The Internet of Somethings

A new consortium has been set up today:


The current members are:

  • Atmel
  • Broadcom
  • Dell
  • Intel
  • Samsung
  • Wind River

(We couldn’t help but notice that it shares its initials with amongst others The Organization of Islamic Cooperation and The Orkney Islands Council!)

Even we noticed names NOT present ranging from A through Z.

At least some of these are amongst the claimed 50 members of the competing AllSeen Alliance  who count the following majors amongst their number:

  • Cisco
  • HTC
  • LG
  • Microsoft
  • Panasonic
  • Qualcomm
  • Semantec

We wonder if a third consortium/alliance including the likes of Apple and Google may appear in due course – we have our doubts!

Almost time for Google I/O 2014

The two day event starts later today at 5pm BST with the Conference Keynote and you can follow much of it live.

Possible features of the event commentators think might be:

  • Wearables
  • Glass
  • The Internet of Things
  • Updated Nexus tablet(s)
  • Android TV
  • Updated Android operating system release – what follows Kit Kat ? an unsponsored L with Lollipop favoured over Latte or Liquorice!
  • The Cloud
  • Apps, apps & more apps

Here’s an explanation of “the experiment”  by Ben Purdy  and we’ll leave you with his video.



And Now the SmartThings Home of the Future

Our favourite Internet of things (IOT) company has set up a rather impressive “home” in Las Vegas as part of their 2014 presences at CES 2014 which officially got underway yesterday.

Here’s a, sort of, taster video from cnet

There’s a more comprehensive one over at Tech Crunch  and on the SmartThings Blog courtesy of Bloomberg

The SmartThings site gives even more details..Here’s their promo video

We were original Kickstarter investors and despite some delays are expecting our hub sensors etc this quarter and will report back in due course.

Thinking a little further ahead the future could be amazing in 5-10 years time with automatic reordering of food delivered by Octocopters to your self opening cool box etc etc

The Living Room Reinvented – the New Home Technology Hub

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Microsoft Advertising UK have just carried out some ethnographic research amongst UK families which led to the following headline “…1 in 3 UK families use tech to communicate within the home”

Well actually a rather impressive agency (Sparkler) surveyed 1,500+ families living in London Manchester & Birmingham and got some quite interesting results particularly on the family front we thought.

Initially the predictable logistics, but bear in mind the somewhat unusual family angle:

The With

The average homes has 10 connectable devices of which 6 connect to the internet

Percentage households with these devices, laptop – 89%, feature – 60% / smart – 74% phones, hand held – 26% / static – 63% consoles, tablet – 52%, MP3 player – 39%, e-reader -31%, set top box – 40% and  connected TV – 25%),

We think Laptops probably includes PC’s and the feature phone % surprised us effectively it’s the fourth  most popular device!

Not disclosed which would have been really interesting were the multiples. We guess in an average home with 2 parents and 2.4 children over 10 years old, smartphones would head the list followed by MP3 players, consoles, e-readers and tablets. Set top boxes we would add as an outsider. We’re sure they will increase as prices reduce eg the sky Now box is only £10.99!

The Where

Percentage of “technology related experiences” (Whew!) happening in the living room – 44%, bedrooms – 24% kitchen – 16% study – 15%.

Communication flow is sort of between all the rooms, no mention of the bathroom / which is again an omission we thought!


1 in 3 families use their devices to communicate inside their homes.

 The families who use texts /IM – 53% , and on connected devices families/children, texting & IM 17%/53%, Social networks – 19%/31%, and  video chats 9%/16%.

SS (second screening)

75% of families use it. 69% on tablets and smartphones, 63% on laptops. Pity no tablet smartphone split is mentioned. Demographics – Kids 80% youngter family 76% older family 73% transitional family 68%.

Good work by the Microsoft Advertising crew although  a little more disclosure would have impressed us even more!

We can’t help mentioning the rather impressive, sort of interactive 3D home page of the agency involved Sparkler.

Well worth a look – simply hover (flash required) or simply watch their logo transition!

We’ll leave you with Microsofts video.

The Internet of SmartThings

Interesting project, we think, over on Kickstarter for a multi purpose hub with, already numerous monitors and several apps. Its open source as well. It’s called SmartThings (Kickstarter project link ) and they appear to be part of Physical Graph Corporation. They have the domain which we guess it acquired as it has been around since 2003.

They even have a monitor for your dog/pet (in its collar) which tells you when he leaves the back yard!

