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Wolfram Data Drop – the coolest new geek service you’ve never heard of

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Every day we hear of more and more gadgets hitting the market. We’re not just talking mobile phones and wearables like smartwatches, but other bits of equipment which have Internet connections built in. These can include health and fitness tools, sensors and other cool kit which gather data about our environment. But there’s one big problem – what to do with all this data after it’s collected?

At the moment, almost all of it is collected and stored on discrete silos, like our laptop hard drives, or on larger computers or memory stores. But this means it’s isolated from all other data, so it can’t be compared, merged or manipulated at all across silos. A waste. But now there’s a new alternative. The Wolfram Data Drop is a very cool new free service which lets you store all kinds of data in a specific container online, from where you can start to do lots of interesting things.

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Let’s say you’ve got a small computer, like a Raspberry Pi, set up to collect information about the temperature in your room or outside in the garden. With the new Data Drop service you can set up the device to capture the temperatures and then instantly transmit them to the Wolfram service where they can be automatically analyzed and manipulated. The cool thing is the service can recognize over 10,000 types of different data as it arrives, so you don’t need to specify anything, just connect the link.

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Once it’s been collected and automatically tagged (e.g. these are temp readings), you can start to play with the data. Combine it and generate cool graphs or whatever. It’s actually brilliant for building datasets over time without having to remember to upload the information. And you can even send the data via an email address.

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We could start analyzing animal behaviors, discover trends in human behavior in different conditions, measure and calculate performance of things and people such as athletes, all with an open interoperable system. It’s really interesting. Expect to see a fair number of new connected device manufacturers jump onto the Wolfram system over the coming months and years, since it will drastically reduce the time it takes them to create cool new applications which add value to their products.

It sounds very geeky, and it is, but it could potentially revolutionize the data gathering business in the future. If we can have interlinked silos of information from devices like fitness bands, environmental sensors, geographic devices and so on, very quickly we can start to build up rolling snapshots of different things. The system can be public or private, and while it will be free for smaller datasets, bigger silos will need to pay an unspecified price for storage.

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.


  • blipton

    Any idea what the pricing is?

    Data.sparkfun.com is a good (free) place to park sensor data

    • They didn’t actually mention prices anywhere. I have a feeling it’s for VERY large data sets only, so it will probably be priced accordingly.

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