Increasingly, the transformative power of the Internet of Things is making our world a better place. From reducing city pollution to creating smarter crop management practices and more sustainable energy, IoT is helping to advance economic and social benefits. IoT – Cisco Blog
With the Amazon Echo Plus now available, Amazon finally has a hub of its own for the smart home. I’m still convinced the Echo Plus is really meant for folks that don’t already have a hub controlling devices in their house, mainly because Amazon opted not to include a Z-Wave radio in the hub. Folks who already have smart home hubs likely already have some Z-Wave products; my front door lock uses Z-Wave for example, as does the Go Control garage door sensor I recently purchased (stay tuned for the review on that).
Those of us with smart home hubs are also already likely familiar with IFTTT, the service that lets you easily create “recipes” for automating devices, communications and data. But folks who buy an Echo Plus as their first smart home hub probably haven’t heard of IFTTT. And that got me thinking: Perhaps Amazon buying IFTTT would be the perfect FIT, er…. fit.
Last I checked, much of IFTTT back end already runs on Amazon Web Services, so there wouldn’t be a large technical effort or change if such a deal were to happen. Here’s a diagram from the IFTTT engineering team back in 2015 illustrating all of the moving parts.
The thing is, Amazon today doesn’t get any of the data out of IFTTT’s AWS usage. At least not that I can tell from reading the AWS Data Privacy site, which says,”Customers maintain ownership of their customer content and select which AWS services process, store and host their customer content. We do not access or use customer content for any purpose other than as legally required and for maintaining the AWS services and providing them to our customers and their end users. We never use customer content or derive information from it for marketing or advertising.”
So any potential deal would provide Amazon ownership of the IFTTT data that’s flowing to connected devices, services, and notifications. That helps Amazon understand which “things” its customers are connecting.This could provide opportunities for Amazon to sell hardware or products that can assist with its customer’s home automation goals. Do we, as customers of IFTTT necessarily want that? Obviously, that’s debatable but for now I’m removing my “consumer” hat to think about this scenario.
And if I’m really doing that, I’m going to with a thought that the consumer me really doesn’t like, but here it goes: With a purchase of IFTTT, Amazon could make the service exclusive to its own devices. Again, that’s not something I’d want to hear as an IFTTT user but let’s think about it from Amazon’s standpoint.
This exclusivity could be the true third pillar of Amazon’s Echo plans as a platform, the first being Alexa Voice Services and the second being Alexa Skills. With a simple-for-the-masses tool to create unique automations, Amazon would have a powerful smart home ecosystem for both developers and everyday consumers. And that could be a huge advantage compared to Amazon’s rivals.
I’m betting someone buys IFTTT at some point, although the company could always go public before that happens. Regardless, Amazon would be well served to grab IFTTT before a competitor does, helping to keep building up on the momentum Amazon has in our smart homes.
The IoT’s cameras capture people’s true personalities during a crisis because we get to see what people are like when there’s nobody watching. The recent storm footage put the people of Texas in a good light. They must have a tremendous sense of community and camaraderie, judging by all the footage that’s emerged of their selfless […]
**To the members of the Arduino community interested in social innovation and tech for the greater good, this is a call for your help.**
Almost a year ago I was awarded with an Ashoka Fellowship, which got me to join a group of people working with projects all over the world having to do with social change through entrepreneurship. Issues covered by the Ashoka fellows range from gender equality, passing by collaborative economy, democratic access to all sorts of material resources, and ending with education using technology.
I have always been engaged in different social initiatives in my life: helped creating two Scout groups, joined several student associations (became president of one), played in a band (sorry we’re not on Spotify), taught martial arts to kids with visual impairments… and helped create the largest community dedicated to open hardware in the history of technology (so far).
During the last 10+ years I have been focused in building the Arduino platform, but also in reaching out to other communities, including arts, design, and more recently, education. Therefore, the Ashoka Fellowship feels like the perfect fit to encourage me to continue to be engaged with the development of our platform by making it more accessible to others.
(For those interested, the Ashoka Fellowship got me and Arduino to collaborate with the PUIG Foundation in helping Spanish speaking teachers to realize some of their educational tools, but that is material for a different blog post.)
The role of the Arduino founders is, among other things, engaging with the community in trying to improve the platform, but also society in general. Not in vain, we work with open source, use open tools and create open content. In the past, thanks to the Arduino community, we have translated the Arduino IDE and the Arduino reference to multiple languages, added features to the software (also some bugs), or corrected errors on the website. With this post, I (we) want to invite the Arduino community to engage in a larger effort for the greater good. Something that can help shaping the future of how technology engages in making the world a better place.
This year (as a matter of fact, starting next week) Arduino will be working with UNLEASH in an effort to help them accomplish their goals through the innovative use of our platform. From August 13th to 21st, 2017, Denmark will host the first UNLEASH event, where 1,000 top talents from 129 countries are going to meet to create innovative solutions to challenges within the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The talent pool draws from tech entrepreneurs, leading academics, and young development program officers. This year, talents will co-create solutions focusing on seven SDG-related themes: health, food, water, education & ICT, energy, urban sustainability, and sustainable consumption & production.
Over the nine days, the participants will work to create real, scalable solutions to the Sustainable Development Goals. The UNLEASH event has made a call for young talent and can only host 1,000 volunteers, but we want to augment their ability to share and collaborate online. Arduino has created a channel on the Arduino Forum named “UNLEASH 2017” where we invite all of you to participate in the online discussion to help those participating on site with possible technical challenges they may face. The channel will be open for as long as the collaborations go on. We expect some interesting projects to emerge, where some of the Arduino community members may even team up with those attending the event IRL.
Personally, I will be hosting an open seminar online (URL to be announced) on August 16th at 5pm CET to help the participants–but also anyone interested–in getting started with the use of Arduino tools. I will highlight examples of projects using Arduino, and there will be some time for questions via a chat. Later, I will follow the Arduino Forum and help with the moderation of the conversations happening there. I would love to see some of you there as well!