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They have generally had some good coverage eg from:



Here are their plans for international backers and the rewards on offer:

“We are targeting Q1 2013. To achieve that, we are in the process of researching compliance and certification requirements for international markets. We’re also looking into logistics and shipping. We can’t currently commit to a delivery date for international backers, but will be working diligently to fulfill international interest. We will work hard to minimize international shipping costs. If the cost ends up being more than you expected, or we cannot support your specific voltage needs, you will have an opportunity to cancel your pledge. If you want to hold off backing at the SmartThings Pack level, we’d love for you to back us at a Friend level to get priority access to SmartThings Packs when ready for your country and to help us get there as quickly as possible”.

Take a look at the video and you have until the beginning of the fall (September 22) to get involved over at Kickstarter. We are impressed  particularly as they are pursuing a path which we thought (ie a multi purpose/universal hub) was the way forward!


Update – You can follow the project and several of the founders/team on twitter:

and on Linkedin:

Click on the Gas

British Gas have just announced the forthcoming introduction of their (not terribly impressively named) Remote Heating Control system.

As with your AGA you can now control your home heating from anywhere in the world!

The set up is a hub (mains connection required) hard wired to your existing broadband connection a thermostat and a boiler receiver.

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Then of course there’s the inevitable app (iOS & Android).






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On the system dashboard you then “programme” your system to suit your needs and you can of course override this at any time. It also (from your postcode details) accesses local weather information. The system has been developed in conjunction with AlertMe.

Simple (weekday & weekend) schedules or advanced (daily) can be set up. It won’t let your house freeze either.

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Cost wise it looks as if it’s a one off £199 if you’re a customer & have an appropriate boiler.

Most details are on the Remote Heating Control section of their site. Their sticker price of £149 applies if you buy a new Central Heating System from them at the same time hmmmmm! It’s in the small print at the bottom!



“[1] Our prices for Remote Heating Control are:

  • £199 for those customers with existing British Gas Energy or British Gas Services accounts.
  • £229 for customers who are new to British Gas. Please call the number above (0800 975 8100) for more information.
  • A price of £149 is available when Remote Heating Control is installed as part of a new Central Heating Installation from British Gas.

They claim it could save you up to £140 per annum.

The introduction has been generally welcomed by “Energy savers” with USwitch for example saying “This innovative tool provides them with the means to make substantial savings and will suit those who live a particularly hectic lifestyle” but they have some reservations “However, with a hefty installation fee – £199 for customers not getting a new boiler fitted – it’s not going to pay for itself for over a year so people need to be sure that they will engage with the new system before stumping up the cost. It will also only suit those with a mobile phone or computer and it won’t be of benefit to those who are planning to move house in the next year as it will remain fixed to a household boiler.”

As far as we’re concerned it looks sensible & not unreasonably priced although we are not looking forward to having a separate hub for every controllable device in the home – universal hub required – maybe AlertMe have one!

The system was of course trialed & here’s a rather informative (and amusing) video from a trialer WDINT – (Why do I need that)!


If you prefer the blander British Gas promo video here you are!

How smart is your home?

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Well to qualify as “smart”  Juniper research in their recent white paper Smart Home – Connected Life pdf reckon it needs “ … the following elements:

To us the main prerequisite for a smart home is on the connected infotainment side. This is largely born out by Junipers research which on their segmentation of Entertainment, Computing, Monitoring & control, and Health predicts that the Entertainment share of the  worldwide service revenues in 2017 will be nearly  $48 billion representing 82% of the total. They also see it as the main driver of an 18% CAGR in the market between 2012 and 2017.

A recent addition to the market is Google’s nexus Q which whilst still somewhat embryonic may prove to be a popular device although we have reservations about the social attributes!

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A brief sortie, initially into the UK provider market lead us to Cyberhomes Ltd and their impressive website where we found a slightly different smart home definition from one of their suppliers Control4.







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Another of their major suppliers – (again a US company hmmmmm) Savant gives us their pictorial definition.





Adding to our preliminary connected infotainment definition we heard in one of the videos a somewhat telling remark which impressed “Almost anything thats electronic can be controlled”. So if it can be controlled it can be connected – like the AGA we highlighted  a while back.

So a smart home is one where the majority of  electronic devices and systems are controlled  through connectivity!

Here are a couple of videos from the above mentioned US suppliers which are good teasers!.

Firstly Control4’s app to control their system:


Secondly here’s Savants virtual tour of a high-tech home. They’re a bit Apple centric but the video is good quality and we loved the ability to return an iPad doc back into a picture just under 5 minutes in now that’s really Smart!