Let's look at those tried and true IoT projects that just keep on coming back (with good reason!)
When you spend as much time as we do looking at people's awesome DIY IoT devices, you notice a few things. One is that IoT is a popular idea, and there are a lot of people who are ready to have this tech in their homes. The other is that basically everyone wants IoT to do one of three things: automate their appliances, check the weather or provide at-a-glance info.
This isn't a condemnation of those ideas or the people who build their projects around them. I think these are just the services people expect from IoT right now, so that's the problem they're trying to solve. And they're solving it well, in all kinds of ways!
Here's an overview of the three most common IoT projects and why I think they're great:
The number of times in a brainstorming meeting that I've said, "Maybe we can turn a whatever on and off with it, like from a smart-phone," is nearly uncountable. We already have tons of household appliances that are smarter than the computers that put Apollo 11 on the moon; let's turn them on from the other room! This also happens to be the "Hello World" of IoT: You're getting an input from the internet and controlling one bit with it. The ease with which you can make a platform do this is often a good measure of how nice that platform will be for IoT in general.
Whether your station is in service of citizen science or just in service of helping you get dressed appropriately in the morning, having your own automated weather observations is undeniably handy. Also, weather stations comprise a nice variety of sensors and therefore make a good test platform for streaming different kinds of measurements to the web and displaying them in a way that makes sense. Bonus points if your weather station posts to Weather Underground or some other weather station network!
We've talked about collecting information but what about displaying information? Between email, social media, news feeds and all of the other things in our life vying for our attention, we're constantly inundated with alerts. But what if we could get all the information we need at a glance, without living in a world of push notifications? This is another central promise of IoT. Devices in this category, like physical email notifiers, have been around since before Internet of Things was a catchphrase, and there have been countless takes on the idea of a subtle, elegant notifier.
Yeah, but so what? It hasn't been done your way! These are all great projects, especially when you're just getting started with IoT and need something to follow along with. And you can always tweak something to make your version better or different or weird.
So are there projects that are missing from this list? Do you have a favorite IoT "Hello World" project? Tell me about it in the comments section below!