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Telefónica Digital's new Thinking Things concept creates smart M2M connectivity 'for almost any object'

Telefónica Digital's new Thinking Things concept creates smart M2M connectivity 'for almost any object'

Posted by Jeremy CowanOctober 25, 2012

London, UK. October 25, 2012 – Telefónica Digital has today presented ‘Thinking Things’, a “simple solution currently under development which connects almost any device wirelessly to the internet”.

The concept enables physical objects to be controlled online and could radically alter our world through ‘smart’ connectivity and rock bottom prices, says Telefónica, providing opportunities for innovation and economic growth.

Invented by Telefónica I+D, the research and development division of Telefónica, the product will provide a significant boost to the development of M2M communications and help the establishment of an internet of physical things. With Thinking Things, tasks such as controlling thermostats, monitoring assets or tracking loads with a mobile phone can now become an affordable reality.

Thinking Things consists of three elements:

* Physical modules containing the core communications and logic
* Energy via a battery or AC
* Sensors and actuators

Modules are simply connected together and then to the device they will control, or deployed in the space to be monitored. For instance, modules can be plugged into a lamp to enable remote control of home lighting. This is demonstrated in this video.

Once connected, a web page is created for the new device. This provides online access to control the functions of the physical modules. The interface reportedly makes it extremely easy to configure the modules’ triggers, for instance controlling home temperature online or via SMS. All the web functions are offered through an API, so developers can access all functionality from their software.

Francisco Javier Zorzano, Telefónica I+D said: “We think the time has come to democratise the Internet of Things – to open its capabilities to every kind of company and individual, with small investments. This opening should mean an explosion of new developments and services, as happened in the 90s with cheap internet access.”

The Thinking Things portfolio currently includes a battery, wireless connection, humidity / temperature, presence detection, RGB indicator, accelerometer + compass, pressure detector, servomotor control and some generic modules with standard electronical interfaces. Additional capabilities such as GPS, radio frequency identification (RFID) and more are in development.

Thinking Things is another Telefónica Digital innovation aimed at capitalising on M2M opportunities and follows the launch of Drive to Improve, a telematics device that tracks vehicle journeys.

The final element of Thinking Things would be the data services ecosystem. This would offer access to metadata from Telefónica’s network, leading to personalised and localised services as an example. It will also provide the ability to easily monetise new products and services through a developed network.

Telefónica Digital is a global business division of network operator Telefónica. The division’s mission is to seize the opportunities within the digital world and deliver new growth for Telefónica through research & development, venture capital, global partnerships and digital services such as cloud computing, mobile advertising, M2M and eHealth. It is also driving innovation in over-the-top communications services under a new umbrella brand called Tu. Telefónica Digital will deliver these new products and services to Telefónica’s 311 million customers as well as leveraging the power of the internet to enter new markets. It is headquartered in London with regional centres in Silicon Valley, Sao Paulo, Spain and Tel Aviv. Jajah, Terra, Media Networks Latin America, 48 and giffgaff are all managed under the Telefónica Digital umbrella.

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Jeremy Cowan

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