Intel and IBM show potential of IoT to Seattle developers

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Rex, Syed, Amalia, Justin and me When you visit Seattle in the month of October, the very first thing to catch your attention is the cool yet crisp, fresh air, as you step into the city. To name a few others are Pike Place Market, Space Needle, pumpkin spice flavor, brilliant fall colors, enthusiastic technologists and a Starbucks at every corner. This season’s special: A Venti sized serving of a glass of Internet of Things (IoT), blended with a half-and-half of Intel Edison and Bluemix, served hot and fresh, off the press. And your baristas for the day: Rex St John (Intel), Syed Zaidi (IBM), Neeraja Ganesan (IBM), Amalia Alexandru (BeMyApp) and Justin Langley (BeMyApp).

We evangelists from IBM and Intel gathered to promote the growth of the Internet of Things community with an event that showed how to record data from a temperature sensor using Intel Edison, transfer it to IBM Cloud, using Bluemix’s Internet of Things Foundation, store it in a dashDB database and create a line graph to analyze that temperature using R scripts.

Developers and entrepreneurs learn about IoT

The morning started with developers and entrepreneurs, keen on jumping aboard the potentially trillion dollar business. IoT drives industries like Healthcare, Transport, Retail, Energy and Utilities by monetization and optimization.

Rex St John started the session by giving an introduction to latest Intel technology: Wind River and Moon Island gateway, and the Edison board. An Intel Edison and Grove Sensor Kit found its way to each attendee. Intel accessorizes this Wifi enabled mini computer with an audio jack, an ethernet port, a couple of USB ports, a SD card slot and pins. It can be assembled by following a series of quick steps. With a base shield, it can hold upto 8 digital sensors, 4 analog sensors and 4 I2Cs at a time, all of which can be found in the Grove Sensor Kit box.

We then saw Syed Zaidi showcase a workflow in NodeRED, and introduce Bluemix. Applications can be written in languages like Node.js, Javascript, Python, Ruby, Sinatra. Buildpacks can be brought for C, C++, etc. Over 70 (IBM and third party owned) services can be bound to the application to reap benefits of the APIs.

Bluemix PaaS

Internet of Things foundation is the messaging broker and Node-RED is the visual editor that prides itself on the drag-and-drop feature. By minimizing the setup, coding and compilation process, it’s ideal for a solution that’s looking at immediate deployment (see Analyze tweets in under 30 minutes using Node-RED for a step-by-step example).

Node-RED flow

Hands-on workshop with Intel Edison and Bluemix

This introduction paved way for me to segue way into a hands-on-workshop for establishing data transfer from the Edison, via cloud. As the audience followed with determination, they performed the following steps:

dashDB Flow
Line Graph analysis using R script

Workshop takeaways

The hands-on workshop gave participants a quick taste of what’s possible by combining IoT, Bluemix, and standardized tools. It was only a start! For example, easy Node-RED hacks can also be built via light sensors, LCDs, LEDs, adding nodes like Twilio for a text message and Twitter for social media interfacing. Cognitive analysis can be done via Watson nodes like Language Translation, Text-to-Speech, etc, with various input sources and output sinks like a hardware device, HTTP, MQTT and databases.

All-in-all, I’m certain that we ended the day with everybody emerging a winner. As we were wrapping up, the smell of coffee drew me to the local coffee scene in downtown Seattle. I gather it is a Disneyland of sorts for caffeine addicts. Maybe I’ll grab a coffee now to help me brainstorm over the next cloud application.

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