We are moving towards a digital era of smart cities where all devices are connected to the internet and there is huge amount of data exchanged between these devices. Also with IoT (Internet of Things) coming into play there is lot of data generated from myriad sensors across the globe which can be used for various purposes ranging from education, health care, environment, agriculture etc. Keeping this idea in mind, Yodit Stanton and Malcom Sparks came up with the concept of developing a social network for sensors across the globe. This ultimately led them to the launch of OpenSensors, an online community where users can post real-time data from sensors across the globe using OpenSensors’ REST APIs.
The Initial push:
Yodi Stanton’s eldest daughter was diagnosed with asthma last year and she was trying to get data from air pollution sensors that she installed around her home in London. She was looking to find an association between the number of dirty particles in surrounding air and the asthma attacks suffered by her daughter. Though she was not successful in finding a proper correlation between them, she felt that whatever data she had collected might be useful for someone else in the society like journalists, health researchers, environmentalists or any individual looking to gather some data about air pollution in the city. Hence, she started streaming this data to a public online service which she created along with her partner Malcom sparks which led to the birth of OpenSensors.io. Their initial project named “Breathe Heathrow” was launched to monitor the air pollution surrounding Heathrow airport in London by installing sensors around the airport to collect real-time data about percentage of dirty particles in the air which was then fed into an online database.
The co-founders had initially helped each other during initial few months without getting any financial assistance from outside. They had taken very little angel funding but the company is getting decent revenue to pay salaries for its ten employees. They are having a smooth and steady growth so far and have not decided to approach any Venture capitalists yet. They have also recently joined London’s startup incubator program organized by the Open Data Institute which has given them access to government agencies.
OpenSensors is an online hub where users can post real-time sensor data using the REST APIs and MQTT – MQ Telemetry Transport which is a publish-subscription based standard light-weight messaging protocol used for Internet of Things. You can publish your data to their open data community using either MQTT messages or HTTP with help of powerful REST APIs developed by their team. They also provide assistance in creating your IoT project and how to setup your sensors and publish data into their online hub. They also take care of device management, data analytics, storage and security of your data. You can also choose whether your data should be private or can be shared across public communities. You can also browse through existing data based on the location and integrate it with your IoT project. Their website provides detailed tutorials for newbies regarding how to publish and retrieve data from their online community.
OpenSensors is currently the largest open data community in the world and they are steadily growing with more than 10,000 customers across the globe with each of them managing around 20,000 sensors every year. They have recently completed a major project for publishing real-time parking data in collaboration with 12 cities across the United Kingdom. They have also established partnerships with major companies like Cisco, Reuters and TripAdvisor etc. Their pricing starts at $49 per month for startups with device limit of 100 and private monthly message limit of 600,000. They also have a professional package which costs $199 per month with limit of 500 devices and 30,000,000 private messages per month.