with other PNs on a permanent or ad-hoc basis. Users will be able to link their PNs permanently with those of their friends and family, or temporarily with other people and companies depending on some purpose or joint interest. Users will be able to control precisely what devices and information other people can link with.

“The system is designed to be user friendly, with little or no training required and no need for system administrators....It will ensure security and protect privacy, and it will work everywhere, even without any additional infrastructure, but still be able to exploit any available resources, like wifi or cellphone networks, for example,”  claimed Professor Liljana Gavrilovska, Technical Manager of the MAGNET Beyond project.

To do this, the researchers have included identity and the management of credentials to establish the trustworthiness of services outside the PN.

It was an enormous challenge, but MAGNET Beyond enjoys substantial resources, too. The consortium includes 35 companies from 16 countries on two continents. It has a budget of over €16m, with €10.3m from the EU – and that is just phase two.

Nokia, NEC, Alcatel-Lucent, Samsung, TeliaSonera, Telefonica, CEA LETI, VTT, CSEM, France telecom, Telefonica, Fraunhofer FOKUS, Delft University of Technology, NICT, University of Surrey, Rome and Kassel, Aalborg and GET-INT have contributed to the project.

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