On Monday, at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2013, Microsoft unveiled Lab of Things (LoT). LoT is a technology that allows researchers to write drivers for sensors and devices that are implanted into participating homes across the globe. Connected to Windows Azure, these sensors and devices utilize Microsoft's HomeOS that runs on a dedicated server installed in the home. Once the acquired data is available in Windows Azure storage, researchers can apply the data to fulfill their inquisitive natures, and also collaborate with other researchers anywhere. LoT is currently targeted toward the academic world with several universities already on board, including Indiana University, University of Michigan, University of Washington, FAST-NUCES, Pakistan, University College London, Southampton University, and Lancaster University.
HomeOS, coupled with the LoT devices and sensors, reminds me quite a bit of SPOT, which I talked about recently in Lest We Forget: Microsoft Made the First Smart Watch, Too. It's true that consumers are already connected to the Cloud at home using their various devices, and it's true that the data passing between devices and the Cloud is already being consumed for various means, but LoT seeks to tie things together in a more official, less nefarious capacity. At least in LoT's case, home users can opt-in to be research participants.
Check it out: Lab of Things