The Internet of Things (IoT) has been big news in the last few years, but more recently, questions have begun to be raised about its security and long-term sustainability.
Everything from kettles to lamps and even cars can now be connected to the IoT, but with so many different manufacturers creating smart products, there has been no standard set of rules for how connected devices can be managed.
As a result, people can end up spending more time going between different apps to control each of their smart items than if they were controlling them manually by themselves.
Indeed, web browser provider Mozilla stated: "Consumers should not be locked into a specific product, brand or platform."
The company has spent the last few months exploring potential solutions for this issue and has subsequently announced the launch of its Project Things, which it describes as "an open framework for connecting your devices to the web".
What is Project Things?
In a statement revealing the launch of Project Things, Mozilla explained: "We believe the future of connected devices should be more like the open web.
"The future should be decentralised, and should put the power and control into the hands of the people who use those devices."
That's what Mozilla is aiming to do with Project Things. It will allow consumers and businesses who have access to devices like the Raspberry Pi to build their own Things Gateway. From here, users will be guided through the process of connecting to a network and adding connected devices to it.
As part of this, people will be provided with a secure URL that will give them access to their smart devices from anywhere, making the management of their IoT-powered devices easier, more secure and more centralised.
Accessible to everyone
Mozilla wants people of all technical abilities to be able to navigate their own Things Gateway, so it has made it simpler to understand than the initial stages of Project Things, which did require a certain degree of technical know-how to comprehend.
New features have been added to the Things Gateway to make the technology accessible to businesses of all sizes and consumers of all abilities, such as simple logic so that users can create 'if this, then that' rules to enable their connected devices to communicate with each other via the gateway.
In addition, Things Gateway users will be able to view a floor-plan layout of all of their IoT-connected devices to see how they can work together in the best way, while there'll also be an updated system for safely and securely authorising third-party apps.
While Mozilla wants Project Things to be accessible to everyone, its overall aim is to make IoT devices less accessible to hackers, by providing consumers and businesses with what is essentially their very own private Internet of Things.