Telefónica dives into the consumer internet of things with Thinking Things “ambient” pack

Telefónica has launched a modular internet of things platform called Thinking Things, which consists of stackable modules for a variety of purposes.

There will be many sensors, actuator modules and so on to come, but the first manifestation of the new platform is an “ambient kit pack” that includes a communications module with an embedded SIM, a module for measuring air temperature, humidity and ambient light, and a battery module that can be charged via microUSB (the battery modules, which can charge 1,000 “communications” per charge, can themselves be stacked.)

This will let users remotely control the temperature, lighting and humidity of their home or office, though that only applies to lights, heaters and humidifiers that are plugged in at the wall, rather than fixed units. That use case will probably also require the smart plug module that Telefónica will release early next year, allowing users to turn devices on and off, dim lights and measure energy usage. Telefónica will next month also release modules for sensing presence, impact and audio, and notifying the user via LEDs.

The Spanish carrier group is kicking things off with some introductory prices: The ambient kit costs €89.95 ($114) with six months’ 2G connectivity included, or €99.95 with a full year’s connectivity – beyond that, connectivity will cost €14.94 for 6 months and €24.95 per year.

Importantly, the devices will be usable across Europe, the U.S. and Latin America. That’s only for starters — they should work over any network with which Telefónica has a GSM roaming agreement.

A web page will provide users with an overview of what the sensors are sensing, along with the ability to set rules. According to the Thinking Things page:

For example, you can receive an email if your home gets too cold, or twit when the lights go off. You can define alarms for those things that are very important for you.

There’s also a €199.95 developer kit. Telefónica is using open hardware that it’s produced in collaboration with Arduino, and it has an API for developers who want to see how their services will work with Thinking Things.

“This is a major step in Telefónica’s journey into the internet of things,” the company’s director of industrial internet of things, Francisco Jariego, said in a statement. “Our aim is for Thinking Things Open to become an open ecosystem in which any object or device can be connected to the internet.”

Jariego is not kidding about this being a major step. If these kits and modules are marketed right, the carrier group’s reach (largely through its O2 and Movistar brands) and roaming agreements could make Thinking Things the start of something big.

This article was updated at 6.20am PT to note that the system can only be used to control plugged-in lights and so on, rather than fixed units.