5 rules to tackle the Oktoberfest… of Things!

A new world

Internet of Things

A drawing that represents the Internet of Things, signed by the author

As we said, the Internet of Things opens a new world to us. For example, not only can we record our performance while we are outside jogging and transfer the data to a server for analysis and filing, but we can also take part in virtual competitions with people jogging on the other side of the globe, thus exploiting the social component as a way to involve people and objects. We can trace the journey of a package from Asia to our front door, wondering why carriers keep taking absurd turns before finding us.

The number of connected objects as estimated in 2012 to be 8.7 billion (serving a human population of about 7 billion, remember. All of them within Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon), but the number of connectable things is thought to be 1.5 trillion. This disparity means that new business models and new opportunities will arise before our eyes, starting with a sort of ritual sacrifice of the nonconnected objects in favor of tools that have the same functionalities but are connected to the Net, so that we can remotely interact with them to set the temperature in our homes, turn on the oven, turn off the lights we have left on, and many other things.

Where to put the data?

Imagine one of these objects equipped with an Arduino. It does not matter what its purpose is, all we care about is that it has some kind of sensors and that we would like to publish the data read by the sensors so that anyone can make use of them, but without having to do the publishing ourselves.

We could use a service like Xively, which was designed exactly for this purpose. It is really simple: we just need to register on the site and specify what kind of device we want to link. Automatically, the system generates the code for our Arduino, within which we will have to specify only here the values we want to publish come from. All we have to do is to verify the sketch and upload it – that’s it!

Oktoberfest of Things

With this service, for example, creative makers created a device able to trace the amount of beer they had drunk at the Oktoberfest and published the data obtained.

FirstPrototypeWhat’s more, the device is multifunctional: for example, it can also be used to calculate the number of sandwiches that accompanied the beer!

But what exactly are we talking about?

The 5 rules for an #OktoberfestOfThings Masskrug

There are 5 simple rules to follow to successfully upgrade your Masskrug:

  1. safe for drunk operation (no electro-shocks, no poked-out eyes)
  2. battery powered (there’s no power sockets)
  3. detachable (you cannot bring your own Masskrug)
  4. connected (sensor measurements accessible on the Web)
  5. open (measurements available in an open format like CSV, JSON or XML)

Within these rules, many different gizmos can be used. The device has undertaken many upgrades and has become widespread, and it has also been used in Hackdays – and in one of them you can also spot our friend Jenny Ludwig, one of the organizers of Make Munich.

Thanks to Marc Pous and Thomas Amberg that started it all!

We have warned you well in advance, so you have no excuses: start working on your connected Masskrug!


Written by Andrea Maietta

Andrea Maietta is a passionate advocate of agile methods, and is responsible for helping clients understand their needs and providing them with appropriate solutions to build value. He is a software engineer, maker, tireless reader, husband and father, and Rugby Union fan for life. Always excited to learn and share,...
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