Mozilla reveals Project Things IoT open-source framework
Simplified interfacing between smart home devicesBy Greg Synek
Firefox is in the midst of trying to gain back browser market share, but that is not stopping Mozilla from working on other important tasks. Project Things is a completely open framework designed to allow smart home devices to work without proprietary components.
For now, fragmentation could be one of the largest issues holding up adoption of smart home products. Even simple IoT items such as light bulbs are difficult to research and decide on for non-technical consumers. Creating a standardized method of connecting and controlling in-home devices would greatly improve the experience.
Mozilla's new standard is available to try now. Demo code has been provided for Raspberry Pi for building a custom Things Gateway. By providing the capability for any manufacturer or hobbyist to easily drop in support for Project Things, compatibility of products should improve over time.
The Things Gateway has a number of useful features included. Voice commands can be given from a regular computer instead of only at a smart home assistant device. Full support for IFTTT-style logic is included alongside a mapping tool to indicate where devices have been placed around the home. Simulated sensors and smart products can be virtually implemented for testing purposes.
Mozilla has kept in mind that not everyone interested in smart home products are tech savvy. The decision to utilize simple logic commands that require no programming experience helps make the platform accessible to nearly all ages and skill levels. Focus is meant to be kept on building supported hardware devices and improving software features rather than on back-end communication.
An add-on system is supported to allow for the addition of proprietary protocols and devices to the Things Gateway. OAuth is being used to verify third-party applications' validity and safety.
It is expected that both Google Home and Amazon Alexa integration will be running smoothly. Support for Apple's HomePod is unlikely, but no official comment has been made by Apple. To follow the progress being made on Project Things, view Mozilla's IoT updates or GitHub page.