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March 3, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 7:46am

Mozilla enters IoT market with Firefox OS IoT apps and virtual assistant

News: Company says it is not directly competing with Apple and Google.

By Joao Lima

Mozilla has unveiled four IoT projects to further its IoT connected devices development project that will see Firefox OS for smartphones converted into an IoT OS.

The company has called on developers and volunteers to help ensure that "each project has the best opportunity at making an impact".

Mozilla’s first round of IoT plans includes Project Link, a personal user agent that works to understand consumer’s preferences for how they want to interact with the world of devices in the home, and automate the connected world.

Formerly known as Foxlink, the project is an experiment to build a software building block that can interact with various devices. The initiative is currently at stage one for validation, the second of four stages, and all code used in the project will be open source.

Secondly, Mozilla has announced Project SensorWeb, which according to the company, aims to find the easiest path from sensors to open data so contributors can collaboratively use sensors to get an understanding of their living environment.

The pilot project aims to build a crowd sourcing pm2.5 sensor network to measure air pollution. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, PM2.5 is the term for particles found in the air, including dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets.

Mozilla is also launching Project Smart Home, currently also at stage one of validation. The company said the project "offers a middle ground between "in a box" solutions like Apple Homekit and DIY solutions like Raspberry Pi".

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The company said the next steps for the project include understanding life in the home, concept validation and the research needed to make a build, buy and/or partner decision.

Lastly, Mozilla has announced Project Vaani to develop a voice interface for devices to communicate with consumers. The project will initially target smart homes, but the company plans to extend it to other IoT applications.

Also at stage one for validation, the project is aimed at hardware makers and developers. It will include an IoT back-end, user data collection and deployment of AI technology.

The company said that the product that will come out of Project Vaani, does not have to compete or catch up with the existing players like Siri and Google Now.

Ari Jaaksi, Mozilla’s SVP for connected devices, said: "We are focused on a gated innovation process that includes time to brainstorm solutions to real life problems and evaluate the market opportunity for these ideas.

"Additionally, we are aligning ourselves with users when it comes to simplicity, ease-of-use and engaging experiences, while ensuring everything is built with the Mozilla values of openness, transparency, privacy and user control at the core."

Last month, Mozilla announced that it would phase out its Firefox OS for smartphones to strengthen its play in the connected devices space.

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