Mozilla has now officially launched its first consumer-ready, Raspberry Pi-based Project Things framework. To be sure, this is not the first iteration of the program to be launched but it is the first to focus on making the process of getting a smart home set up using the platform easy enough for everyday users. For those who may not be familiar with the project, Project Things is a web-based platform for creating a smart home hub using one of the ever-popular Raspberry Pi computers. Its newfound ease of use is possible because while the previous iterations of the project required a substantial amount of technical knowledge, the new version is centered around an "if this then that" trigger and action flow.
That approach to setting up a smart home should allow users to create their own triggers that flow naturally to generate home automation, as opposed to needing to learn code to create commands and responses. For example, the system could be set up so that "if" a user commands the kitchen lights to be turned on, "then" the kitchen smart lights turn on at a set color temperature and brightness. That could also be extended to a smart thermostat so that "if" is followed by a "then" which results in the kitchen and dining room being set to a comfortable temperature. Better still, the new iteration of Project Things allows commands to be issued using voice control, rather than just switches or a computer – although those options are still available to users. Meanwhile, other new features include support for further devices and switches, as well as virtual versions of those, and a new add-on system for adding new protocols and devices. Third-party applications can also now be enabled on those devices using OAuth. Beyond even that, there's a new "floor-plan view" which allows users to see the layout of devices on a virtual map of their home. That's all controlled through a web-based smart things gateway hub Mozilla calls Things Gateway, which can be securely controlled from anywhere through a designated URL.
Fortunately, if that all still seems to be a bit too much for some users, there's even a helpful new walkthrough for helping the less-than-technical and non-hackers get things moving. That should also help users overcome the biggest hurdle at this point, which remains the use of Raspberry Pi. In the meantime, the biggest benefit to Mozilla's latest innovation is that it does away with a substantial portion of the problem with the modern smart home. Namely, it frees users up from being stuck in a single dedicated platform with all of the uncertainty about compatibility that entails. While Mozilla's more open platform can't yet boast cross compatibility with everything just yet, it should only be a matter of time.