FAQ

General

I haven’t seen anything like this before. How did you come up with it?

Our original intention was to create the most powerful user interface for the home of the future. After looking at what already existed we didn’t find anything suitable and started to conceptualize a solution from scratch. Later on, we realized that the potential of the technology in the age of the ‘internet of things,’ or ‘internet of everything’ (IoE) was much wider than what we had anticipated. This sparked additional ideas on features to be implemented, which finally made dizmo what it is today, so unique and future proof.

What is the difference between ‘dizmo’, ‘dizmoViewer’ and ‘dizmos’?

‘Dizmo’ is the name of the company, the name of the whole product and the overall concept. ‘DizmoViewer’ is the concrete implementation of the concept into the software platform.’Dizmos’ are interactive elements that provide the functionality of the user interface in the ‘dizmoViewer’.

I am a member of the press/media. How can I reach the dizmo team?

You can contact the dizmo media team anytime by emailing or calling them at the number and email addresses that you can find here.

What is dizmo?

Dizmo equally stands for a) the name of the company, b) the software product and c) the basic element of the technology, the digital gizmo (shortened ‘dizmo’). The latter represents a digital object, itself linked to a variety of different ‘things:’ digital representations of physical objects, applications, data, content, services and so on. Altogether, these dizmos represent doorways to our digital assets whereas the dizmoViewer provides the digital whitespace, virtually infinite, where we can oversee and orchestrate those digital assets.

Why and how did the project start?

Dizmo started at the end of the last decade as a research project to develop a new class of user interface targeting home automation and control. Soon it became clear that its scope and potential extended far beyond just home automation/control. A few trends triggered this reassessment, including: home automation morphing into smart homes (and smart everything), the internet becoming pervasive, the exponential growth of content and services, our digital assets becoming more far reaching, distributed and easier to manipulate and share, and lastly the widespread use of interactive displays and access points. All these trends created the need for a new way to interact with our digital world, a problem dizmo aims to solve. Dizmo was founded in March 2013 as a privately held start-up and a year later more private investors joined as part of a successful Round A investment cycle. At the same time, dizmo was selected by NBC Universal and Syfy Division, and was showcased during their private event at CES 2014 in Las Vegas. After this dizmo successfully completed a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in March 2014, after which the technology was pre-released to 150+ developers, makers, a few additional early adopters and more recently a few hundreds more Kickstarter backers. The beta- testing phase is now completed and the production version of the software has been released.

When/Where can I get dizmo and what is offered?

Dizmo is a software platform consisting of four main components: the dizmoViewer, dizmo(s), dizmoStore and dizmo service(s). DizmoViewer and dizmo(s) are also referred to as the ‘software.’ These components are available for individuals and companies as software and/or subscription services. The initial software and services’ offering starts on October 14th. The dizmo platform also provides access to the technology to developers, who can then design dizmos for their own use as well as publish them via our dizmo store. Dizmo’s technology is also available as an embedded technology ready to be integrated into the products of enterprise customers. Companies interested in this option should contact dizmo at contact@dizmo.com.

Can I try / evaluate dizmo now?

Individuals and/or companies interested in evaluating dizmo as a software tool can contact dizmo at contact@dizmo.com.

Is there an enterprise version of dizmo and how is it different?

Yes we offer an enterprise version of the software allowing companies to get site licenses, private cloud setups and the possibility to integrate legacy software into dizmo space. Companies can also have the possibility to adapt dizmo to specific system/product requirements and/or to develop custom dizmos. On top of this, we also plan to offer enterprises the possibility to license the technology in order to embed it into their end product, software, or system. Companies interested in these options should please contact dizmo at contact@dizmo.com.

Can I write my own dizmos?

Yes, absolutely and it’s even fun (and easy thanks to our simple API and SDK). Dizmos are based on standard web technology (HTML5, CCS3 and JavaScript), which makes it easy to develop new ones and even quickly port existing functionality developed for websites into a dizmo. Dizmo chose this technology to implement new dizmos as it is by far the fastest growing technology platform with which to implement new software. Developers need to subscribe to the Developers Package to be able to develop dizmos and get access to the dizmoStore, which will provide them with an efficient platform to publish and share dizmos. They will also receive specific deliverables and support to develop their projects.

