An intelligent device is any type of equipment, instrument, or machine that has its own computing capability. As computing technology becomes more advanced and less expensive, it can be built into an increasing number of device s of all kinds. In addition to personal and handheld computers, the almost infinite list of possible intelligent devices includes cars, medical instruments, geological equipment, and home appliances.
Various products are being developed to enable network connectivity for diverse intelligent devices. A new category of software known as device relationship management (DRM) is designed to enable the monitoring, managing, and servicing of intelligent devices over the Internet. Sun Microsystems is promoting Jini , a way to connect new devices into a network in which the devices themselves will describe how to communicate with them. Many observers cite intelligent device networking as a major reason to implement server support for IPv6 , a new version of the Internet Protocol that vastly expands the number of things that can be addressed in networking.
According to a January 2002 study conducted by Harbor Research, the number of intelligent devices networked for the purposes of remote administration -- excluding telephones and personal computers -- is expected to exceed 500 million by 2010.