Wolfram Research has introduced a cloud-based service for the Internet of Things (IoT), designed to ingest and store data from devices out on the internet, and analyse and process the data using the Wolfram Language to deliver useful output.
Available now as a live beta, Wolfram Data Drop is intended as a "universal accumulator" for data, designed to accept and organise data coming from sensors and devices, but also from other software and even manually uploaded by humans.
However, the key part of the service is that once ingested into Data Drop, the data is stored in a standardised way in a databin with a unique identifier, and any databin can be accessed through code written in the Wolfram Language, which has a rich set of functions and capabilities for processing various types of information.
According to Wolfram, Data Drop is expected to be of great value to businesses that create connected devices, enabling them to store their data in the Wolfram Cloud, or a private version of it, where it will be readily accessible to analyse, visualise, query, or deploy. However, it is also intended to be easy for everyone to use and is described as simple to get started from scratch.
"Our goal is to make it incredibly straightforward to get data into the Wolfram Data Drop from anywhere," said Stephen Wolfram, founder and chief executive of Wolfram Research, announcing the new service on his blog.
"You can use things like a web API, email, Twitter, web form, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, etc. And we're going to be progressively adding more and more ways to connect to other hardware and software data collection systems."
Wolfram then goes on to describe how users can perform operations on the data in a specific databin, thanks to a symbolic object in the Wolfram Language that enables it to be referenced in code.
"If we wanted, we could do all sorts of fancy time series analysis, machine learning, modelling, or whatever, with the data. Or we could do elaborate visualisations of it. Or we could set up structured or natural language queries on it," he said.
Another important aspect is that data is not just stored as raw numbers, but with the relevant units attached, thanks to the Wolfram Data Framework (WDF) developed for Wolfram Alpha. This also allows for a "data semantics signature" that specifies how the data should be interpreted.
"The beauty of all this is that once data is in the Wolfram Data Drop, it becomes both universally interpretable and universally accessible, to the Wolfram Language and to any system that uses the language," explained Wolfram.
One upshot of this is that if the user points Wolfram Alpha at a specific databin, it will automatically generate an analysis and a report about the data that's in it.
The move follows IBM and ARM's launch of a line of Internet of Things starter kits, which feature ARM-based devices backed by IBM cloud service designed to ingest data and allow the user to manipulate it using code and analytics tools.
The Wolfram Data Drop is currently in beta. At the time of writing, the firm had not disclosed whether it intends to charge users for the service.
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