Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Netiquette IQ Blog of The Day - The Internet of Anything - Do You Know What It Is?

This afternoon I came across this article. I had not heard the term before and I immediately wanted to publish this in this blog at the next opportunity. Perhaps this will be the first place you hear the term. This will probably be the first of many more times!

The Internet of Anything: A Social Network for the World’s Online Sensors

By Klint Finley 12.08.14 
Getty Images

When her oldest daughter was diagnosed with asthma last March, Yodi Stanton installed air pollution sensors around her London home. She wanted to see if there were links between her daughter’s attacks and the number of dirty particles in the air.

Ultimately, she wasn’t able to find a correlation. But maybe some else will find gold in this data. Instead of keeping it to herself, Stanton streamed the data to a public online service she helped create called, and from there, it can be accessed and analyzed by public health researchers, journalists, and other concerned citizens—or even feed into online applications that can make use of it.

OpenSensors is a service where anyone can publish real-time sensor data. Think of it as Twitter for sensors. You can publish a stream of data from virtually any source to the company’s computer servers—or subscribe to streams of data coming from others, using it for your own research, gadget, or online app.

You can publish private feeds of data as well, but the company’s larger goal is to cultivate of a huge repository of open information. “We believe that public data should be shared,” Stanton says, “especially public data that has been paid for by governments and applies to many people. So what we want to do is give the use of data.”

As environmental sensors and other “Internet of Things” devices creep into the mainstream—including web-connected cars, fitness trackers, and home automation systems—we can also benefit from the vast amounts of new data generated by these devices, using it to hone the operation of the devices themselves, feed new research, and create entirely new devices and applications. OpenSensor is just one project aiming to make this happen.
Several others, including the open source project Dat, Octoblue (formerly known as SkyNet), and Zetta, are working to share data between these devices, but OpenSensor is little different. It’s trying to create a central place for all devices to exchange data.

The Challenge
Stanton started building about a year ago while working as an independent software developer and consultant. She had a client that was developing a sensor system that senior citizens could run in their homes to help monitor their wellbeing. The client needed a system for processing all that sensor data.

The challenge wasn’t finding a way to store or even analyze the sensor data. It was in trying to route these streams of data to the correct location. Let’s say you want to have a system that monitors motion detectors in a house and calls 911 if there hasn’t been any movement over a set period of time. You need a way of sending that motion detector data to the right place.

What Stanton and co-founder Malcolm Sparks built is essentially a hub for data. Devices “publish” their data to the central hub using a standard Internet of Things protocol called MQTT, and then it routes all of that data to those who have “subscribed” to it. Realizing they had built something valuable, they decided to start a company around the product.

‘Not Just Some Startup’
All of the software they’ve built is open source, so you can run it on your own servers if you want if you don’t want to share your data with the world. You can also pay for a private account on the service, which, along with building custom sensor networks, is how makes money.

The platform is already being used for a wide range of purposes, from individuals sharing their energy usage patterns to Oxford Flood Network sharing information on the water levels of rivers around the area. But the company’s biggest project so far is a collaboration with 12 cities across the UK to publish parking data in real-time.

And the company is just getting started. joined the Open Data Institute in London’s startup incubator earlier this year. “It seemed like a good fit,” Stanton says. “And it gave us access to government agencies. Now we’re not just some startup; we have the backing of a larger organization.”
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