Do "smart" parking meters really need phone numbers? Does every "smart meter" installed by electric utilities need a telephone number? Does every new car with a built-in navigation system need a phone number? Does every Amazon Kindle (and similar e-readers) really need its own phone number?
In the absence of an alternative identifier, the answer seems to be a resounding "yes" to all of the above.
At the recent SIPNOC 2013 event, U.S. Federal Communications Commission CTO Henning Schulzrinne gave a presentation (slides available) about "Transitioning the PSTN to IP" where he made a point about the changes around telephone numbers and their uses (starting on slide 14) and specifically spoke about this use of phone numbers for devices (slide 20). While his perspective is obviously oriented to North America and country code +1, the trends he identifies point to a common problem:
What do we use as an application-layer identifier for Internet-connected devices?
In a subsequent conversation, Henning indicated that one of the area codes seeing the largest amount of requests for new phone numbers is one in Detroit - because of the automakers need to provision new cars with...