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One App For Each Gadget? No Way! This Is Not The Internet of Things We Want

When we envision the future of the Internet of Things, we see this scenario that Apple and Google helped to build with their mobile devices and their application market. We see tons of gadgets and objects connected to the Internet each one (or even brand) managed through their mobile application.

Dozens of IoT mobile apps (Photo by: Gonzalo Baeza)

Dozens of IoT mobile apps (Photo by: Gonzalo Baeza)

Philips Hue and LIFX are both household light bulbs and both are compatible with the analogical light bulbs that we have at home. However, both require the user to download separate apps to control their own device, this doesn’t make any sense.

Philips HUE and LIFX

Philips HUE and LIFX

People love to monitor their health by using scales but now with the invention of wearable trackers such as Fitbit or Nike+ people are able to also monitor their physical activity throughout the day. There are scales such as the Withings scale but this is not compatable with the Fitbit or the Nike+. We feel as if technology should make watching our health more convenient, not more difficult.

Our solution

We believe that the users of these millions of gadgets do not want to use dozens of mobile apps to interact with their devices. We propose a central place where they are able to aggregate, manage and interact in real-time with all of the devices.

We want to provide a platform where all of the Internet of Things in our market are interoperable and end users do not need to deal with different mobile apps.

Stay tunned and  don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and be sure to check out our #IoTFriday blog!

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Welcome to the Programmable World

The June 2012 Wired magazine (US edition) has an awesome article that talks about the Internet of Things and the future. Called In the Programmable World, All our objects will act as one his author (Bill Wasik) perfectly explains by hand of the CEO of SmarterThing the present and future of the Internet of Things.

Awake and welcome to the Programmable World @ Wired US June 2013

Awake and welcome to the Programmable World @ Wired US June 2013

The author explains clearly the next three steps of the Internet of Things:

For the Programmable World to reach its full potential, we need to pass through three stages. The first is simply the act of getting more devices onto the network—more sensors, more processors in everyday objects, more wireless hookups to extract data from the processors that already exist. The second is to make those devices rely on one another, coordinating their actions to carry out simple tasks without any human intervention. The third and final stage, once connected things become ubiquitous, is to understand them as a system to be programmed, a bona fide platform that can run software in much the same manner that a computer or smartphone can. Once we get there, that system will transform the world of everyday objects into a design­able environment, a playground for coders and engineers.

At theThings.IO we fully agree with this evolution of the Internet of Things, with some comments.

For the first step more evangelizers are needed. From my point of view, most of the manufacturers and OEMs are still dubitative about the Internet of Things. The history says that people is not really interested on objects with embedded gadgets, such as the “smart” fridge, the “smart” coffee machine, et al. We must move from the gadget connected to the Internet to the object with a real value. That said, the openness of these objects is needed.

For the second stage, I could say that years of research have been granted innovating on this topic. Brokers, hubs, ESBs, lightweight M2M protocols among other technical names have been developed in order to make the interoperability a reality. As Bill Wasik pointed, Smart Things is doing an amazing work on that field with their hardware. Ninja Blocks is also working on this direction.

The final stage is the most interesting. We are focused on developing to make real this third stage. We truly believe that developers might be able to apply their innovation and creativity on the top of the Internet connected objects. Manufacturers will be empowered with objects with new functionalities. And finally end-users with objects that can be reprogrammed for free or just for few cents.

We love this idea of hacking objects… why a glass cannot be a flowerpot?

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Sonar+D: One Seat Away Project

Today is the day, thethings.IO will be at Sonar+D presenting its new project, One Seat Away, in collaboration with Simone Rebaudengo, Ken Frederick, Daniel Kluge and Marc Pous.

