Facebook IoT announcement is more about Parse than about Facebook
IoT is on the hype and no one wants to be left behind. Mobile device vendors and OS vendors are investing significantly in IoT, At F8 last week Facebook announced it joins the party by adding support for IoT in Parse.
What is Parse?
Parse is a mobile app platform for developers that came to Facebook through an acquisition back in 2013. Parse is not a mobile OS but rather a set of tools in the cloud that help developers build their applications and focus on the frontend instead of taking care of the backend. A few tools to mention are data base, identity management through social or traditional login, notifications, analytics and a dashboard to manage it all.
Naturally, there are integration points with Facebook to make developers’ life easier when using Facebook from within their app. Parse provides integration with additional social identities such as Twitter and is not limited to Facebook only.
What is this announcement about?
Connected devices should be accessible by many apps each, managing them for a different use case. For this, connected devices communicate with a Hub that knows their status and manages them.
For the connected device to be managed by this Hub they needs to support an interface used by it.
This is essentially what this announcement is about.
Parse for IoT is twofold.
A set of SDKs for connected devices and an addition to the Parse cloud platform with APIs that give applications an interface to interact with the connected devices.
At the moment, Parse has an SDK for the Arduino Yún microcontroller board with Wiring interface. There is also an SDK for Linux and Real Time Operating Systems (RTOS). These open source SDKs are used as reference implementation by various chipset vendors so you can expect chipsets and devices to support the Parse platform in the future.
Can I now control connected devices from a Facebook App?
The integration of Parse with Facebook is more in the sense of identity, monetization through Facebook ads, access to user’s Facebook information and doing things on his behalf.
Parse is pretty much separated from Facebook and is not a platform for building Facebook applications. Therefore, based on current announcement, Parse doesn’t enable a user of a Facebook app to control devices connected to Parse. Nevertheless, this might be a next step by Facebook.