An Open Data Startup

In that intense start up haze we occupy, the fact that OpenSensors has turned 1 this month completely passed me by! I feel that occasion should be marked with at least a post to reflect on how far we have come in a year.

odiAn ODI startup

The highlight of the year has to be our inclusion to the Open Data Institute’s startup program.

The ODI’s mission is to unlock the potential of public data held by governments and businesses to help solve the world’s hard problems. As our mission is to build a connected world based on open
data and technologies, being part of the ODI’s network of like minded people is the natural home for OpenSensors.

Engineering Middleware is Hard

The original middleware we designed and prototyped for OpenSensors has long been thrown out, actually rewritten several times. We have spent hundreds of engineering hours making it fast and secure. We can now comfortably process millions of messages per second from hundreds of thousands of devices. And most importantly we let each of our users get their own real time feeds of data that they are interested in.

If you told me a year ago that it would take this long to build the middleware we would be happy with, how I would have laughed at you….

Hardware is very Hard

After spending some time working under the radar, towards the middle of 2014 the Internet of Things hypecycle suddenly went into overdrive.

That being said designing and manufacturing hardware products at scale is a significantly different proposition to scaling software. The skill sets necessary to build and manufacture electronics products is rare and laborious. We have found ourselves in the surprising position of prototyping hardware for clients and cities as well as learning the process of manufacturing.

Aims for the coming year

Our central ambition for the next year is to make it very easy for people to find and contribute to rich sources of real time data that is of interest to them.

We have some exciting partnerships and projects with various cities and groups in parking, disability accessibility and smart buildings all publishing open data. We also want to help showcase the excellent work of the many community based environmental sensing projects.

Sunsetting the early access period

As of the 1st of December 2014, we will be charging for private use of the service. Open Data projects will always be free. Private projects will incur a small monthly cost towards the service based on the number of devices you run.

For a full details of the pricing, see