IoT? Whatsapp yo?!

Categories: app, Generics

How many of you have heard of the ‘yo’ app? Yo – It’s that simple. For the unknowns, it is an app with which we can send a ‘yo’ as a text & audio notification. Trust me! That is all! Just a ‘yo’ and nothing more!!! 🙂 The first time I heard about this app I laughed it off!! But when I gotta to know that it had raised $1.2M investment, I was like “WTF”!!!!!!!!

But then I thought investors aren’t fools. Why will they invest $1.2M without any potential possibilities? I thought like an investor and like a developer and guess what, I felt the ‘possible’ uses of an app like ‘yo’ are tremendous! Much more than it appears on the very first go.


The use-cases are extremely high in number when we consider IoTs. The major issue with IoT (at least, as of now) is how to sync up between the heterogeneous mix of IoT devices lying around! How can we automate some tasks? Imagine a situation where you have scores of IoT devices at home. Your fridge. Your bed. Your coffee machine. Your toothbrush. And now imagine automating between these IoTs!!! Like, say, coffee machine starts brewing while you are 50% into your brushing of your teeth! Smile Horrible time integrating your tooth brush with your coffee machine, yeah? Imagine the amount of customization or geeky automation required to suit everybody’s need!! This is where ‘yo’ comes in or at least, I think so.

How can this be done via ‘yo’, you ask?! Smile All your ‘IP-connected toothbrush’ need to do is to send a ‘yo’ to the coffee-machine at the appropriate time. Coffee machine, now, does not need anything more than just a notification for it to start brewing. It does not need any additional information more than a simple notification. ‘Yo’ app developers understood the power & the potential of simple notifications as against to full-fledged integration (like IFTTT, for instance!). The coffee-machine can be configured to start its (only?) task of brewing coffee to your taste whenever it receives a notification from toothbrush. Is it like a publisher-subscriber model? I think so! Or, at least, that is how I would utilize it.


Allow me to explain with another example. Suppose your vehicle is for service. Now for that notification to reach you, assuming there is an dealer app installed in your phone, your app need to poll sync-up with the cloud on a regular basis. yo2Or, the cloud needs to send a notification (say, apple notification) with as many information as possible to your app so that it can intimate you to send your vehicle for service. Now with your app being ‘yo’-aware as soon as it received a notification, with nothing more than a ‘yo’, it will intimate you that your vehicle is up for service! The only other data it requires is, from when the vehicle is up for service & that info can be figured out from the timestamp of the ‘yo’ notification! Smile Of course, there is the multiple vehicle scenario. I can think of a solution off-the-top-my-head but I shall leave that to you guys to figure out it!

Now start to think what all & what else we can achieve by a simple notifications! Plenty, I tell you. I started to expand my use cases & was surprised to see dozen’s rolling off my sleeves within 30 mins of thinking! The ones that I would prefer to have implemented in my house are:

  • Morning Coffee: Start brewing the coffee while I am midway through my brushing of my teeth. (I need this! I NEED this!)
  • Starbucks on the way to work: Customer left his home to work, car sends a ‘yo’ based on its GPS location to ‘Starbucks’ and they keep your breakfast hot & ready just in time for you!! (Wouldn’t we love it?!)
  • Arrived at a party/event: Now, if you organize a big-ass party inviting over 50+ people, or even an event, whenever your guests checkin you get a ‘yo’ and you can walk by to wherever they are to greet them. Wouldn’t this be awesome so that you don’t miss people at your own event? Trust me this is supremely important in Indian weddings. We always tend to forget to greet someone or other!!
  • Children back home from school: Children left school, so a ‘yo’ to your oven/toaster to get ready to prepare a snack, while you are at work. Children back home safely, a ‘yo’ from their phone to yours (while at work!). Children are not studying instead playing XBOX, send a ‘yo’ from your mobile to XBOX and they go right back to studies! Smile
  • Cleaning lady at home while you away: So a ‘yo’ to start the security camera.
  • Motion sensor: Though many might feel this is already there but my point is to integrate your motion-sensor with your existing security ecosystem! So, a ‘yo’ from motion-sensor to your security camera to turn it on! This will extremely useful with the raise of Airbnb kinda scene.
  • School attendance: Simple, yeah?! Smile

Amazing, isn’t it?! Smile


Of course, there is case of IFTTT! In essence, they are the cloud-based connector for all your apps, IoTs & everything. Well, I am still trying to figure out if ‘yo’ has any bandwidth advantage over IFTTT because of the limited data size. I am sure in some cases, IFTTT will be way better but ‘yo’ has so many daily use cases (that can also be achieved by IFTTT) for a quick integration.

  • RP,

    In the above scenarios, we assume that when a ‘yo’ is sent by a device, the receiver knows what to do. Also, in the scenarios described above, only one action element can be attached to a device as a ‘yo’ from car to Starbucks would mean breakfast. Sometimes it could be coffee & other times it could be frappe! And obviously these yos will also require an IFTTT wrapping to know the destination – for eg. to whicheth Starbucks of my area should my car/mobile be sending an Yo…?

    I get what you are saying. Its like sending notifications across devices/establishments with ONE word. Yo will simplify the language & vocabulary for communication between devices but we might require some cousins to it, to get added for larger adoption.

    Yo depends a lot on the context in which it is used & we may not need another app to do what can be incorporated in the context itself! Yo is like an half-a-check-box. Yo = Yes. But no way to know a No 🙂

  • Rampy
    You are absolutely right. Not all scenarios can be handled by just a notification. But plenty can be.
    Coming to the yo to Starbucks example, Starbucks servers based on the time of the notification knows whether it is a coffee or breakfast. Also what I have purposely omitted here is that everyone needs to have a Starbucks account with their preference already setup. So your account is customised to know that if a “yo” comes in around 4pm then it is the hazelnut flavoured coffee but if it is 11am on a Saturday then it is a decaf!! So without your personalised presence (ie account) a “yo” is of no use.
    Also the context most often is nothing more than date/time combined with the source of the notification. For instance, if you received a “yo” from Nitin Acharya’s mobile at 4pm, you know the context!! If you receive a “yo” from JetAirways 2 hours before your flight, you know the context!! So the context is not always complex. But yes there are complex contexts as well but more than (roughly) 40% of use cases can be achieved without a wrapper like IFTTT! I am curious to see if the world will adopt a less heavy process to reduce the congestion in the network. Imagine 2 billion people use IFTTT for every of their daily automated tasks!!! Even a 1gigabit internet speed will look like dialup modem! So conserving bandwidth is extremely crucial. And to me “yo” is one-tiny baby step towards something substantially huge! 🙂

    ~ rp

  • This is exactly what MQTT does with more flexibility. MQTT is a pub Sub client with various QoS levels and this standard is specifically designed for IoT devices.

  • Hi Sidsingh
    True. But MQTT is a protocol not a service. Whereas Yo is a service. I would rather compare Yo with IFTTT or a bot prominent service like Slack. I believe Microsoft released a new bot service, I need to check that, which perhaps might be a equally good comparison (in some situations).

    ~ rp

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