September 19, 2016

RuuviTag a beacon of light in open-source

Sensor beacon platform RuuviTag recently raised over 170 000 US dollars via Kickstarter.
Sensor beacon platform RuuviTag recently raised over 170 000 US dollars via Kickstarter.
RuuviTag

A year ago this Finnish company set out to create a superior open-source sensor beacon platform that fulfils the needs of developers, creators, hobbyists, students, IoT companies and also regular, everyday people. They have succeeded.

Given Finland’s global status as educational pioneers, it’s little surprise that tech innovations from up this way can also support future developments in learning. Stand-alone Bluetooth 5-ready sensor beacon platform RuuviTag is one such example, making its presence known in the midst of this increasingly hands-on space.

Containing integrated environmental sensors such as temperature, humidity and air pressure RuuviTag can thus be deployed as a weather station, teaching children about the conditions around them.

“Imagine one Tag, with a several-year battery life, broadcasting sensor data outside a school,” says Lauri Jämsä, CEO, Ruuvi Innovations. “Students can check their phones for real-time weather information and learn of the possibilities that technology enables. It’s both fun and educational.”

Meeting demand

Preaching the prevalence of precipitation in Finland is hardly the final word in education for RuuviTag. In fact, the fully configurable and easy to use technology forms the basis of its bigger plan to make the IoT accessible for everyone.

“Older and more advanced young minds could learn by creating similar applications themselves, or even create totally new, innovative hardware products,” Jämsä says.

“We have a passion for beautiful open-source electronics,” declares Lauri Jämsä, CEO, Ruuvi Innovations Ltd.

“We have a passion for beautiful open-source electronics,” declares Lauri Jämsä, CEO, Ruuvi Innovations.

Lauri Jämsä

“RuuviTag can be used as a standard Eddystone / iBeacon proximity beacon, but it has the potential to be so much more because it’s 100 per cent open-source and filled with sensors.”

Aside from other everyday uses, such as keeping tabs on your valuables, the company also offers a customised design process for those tasks that may be a little out of reach.

Jämsä also points out that the technology is powerful enough to suit the needs of demanding business customers. The Physical Web is a good example of the tech’s potential application.

“The idea behind the Physical Web is that every object can have their own website,” Jämsä enthuses. “These objects are basically beacons that use Google’s Eddystone protocol to broadcast URL addresses everyone can find. The technology is new and we are one of the first ones taking advantage of it.”

RuuviTags can also be used to create large mesh networks of up to thousands of sensor nodes.

“They can be connected to the Internet through a single gateway,” Jämsä states. “It’s a great choice for industrial customers.”

An open future

Whilst many proximity beacon products are already available on the market, RuuviTag distinguishes itself by being open-sourced. In fact, this approach proved to be the impetus for the RuuviTag team to start developing their product at the beginning of last year.

“Open-source hardware is a direction most companies don’t feel comfortable venturing into,” Jämsä says. “But at Ruuvi this is not the case. We have a passion for beautiful open-source electronics.”

Having bootstrapped during its initially phase, the next step in the RuuviTag plan saw the company seeking to attract some wider attention and funds, via Kickstarter. Reaching their desired amount of 10 000 US dollars in less than four hours, the beacon ended up attracting over 170 000 US dollars.

The funds are to be used for mandatory certifications and manufacturing the devices for backers.

“Ruuvi aims to be one of the top open-source hardware influencers in the IoT market by the end of the decade,” Jämsä outlines. “This will be achieved by creating innovative and powerful open-source products that individuals and companies actually need.”

Text: James O’Sullivan

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