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This article was published on July 8, 2014

    Spark wants to bring the Internet of Things within reach of any device

    Spark wants to bring the Internet of Things within reach of any device
    Ben Woods
    Story by

    Ben Woods

    Europe Editor

    Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional online poker player. You can contact him via Twitter or on Google+.

    The Internet of Things (IoT) is a terrible, terrible term but what it represents is a world of inter-connected devices and smart living, a world where every light bulb can have its own IP-address, if we so wish.

    However, developing proprietary technology so that all our previously dumb devices can connect to the cloud (and potentially, each other) takes time and money that fledgling businesses or spirited designers usually don’t have. This is what Spark‘s operating system (OS) for the IoT comes in.

    Essentially, it’s a full stack of technology for novices to enterprise pros that allows users to start building connected devices, regardless of their technical ability.

    cloud-and-things

    Already a Kickstarter success story, the company raised more than $560,000 after setting out to score just $10,000 for its Spark Core WiFi connector kit, the company is also announcing a $4.9 million Series A round of funding alongside its cloud OS today.

    “We live in a world where we’re all connected through our phones and laptops, but many of the products around us are still waiting to be reinvented,” Spark’s founder Zach Supalla said. “With the Spark OS, we hope to make it easier to build amazing new connected products to foster innovation in areas where it’s far overdue.”

    The Spark stack is comprised of the $39 Spark Core, an Arduino-like development kit for WiFi-connected products and the Spark Cloud, which lets devices communicate with mobile and Web apps.

    A beta version of the Core has been available since November last and has already been used in a variety of products, such as CleverPet‘s smarter than average dog feeding bowl and Niwa‘s hydroponic Internet-connected grow box for the living room.

    It’s a smart idea – not every company can be Nest, but there are still plenty that want to build Internet-connected products that could potentially change lives, or at least feed our dogs for us while keeping them entertained and water the indoor tomato plants.

    Given the level of support the company has seen for the product so far via Kickstarter, not to mention its significant Series A round, Spark stands a chance of filling the void between hobbyists and full-blown enterprises for connecting the Internet of Things.

    That’s pretty good going for a company that was looking to raise $10,000 just a little over a year ago.

    ➤ Spark