Missing a Development Tool? Make Your Own!

Do you ever wish you had a certain tool, but you don’t have the budget for it, or it doesn’t even exist? I’m here to tell you: you can build it!

And as I discovered, the build can give you more than that tool you want—it can also be a great way to strengthen your skills, add value for your teammates, and even have a bit of fun.

The problem

"Hack the Plants" — Five Lessons Learned from an IoT Adventure

Do a search on “IoT projects” and you’ll turn up endless pages of fantastic Internet of Things ideas and examples. Roll-your-own home security system! Track your cat’s movement! Build your own droid! With so many resources available, one might think all the problems are solved, all the answers just a few clicks away.

Freedom to Fumble: Learnings From Hackathon 2018

I spend all my time at work dealing with software. So going into this year’s hackathon, I was excited to get hands-on (and in over my head) with hardware. Having never even touched a Raspberry Pi before, I was in for an interesting couple of days!

Our team was just two people—me and Shivani Thakar. We set out for a small, achievable project broken down into phases.

  • Our first step was to set up a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and Camera Module v2

IoT and Employee Satisfaction

The very concept of automation leads to a moral and ethical dilemma regarding the workforce. People need to work to support their families, but there are tasks that could be done better, faster, and cheaper if automated. This leads to a tension between upper management and employees where one group is actively interested in automation and the other group is actively threatened by it.

Does your IoT device need an antenna upgrade?

I've long been curious about the effectiveness of the built-in antennas that are attached to common WiFi modules. Can that tiny, serpentine PCB track really match the performance of a "real" antenna? How does it even work?

I set up a quick test to find out. Using a pair of ESP8266 development modules, I set up a test measuring gateway ping times, and sending the resulting values to AWS IoT Core. Messages are routed to Firehouse, stored in S3, and aggregated with Athena. (AWS has put together an impressively elegant IoT pipeline, but that's a future post!)

IoT Business Value: Reducing Time Spent Monitoring

Like anything else in its early lifecycle, the Internet of Things (IoT) has a ton of hype but there are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to the actual business value. Maybe you heard C3 IoT advertising on NPR, maybe your electric utility put a smart meter on your house, or maybe you got a chuckle from Juicero.

The Four Quadrants of IoT Revenue Streams

The next decade will bring a society-changing transformation to smart, connected things throughout our personal, professional, and public lives.  Everything about this change is big: the security risks are big, the improvements are big, and the scale is big.  This change is a prime space to find new revenue opportunities for every product and service business.

Ready for transformation?