Thursday, August 4, 2011

Could your pool deck ever tweet you?

Lately I've been reading a lot about the "Internet of Things". This is a colloquialism used to describe the linking of multiple devices and other elements of nature on the Internet. They can speak to one another and to us through social media.

I'll leave the tech speak and possible benefits from this to people at places like Arduino and Pachube, where they're far more knowledgeable on the subject than me.

But there are examples that a layman can understand. For example, the garden sensor Botanicalls can be placed in a plant and it will tweet you when it needs watering. A quick look at their Twitter stream shows "Water me please", "Urgent! Water me!", and "Urgent! Water me! You didn't water me enough" tweets from one of their plants.

In the DIY universe there is the Garden Bot. According to its website, the Garden Bot is a open source garden monitoring system and provides tutorials on how to build a soil moisture sensor, among other things. The goal is a complete garden monitoring and automation system.

There is technology similar to this already and other garden automation projects in the works, but the allure here is the DIY spirit as it applies to electronics and home use. Combine that with the ability to share ideas and discoveries quickly on social media and you have the makings of serious DIY fun.

How does this relate to pool decking and swimming pools? I don't know for sure. But that's the point. This is about innovation and sharing ideas. And it's perfect for DIY enthusiasts.

It wouldn't surprise me to one day see people using a sensor in their swimming pools that tweet you and your pool service company when chlorine levels are low or if algae is emerging. You can also imagine sensors on above ground pool decks or other decks that alert you when there is stress or mold that may require your attention. Not only will it alert you, but the data can automatically be shared with other deck or pool owners giving us aggregate real-time data that could be very useful.

Some of these products will be available to buy like anything else. But the open source and DIY spirit of some will mean faster and efficient innovation that benefits everyone. It's also a tremendous opportunity for serious DIY makers or part-time hobbyists. In other words, the smart garden sensors and other home improvement "Internet of Things" will be made smarter by people like you.

Meanwhile, my small contribution to
the open source network - an eBook on above ground pool deck plans and how to build a pool deck - is still available to you for free.

Enjoy your pool!

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