What can I do with dizmo?

We call dizmo ‘The Interface of Things;’ this means you can create and organize digital gizmos, or ‘dizmos’ as we call them, on an interactive surface like a touch screen, interactive table or simply a laptop/tablet. The evolution of the Internet of Things is making digital or ‘made digital’ surfaces (mirrors, walls, windows, tables, cabinets, doors, desks, dashboards and all types of monitors.) and access points increasingly common. A ‘dizmo’ can be anything from a sticky note to a spreadsheet, a media player, a control button, a gauge or almost anything else. Dizmos are things you can move around and organize, ‘dock’ (see note), collaborate together, or share with other users. So you can easily setup your own home control panel, a brainstorming session or a news console. And it doesn’t stop there; your imagination is the limit.
(Note: ‘docking’ refers to a specific feature of dizmo space that allows connecting two or more dizmos to perform a more complex functionality. It is performed by moving a dizmo close to a second target dizmo. As dizmos are ‘aware’ of who and where they are in dizmo space, they recognize other dizmos and can connect with them).

What is your target market and application?

Dizmo is an ‘enabling technology,’ ideal for applications in the field of the Internet of Things. As such it applies horizontally to a variety of market segments where it can be used to allow one to overview and orchestrate target digital asset(s), which depending of the segment, can vary from industrial data to entertainment content, and from marketing data to sensor/control information data. Please see: ‘Industry’ for a non-exhaustive list of examples. At the same time, dizmo, as a software platform, can be used to transform the way people work and more precisely create, present, and collaborate. Due to its intuitiveness and its unbound and versatile nature, dizmo is the ideal platform for people to; build, exchange, formulate, sell and discuss, present, and enhance; ideas, concepts, proposal, whether for educational, entertainment or business purposes. Hence creative agencies, educational institutions, and industrial design groups represent also specific market targets.

What makes dizmo so different?

Dizmo is a new breed of user interface to the digital world. It is based on the observation that there are more and more digital surfaces around us that can be used to interact with digital content, services and functionality. All existing user interfaces were developed during the age of personal computing, for fixed screen sizes, computer applications and mouse/window interfaces. They have been stretched to adapt to the latest mobile/display technologies, but they are unable to adequately fulfill the needs of the forthcoming wave of allround, large, and dynamic digital surfaces, multi-source and cross-platform (e.g. devices, operating systems), content, and services. Consequently, we are entering the ‘post PC era.’ Dizmo provides the first user interface for this new paradigm of distributed computing, digital assets, and pervasive access points, where computers and interactive surfaces are simply everywhere.

On what platforms (device, OSs…) is dizmo running?

We made dizmo highly hardware and OS independent This is true from input devices, like pens, mice, track pads, to all kinds of touch-surfaces and screens, with the possibility to extend dizmo’s use to gesture recognition and voice activated devices. From the initial set of OS platforms for which it was developed (Windows, Linux, Mac OS X), we are now making dizmo available for all popular operating systems.

Can I roam between platform and devices?

Yes, dizmo will be compatible on all major OS platforms. So if you create a setup on one platform (say your home Mac) you can easily save it via our cloud service and load it later on different hardware setups in different locations (say your office Windows laptop) without any additional requirements or constraints.

What are the coolest features of dizmo?

The ‘Interface of Things’ not only lets you access physical devices like lamps, doors, and air conditioners, as well as things that have become digital like; books, alarm clocks, weather stations and so on, but that also combine them with other types of local or internet data, content and services. Dizmo, therefore, is not just another home control surface or social media interface, it is a completely new concept to interface overview and orchestrate your digital things and full digital asset range from any source, on any display, on any platform. One of dizmo’s distinguishing factors is the impressive and unique level of manipulation of digital objects it enables. Things can be instantiated, moved, rotated, scaled, resized, grouped, and iconized at a level never achieved before and in a very intuitive manner. Not only can you arrange dizmos in any way you like, but they can also talk to each other by ‘docking’ together (simply by putting them side by side, so that they can recognize each other and connect). This allows you to very easily and without any programming knowledge create setups that can visualize and control very simple to increasingly complex combinations of events, in a very intuitive way. As a simple example, you might want to combine a dizmo that shows a stock exchange index with the controller of a coloured lamp to get a quick and easy display of stock exchange information. Another cool feature is the possibility to save a dizmo setup you have created in the office and load it easily on your laptop at home. Or you may make it available to other users, through dizmoSynchro. And last but not least dizmoLive lets you share a ‘pad’ (a special dizmo which acts as a container of other dizmos) on which you have put some dizmos in a live link with another device or user, either locally or remotely.

