It seems that every day there are a whole slew of new devices equipped with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity, gadgets like lights you can control with your smartphone, or thermostats that know when you’re home. While the “internet of things” category grows, however, different OEMs take the technology in different directions, and may not be building products designed to communicate with each other in the most effective way. That’s what Spark Labs hopes to change.
According to a post on GigaOM, Spark Labs has raised $4.9 million in Series A funding with the goal of building a unified operating system – Spark OS – for the burgeoning Internet of Things. The post explains that this “will consist of a messaging framework, data storage options, an application layer and then finally a management layer for connected devices.” In short, Spark OS will provide a standardized basis for new products and devices in the category, whether they use the company’s Spark Core Wi-Fi Arduino boards or not.
In the days leading up to Apple’s WWDC conference last month, word got out that the company would debut a framework for the smart home and Internet of Things, and that news inspired more than a little buzz from the tech community. The actual announcement of HomeKit didn’t earn nearly as much attention when the specifics were revealed: Apple was working with select product makers to provide iPhone control to users.
Spark OS, by contrast, sounds as though it could allow the category to really take off if product designers and software developers all speak the same language. Windows itself isn’t a very exciting product, but its ubiquity and flexibility offered developers the opportunity to make the kinds of applications we rely on every day. Just as Windows – and Mac OS, and iOS, and Android, and more – serve as a foundation for new and interesting applications in the worlds of computers and mobile, so too can Spark OS, well, spark a revolution in the Internet of Things. Raising $4.9 million in funds should give the company a decent start to get that ball rolling.