ThingSpeak, Open.Sen.Se

Does anyone know who is behind ThingSpeak or Open.Sen.Se? Both services are “free” to the users but someone has to be paying the bill. Neither seem to be advertisment supported. I am considering using one of them for a project. Before getting too involved with someone I usually like to know who is paying the bill and why.


and ThingSpeak is part of

I have projects running on both of them and been really happy thus far as they have been a great help in terms of getting stuff working.

Not directly related, but… never stated anywhere it is going to be free forever, and it is pretty much abandonned now (last blog entry is two years old!), as they moved to payed services with that creepy plastic matroska statue. Thingspeak isn’t very actively developed, too (at least the frontend), but a least Thingspeak guy shows up here from time to time, and they also have an open github repository (although it’s quite outdated).

To be honest, I really do not see any attractive options to store my sensor data. Cosm is gone, Xively does not count, is left forevr in beta stage, and Thingspeak that lives in their own world…

I’m don’t think I’d call abandoned, as thought I saw some recent site maintenance etc going on, but I don’t think Rafi Haladjian who is behind it, is exactly hanging out at MacDonalds hoping for a free hamburger so it might not progress as fast as some folks might want, but it is part of so I don’t think its going away anytime soon. The last time I chatted with someone from was about 6 months ago, but I’ll give them a ding and see if anyone answers up.

There is a not very active discussion forum here for!forum/sense-api

Like I said in another forum thread, its all about growing a technology which despite the endless stream of media articles describing it, isn’t really that mature and still in fact emerging.

I should also mention that while I was setting up channels on for the ‘Great Network Shootout’ and watching the channel id numbers, it was obvious that I wasn’t the only one adding new channels so while it might not be as popular as ThingSpeak, people are using too.

You might want to consider Smart Energy Groups

I have been using it for a long time now and it has generally been very reliable. I like it because it has some powerful visualizations and it also emails me when it loses contact with my devices.

You can see an example here

The first graph is the loop counter from two of my old 4.1 based devices. They had been operating flawlessly for months, but we recently had two wind storms. The first took out DSL for about a day. The devices buffer the data and trickle it back when the connection is back. This worked well on one device, but the other sends more data so it ran out of memory. I never bothered to do something about that “feature” :wink: A few days later, another tree fell down and took out power. This time DSL was still working, but the barnyard is not on generator power yet.

The next graphs down show two views of my water meter heater controller. Three temp sensors, one on the meter and one on each of the valves. I adjusted the position of one sensor so it better matched the others on the 11th. This uses a G120.

The next one down shows the sensors under the sink in the tack room.

Poop Mahal shows the sensors and blower for my aerated static pile compost bin, which works quite well. This is also G120 driven.

One thing that is cool about SEG is that it has the Calendar control and you can go back in time and see what the graphs looked like then. The right now controls always show the latest data, so you have to pay attention.


@ Frogmore that looks very cool, thanks for letting me know about that site, the visualizations look great. On average how much a month are you paying for it?

Was talking yesterday to one of the guys at and as per usual they didn’t know about this forum (really this forum is one of the best kept secrets on the internet, I bet Edward Snowden doesn’t even know about this forum). So hopefully they will peek in on us from time to time or they will let me post some information about what is going on over there.

So far it has been free to post data and view it. They do have a store and sell parts and complete SEG Meters. I already had a Brultech when I found the site, so I have not purchased anything yet. There was talk of a charge at some point, but I have not heard anything about it yet, or been asked to pay anything. I am not sure who actually pays the bills, but the policies looked quite good the last time I checked.

SEG is from an Aussie in Melbourne, who started it as a way to get data on power consumption visible. They’ve sold a number of units commercially, into places like 24x7 shops, to see where power savings can be made, but I think the whole “enterprise” is a personal project with minimal costs and therefore kept low/no cost to users. Another effort similar but designed primarily to record power output from solar panels is, another Aussie who charges nothing. Obviously they are intended as niche repositories.

GitHub Open Source Version of ThingSpeak just got a major refresh…

We moved to Rails 4 and brought all of the Production level features and improvements to the open source version.

The publicly hosted version of ThingSpeak has also gone through many improvements in the past 3 months. Today, we released the UI being based on Bootstrap so we can make great front-end improvements inline with where web applications are going. The UI also supports UTF-8 characters now.

The forum is also very active with questions and feature request, but you are welcome to post questions here. We check it out from time to time.


Great. Looking good.

Let me also draw the attention to the talkback feature, which let devices which uploads data download a command. Looks promising.

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Thank you everyone for your thoughts.

@ ThingSpeak, thanks for jumping in as well. Its nice to see you monitoring these kinds of forums.

@ njbuch, talkback does look promising, thanks for pointing that out. That might come in handy.

I am still on the fence between rolling my own data communication service using Azure or using a service like ThingSpeak. I can see advantages either way. This is a monitoring application so ultimately I will have an application running on Azure to monitor the device feeds and respond to events.