Indi’s at the IoT Tech Day event 2016

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Last week, I have been at the IoT (Internet of things) 2016 together with Sujen. This year the IoT was held in Utrecht where key industries, developers and IoT enthusiasts from all around the world came to share ideas and the latest innovations within the world of the Internet of Things. We had quite a nice time there and we learned some cool stuff. In this blog we would like to summarize the sessions we found the most interesting.

Mark West, built a Robotic propotype in Javascript

Mark explained how the built a cool robot by combining an Raspberry Pi and an Arduino. The architecture looks something like this:
Nodebot
The robot he built is controlled from the browser and communicates with the Raspberry Pi through https, and is connected with the Arduino through firmata. The reason why he combined the Raspberry Pi with Arduino was to gain the advantages of both systems. For instance a Raspberry Pi is easy for programming, but at the other hand the Arduino simplifies the process of working with microcontrollers. The robot he built can move, receive some voice commands and see with a camera. And all that is written in NodeJS!

I don’t have any experience yet with programming Raspberry Pi’s or Arduino’s, but seeing that this could be done so easily motivated me to get started.

LoraWAN

IoT is actually systems that are connected to each other. To make those connections possible different approaches are used, like 3G/ 4G, WiFi or cables. At this event I came to learn a new way of connecting things, namely the LoRaWAN. LoRaWAN is a wireless communication technology designed to allow long range communication but with low power consumption.

Blockchain: Control your IoT

A blockchain is a public ledger for bitcoins. So what does this actually mean? Whenever a payment is initiated using bitcoins, a transaction will be started. This transaction contains information regarding the recipient, signature and amount of bitcoins to be transferred. The payment provider which is connected to the Bitcoin network will pass the transaction to all of the participating nodes (miners). These nodes will continue to pass the transaction on to their connections.

Thus far a promise has been created, but the transaction has yet to be verified. The nodes to which the transaction has been send, will start the mining process (in batches). A set of transactions is called a block. When a block is validated by a node, it will sent this block to their connections. Once verified by all nodes, this transaction will be completed and added to the ledger.

These are the basics for bitcoins and the blockchain. So how does this relate to IoT? The commonly used method for data transactions is having a centralized server or a cloud instance for an IoT network. The devices would then connect to this instance to achieve their purposes. As you might have noticed the Bitcoin network is decentralized. Since it is a decentralized network it is possible to have distributed cloud networks as participating nodes, which makes the IoT network more robust. An IoT network using this technology is highly available and able to provide secure data transactions thanks to the blockchain protocol.

Will it blend?

The concept of IoT brings together a set of technologies. These technologies vary from embedded systems to networking and web development. After this event we realized IoT offers solutions for problems in any environment. Let’s start with home and building automation. You can bring intelligence to your house for the sake of convenience. By adding monitoring systems you can create power awareness, save energy and become cost efficient. Advanced security systems, which can be used for remote control. Industrial machine-to-machine (M2M) communication over an IoT network to manage an industrial process. These are just a few of the many things you can achieve with IoT.