Japan feeds: This image shows a wider view of radiation levels in Japan. The data is fed from Geiger counters used by civilians.
“Pachube is a disruptive pioneer because, with few exceptions, traditional sensor network players have not moved very far beyond relatively closed systems and platforms. They are setting a new paradigm,” says Glen Allmendinger, the president of Harbor Research.
Since launching the beta service in 2009, Pachube has developed programming tools to allow developers to combine multiple feeds. The company is also working with developers to share revenue on apps.
Pachube is not the only open-source sensor network. For example, OpenSense (open.sen.se) provides a similar model for online feeds and a different set of applications.
“Pachube is targeted mostly at the hobbyist in the sensor and building sector,” says Jeff Healey, a spokesperson for Axeda, a company that provides communication technology for many industrial devices. Healey says his company’s sensor network also uses open formats, and the company provides commercial-grade developer and platform support for clients.
Ed Borden, business development manager at Pachube, says consumers will eventually demand more access to sensor data. He notes that some auto insurers offer discounts to drivers who attach sensors to their car to track how they drive. Eventually, he argues, drivers will want to use that data, too.