The phrase “Internet of Things” got to be an overused misnomer even before the technology had a chance to become common, but at least we’re on to everyday use cases: a developer has arranged for his thermostat to turn on when he’s home and switch off when he leaves.

Hans Scharler’s thermostat keeps dibs on his location, the outside temperature and the temperature inside the house, and decides when to kick on the air conditioning or heat.


Scharler is a developer at ioBridge, which makes software and hardware to remotely control or monitor everything from fish tanks to toaster. His thermostat is connected to a controller that adjusts the settings based on location data from Google Latitude and temperature data from Google Weather, WeatherBug, inside the house.

We’ve written about ioBridge (see Top 10 Internet of Things Products of 2009) and ioBridge implementation before (see Automate Your Home Using ioBridge and Twitter).

Scharler wrote the project in Perl, which he said is “perfect for parsing lots of data, pushing data into databases, and connecting services together.” He can also manually control the thermostat using an ioBridge Application Programming Interface, or API, that sends commands to the thermostat controller.

Now that the system is functional, Scharler said he’s had “a flood of ideas” for location-aware apps mashed with Internet-connected objects. Your house could come alive when you pull into the driveway – thermostat clicks on, garage door opens, coffee starts brewing, your burglar alarm deactivates.

What applications do you see coming out of location awareness and networked things? Do you think these applications are neat, or is Scharler’s project a Rube Goldberg machine, performing a simple task with an impressive but overly-complicated mechanism?