IoT Thunderdome [Paraimpu 1]

Following yesterday’s post regarding the platforms / services which enable some basic IoT functionality, lets take a look at the first candidate: Paraimpu.  In this post I will cover the general information behind the service, the registration process, and the basic functionality that we are presented once we login.

1. Introduction

From the site:

Paraimpu is a social tool with the aim to allow people to connect, use, share and compose Things, Services and Devices to create personalized applications in the Web of Things

Right away we see a slight distinction in the nomenclature from ‘Internet of Things’ to ‘Web of Things.’  On the site this is described further:

The Web of Things is more than Things in the Web

We believe the Web of Things is more than uncorrelated objects connected to the Web.
We firmly believe that connecting and inter-connecting physical and virtual objects and realizing true hybrid physical-virtual mashups must become simple, also for the non-geek part of the world.

Ok, so the stance is clear.  So, who is behind Paraimpu?  Well, just by snipping off the url a bit, we get to CRS4:

CRS4 is an interdisciplinary research center promoting the study, development and application of innovative solutions to problems stemming from natural, social and industrial environments.

Further on we see:

Established in 1990, CRS4 is located within Science and Technology Park (Polaris), a point of attraction for high-tech research 40 km from Cagliari.

So, they are based in the south of the island of Sardegna, Italy.  The technology park itself (Polaris) is part of a larger organization called Sardegna Ricerche which partners with public and private entities, including the government of Sardegna.

Let’s move on to registration and login.

2. Registration / Login

Paraimpu is currently in Alpha mode, meaning they are filtering requests in order to have a strong base of contributors.  To access the Alpha User request form, you must first sign in with your Twitter credentials.  Once you do this you will get the Alpha User Account Request form which asks you to provide your name and email, as well as accept the terms and conditions of the site and the privacy policy.  One thing I noticed in the general terms and conditions is:

Having regard to artt. 1341 – 1342 of Italian civil code, you expressly declare to have read, understood and approved art. 2, paragraph 1 and 2; art. 3, paragraph 1, 2 and 3; art. 4.

Paraimpu does not expressly provide a link to this, so it is up to the potential user to seek out the information and decide whether they agree to it or not.

After going through theAlpha Request, I receive an email a few minutes later confirming that my request has been granted and that I can now login with my Twitter account credentials.  Before I logged in again, I was asked to confirm, again, that I accepted all of the terms and conditions as well as the privacy policy.

3. Getting Started

Once logged in and accepting that I had read some serious Italian Civil Code, I am welcomed by the main page which already shows me my other twitter friends who are also in the Paraimpu system.  In this case the two guys listed on the left I quite respect, so, so far so good.  This main page is referred to as the Paraimpu Workspace.  For those looking to quickly start things up, take a look at the getting started tutorial.

I checked out what my friends had to offer, but they had few sensors online.  So, let me try something basic.

I set up a twitter sensor to look for#Roja which is the nickname of the Spanish National football tam currently competing in the Eurocup 2012.  I set up an actuator to send me a tweet if anyone used the hashtag.  Soon enough I was receiving tweets like this one:

{“text”: “stavo morendo ieri sera ai rigori #roja.\u2665″, “created_at”: “Thu, 28 Jun 2012 08:10:13 +0000”, “user”: “shelovescesc @paraimpu

(by the way, I share the sentiments in the tweet!)

4. First Impressions

So far it has been an easy setup.  The sensor / actuator / connection paradigm is pretty straightforward to follow.  I feel there are some overly complicated ways to interface with the data, but for now they were easy to learn and everything is well documented.  I will take a look at connecting physical devices to the platform in an upcoming post .  To do so requires some python modules in order to properly talk over serial.



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