Around 40 UK-based technology companies have developed a product called Hypercat that aims to assist cities and homes to become ‘smart’. The product works by holding information transmitted by net-connected devices and automatically knows what permissions each of those devices embrace.
By storing this information, the ‘address book’ inspired Hypercat reduces the need for human intervention as it reduces the time and input needed to provide permissions and data between devices. This is because an application program interface (API) is no longer needed.
As the number of devices connected to Hypercat increases, the consortium behind Hypercat suggests it would be more efficient to allow the systems to have a standard way of consulting each other, rather than requiring new APIs for each case.
Hypercat can not only be used for industrial equipment but also for home use on items such as washing machines, TV’s and lamp posts. Each of these would require an API on its own, however with Hypercat; those layers of data simply aren’t needed as Hypercat acts as a go between creating a lightweight hypermedia catalogue format.
Hypercat has had a lot of backing with BT, ARM, IBM and Intel being part of the development team that have helped shape the specifications. Hypercat has also received £6.4m of government funds through the UK’s Technology Strategy Board. However, for Hypercat to truly succeed, it will need other tech companies to agree to add it to their systems. Major players, including Google and Apple, have yet to be consulted.