Microsoft has released the first beta version of Lab of Things (LoT), and it's much more than just a fun name. LoT enables researchers to access data from connected devices around the world, collaborating and sharing it as they see fit. If, say, someone in the lab at University of Michigan wanted to determine how much TV people watch in London, all they'd need to do is install sensors as they please. Well, that and install a computer running HomeOS onsite to collect and transmit said data to an Azure Storage account. In theory, this gives academics a robust set of deployable tools without requiring coding knowledge to use them. The Windows company is taking a hands-off approach to the info, too -- researchers retain all rights to whatever they collect. The catch is, the LoT license doesn't allow for commercial use. The source link has a cute video explaining everything, but you'll need Silverlight to play it.