Packed With Sensors, Thingsee One Is Like an IoT Guinea Pig

A team of former Nokia product developers is turning an asset tracker they developed for logistics applications into a tool for testing IoT applications.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Dec 04, 2014

In 2013, Finnish firm Haltian designed and launched an asset-tracking device meant to help companies monitor the locations and conditions of important cargo in transit. This year, the same company has transformed that asset-tracking device into a building block that any business could use to test out an Internet of Things application—without having to start building edge devices from scratch.

This week, Haltian surpassed its $99,000 Kickstarter goal to bring this small, sensor-packed device, known as Thingsee One, to market. At press time, the company has raised more than $100,000—with five days left in the campaign.

Haltian pared down the form factor from the original asset tracker (seen here at top left) to the current prototype (bottom right and center).
Haltian is a kind of contract prototyping house. The company was founded by a number of former Nokia hardware and software developers, and now offers its services to businesses looking to develop new products—for example, it helped one entrepreneur create an energy-saving cell phone charger.

Once the asset-tracking project was complete, says Haltian co-founder Ville Ylläsjärvi, "We realized the same sensors and connectivity [utilized in the device] are used widely in IoT solutions." So to fund the development required to transform the asset tracker—which the company dubbed the Thingsee—from an asset-tracking device into a widely deployable tool that anyone (ranging from a child with a bright idea to a Fortune 500 company with a problem to solve) could use to perform a proof of concept, it created a Kickstarter campaign.

Thingsee One
Most potential uses described in the campaign focus on unusual consumer-facing applications, such as a farmer who mounts a Thingsee to the door of his mailbox and programs an alert to be triggered on his cellphone if the gyroscope embedded in the Thingsee senses that the mailbox has been opened and the mail has been delivered. For another fun demonstration, Haltian gave a Thingsee to a skydiver, and then shot a video showing how the device tracked the jumper's altitude and speed. But Ylläsjärvi says that what interested Haltian in launching the Kickstarter campaign was the business potential for using the Thingsee to do things such as tracking the locations and conditions of rental equipment or vehicles.

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