The One Seat Away project at Sonar+D

The One Seat Away project at Sonar+D

What is One Seat Away

One Seat Away is an artistic project that aims at the exploration of the relationship between the rhythms of a musical performance and the hidden rhythms of a city such as Barcelona. The rhythm of a musical performance is typically measured in BPM (beats per minute), an easily detected value. However, within an urban space, there are multiple ways to define rhythm. There is a physical layer of people, noise, temperature, bikes shared systems. Then there is a virtual layer of activity in a city such as Foursquare check-ins, Facebook likes, Instagram pictures, Tweets among others, that remain mostly “hidden”. Their value reveals another side of how the rhythm of a city can be understood.

We will define the BPMs of the two environments and translate them into an experience that binds these two disparate contexts in real-time: bringing the rhythms of the festival into the city and the rhythm of the city into the festival.

The main goal of One Seat Away is to use connectivity and sensing to augment the sense of the urban space around us and merge it with music and rhythms as a way of experiencing data in a tangible way: something that one can feel and not necessarily have to understand in detail or rationally decode.

How does it work

The project will connect daily objects such as sofas and chairs to Internet. The sofas and chairs will receive the sensed data processed from the real-time Sónar music being played and converted into vibration. In the same way that one can feel music outside of an event without “hearing” it via vibrations of physical structures, we want people to feel and experience the rhythm without actually hearing it.

 

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Your data is your data

Jan Chipchase wrote a post where he talked about how some of his Internet-connected devices made him feel guilty when he wasn’t using them anymore. The purpose of this post was triggered by an email from Twine telling him that he wasn’t using his Twine enough.

This type of email is one demonstration of the new source of data generated by the Internet of Things. Most companies are becoming interested in the amount of usage of your device. They want to know where you use your things, when, why, what you are doing when you are using this thing, how many times, and what things you use together.

Canon EOS 500D (Flickr by sindykids)

Canon EOS 500D (Flickr by sindykids)

These companies want to gain an understanding on how we use our devices and therefore will try to market us better from that understanding. For example, imagine that you have a Cannon EOS 500D, a basic camera, but imagine that Cannon could know that you have a normal zoom lent and you have been taking several photos with zoom. With the Internet of Things, this is possible and advertisement will be more focused on what you do and how you do it. Thus, privacy will be more and more complicated with Internet-connected objects around.

At thethings.IO we believe that data made from users is user’s data. Therefore, users have the right to own their own data and give access to this data to third parties which will receive ads and coupons.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and be sure to check out our #IoTFriday weekly blog!

What is thethings.iO?

Nowadays the Internet of Things is becoming the Internet of Walled Gardens. Most of the IoT projects are vertical solutions that cannot interoperate with other objects or projects. Kickstarter has accelerated this scenario, funding some awesome projects related with the Internet of Things and Quantified Self, nevertheless that has increased the silos existing in the current situation.

Technology experts and big companies do not have a clear idea about the real volume of the Internet of Things in the future, but they are confident that it will be big. That means that we will not be able to deal with one mobile application for each object connected to the Internet. All the things connected will have to have its own experience with the different vertical solutions.

thethings.iO is an horizontal solution built to create an interoperable Internet of Things scenario. Thethings.iO is a platform designed to extend the Web by providing access to real objects in the physical world. Our main goal is to let you manage, share and interact with any thing connected to the Internet anywhere, when you like.

Are you a manufacturer?

We want to make your products interoperable with other existing Internet-connected objects. We would like to offer the end-users the same experience interacting with all the objects and things that they own. And of course we want to give you an extra-value for sharing the access and information of your things. Contact us for more detailed information.

Are you a maker or a developer?

theThings.IO would allow you to create add value on the top of the Internet-connected objects compatible with our platform. I’m sure that you will be interested. theThings.IO is the hub in charge of handling all the communications and the requests to access and interact with them. Let us make the hard part!

theThings.IO for end users

Thethings.iO is built as a social network, seen as an interoperable platform that allows one to interact and  remotely manage their Internet-connected objects, such as Fitbit activity trackers, Withings scales or your Arduinos, among other within the same dashboard.

Learn how to connect Internet of Things and Quantified Self with thethings.iO, the new social network for your Internet-connected objects and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and be sure to check out our #IoTFriday blog!