Product

Does dizmo “only” work with touchscreen panels? Does dizmo work with other natural interface type of in/out technologies (gesture, voice…)?

Dizmo is designed to be independent from the interface hardware technology used. So, it doesn’t make any difference whether you use a touchscreen, an infrared pen or even a touch-pad or a mouse, since dizmo unifies these different ways of interacting with your applications. Moving forward, dizmo will be available for gesture, voice activated devices and any combination thereof, thus allowing for the full vision of senses’ driven interaction.

How does the ‘docking’ feature work and what can it be used for?

The ‘docking’ feature of dizmo allows the easy and intuitive creation of specialized functionalities, by combining the capabilities of each of the docked dizmos. Data captured by a sensor for example, can activate other dizmos that communicate such conditions or take actions on it, enabling an infinite number of use in the ‘Internet of Things.’ To see the ‘docking’ feature in action, watch this video.

How do devices and users move and share dizmos? Can it be used across different locations? How?

Sharing is made possible through dizmoSpace’s live-sharing feature and associated dizmoLive service which activates a communication pipe that is sharable with multiple clients. The action involved consists of opening a virtual ‘pad’ which acts as a container of dizmos and then setting the conditions of the sharing session. To see the ‘link’ feature in action, watch this video.

Can dizmo run on a mobile device such as a smart phone or a tablet?

As long as a mobile device is running any of the currently supported OSs, dizmo can be successfully downloaded from our website, as it is device agnostic. We plan to expand support to all the most popular OSs.

How does dizmo connect with gesture control hardware (like Leap Motion), haptic feedback devices (like haptix) or augmented reality glasses (like Meta)? Are you envisaging a way this type of devices can interact with yours?

The short answer to your question is: Yes, we plan to support those devices. Dizmo is designed to be interface hardware technology independent. Going forward, dizmo will be available for gesture, voice activated devices, and any combination thereof, thus enabling the full spectrum of sense driven interaction. For the sake of clarity, we would add that the our current primary objective is to ensure rock-solid functionality for touch-screen enabled devices. After this is achieved we will migrate dizmo to a range of hardware interface technologies. In fact, we do use standard human interface device events to interpret the commands of users. Consequently, as long as the devices follow those standards, compatibility is quite straightforward to achieve. We will accelerate the path to gesture-driven compatibility depending upon the level of interest and support received from users.

What is the ‘collaboration suite’ and which dizmos will be included in it?

The ‘collaboration suite’ is a premium set of dizmos tuned for small workgroup collaboration. It sits on top of the baseline software package offered with the dizmo standard license ( i.e. dizmoSpace plus an initial set of dizmos to get started), to which we add a set of additional dizmos tailored to work-group presentation, education, and collaboration activities. It is a sort of suite for the creative work-space of the future, supported by the underlying ability of dizmo to instantiate and to manipulate various elements on a surface like a digital table.
For instance, dizmoSpace allows you to designate any image as a backdrop (e.g. business canvas, SWOT, calendar background, four quadrant image, maps) and put all kinds of additional elements onto said background (e.g. multi-coloured sticky notes, images / icons, full or partial websites, simple spreadsheets, slide shows, remote camera images, videos, Twitter feeds). You can even overlay this with a transparent surface that allows you to draw & scribble on top of it. Also you can add the Navigator dizmo, which allows easily navigation across the surface using arrows to go forward and backward.
Workgroups can be a team of engineers strategizing about the mission to Mars, an industrial design team sharing their ideas for the next product to come, a marketing team sharing drafts for the next marketing campaign or simply a group of friends getting together to discuss their vacation and/or looking for an multi-channel entertainment platform. The collaboration suite includes a (yet undisclosed) set of dizmos to enhance such experiences. Of course one key additional capability is dizmoLive, a service that allows the above activity to be performed across multiple devices and locations.

