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Frequently asked questions

If you have a question about the Lab of Things, and you do not find it on this FAQ page, please send us an email.

How do I join the Lab of Things?

Simply download the Lab of Things SDK and Platform from CodePlex. You will need to define an Org ID for your deployment (here), for which you will need a Microsoft Acount. By defining the Org ID, you get access to cloud services such as monitoring of your deployment. Refer to the Getting Started with the Lab of Things document for more information.

How do I get support for the Lab of Things?

You can visit our CodePlex page and post questions at the developer forum. Our developer team will answer.

Can I use the Lab of Things for my research?

If you are an academic researcher, you can freely use the Lab of Things for your research. The Lab of Things license does not allow commercial use.

Do I have to connect my home deployment to the LoT cloud services?

If you are testing your deployment, you do not have to connect to the LoT cloud services. We provide sample code for a reference implementation of our cloud services which you can see for understanding how our services work. Once you want to deploy at scale, we would highly recommend you to use LoT cloud services for storage, update and monitoring. We will be updating our cloud services to reflect the latest features.

What is the relationship between HomeOS and Lab of Things?

Built on top of the HomeOS software platform, Lab of Things provides a common framework to write applications and has a set of capabilities beneficial to field deployments including logging application data from houses in cloud storage, remote monitoring of system health, and remote updating of applications if needed (e.g. to change to a new phase of the study by enabling new software, or to fix bugs). HomeOS is the core platform for interconnection of devices in the home and LoT provides the services required for monitoring, updates and storage.

Who owns data generated from my field studies?

You own this data. You also own your own deployment and participants. All study related data generated as part of your deployments is accessible only to you in your own Windows Azure Storage account.

Microsoft collects monitoring data from Lab of Things deployments as a service to you so you can monitor your deployments and studies via the Monitoring Portal. Data collection and usage in this case is guided by the Microsoft Research Privacy Statement

What options do I have for storage of my experimental data?

Data generated by each HomeHub can be stored using one of the following three options.

  • Your experiment is a HomeOS application which is developed using the .NET Framework. You can use the flexibility offered by .NET to write your data locally in a file, or can save to any networked location of your choice.
  • Microsoft Windows Azure offers a simple and easy way to write your data in the cloud. It supports writing into blob storage, Azure tables, or in a Azure SQL database.
  • Lab of Things also ships with a system for efficient storage and sharing of data across applications running on Lab of Things. This storage system offers the abstraction of a stream of time-tag-value records, with arbitrary, application-defined tags, and it supports efficient querying based on time or tags. It builds an index on the data stream and organizes the data into chunks of multiple records, which enables efficient compression, encryption, storage, and transfer of data. Read more.

Are there any academic offering for Windows Azure?

You can choose to store all of your experiment data in a Windows Azure storage account. Microsoft offers free 1 month trial. Microsoft also offers liberal grants of Windows Azure resources for academic research. See more details at the Azure4Research website.

How do I contact the Lab of Things research team?

Please send email to