Another IoT platform? REALLY?

Yes, really. Geeny is all about consumer IoT, creating products that you and I will be routinely buying and using as part of our everyday lives. That has far reaching implications for the underlying technology and processes. So although there are already many IoT platforms out there, we didn’t find one that gave us the combination we needed of end user control, data stewardship and multi-tenancy while also being a tool that serious developers would be happy to use.

We also want to support IoT applications that are much, much smarter. We see a lot of examples which are essentially parameters crossing a threshold and triggering an event like turning a heater on or off. That’s fine as far as it goes, but there is much more that can be done: machine learning, artificial intelligence and signal processing and lots of tools from data science that can be brought to bear on IoT use cases. If your skis could coach you while you were using them, or your T-shirt was your cardiologist, or your dog lead gave your advice just like your vet, then you would have really smart devices. That is what Geeny is about.

What’s so different about consumer IoT?

In some respects, there is no difference. It entails large numbers of devices, large data sets, issues around security and end-user design thinking. That’s true of all IoT scenarios. What makes consumer IoT different is the context and what that implies. If predictions of 20 billion connected devices by 2020 work out that’s at least 3 devices for each person on earth. So we need to support people with multiple products containing IoT devices from different manufacturers. And the data from all those devices will be, in some respect, about them or about their family and friends, so it is exceptionally private. They need to be in complete control of that data. That’s very difficult if it is spread around multiple manufacturers, each with different privacy and use policies. Some manufacturers may give you access to the data, others may not, currently it’s pot luck. Geeny will be different. Users own their data and the manufacturers ask them if they can use it, right from the start. On the Geeny platform we give the end user a way to look “behind the scenes” where their data is processed and stored: Geeny.me. And if you no longer want an app to use your data you can turn it off. This is vital when you lose, sell or otherwise transfer ownership of your device. You want to keep the data it generated when you had it, but the new owner needs to take ownership of any newly generated data and the two data sets need to be kept separate. If you decide to get a new or different device, you may want to extend an old data set from another device. For example, if you hire smart skis one winter you get a week’s worth of skiing data then hand back the skis to the rental shop. Next winter you hire different skis but want to have the ski tuition app to know about both year’s data.

We also think that sharing data will be a significant part of consumer IoT. To continue our skiing example, you benefit from the ski tuition app but if you allow your data to be shared then the rental shop gets usage data to schedule its maintenance on the skis, the manufacturer gets actual usage data to improve future designs and the ski resort gets to see how people move around its lifts and restaurants. Later, you might share the data with your physiotherapist so they can see how much force was passing through your knee. That’s a lot of different interesting parties, with a lot of benefits that can be valued and shared with the end user, so long as they know what is going on and remain in control.

How much of this is just science fiction?

Part of the fun of working at Geeny is turning science fiction into science fact. That’s partly what DogSens, our first example IoT product, is all about. IoT pet-tech isn’t new but we wanted to make it really smart. You can buy trackers for your dog but what about a device that understands how your pet is behaving? Perhaps even watching out for your pet developing health problems? That’s what we mean by a smart device. DogSens can do these things because the Geeny Platform behind it can run algorithms from the world of signal processing and data science in real time on the signals from the accelerometers within the device. So you can know what your dog is up to at home while you are at the office.

Even though we only started earlier this year we already have enough of the Geeny Platform in place to host the DogSens product: hardware management, end-user data controls and real-time stream processing pipelines. We are signing up partners to develop their next generation IoT products on the platform too, so it won’t be long before we start seeing a lot more products available that would have just been science fiction not that long ago.

How can I get involved?

We are only at the start of our IoT journey. We are building a team of developers, data scientists, innovators and leaders. If you want to be part of the fun then get in contact with our recruitment team.