Chirp.io

If there’s one thing that we can all agree about the emerging Internet of Things, it’s that the growing standards war around protocols will probably be extended, bloody, and in the end won’t produce a unified standard.

There will be no “one protocol to rule them all,” and that’s mostly down to the diversity of the types of devices that are making up the Internet of Things. If you have a thing that doesn’t have enough processing power or even memory to run a TCP stack, it’s not going to be using a RESTful protocol to talk to the Internet.

The resulting protocol diversity is going to mean that no one company is going to end up owning the home, and I actually think that — at least in the long term — this is going to be a good thing. That protocol diversity got a boost today with the release of the Chirp.io SDK.

Talking with Patrick Bergel about Chirp.

Chirp started off as a mobile application, a platform for exchanging data using sound. Give the app a link, a piece of text, or an image and it will “chirp” a sound which can be decoded by anyone else using the app and points to the data on Chirp’s servers.

Talking with Julian Saunderson about the Arduino and Spark Core SDK.

However with today’s SDK release, the Chirp platform is no longer restricted to iOS and Android phones, but is now also available for the Arduino, and Spark Core. Alongside the free SDK, which allows you to play chirps using an Arduino Uno and a hacked earphone, comes a simplified web API designed for the limited resources on embedded devices.

Chirpino running on a Spark Core

Chirpino running on a Spark Core.

In another interesting move from the London-based startup, yesterday the company opened a crowdfunding round on Crowdcube.

Crowdcube is an equity platform, unlike Kickstarter where you get backer rewards and back a specific project, here your pledge is in return for equity (i.e. a share of) the company. In this case Chirp is raising £400,000 in return for 16.7% of the company, before any dilution from future investments.

Unlike similar equity platforms in the United States, Crowdcube — based in the United Kingdom where the rules are slightly different — doesn’t require backers to have a net worth greater than a million dollars to become an accredited investor. This opens up investing in early stage startups, like Chirp, to a much wider range of people. Of course, the risks are the same. If you’re thinking about investing you need to be aware that most startups fail, and that by investing in them there is a high risk that your money won’t be returned to you.

The Chirp platform is actually pretty interesting technology, and with the injection of capital from their crowdfunding round to help them commercialise it, you can see it being a useful part of the diverse protocol stack needed to make the Internet of Things a reality.