Instant messaging apps are becoming more multi-functional lately. Typically made for texts, voice calls, video calls and photo sharing, messaging apps are nowadays adding a wide array services under them. WhatsApp, for instance, has taken a plunge into the mobile payments industry, and have also launched a business-oriented app. And now, Japan-based messaging app Line, which already is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency, is getting into the Internet of Things (IoT). The company showed-off Line Things, its new platform for controlling smart home devices via messaging, at the IFA 2018.
Line is the go-to messaging app in the countries like Japan, Thailand and Indonesia, and has over 200 million active monthly users worldwide.
With a company mission statement of 'closing the distance,' Line Corporation introduced the Line Things at IFA 2018 in Berlin. The IoT platform allows you to control and manage connected home devices from within the Line app. The company also plans to enhance the platform's compatibility into the wearable tech. The idea, as underlined by the mission statement, is to make the complicated world of smart home products simpler. Instead of multiple apps, and hundreds of separate notifications, you just have one familiar source, Line.
Line Things is still in the earliest of stages, and doesn't have any official compatible products and services yet. However, Line demonstrated the proof-of-concept at the IFA using phones and tablets with a few use cases. The demo included sending cooking instructions from the internet to a cooking microwave via Line and controlling the water, light and temperature of a Bluetooth-connected plant monitor. The upside here is instead of requiring different apps, either of the services can be controlled through Line. Line is also aiming the service at smart locks, security cameras, connected cars and wearable tech.
Smart home tech is a dense and confusing system to any newcomer, and is potentially the main reason behind such a slow adoption of the tech. But with Line Things, Line users get that extra layer of familiarity to the tech. Line already has its own range of smart speakers in Japan, potentially adding voice control through Line Things in future. However, it needs the involvement of developers and manufacturers to take off as well. This was likely a part of Line’s intentions around showing Line Things at IFA.
Line aims to launch Line Things in the first half of 2019. And as expected, it'll be first available in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia.