“…Connected devices are just beginning to slip into homes, from smart thermostats to apps that unlock your door without a key…as the internet of things is poised to remake our homes and offices, it’s facing perhaps its most critical test: adoption by the average consumer. The intelligent future promised by entrepreneurs won’t catch on if those devices can’t connect to each other automatically, lack intuitive programmability, or aren’t appealing designed. If they fail at any one of these, automating our homes may be more trouble than its worth.“
I argue that this intelligent future won’t arrive as some brave new world of scary robots, descending on us en masse. And you certainly won’t bring it all home in one bag.
“The best, easiest-to-use smart objects will likely look no different than devices we use today, Faludi points out. “A big chunk of this will just be baked into things that we buy,” he says. “You won’t buy an ‘internet of things.’“
The new XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit won an Editor’s Choice award at Maker Faire NYC! My team at Digi International has been hard at work all summer bringing together this modular kit to help users create XBee Wi-Fi connected devices for the Internet of Things. There’s a development board with all kinds of input and output components plus modular widgets to make building online web interfaces for seeing data and controlling devices a snap. The kit gets online right out of the box, and contains additional loose components to help you create your own circuits and wire them to the web. Look for an XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit release in November.
Get a sneak peek of the brand new version of Digi’s XCTU for Mac & Windows! It’s the official tool to configure and test XBee radios, as well as other Digi devices. Get the New XCTU beta version below, completely redesigned from the ground up with:
a fresh new user interface
expanded discovery options
automatic device recovery feature
local and remote radio management
API frame generator and interpreter
automatic updates with more features on the way!
Check out these screen shots for a sneak peek. Then download the new XCTU 18.104.22.168 beta:
World Maker Faire NY is less than a week away! We’ll have project demos for you to check out, a new development kit, and we’ll be giving a talk on connecting your projects to the Internet. It’s going to be an extremely fun weekend. If you’re going to Maker Faire, be sure to stop by the Digi booth where we will be debuting our XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit. The Kit makes Internet-enabling your project easy. Maker Faire attendees also have a chance to sign up for the beta version of Digi’s new XCTU software.
Digi’s Liz Presson and I will be presenting September 22, 2013 at 12:00p.m. EST on the Electronics Stage. We’ll show you how an Internet connection can improve your project and turn it into something amazing. This will be a great first step to getting your projects online. Everything from how to get started, what technologies to use and examples of great internet enabled projects will be covered.
Travis Good just wrote a nice MAKE post on my “Liking the Guest” talk from Make Media’s Hardware Innovation Workshop last month. In it I make the point that caring about the people who use your product is a basic interaction design principle, in the same way that white space and alignment are principles for graphic design. In our everyday lives, when we like someone, we cooperate. When you like your users, you travel together with them towards a common goal. John Hench, who helped design Disneyland said, ”Liking the guests is key to everything we do.” I think it’s also a key part of the maker movement. Liking our users helps us create the things that matter, not just usability but also the crafting little details, telling big stories, designing engaging experiences and above all tolerating the errors that are part of being human. Read more about Liking the Guest on the Make Blog.
This week we are taking part in deploying over 500 sensor motes at Google’s developer conference, Google I/O, May 15-17. The network will make up the Data Sensing Lab, a project that utilizes Digi’s XBee ZigBee modules and ConnectPort wireless gateways. The sensor data will be collected and managed by Device Cloud. The project demonstrates how real-time machine-to-machine data can provide insight into customer behaviors and preferences.
The senor network will provide more than 4,000 data streams running over Device Cloud with continuous updates on temperature, pressure, light, air quality, motion and noise levels in San Francisco’s Moscone Center during the conference. The Google Cloud Platform team will gather, transform, and analyze the information, then share heat maps and other data visualizations in collaboration with the Google Maps team.
Google is getting a global view of their entire multi-million dollar event, as it plays out in real time. They’re learning where people are going and when, how loud the applause is for each presentation, where it’s figuratively hot and where it’s literally cool. But they’re also learning how easy it is to integrate Device Cloud’s APIs with their own cloud-based business systems. Google and Digi collaborated to create a complete end-to-end solution in just a few weeks, one that’s ready to hand us 40 million fascinating data points.”
Another great article called Gadgets to Help Tend a Garden in The New York Times today. Roxie Hammill and Mike Hendricks review a variety of technology solutions for home gardening, including our own:
Botanicalls, a collaboration among artists and technologists, has designed a do-it-yourself kit with a sensor that goes into the dirt to measure moisture. When it gets too dry, the plant posts, “Water me please.” And it will send out a polite thank you when you respond.
“We didn’t want it to be like that person who only calls when he wants something,” said Robert Faludi, a professor at the School of Visual Arts in New York and in the Interactive Telecommunications program at New York University. The kit is for sale at botanicalls.com/buy/ for $100.
The goal was to encourage a happy relationship between plants and people. “A lot of people are afraid of plants. They’re afraid whatever they do the plant is going to die. This makes it possible for them to have a plant in their lives where they might not otherwise,” Mr. Faludi said.
I spoke live with Mac Slocum at O’Reilly’s Strata Big Data conference about Digi International’s involvement in the Data Sensing Lab here, as well as the future of M2M and the Internet of Things-what I’m hoping will be an Internet of Things People Want. Our part in the lab was to assemble a network of 40 XBee ZigBee radio sensor nodes running Arduino, gateway their data via a ConnectPort X2e running the XBee Internet Gateway and post everything to the iDigi Device Cloud where it could be passed off via Amazon Web Services to a team of visualization experts for analysis. Here’s the interview:
Tim Queenan, Director of Strategy, Google Creative Lab.
Rachel Ramoni, Executive Director, SMART, Harvard Medical School.
Jacob Styburski, VP Customer Experience, Enterprise Growth, American Express.
…and me: Rob Faludi, Collaborative Strategy Leader, R&D, Digi International!
Some of the key themes that overlapped in both groups:
The Internet of Things is here, and will become more ubiquitous and invisible.
Good service design will continue to humanize the technology and the data around us, making its complexity disappear into the background.
Given that, our panelists agreed that it’s high time to kill the term “Internet of Things.” What’s important is to create an “Internet of Things People Want,” that should eventually evolve into the “Internet of Things People Expect.”
To make this a reality, designers must create a shared language that allows for collaboration across the companies, industries, and individuals creating the services of tomorrow.
We had fun and great food. Here’s some more pictures and more about the event.
The BBC News interviewed me live, explaining the Digi technology behind YesYesNo’s Connecting Light art installation for London Festival 2012′s Cultural Olympiad. We’re on the edge of a craggy cliff about halfway along the installation of 400 huge interactive weather balloons that are illuminated in different colors by text messages sent from people around the world. I’m explaining how Programmable XBees and the iDigi Device Cloud make that possible. And although you don’t see them in the live shot, we are entirely surrounded by sheep: