Earlier this year we profiled Pachube, (pronounced "PATCH-bay"), a service which stores and shares real-time sensor data from objects, devices, buildings and environments. The uses for Pachube are only beginning to be discovered in 2009, but for example it could in future power automation of lighting and alarm systems in your home.
The Internet of Things is one of ReadWriteWeb's top 5 trends of 2009; and Pachube is a leading startup in this space. I spoke to Pachube founder Usman Haque recently, to find out about their new notifications feature. In this 3-part series, we will explain the new feature and explore where Pachube is headed.
In its announcement, Pachube calls the new notifications feature "triggers," although it also calls them "webhooks." As the term 'trigger' suggests, it is a feature that causes a specific action in external applications or devices. The company explains that triggers will enable Pachube datastreams to "plug into and provoke (i.e. trigger) remote actuators, devices, scripts, buildings, etc."
The new feature is significant because up till now, Pachube had mostly been a "pull" service. Developers could freely send data to the Pachube system, but in order to get it out they had to repeatedly poll (i.e. "pull") the system to discover changes.
Now with triggers, applications built on top of Pachube can immediately act on data and send out new data to remote devices, actuators and buildings. The company states that this is "what a "patchbay" should be!"
Pachube claims that the notification feature will "take Pachube to a whole new level." It gives the following scenario as one example use of triggers:
"You might build an alarm system: put a trigger on a datastream that measures temperature in your home and, when the temperature exceeds a certain amount, have it send you an SMS, switch on a alarm light in your office and switch off the heating system in your home."
In effect, triggers make Pachube a much more powerful system. Previously Pachube had been mostly a storage device, where Internet of Things data could be uploaded. Now Pachube developers will be able to push data in real-time back to real world devices, which significantly increases its potential functionality. Plus of course this is yet another example of the Real-Time Web in action!
Usman Haque also told us that Pachube has been predominantly a developer tool up to now, with a lot of experimentation happening. That will still be the case for the foreseeable future, as Internet of Things is far from being a mainstream activity.
The full 3-Part series on Pachube: