Lhings was present at the IoT Event held at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven. As event partners, we presented a preview of our forthcoming Beta version, as well as a demo which allowed visitors to control and orchestrate actions of a set of inter-connected devices. It was a successful experience where visitors to our booth had the chance to interact and have fun.
In general, this demo presented simple examples which made use of the basic features of Lhings. Visitors could change colors of Hue light bulbs from Philips whenever they squeezed one of the Spöka lamps from Ikea, and at the same time trigger events to the WeMo Switch from Belkin to turn on a fan. What happened was up to each visitor, who could use Lhings to initiate a different series of interactions among the interconnected devices each time.
The IoT Event was a great experience that allowed meet enthusiastic passionate people like us interested in the Internet of Things, as well as companies working hard to create innovative services.
We would like to say thanks to everyone who visited our booth and had fun with our demo. We had a great time!
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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The Internet of Things is growing faster and faster. Inherently, it represents innovation. It is considered one of the top technologies with the potential of generating worldwide impact. New projects and prototypes are appearing constantly and well-known stores are starting to showcase Internet-connected products for consumers.
Although this seems to be a breakthrough technology, it is important to notice that connected devices and smart services are not new. There are many companies which have provided connectivity services to industry for years. Remote monitoring and maintenance are two applications that product manufacturers and consulting companies have focused their attention and knowledge.
At this point, however, the continued growth and popularity of the Internet of Things is less from high-tech advances and more due to the ease with which anyone can develop, build and use innovative applications and services. The appeal to end-users who don’t have deep technical knowledge is what makes the Internet of Things special and different. It breaks down barriers and, consequently, increases the number and utility of services.
Our vision is therefore focused in that direction. Lhings is the platform that will let you build and enjoy new Internet of Things applications, particularly those that connect devices and establish relationships among them “easily”.
A good example to our vision is presented in the video posted below from Ericsson Labs. More details about Lhings coming soon!