Twitter API Is Gateway Drug For Internet Of Things

Last week at #APIStrat in Amsterdam, I had the pleasure of watching a keynote by Romain Huet (@romainhuet), Developer Advocate at Twitter, aptly titled “connecting to the pulse of the planet”. I’ve had the pleasure of watching Romain give this talk twice now, and he really delivers—you can watch the whole video on Youtube.

Romain used Twitter as a conduit for not just one, but two live Internet of things (Iot) demos. First he took a live selfie of him and the audience with a Raspberry Pi camera he had developed, and second he made a drone take off on stage using commands he sent via Twitter.

When talking to Romain earlier in Amsterdam, we were discussing APIs and Iot, and I said that Twitter seems to be a wonderful gateway for developers, when it came to connecting devices to the Internet. As an API driven messaging channel, developers just get Twitter and its APIs, so it makes sense we’d use this familiar channel for exploration communication in the Internet of things.

Twitter works well as a gateway API to Iot for developers because of its familiarity and ease of use, but it also immediately makes it social, allowing us to open up Iot communications to a trusted network, or even the public. While we don’t want every device in our lives immediately social, it works well for us to learn new thing, allowing us to learn using tools we are already familiar with, and have a network of established friends.

Like it or not, I think many Iot devices will come pre-configured to work with our common social networks, and as the Iot world matures, we will find more logical ways to communicate with these devices in our lives—realizing that not everything needs to social and on the web, but in the early days we’ll depend on these characteristics to understand how to make devices and sensors communicate.