Stormwater Management and Why it’s Big for the Internet of Things

ioBridge and one of our partners Geosyntec has had a lot of buzz lately.  Geosyntec has been using ioBridge’s “Internet of Things” platform of hardware and software to solve BIG problems in the area of stormwater and rain water management.

The article in Scientific American and Fast Company titled How the “Internet of Things” Is Turning Cities Into Living Organism talks about how this solution is a great example of using “Internet of Things” to immediately affect the environments we live in. I especially enjoyed the analogy of the sensors in the city being the “virtual nervous system”.

“By using the Internet to connect real-world sensors and control mechanisms to cloud-based control systems that can pull in streams from any other data source, including weather reports, these efforts enable conservation and money-saving measures that would have been impossible without this virtual nervous system.”

(Even Chris Anderson of Wired / The Long Tail gave this definition of the Internet of Things a ringing endorsement.)

Why this is BIG for the Internet of Things

I feel like this is all just the tip of the iceberg for the “Internet of Things”.  Solving problems like stormwater management are proving that the “Internet of Things” has a big part in solving real world problems, not just tweeting toasters.

Here’s a recipe:

1) Existing data / trends / models (i.e. weather, tides, sunlight)

2) Real time data (i.e. temperature, pressure, humidity, light)

3) “Things” that need to be controlled (i.e. fans, valves, motors)

4) Platforms for the “Internet of Things” (like what ioBridge makes)

Take a few parts real-time data analysis with existing data / trends / model, decide how and when the things that need to be controlled should function, then mix moderately with a platform for the “Internet of Things”.  What can it be used for?  This recipe goes well with agriculture, infrastructure, energy, water…   In the end you’ll have a way to solve many large real-time problems.

As you can see, most of the components 1-3 have already existed for years.  It is the recent emergence of platforms for the “Internet of Things” that provides that last mile to connect it all together and makes  automatically solving real problems in real-time a reality.

Yeah… It’s kind of a big deal.

[via Scientific American / Fast Company / Wall Street Journal ]

CheerLights: a social network of lights

It’s that time of year to spread some cheer and strengthen our connections. We are all connected on this little planet and our latest projects hopes to prove this. ioBridge introduces  CheerLights - a social network of lights that stay in sync with the rest of the lights linked to a messages from social networks. It’s kind of like following a trending topic on Twitter but with physical objects.

Here is a video introduction to CheerLights:

To join the CheerLights project all you have to is build a controller that subscribes to the “cheerlights” keyword, receives the latest color command, and sets the color on your lights. So, when you see the color change know that the color it is now changing all across the world. Instructions on how to build your own physical controller are based around GE G-35 Color Effects Lights and the ioBridge IO-204, ConnectPort X2, or Arduino Ethernet.

The last color processed by CheerLights is accessed through the CheerLights Channel hosted on ThingSpeak. With that data you could this a lot further and build all sorts of applications that read in that color value and do something with it. Your application could be an Android widget that shows the latest color, a set of Christmas lights, ambient orb, or dynamically setting the background color of a website.

ioBridge has been working on a way to distribute a command from a social network and distribute to thousands of end points in real-time – a many to many issue. The technology behind CheerLights paves the way for an alert system that could cascade across the globe.

[via CheerLights.com]

Successful Internet of Things DCWEEK Workshop

First I’d like to give a thank you to all the attendees of ioBridge’s DCWEEK Internet of Things Workshop.  It was a great turnout even though it was one of the last events of a long week.

We accomplished all of our goals:

  1. Explain to people what the “Internet of Things” is
  2. Have everyone realize where it is in their everyday lives
  3. Understand just how BIG it is going to be
  4. Get people to experiment first hand with IoT
  5. Get involved with the Washington, DC tech scene and contribute to DCWEEK 2011
  6. Get people giddy like school children when they are controlling their own “Things” on the Internet!

All the attendees were very involved in the presentation.  It was great to see the wheels start to turn as they learned about basic digital and analog inputs/outputs.  Once they understood those concepts they started to see how seemingly complex devices like a touch screen could be broken down in to it’s basic inputs and outputs.

The hands on part of the workshop was very rewarding and we thought everyone had a lot of fun.  We brought ioBridge Dev Kits that include IO-204 and multiple buzzers, temperature sensors, buttons, servo motors and LCD screens for the attendees to play with.  Four separate groups got to go through the module setup process and begin interacting with their items through the Internet.  Once they got that down, it started to get a little creative.

One group used a combination of the temperature sensor and the buzzer to have a buzzer go off when a certain temperature was reached.  They monitored all the inputs and outputs right from the Internet.  Another group took it a step further and had their IO-204 tweet once a certain temperature was reached.  Once they got that down, they used a simple button to trigger a tweet.  Sort of like a motion detector tweeting when someone came into a room.

Here are some of the photos of everyone in action:


‘Building an Internet of Things’ on The Peggy Smedley Show

As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Hans Scharler co-founder of ioBridge was a guest on The Peggy Smedley Show. The shows was broadcast live on wsRADIO and now available as an MP3 download, so everyone can hear the interview and the rest of the radio show. Hans thanks the amazing ioBridge customers that have invested in us since the beginning and allowed us to create our own vision, our vision of a connected world.

Here are the episode links:

11/1/11 — Episode 163 — The Peggy Smedley Show

The Peggy Smedley Show, Connected World Podcast

Where do you get the latest news for M2M applications and connected devices? The Peggy Smedley Show from Connected World Magazine is where we get ours. We are honored to announce that Hans Scharler of ioBridge will be a guest on the The Peggy Smedley show on Tuesday, November 1 at 1pm EST. After the podcast airs, the episode will be available for download from The Peggy Smedley Show archives (Episode 162).

The Peggy Smedley Show, M2M Podcast

About The Peggy Smedley Show

The Peggy Smedley Show, the voice of M2M and connected devices, is an informative, yet fun, talk show hosted by Peggy Smedley, president of Specialty Publishing Co. The show broadcasts live for one hour each Tuesday at 12 noon CT. The Peggy Smedley Show features discussions with top newsmakers and technology companies, as well as in-depth analysis of the week’s biggest connected devices stories and trends.