The Internet of My Things Needs the API of Me


Creating the Internet of My Things will require that people gain an online presence: the API of Me. That's what personal clouds are all about.


Last week, Jon Udell wrote a piece on Wired called The Internet of My Things that talks about SquareTag, the new product from Kynetx. Jon gets it. He writes:

It's a great idea, not least because it will help drive demand for a new breed of cloud services. Consider automotive maintenance. The sticker on my windshield reported the date of my last oil change, but now it's fallen off, and in any case that sticker wasn't connected to my calendar. Instead of pasting a sticker on my windshield, I'd rather have the shop that did the last oil change poke an entry directly onto my calendar. But there's no easy and obvious way for me to authorize them to do that.

Phil's approach would be to keep a SquareTag in the car. When I scan it with my phone, it launches an app that talks to my personal cloud. In that app I'd only need to tap once or twice to say: "Oil was changed today." A companion cloud service would fire the rule that figures out when the next oil change is needed and post that event onto my calendar.

Crucially that service doesn't belong to the shop that changes my oil. It belongs to me. But I'm not the only one who can use it. I can authorize other parties to use it as well. So that, for example, the shop can scan my tag and post a reminder to my calendar. How will my personal cloud authorize the shop's app? Maybe I scan their tag, the one posted next to the cash register, and assign calendar permissions (write-only, rate-limited) to the ID it represents.

From The Internet of My Things | Innovation Insights |
Referenced Mon Feb 11 2013 09:58:23 GMT-0700 (MST)

One thing that's clear from Jon's write-up—although he doesn't use these words—is that creating an Internet of My Things necessarily entails creating the corresponding API of Me. Our things will need to talk to us and we won't always be there. But our API can be! When we talk about personal clouds, we're really discussing personal APIs. APIs for us, our stuff, our connections, and so on. As Jon points out, we'll likely pay for these cloud services and applications will work against them.

SquareTag is our way of populating this Internet of My Things. While many of my things will be smart, there's no need to wait for them to be smart or relegate your existing things to a disconnected existence. In fact, I think even smart things will end up with an immaterial online representation that complements the physical. SquareTag makes everything smart right now. How smart? Because there's a developer model behind it, the sky's the limit.

We'll have SquareTag inventory and a way for you to buy your own SquareTags soon so that you can start tagging the stuff you care about. In the meantime, take a minute to our SquareTag page on Facebook and we'll be sure to let you know.

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Last modified: Wed Feb 12 16:57:56 2020.