What is the Internet of Things? Is it a technology that’s easy-to-use by ordinary people? Or is it just a toy for people with advanced knowledge of advanced electronics and computer programming?
The founders of the Supermechanical seem to be betting on the former based on their new cloud-based wireless monitoring product called Twine. Twine aims to make the IoT really easy-to-use for everyone with its rules-based programming method which requires no programming knowledge.
Twine is basically a wireless sensor block tightly integrated with a cloud-based service. It uses Wi-Fi wireless connection to transmit readings from on-board temperature, moisture, motion and orientation sensors directly to the cloud. All the electronics hardware fits in a 2.7" square durable rubber casing. An expansion connector is provided for connecting external sensors to the main block. The unit is powered either by a micro USB or two AAA batteries. A kit with the portable wi-fi sensor and full sensor package is available on Amazon for $215.
You can configure the Twine by setting simple rules through a web app to trigger messages when defined conditions occur. The web app is also used to monitor the data from Twine sensors from anywhere through a web browser. The rules are put together with a palette of available conditions and actions, and use plain English: WHEN moisture sensor gets wet THEN text "The basement is flooding!" No programming language is required.
The Twine can be set up to send automatic e-mails, Tweets to Twitter and text messages to your cell phone when the pre-defined conditions occur. You can also configure output in HTTP messages to be used in more sophisticated applications.
A set of simple rules are provided for beginners. The company plans to implement an open-source community project so that Twine users can create and share rules with each other.
In the future, we hope to see more steps like this from the designers of IoT systems to bring simplicity to the world of the Internet of Things. Is it too much to ask for?