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Thoughts on Twine

Today I came across the Twine project on Kickstarter … very impressive!  I love to see a project like this get attention, and the guys at Supermechanical have done a great job in creating their product.  I’ve already signed up, and ordered one!

As I look at what they are doing, there are things that I really like about their goals, and design … and there are things that I think are limiting.  What it really does is validates the work we are doing with Wovyn!

Great Goals

The goals that I really like about Twine are the end-user “ease of use” and simplicity.  This is a must in any product like this.  There is a lot of technology built into the Twine solution, and if done right they will end up hiding a lot of that complexity from end-users and software developers.

I also really like the “rules” system, Spool,  that they demonstrate in their video.  Rule systems that can handle events, and allow developers to create simple to complex rule sets for dealing with the events from sensors are a critical aspect of the “Internet of Things”.  It’s not enough to simply connect “things” to the Internet, and not enough to have those things “speak”.  The “Internet of Things” will become truly useful when there are plug-and-play rule sets for taking in combinations of events, and causing actions ranging from notifications to actual control of other “things”.

Twine Limitations

Not to disrespect the work that has been done with Twine, I do want to comment on a few things that are not clear to me right now.

  1. Internal Sensors – it appears that the Twine unit contains a limited number of internal sensors, and maybe has a way to add one (or more?) external wired sensors.  From my experience this is a severe limitation.  I know that I want dozens of sensors, and they have to be spread throughout my home.  I know that wired sensors are not going to work for this, and so I’m not clear on how Twine will support (and at what cost?) an installation spread across a larger physical space, and requiring 20, 50, or 100 sensors.
  2. Open support for various “Internet of Things” platforms.  I see where the Twine product will talk with Spool, but will it also be able to talk with other REST services, Pachube, or use other protocols like MQTT?  Again … I believe this is key to the success of products in this industry.  As developers begin to incorporate these types of products into their solutions, I believe this will be a critical aspect for success.

I can only sit here impressed with Twine, and look forward to seeing them be successful with their KickStarter project … I do believe this will demonstrate the validity of the market!