Is there a limit on how many times the same dizmo is pulled up and running? Can you pull up a few different websites at a time?

Yes, you can of course open multiple website at the same time, or any other type of dizmo. As far as how many times the same dizmo can be instantiated, there are no inherent architectural limitations: users can typically instantiate more dizmos than they can handle! On our standard laptop, we have easily instantiated more than 50 ‘tiny browser’ dizmos, for example. Users are in fact only limited by their hardware resources.

Technical

What technical support do you offer?

There are several channels through which support is provided: a dizmo online email-based support for general users and a specialized support service for developers. We are actively selecting 3rd parties to be able to scale up support for enterprises also.

What platforms does dizmo run on?

These are the operating systems currently supported:
Mac OS X 10.8. and later versions
Windows 7 and later versions
Linux
Our roadmap includes extending the support to iOS and Android, of course.

Do I need any specific hardware to run the dizmo software?

Dizmo is largely independent from the hardware being used. However, there are minimal recommended hardware specifications needed to smoothly run dizmo:
Dual core processor or better > 2.0 GHz
2 GByte Memory
250 MByte disk space
Internet connection recommended
Hardware support for OpenGL, >1 GByte dedicated video RAM
A separate video card enhances the user experience

Do I need to be connected to the Internet to use dizmo?

A connection to the Internet is not mandatory for dizmo to work, but it certainly improves the experience and increases the range of potential actions which can be implemented, as many dizmos use the Internet to access content and data. A connection to the Internet allows users to take better advantage of the full features set of dizmoSpace.

‘Docking’ allows you to connect dizmos to each other. One example is the light bulb connected to a weather display seen in one of the videos. How is this implemented? Do dizmos send messages to each other or do they have something similar to shared memory?

In a nutshell, dizmoViewer provides dizmos with simple and efficient means to make their data persistent. The storage of each dizmo’s public part is made available as shared memory to docked dizmos. In addition, there are also ways to subscribe to changes in a specific item within this shared data. This allows you to implement call-back code to efficiently react to these changes without a need to poll.

How do I install and set-up dizmo on my machine/device?

By double clicking the installer or dragging the application on the application folder depending on your machine…that’s it!

What sort of set-up you are you using to transform your table into a “touchscreen” with the projected image?

The table set-up you see in the video is a combination of a short range LED based projector (Optoma ZW210ST) pointing down at the table and an overhead camera combined with an infrared pen that produces simple mouse events and delivers them over USB.

Is it possible to run pre-existing applications installed on the computer as frames in the dizmoViewer and interact with them as you would on the typical desktop?

One of the key strengths of dizmoViewer is its independence from hardware and OSs, as well as its ability to move dizmos across multiple devices live. Naturally this puts constraints on the integration of binary applications into dizmoViewer. We are pleased to see (and are counting on the fact) that more and more applications are moving to web- and browser-based solutions, (like Google Docs for example). It is possible to integrate remote desktop solutions like Citrix or VNC based connections, which allow for interactions with legacy desktop applications. In any case please note that dizmo is a native application on Windows, Mac and Linux, which means it can be run in parallel with existing desktop applications if necessary.

When using the collaboration suite, would all participants need to have a dizmo collaborate license to access the same work space online? Can dizmoViewer be considered a sort of data base, with the same element (dizmo) shared among various workgroups?

Yes, all participants collaborating on a set-up need to have dizmo installed and running on their devices to be able to share and collaborate. Furthermore, one or more dizmos can be shared with multiple groups, while other dizmos can at the same time be shared only with one or some of those groups.

Can dizmo act as X window manager? Why not use a non-web-based Mailreader or Graphics editor in dizmo? Are you rendering each dizmo into a texture buffer on the graphics card and then finally rendering the desktop as rectangles textured by the buffers? That’s more or less what compositing window managers do, so it wouldn’t be that far off.

The above assumptions about the rendering process are correctand in principle it would be possible to integrate an X Windows based renderer. However, as dizmo is a native application on Windows, Mac and Linux, it can in fact run in parallel with existing desktop applications.