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Thinking Things

Making it easier for companies to build the Internet of Things

Democratising the Internet of Things

Building the Internet of Things

Many call the Internet of Things the ‘Next Big Thing’. But in fact: it is already here. There are already more things connected to the Internet than people and by 2020 the number is expected to grow to +50bn!

This development represents an incredible opportunity for many businesses, however the complexity of the Internet of Things restricts access to this market to big enterprises that can make large investments and most solutions are not interoperable.

Thinking Things enables Internet of Things for the Long Tail and makes it easy for small and medium companies – and bigger enterprises – to expand their products with services or create new services around connected objects.

What are Thinking Things

Thinking Things are modular bricks that connect to the Internet via mobile and cloud technologies. Users can combine different plastic bricks that contain basic sensors or actuators, from thermometers to loudspeakers. The bricks can be combined in any possible way configuring different solutions. Once the bricks are switched on they connect to the backend via mobile network

How do Thinking Things work?

The Thinking Things modules clip together with the patented connector and detect each other automatically. You can add as many additional sensor or actuator modules as you need.

The core module is the brain of every Thinking Things stack - it comes with built-in GSM connectivity and can connect to the Internet wherever is GSM coverage - all over the world!

Once switched on, the modules automatically connect to the Thinking Things platform. You can monitor and control Thinking Things remotely through our easy-to-use interface at the Thinking Things site on your computer or mobile device. You can see the current status of the modules, check logs and events or control them.

You can create automatic behaviors to make your Thinking Things intelligent.

They can, for instance tweet their status when a sensor value crosses a threshold, react to an SMS you send them, or only swith on the irrigation system when no rain is forecast.

We are constantly evolving Thinking Things behaviors and are adding capabilities and communication channels.


Current status

Thinking Things is now an internal start-up at Telefónica Digital where the team will refine the value proposition and define its road to market. In this context, ideas will be tested with customers and validated with minimal resources outside business units. In the initial phase the product should be ready for commercialization.

A small team of cross-functional creators drives the project that is isolated from the rest of the business. The funding is governed by venture capital funding rounds with clear “kill / continue” decisions. The project, acting like a startup, controls how to invest their available funds but has to be completely transparent.

This is project was imagined within the activities of the “physical Internet lab” of Telefónica I+D. The lab was created as a facility where experimentation with the modern techniques of manufacturing is possible. It combines the availability of computer led manufacturing machines like 3D printers, laser cutters or CNC machines, with software activities that are needed to create connected objects.

Bringing Agile to this project

Agile methodologies have been used in software projects for years where implementation is particularly favorable. Software development allows quick rescheduling of activities and resources in a dynamic and customer led way. However the use of agile methodologies in projects where hardware is involved is restricted because of the long times required to manufacture pieces. These limitations determine the way in which the activities are organized trying to minimize the number of manufacturing steps required.

With the use of the modern techniques of digital manufacturing available in the “physical Internet lab” of Telefónica I+D the time required for the manufacturing steps is drastically reduced. When the manufacturing of a prototype can last weeks using traditional techniques, with digital manufacturing technologies a similar task can be completed within the same day inhouse. This is relevant because it makes possible that many more manufacturing tasks can be included in the development of projects.

This project pioneers in the use of agile methodologies in projects where manufacturing tasks are required. It is particularly useful because it allows quick pivoting of the project, which is quite necessary at the initial phases of any project when lots of uncertainties exist.


El genial equipo que trabajo en BeWiFi:

  • Javier Zorzano, Initiative Leader
  • Xavier Capellades, Head of New Products
  • Lars Stalling, Strategic Design