IoT, Raspberry Pi, Technical Stuff

Bluemix + IoTF + Node-RED + RaspberryPi + My experience about all this

I started a project about 3 moths ago and it was a whole journey figuring it out how to use and implement the hardware and software requirements for it and although it took a time to build this up I finally got to do it and this is my experience, comments, learning and impressions about this journey.

Why I took this project?

I chose a project called: “Connecting small form factor devices to the internet”, which basically was turning on a LED light on a Raspberry pi from a Bluemix Application (feel free to check my post about the project at: Turning on a LED light on a Raspberry Pi from Bluemix). I chose this one because I like hardware and the fact that I needed to wire electronics and learn how to use a Raspberry Pi was exciting, besides it runs Raspbian, a Linux OS designed for the Pi, that was a plus cause I like Linux. So it had everything I like, hardware + linux + new device: raspberry + learning new technologies, like IoTF, Bluemix and Node-RED.

What did I learn and What was my experience with it?

I had no previous knowledge about the technologies I was going to use prior to start this project but I finally got to learn how to use technologies like Bluemix, IoTF, Node-RED and hardware like the Raspberry Pi and more important, I got  to understand the impact, benefits and the scope of these technologies. Besides the fact to learn how to implement the technologies, I improved my blogging skills and also I experienced the joy and satisfaction of contributing to others learning, to be honest, is really cool when someone reads your post and find something interesting and something to get advantage of. I also learned that you don’t need to be an expert to start building your eminence. You can start on the path by investigating and researching for new technologies, this way you are not only learning and growing your own technical knowledge but, by sharing and writing about what you’re learning you become better at what you do and thus you start building your eminence because you are sharing something that maybe a lot of people doesn’t know yet. Not keeping the recent acquired knowledge to yourself and communicating it to someone else, makes you learn better and understand it better, because you need to translate what you learned on words that can be easily understand it by others.

Ok, I turned on a LED light, but, What else can be done? Is this really so cool?

The limits? Oh, are far far away to be reached, this is starting and this is the reason for this project, to show how easily and quick connecting devices to the cloud and sending data can be done. And about what else can be done? uff, there is a huge field to implement the internet of things, just let your mind fly and start thinking on new ideas for the internet of things. Just think about smart cities, smart environment, smart water, smart metering, security and emergencies, retail, logistics, industrial control, smart agriculture, smart animal farming, domotics and home automation, ehealt, etc. So, the real question is, What interest you?, and that’s how we can start.

Now, Do you see the pattern on the possible applications? Yes, Smart, Smart, Smart, and yes, smart not only on developing new ideas, implementing them, but also, smart about new kind of business, smart about cheaper cost, smart about easy to implement and smart about investment.

Why all about Internet of things is smart?

  1. Because right now having access to an IoT device it’s so easy, cheap and accessible, only in the USA 64% of American adults own a smartphone.
  2. Ok, you are not a developer, well, guess what, you don’t need to be a developer. As for what I did with the Raspberry Pi, Bluemix and the IoTF, I did not needed to be a developer, I just needed a little of research, curiosity and investigation and I built up everything in Node-RED which is really easy to use.
  3. Now, you say you don’t have a lot of time to invest, well, I’m glad to say that you don’t need a lot of time, this project at the end of the day to mount it, just took me around 1 hour.
  4. And finally the major issue for most of all sometimes, is budget. I would like maybe to disappoint you on this by saying it’s to expensive, but the good news is that it’s not at all. A Raspberry Pi cost around $39 dollars and I use Bluemix by free, cause you can get access to a limited resource instance of Bluemix just to try it and it was enough for me to built what I built.

So, Do you have a smartphone or a Raspberry Pi? Yes?, Ok then you already have an IoT device. And just think how easy an application implementation can be done with services like IBM Bluemix, (Again, read my post about… Turning on a LED light on a Raspberry Pi from Bluemix) you only need to spend like an hour to start building IoT applications and sending data to the cloud. If you are a developer will be a delight for you to build up an application in a matter of minutes and even if you are not a developer, tools like Node-RED makes so easy to build up applications.

The most interesting and important thing about the IoT is not exactly m2m communication but sensor to machine communication, that’s the whole purpose of the IoT, “The ability of gathering data” and sending it at the moment to the cloud to be treated and manipulated by applications and that’s what sensors do for us, they gather and collect data. This data can contribute to security purposes, optimization, saving resources, and a whole bunch of objectives. What will you do with all that information surrounding you?…, something to think about of. Besides, take into account that sensors right now, are really cheap, of course this will depend on your needs and the kind of sensors but right now, there are a lot of options and some of them are really cheap options. And finally the machine, cause remember, we are trying to communicate sensors to machines, which can be a Raspberry Pi and that’s also a really cheap option, around $39 dollars, and believe me, a PI is faster, cooler and cheaper than my first computer and I think they will keep becoming cheaper, faster and cooler.

So, just think about this cool combination: “Cheap sensors + Cheap machines + Easy to use + Easy to implement (Bluemix platform) + Build up in minutes + Manipulating all the information you can get from around you”. How cool is that?, this is why investing on IoT is something not to loose from sight, cause we are already on the IoT era and we are still moving faster to more and more of this. And IoT won’t be something only for companies, it will be for every each of us, young people, housewives, parents, children, they will only need interest, curiosity, desired for learning, automation and improving our surroundings with a little investment. I can see on the next Christmas Rapsberry Pi’s for the children, so Santa Cloud needs to be prepared for IoT cause the next Christmas’s letters will have this request and if Santa Cloud will be prepared for it, so we do.

Briana S.

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