29 January 2009

Pachube: connecting environments, patching the planet

Be the first to share
putting people first
by experientia

Pachube
Pachube is a web service that enables you to connect, tag and share real time sensor data from objects, devices, buildings and environments around the world.

The key aim is to facilitate interaction between remote environments, both physical and virtual. Apart from enabling direct connections between any two environments, it can also be used to facilitate many-to-many connections: just like a physical “patch bay” (or telephone switchboard) Pachube enables any participating project to “plug-in” to any other participating project in real time so that, for example, buildings, interactive installations or blogs can “talk” and “respond” to each other.

Pachube is a little like YouTube, except that, rather than sharing videos, Pachube enables people to monitor and share real time environmental data from sensors that are connected to the internet. Pachube acts between environments, able both to capture input data (from remote sensors) and serve output data (to remote actuators). Connections can be made between any two environments, facilitating even spontaneous or previously unplanned connections. Apart from being used in physical environments, it also enables people to embed this data in web-pages, in effect to “blog” sensor data.

Tish Shute of Ugotrade has been conducting a lengthy interview with Pachube founder, Usman Haque, which just got published. The interview describes how Haque was influenced by Dutch architect Constant Nieuwenhuys and thinkers such as Adam Greenfield and Bruce Sterling, how Pachube was founded in response to current predicaments within the field of ubiquitous computing and how “an ethically driven business model [will] allow a diverse group of companies and individuals to transition to the internet of things”.

Sensor/actuator integrations are a part of what Pachube is about, and an interest in home automation and energy management is giving a lot of early momentum to Pachube.

But Usman makes clear Pachube is about “environments” rather than “sensors.” “An ‘environment’ has dynamic frames of reference, all of which are excluded when simply focusing on devices, objects or mere sensors”. A central part of Pachube is the development of the Extended Environments Markup Language. […]

Pachube is here to make it easier to participate in what I expect to be a vast ‘eco-system’ of conversant devices, buildings & environments.

Pachube will facilitate the development of a huge range of new products and services that will arise from extreme connectivity. It’s relatively easy for large technology companies like Nike and Apple to transition into the Internet of Things, but Pachube will be particularly helpful for that huge portion of smaller scale industry players that *want* to become part of it, but which are only now waking up to the potentials of the internet — small and medium scale designers, manufacturers and developers who are very good at developing their products but don’t have the resources to develop in-house a massive infrastructure for their newly web-enabled offerings.

Basically, having built a generalized data-brokering backend to connect physical (and virtual) entities to the web, others can now start to build the applications that make the connections really useful.

And here is the phrase I think is most important of all:

“It’s relatively easy for large technology companies like Nike and Apple to transition into the Internet of Things, but Pachube will be particularly helpful for that huge portion of smaller scale industry players that *want* to become part of it, but which are only now waking up to the potentials of the internet — small and medium scale designers, manufacturers and developers who are very good at developing their products but don’t have the resources to develop in-house a massive infrastructure for their newly web-enabled offerings.”

Read full interview

(via Bruce Sterling)

Be the first to share
Related Article
2 March 2015
Human-centered design should be a CMO’s best friend
The average tenure of a CMO is just 45 months, according to a recent study released by executive recruiting firm Spencer Stuart. Fortunately, for CMOs in need of help, there's an elegant and simplistic process called …
Related Article
2 March 2015
Ethnographic research increasingly informing business strategy
Corporate ethnography isn’t just for innovation anymore. It’s central to gaining a full understanding of your customers and the business itself, writes Ken Anderson, anthropologist at Intel Research, in the Harvard Business Review. The ethnographic …
Related Article
13 February 2015
Will the internet of things finally kill privacy?
The journalist Hamza Shaban is concerned by the contents of a new US Federal Communications Commission report that probes the privacy implications of connected devices: "That the pervasive collection of information from within our homes might …
Related Article
31 January 2015
The rise of the Chief Behavioral Officer
After the Chief Experience Officer, the new trendy job title from corporate America is the Chief Behavioral Officer: "Dan Egan of the automated investing service Betterment estimates that between 10 and 20 Fortune 500 companies have …
Related Article
1 January 2015
The business of design consulting
Robert Fabricant, who moved from design consultancy Frog to development consultancy Dalberg, writes that the business of design consulting is undergoing mass extinction. In a long article for Wired he presents the history of design …
Related Article
27 November 2014
Deep dive into drinking occasions
Five years into his role as head of strategic insights at Heineken UK, Mick Doran believes that the brewing industry is learning valuable lessons from other FMCG sectors in becoming more consumer inspired and brand …
Related Article
27 November 2014
Are we viewing consumers as humans?
Underneath all the shopping, online searching, and purchasing is a human being who takes a particular action for very personal reasons, writes Jure Klepic in The Huffington Post. Those reasons maybe based on a response …
Related Article
27 November 2014
Intel, Tony Salvador, and design anthropology
Why would Intel need to conduct a tremendous amount of ethnographic research if all they are manufacturing are microchips? This short essay by Ioanis Hristodoulou eexamines Intel’s role in design anthropology on a worldwide context, exploring …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

30 October 2014
The BancoSmart ATM by Experientia for UniCredit selected for ADI Design Index

Last year Experientia designed the interface of an ATM of UniCredit, a major Italian bank. The interface is now rolled out across the bank’s ATMs in Italy, to great satisfaction of the bank and the customers alike, since interaction speed is much faster and error rates went down dramatically. Last year UniCredit and Experientia also […]

29 October 2014
Experientia at EPIC: UX transforming a financial institution

In September 2014 Experientia gave a presentation on working as UX professionals with financial institutions at the EPIC conference in New York. The paper is now available on the EPIC site in HTML and PDF versions (free registration req’d). Abstract Application of a user-centered approach rooted in ethnographic methodologies facilitates a major European bank’s transition […]

See all articles