Thington's concierge helps you get the most from your smart devices
Thington describes its new iOS app as a “concierge” for the Internet of Things. Like the solicitous front desk clerk at an upscale hotel, it’s meant to take care of your needs as smoothly and unobtrusively as possible, by interfacing with the connected devices in your smart home or office.
Unlike some “universal remote” IoT products, Thington needs no hub or other extra hardware to connect with your devices. Instead, it talks directly to the various cloud services that power smart devices. On the one hand, this is an excellent way to streamline things for the user; on the other, it means Thington relies on forging direct integrations with device manufacturers. Currently the app works with smart lightbulbs and lamps from the Phillips Hue line, Netatmo weather stations, Automatic car adaptors, and devices from Belkin’s Wemo collection such as smart outlets, light switches and motion sensors.
As support for more brands and products is added, Thington can provide a consistent process for setting up each smart device, and a consistent interface for controlling them. This is where the metaphor of the concierge comes in: The app acts like a chatbot, asking questions to guide you through configuring new devices and, later, suggesting rules to automate their behavior based on how you use them.
Thington also recognizes that a smart home should be accessible to guests as well as the folks who live there. When you first install the app, it will ask you to login via Twitter so it can see who your friends are (the developers are considering using Facebook for this, too). When a friend with the Thington app comes to visit, your concierge will recognize them and prompt you to add them to your guest list so they can use your stuff — according to whatever permissions you choose to grant.
Beyond taking care of small tasks and acting as a go-between, a good hotel concierge also knows what’s going on in the world outside the lobby doors and proactively prepares you to meet the day. Thington does this by finding nearby things and places with accessible data feeds — weather stations, public transit systems, bike-share programs — and tossing their information into the mix. In that way, Thington is kind of like the AI that powers Google Now: It gives you a snapshot of your life and the stuff that matters to you, but with an extra emphasis on the IoT.