The Social Graph + The Internet of Things

As I get ready for the Pittsburgh Maker Faire, I have been thinking about the intersection of social and objects, and just how I fit into the middle of things. As time goes on we are leaving little trails of data on social networks. Our things are becoming connected and aware of their location and environment and reporting that data to the cloud. This data will get more interesting over time. These thoughts have been lingering for quite a while as for some reason I connected my toaster to Twitter and built interactive lights that link together over social networks. My latest inspiration comes from the Social Graph and the Graph API released by Facebook.

social graph and interent_of_things

What I have created is a socially aware Elmo toy. Instead of tickling Elmo, you Twitter him or Like his Facebook page to get him going. Interestingly enough, Elmo has over 3.6 million likes on Facebook. And, he gets a few likes every minute (trust me I have been tracking him for weeks). The experiment that we are running is what will happen at the Maker Faire. We have written a plugin for ioBridge that is tuned into things, location, and the social graph using Facebook’s API. We are excited to see what will happen at the Maker Faire when makers from all over Pittsburgh come together with their location-aware devices and Facebook accounts. Visitors to the ioBridge demo area will be able to Like Elmo via a QR code. If the graph of you, us, Elmo, the location, and/or your friends all line up, Elmo will get activated in real-time. Elmo has an infectious laugh and we’ve got hear him start singing quite a few times this week.

As our things generate more data, we hope to keep pushing the limits and find meaning. Connections are forming and how we find about what are things know, “who is at the house,” and “if my basement is flooded” will be told to us like other info that we find out about our friends on the Twitter stream or the Facebook news feed or our Google Circles. In fact our friends on our graph may find out before we do.

ioBridge Provides Web Connectivity Technology and Cloud Services for Pool Control Systems

If you happened to be at the Orlando Pool and Spa Show 2012 last week, you might have noticed all of the buzz around a new product from Zodiac Pool Systems called iAquaLink. Every aspect of managing a pool and spa is possible with iAquaLink by allowing for control from an iPhone, Android device, and any web browser. Users are now able to get the spa ready before leaving work, schedule cleanings, monitor pH, set the solar heater, etc. Pool and spa installers are also able to remotely maintain a user’s pool and provide new services.

Access to iAquaLink on any Device

Here’s a quick video introduction linked by Carecraft pool builders and retailers:

Zodiac contacted us about creating a remote monitoring and control device for their pool and spa control systems. We worked with their engineering and marketing team to create a new product that incorporates Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB, and RS-485 connectivity. We also extended our web services, created an API, and provided a streaming interface to monitor and control over 100k pool and spa systems efficiently. All of our combined efforts resulted in a highly secure, real-time, connected product that is targeted to pool professionals and consumers.

iAquaLink System Overview

The pool and spa industry is highly competitive. By adding Internet-connectivity and many new features, companies like Zodiac are able to maintain their competitive edge. “It’s critically important to Zodiac and our Jandy Controls business to maintain our reputation for highly dependable, intuitive pool and spa automation,” said David Goldman, Director of Product Development at Zodiac. “We’re delighted to raise the bar yet again by incorporating ioBridge’s technology.”

And, we are thrilled as well to be working with innovative partners like Zodiac. We have many other projects like this going on under the hood and we love being able to share this one with you.

“We are extremely proud to have been chosen by Zodiac to provide connectivity technology for their new iAquaLink intelligent pool control system,” said Dr. Robert Mawrey, CEO of ioBridge. “The flexibility and accessibility of the ioBridge platform allows companies to enhance the value of their products. We believe that the iAquaLink is a wonderful example of an Internet-enabled product and that it provides a competitive edge that sets Zodiac apart from other pool and spa control system providers.”

Visit for more applications and information on how ioBridge works with manufactures such as Zodiac.

[via ioBridge Press Release]

Voice Activated Home Automation with Siri and ioBridge

[mark] tweeted about his “Voice Activated Home Automation” system that uses Siri on the iPhone sending commands to the ioBridge X10 controller.

If you say, “Siri I’m cold”, the iPhone sends a command to the ioBridge API to turn on the furnace. Siri warmly replies, “Lighting the fire place, this is cozy.” What is really neat is how the interface is voice commands, but the language is natural.

Here are some other home automation commands demonstrated in the video:

  • Siri turn on the Christmas lights
  • Siri turn on the living room lamp
  • Siri turn off everything

Markt makes use of SiriProxy to intercept commands spoken at Siri and reroute them to the ioBridge API to control the X10 widgets connected to the ioBridge IO-204. For more information about the project, visit Mark’s blog for a detailed description and things that you need to make your own voice activated home automation system.


Breast Milk Storage, Real-time Freezer Monitoring

ioBridge team member, Josh, and his wife recently celebrated the birth of a baby… congrats! After a few months of settling into the sleep patterns and the whims of their bundle of joy, Josh came up with the idea to put ioBridge to work to solve a basic need for the family. They wanted to preserve breast milk in the freezer. With some research, they found that breast milk has precise temperature requirements for long-term storage.

Josh had some clear goals to ensure that the breast milk was stored properly:

  1. Know the real-time temperature of the freezer
  2. Send alerts if temperatures get too warm
  3. Monitor the state of power at our home
  4. Send alerts if power is out

Breast Milk Freezer Monitor with ioBridge

In this case, adding some remote monitoring smarts to the otherwise “dumb” freezer, is the perfect solution. Josh ran a temperature probe into the freezer and connected it to a channel on the ioBridge Io-204 web gateway. On, he created a data log to monitor the temperature of the freezer and set an email alert for the temperature required to store breast milk for an extended period of time. Josh also connected the Io-204 to the same power source as the freezer, so that if power was lost to the freezer it would also be lost the IO-204. ioBridge tracks whether these devices are connected, so that you can monitor their Online / Offline status. Josh cleverly connected an API call to the device to a site monitoring service and now is able to monitor the up time of his freezer just like monitoring the up time of a server.

The Internet of Things is in its infancy, but it can be very practical despite the recent articles referring to the number of devices to impress upon us just the sheer volume. To us it’s all about finding useful applications and introducing them to consumers to find our early majority product and service. We believe in and see a connected future, but we want it to be so useful that people don’t have to think about the technology. Like when you are using an iPad, are you concerned over capacitive touch technology or that it’s really easy to play games? Maybe by the time Josh’s baby grows up and enters college, the Internet of Things will be as common place and transparent as indoor plumbing.

Check out Josh’s blog for more details on setting up his breast milk monitoring system using ioBridge and a bonus project on using the Edimax Nanorouter to add Wi-Fi to the ioBridge IO-204 Monitor and Control Module.


HomeWatch iPhone App includes ioBridge Controls

Developers at SunshineApps have included monitor and control support for the ioBridge IO-204 in their updated app, HomeWatch. This app is designed to interface with many types of home automation gear, power monitors, and webcams.  HomeWatch supports ioBridge IO-204 widgets for sensor monitoring and X10 controls; Y-Cam, Axis 207 and Foscam Camera viewing; and TED 5000 power monitoring.

HomeWatch is available in the Apple App Store for the iPhone and iPad devices.

Here is a YouTube video of the HomeWatch App in action: