IoT Thunderdome [Intro]

The third industrial revolution (1,2,3) follows closely with the evolution of the internet itself.  The internet grew up to be Web 2.0.  Maybe we can call it the ‘teenage’ internet as it is more social, and at times a bit awkward as it tries to break free from the user interface paradigms cemented in the 1980’s.  More importantly the evolutions in internet technology have fostered a culture of information sharing that has aided in the advancement of technology.  The innovations of today and of tomorrow are coming directly from the users, the source of the ‘need.’  One prevalent trend is to have our devices also join in on the social orgy of the internet.  Thus is born The Internet of Things and perhaps the real Web 3.0.

In its current form, the Internet of Things is a loosely described term.  Devices talking to each other, uniquely identifiable, event-driven.  But devices have been talking to each other for decades!  While this might be true, this device to device communication was limited to devices which enabled communications technology.  Now, with some very low cost hardware, anything can be connected.  Here is the definition from The Internet of Things Council:

The Internet of Things is a vision. It is being built today. The stakeholders are known, the debate has yet to start. In hundreds of years our real needs have not changed. We want to be loved, feel safe, have fun, be relevant in work and friendship, be able to support our families and somehow play a role – however small – in the larger scheme of things. So what will really happen when things, homes and cities become smart? The result will probably be an tsunami of what at first looks like very small steps, small changes. Council is a think tank that advises corporations, public organizations, individuals and institutions on how to manage and facilitate the changes that the Internet of Things will bring. The purpose of Council is to forecast what will happen when smart objects surround us in smart homes, offces[sic], streets, and cities. Forecast… and build.

These connections are made more useful through the ability to understand the device’s behavior over time.  There are several frameworks which make this a lot easier for us.  The first kid on the block was Pachube (now Cosm).

My console in Cosm.

Pachube was born from the mind of Usman Haque, an architect, designer, entrepreneur who wanted a more robust method of tracking what was going on with his interactive installations  once he had set them up and left them running in some part of the world.  Pachube went through several evolutions, including some pricing schemes, until it was eventually purchased by LogMeIn.  Rebranded and reworked, the platform is now called Cosm.  Cosm is more social than Pachube in that you can easily subscribe to other feeds and keep track of everything through your personalized Console.

Now there are several alternatives to Cosm.  One could say that it is a wild west situation at the moment with new frameworks popping up almost monthly.  Data is valuable, so it is not a surprise others would want to try and corral it for their own purposes.  In the coming weeks I will review the currently available IoT platforms and attempt to put them each in perspective.  The following services will be looked at (if you have others to try, please add them in the comments):

I will be evaluating each in its post and then will do a comparison between them to see which one would be appropriate and under which circumstances.  Are there serious differences between these services, or are they all redundant, just trying to catch our data?



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