Pi Day @ Aeris, Part 1

Posted by on April 17, 2017 at 5:00 AM Drew Johnson  
Share This Post   

Pi Day @ Aeris, 2017, Part 1

This 3-part blog is a collaboration of authorship: Drew Johnson and Yixiang Chen

Join the Aeris developers on a 3-part journey as they create a cellular IoT device.

Math fans around the world were celebrating Pi Day on March 14th. Aeris, as an Internet of Things company, turned Pi Day into “Raspberry Pi” Day, which turned out to be a great success. We had 26 teams comprised of 88 people from all functions and most global Aeris locations focused on a series of projects. The primary goal of the day was to create sample code that our customers could use to more easily integrate with our products and other IoT ecosystem products.

The results included sample integrations with the IoT services of all the major cloud superpowers we are tracking, including AWS, Azure, BlueMix, Google, and Alibaba. Projects also included many important ecosystem players, such as Twilio, PubNub, and Node-RED. And, of course, all of these projects included a Raspberry Pi and Aeris connectivity. Several also included the Aeris AerCloud IoT Application Enablement Platform.

The first take-away was the level of enthusiasm. Some teams were so excited about their projects that they worked nights and weekends to go well beyond Pi Day. Some teams still are finishing up their documentation. Many teams want to find a way to keep evolving their work. And a lot of the work eventually will find its way onto GitHub at https://github.com/aerisiot

Several projects covered important IoT patterns that our customers can use, such as, “Secure Key Distribution Using Aeris SMS”, “Shoulder-Tap for Efficient Packet Management”, and “Secure Voice Connection Using Aeris TLDN”. Other projects were very ambitious in creating not just an integration example but also an actual solution. For example, a team at one of our India locations created a coffee pot level detector using a laser and light-dependent resistors with a mobile app for visualization. (I’d like to get that one working here!) A team in our Santa Clara office built an integration with Alexa so we could talk to Pi about cellular signal strength.

Many thanks to all the organizers, coordinators, and team members in each location. We highly recommend this process for fun, discovery, and functionality.

What is Raspberry Pi?

The Raspberry Pi is a series of sub $50 single-board computers developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools and in developing countries. Despite being originally developed as an education tool, it quickly gained popularity and was widely used for interesting hobbyist projects and prototyping IoT applications. In this project, we will use Raspberry's on-board Wi-Fi chip to collect Wi-Fi information and then publish to PubNub via cellular connectivity. 

 

Pi-sub $50-1.jpg

Raspberry Pi sub-$50 single-board computers

What is PubNub?

PubNub is a popular real-time stream service. It operates a global Data Stream Network (DSN) and offers its product as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). It uses a Publish/Subscribe model for real-time data streaming. In this project, we will use PubNub to facilitate the publication and subscription of the Wi-Fi signal strength collected by the Pi. 

Which IoT Connectivity?

There are many IoT connectivity technologies available. Below is a quick comparison of the most popular ones.

 

Cellular (2G/3G)

Cellular (LTE)

Wi-Fi

Bluetooth

ZigBee

Coverage

Global/ wide area

Global/ wide area

local

local

local

Data rate

Med

High

High

Mid

Low

Security

High

High

Mid

Mid

Mid

Ecosystem                    (chipset and device availability)

Good

Good

Very good

Very good

Poor

IP supported?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Only recently (since BTv4.2)

No

Power consumption

High

High

Mid

Low

Low

Hardware cost

Med

High

Low

Low

Low

We use Aeris cellular connectivity in this project to bootstrap PubNub API keys before publishing data to the Cloud. This example demonstrates how to remotely configure a device for cloud communication without the need to write any server-side software.

Next Blog: Getting Started

 In the meantime, read about our self-service IoT marketplace NEO.

 

 

Topics: Cellular connection, IoT platform, IoT testing, Connectivity Management Platform, IoT Developer