Tuesday - Internet lamp day

Tuesday 8/4/2003Fancy an Internet-enabled lightbulb? Matsushita has made one, and it's unutterably bizarre.

Tuesday 8/4/2003

Fancy an Internet-enabled lightbulb? Matsushita has made one, and it's unutterably bizarre. It's taken a standard fluorescent tube and built in an Ethernet controller that can turn the light on and off -- it's a common or garden wired Ethernet port, requiring an RJ-45 connector, running the very uncommon next generation of internet protocol, IPv6. I've pondered this for some time, and illumination has failed to appear.

If it's there to promote IPv6, it's pointless: who's got a network to plug it into? If it's there to promote home control networking, it's daft: people are planning networks with wireless, mains signalling, even washes of infrared light. Nobody does it with cabled Ethernet. There are plenty of cheap alternatives either here or on the way -- Zigbee is wireless designed explicitly to be good for lighting control, among other things, and I'd buy a Zigbee light and a USB controller in, as it were, a flash.

All this may go to explain why Matsushita has made only five of the things, although that could still be thought of as five too many. It's still peddling the line that 'we must have IPv6 because we're running out of IP addresses', which has so far stubbornly failed to come true no matter how many times it's repeated. Trying to underline your point by making comedy lighting products does nobody any good.

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