Three IoT Platforms for Makers

Everyone seems to have an IoT software platform these days...here are three to try!

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Internet of Things seems to be everywhere — with so much noise out there (that often sounds exactly the same), we thought it might be helpful to point out three IoT platforms that seem to be gaining traction with makers. We know there are many options and encourage you to leave your recommendations in the comments section. Please also let us know if you have used any of these and what you think about them.

ThingSpeak from MathWorks

ThingSpeak™ is an IoT platform that enables makers and hobbyists to collect, store, analyze, visualize and act on data from sensors or actuators, such as Arduino, Raspberry Pi, ESP8266, ESP32 and other hardware. It is open source, free for noncommercial small projects and supported by a healthy library of tutorials , documentation and an active forum. We also released a tutorial for ThingSpeak last year for the SparkFun ESP8266 Thing Dev Board.

Here are a few example projects we thought demonstrated the platform capabilities:

The steps to using ThingSpeak are pretty straightforward: (1) create a channel and collect data; (2) analyze and visualize the data; and (3) act on the data.

Cayenne from myDevices

Cayenne is a drag-and-drop project builder that features a rules engine, asset tracking, remote monitoring and control, and tools to visualize real-time and historical data. The library of supported hardware is pretty large and is growing all the time. It can support a number of different devices within a single project. Although not open source, the developers have made Cayenne available for free to the maker community and has supported it with video tutorials, a good project library and a responsive forum. This screenshot shows the dashboard:

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Blynk from Blynk

Our friends at Blynk developed a platform that connects a microcontroller to your phone, making the process very easy — turn it on, connect, build a project and monitor it from anywhere. The interface is great and includes drag-and-drop widgets and the ability to collaborate with others on your project. Free for developers/noncommercial users, the Blynk app can be used with hundreds of different devices. Because we released the Blynk Board last year, SparkFun has developed some tutorials and has put together a handful of projects. Here are a few videos that show some applications for Blynk…

That’s it for now. Please let us know what software platforms you are using in your projects and why you like them.


Comments 8 comments

  • Yes, Adafruit’s IO is cool. Also Bitdog.io if you want a mix of GPIO control, Z-Wave devices, dashboards, and mobiles apps on free platform. It also has Amazon Echo integration. You can make projects that are controlled via Amazon Echo.

  • Wireless Weather Station - Project Idea:

    In support of Oregon State, Linux User Group activities, I have developed a solution that does not depend on “cloud services”. My solution utilizes a Raspberry Pi for data recording, analysis, and web services. All software is open source: Redboard Arduino code, server side software, and web service documents. All the software, as well as complete documentation, is available at https://github.com/fractalxaos/weather/ . View “DIY Weather Project Description.pdf” for details, hookup guide, and software installation guide. See actual example of weather data web page at http://intravisions.com/weather/ .

  • So, is data.sparkfun.com up or down?

  • I am using Corlysis - It is based on the open-source projects Grafana and InfluxDB that also SpaceX uses. See https://www.hackster.io/michal-kren/spacex-remote-monitoring-system-e57852

  • This was helpful. For my data storing needs (data from the Bloominglabs hackerspace in Bloomington, IN), I started with Pachube…which was renamed to Cosm…which was renamed to Xively. Then it got progressively more convoluted and ‘Enterprisey’. Finally I got an email telling me they were kicking off all the small-time people like me, long after I stopped caring.

    I also used a thing called ‘beebotte’ for a while. It’s reasonably nice, but I am going to give some other things a whirl, probably Thingspeak and then maybe Blynk as well.

  • Is data.sparkfun.com alive or dead? It has been in limbo for two years. If it is dead, Sparkfun needs to publicly announce its end of life. If it is alive, Sparkfun needs to publicly announce when and how it will be brought back to full functionality. You owe that much to your customers.

    Please make the decision and follow up on it. Thank you.

    • Hi Member #494030! You’re right, Phant was a great solution when released, but support from SparkFun hasn’t kept pace with the community’s needs. Device/IoT connectivity, like that provided by Phant, is important to SparkFun and our future strategy in this area (including Phant) is being activity developed. Rest assured, as we make a move in this area, we’ll be making the community and our customer base aware of our plans. You’ll be hearing more in this area (and Phant) as the year progresses. Thanks!

  • Osqui / last year / 1

    What about Adafruitś IO platform? (https://io.adafruit.com) And your Phant platform?? (http://phant.io/about)

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