If you are reading this post in our new Pangea IoT Workshop section, you probably know that Pangea specialises in all types of connectivity in the M2M and IoT world.
However, all too often in the channel we simply shift the solution, rather than live and breathe the solution. The Comms channel focuses so much on moving bits and bytes around in the air, that it’s easy to forget about the actual physical devices that our solutions go into. So I have decided to build an IoT enabled device as a side project to showcase just what IoT is all about – as well as just being a cool project to work on in my spare time!
The Pi-GEA has three goals. It will:
1) create a small form factor smart device that takes in a number of analog, sensory inputs.
2) process those analog inputs into digital data and upload them to the web for analytics and data visualisation.
3) and of course, use Pangea M2M cellular connectivity!
In reality, the actual process of building an IoT enabled device is not too difficult. To cover steps 1-3, we simply need the processor (the raspberry Pi), the inputs, for example. a temperature module, and the connectivity, such as a cellular module on the Pi accepting a SIM card, or a 3G dongle plugged into the USB port. To display the data the Pi just needs to take in the sensor and upload it to a webpage where it will be processed into a nice graph. Using the temperature sensor as an example, we could measure the ambient temperature in the Pangea office and plot it day by day. By that simple process we already have an Internet enabled “Thing”.
These days, everything is about making devices “Smart”. That means while we have our temperature sensor, we could make it smarter. For example, if the temperature exceeds a certain threshold we could trigger an action, like automatically ordering a delivery of ice cream for the office on Amazon Prime!
A little bit about my background – I have a history in programming, Linux and computer networks. While I am by no means an expert programmer, I enjoy tinkering with tech and have been across all of the relevant technologies many times in my career in order to build something like this.
So how are we going to run this project?
First of all, over the next month I’m going to build the basic Pi. The first steps are to enable a sensor, enable connectivity and get a webpage up (the Pangea IoT workshop page).
After we have our first sensor on a month by month basis we will add a few more sensors, perhaps two or three, and then show how we can use some smart logic to slice and dice the “big data” for analytics or trigger some smart actions such as the Amazon order.
Check back here every month to see how we are doing in the Pangea workshop!
Finally, once the Pi-GEA is in a state fit for demonstration, keep an eye out for it at our next expo or meeting, where you’ll see how IoT enabled devices typically work with some hands-on experience!
Until next time!