Lhings – The Social Cloud for Your Things

Do you have Internet-connected devices? Probably the answer is yes, and the device you are using to read this blog is one of them. Sooner or later there will be more devices on your list, and they could range from your alarm clock to your car. But now the question is, could they talk, share control and interact among themselves? And this time, the answer is no. A good analysis of this worrisome perspective on the future of the Internet of Things is expressed by Liat Ben-Zur in her article Connecting Things to the Internet Does Not an Internet of Things Make. Here she highlights her concern that we are overlooking a basic fact in a field that is emerging so rapidly:

“Simply it is not scalable to provide a particular cloud service for each device”.

In this context, Lhings offers a flexible and scalable cloud platform designed to connect heterogeneous devices and let them discover, connect and talk among themselves, while their owners control and orchestrate their actions through a web-based user interface.

In general, Lhings emphasizes three features in its design:

Interoperability: the ability for devices from different types and brands, even those you make yourself, to communicate among them; all of them in a secure cloud.

Openness: the next killer IoT application is about to come, and it could be yours! Lhings promotes this creativity and provides tools (APIs, code and examples), so you can leverage device information and offer new and useful services.

Social Interaction: when devices from different users communicate among themselves, they are probably notifying events or sharing control. This is the contextual intelligence which the Internet of Things relies on, and where a significant amount of innovative services will appear in the near future.

Lhings is not only a very promising, innovative project, but also a platform in a very advanced stage about to release its private Beta version. It has taken a while to get to this stage. Apart from technical complexities, there were concepts that had to be validated, firstly by those who we consider the core promoters of the Internet of Things, the makers and developers, and secondly by industry and technology experts.  Last year’s participation at StrataConf London and LeWeb Paris 2012 was a turning point that confirmed our work and ideas. Please watch our presentation:

If we had to say what our biggest technical challenge has been so far, we would say it was retaining the commonly-used networking infrastructure and communication protocols, while making a flexible and interoperable platform. The next biggest challenge, was, of course, keeping these technical issues invisible to users.

Would you like your car and your garage door opener to communicate so the door is open when you arrive? Would you like your room lamps to turn on when your friend’s alarm clock rings? Would you like to make a device that publishes seismic alerts in your neighborhood so anybody or any Thing interested is informed? These are some ideas that can be carried out with Lhings; we bet you have lots of them.

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