Getting started with the Internet of Things

3 min reading
Developers / 20 February 2014
Getting started with the Internet of Things


Those who are fully involved in the technological world know that connecting objects remotely and interacting with them is not entirely new. Internet of Things is the latest buzzword, even though this phenomenon actually arises from the evolution of the so-called machine-to-machine (or M2M) communication, and from the combination of several factors, such as the emergence of sensors and increasingly smaller and low-cost processors, wireless connectivity and the development of cloud computing.

Companies are increasingly using this technology to add intelligence to their products, allowing everyday objects to interact with the environment. Thus, they are not only launching more and more sophisticated products that are capable of generating M2M communication (such as road sensors that turn signals on when cars are detected), but also products that send information to its users, either through the product itself or the web, as it happens for example with wearable technology. ‘The Internet of Things’ study highlights the wide variety of products that are already able to send information to devices to communicate electronically with the world around us.

Practical tips

Before starting, you should take into account a few things:

Actually, there’s a manifesto which includes these and other useful guidelines to start creating products for the Internet of Things, and where you can also include your suggestions.

The technology behind

Virtually anything connected to the Internet falls directly under the umbrella of the Internet of Things, so establishing a methodology and defining specific technologies to develop a product within this category doesn't seem to be feasible. However, there are some technologies that are more used than others.

To help you take the first steps in this area a good idea might be to acquire some devices for prototyping. There are some quite affordable products out there, like Arduino or Raspberry Pi, and many developers use them to start in the Internet of Things world.

Arduino is a programmable electronic board, meaning that it has a chip where you can install a programme with the functions you want. Besides, it has been created with open source hardware and software, so you can modify it to your liking. It's intended for artists, designers and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments. On the other hand, Raspeberry Pi is also a generic computing device, capable of performing complex processes, which can be used to create almost any kind of prototype.

The good thing about both devices is that they have large communities of users, where you can ask for advice, solve any questions and share everything you do, as it happens in this Raspberry Pi page or in the home automation project OpenDomo, based on Linux and where developers work with Arduinos.

Once you've created the prototype, the next step is to turn it into a real product, which is something hardware developers usually take care of. When this last phase is completed, your project is basically ready to become a marketable product.

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