ELL-i: An inexpensive platform for fixed things

Pekka Nikander, Vaddina Kameswar Rao, Petri Liuha, Hannu Tenhunen

Abstract


The Internet of Things (IoT) vision is enticing; each and every "thing" in the world is expected to be eventually connected to the Internet, thereby becoming a part of the ``context'' within which the applications live. In most of the IoT research, the focus has been in enabling movable things to communicate, including phones, tablets, RFID tags, watches, and jewellery, to name but a few. In such an approach, the things are expected to have their own batteries or receive temporary power over short distance electro-magnetic field. This approach has also dominated the more fixed side of the IoT research, including a large fraction on the work on stationary sensors and actuators, focusing also there on battery-based operations and wireless communication.
In this paper, we introduce an alternative view to the world of stationary Internet-connected things. We argue that a large majority of the fixed or stationary things would benefit from being permanently powered using wireline connections, and while doing so, it becomes natural to use the same wires also for their communication and contextual needs. Such an approach allows the appliances to become part of the the wider application context. With this in mind, we introduce the ELL-i platform, a new open source initiative for provide a low-cost
flexible prototyping and production platform for extensible, Power-over-Ethernet based smart appliances. We describe the first ELL-i prototyping board, a number of application concepts, and discuss its business model.

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