Is Messaging Moving to the IoT?

By | 2 minute read | May 17, 2016

Google introduces ‘Spaces’ with built in AI

Google introduced ‘Spaces’ to us yesterday, “a new app that lets people get together instantly to share around any topic”. Searching, sharing and messaging in small groups is now a snap. What’s especially interesting is that machine learning, or ‘Artificial Intelligence (AI)’ is baked in.

If you’re looking for a picture of a cat, you don’t need to have named or tagged your photos ‘cat’; Google will look through your photos and work out which ones have cats in them by using the same capability that it uses in the Google Photos app.

With AI built in, Spaces now joins Facebook’s Messenger app, in featuring elements of the Cognitive Internet of Things (IoT). Perhaps we are moving closer to talking to Samantha in ‘Her’, the conscious operating system in the 2013 film.

Facebook’s Messenger runs on MQTT, the IoT’s platform

‘What does Messenger have to do with the Internet of Things?’ In 2011, Lucy Zhang and her colleagues Ben Davenport and Jon Perlow joined Facebook to work on a new messaging app. You know the problem when you’re at a concert – everyone’s on their mobile and your texts don’t work so you don’t know who’s stuck in traffic or you can’t get your drink order to your friends at the bar. Lucy, Ben and Jon wanted to fix that and invented what has become Facebook Messenger.

Messenger works when texting takes time by using a platform called MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport) which is kind to your battery, super quick on sending and receiving messages, and runs on the same platform that powers the IoT.

MQTT was invented in 1999 by Andy Stanford-Clark at IBM and Arlen Nipper now at Cirrus Link Solutions. Originally MQTT was designed for “connections with remote locations where a ‘small code footprint’ is required or the network bandwidth is limited” – so it’s great today  when you need to chat at a concert on your mobile.

Messaging is moving towards the Cognitive IoT

The Watson Internet of Things (IoT) Platform brings these two things together, the cognitive AI that Google’s ‘Spaces’ app uses, and the platform that moves Facebook Messenger’s content around. It’ll be interesting to see if these capabilities come together in a messaging app that combines the two. Maybe we’re not that far from messaging with Samantha from ‘Her’?

Let us know what you think about cognitive and artificial intelligence in chat applications, or find out more about the Watson Internet of Things Platform.