Introduction To IoT And Supported Devices

During DevCon16 @ Chandigarh, I found lots of people showing interest in this topic. So, I decided to write some basic articles on the same.

I will try to cover the following topics in the series of articles:

  1. IoT development boards available in the market.
  2. Different types of operating system installations.
  3. Basic Home automation.

IoT stands for Internet of Things. Here, Things mean variety of devices, such as temperature and humidity sensor, heart rate monitoring sensor, and PIR sensor etc. Some consider Things to be a mixture of hardware, software, and data.

IoT is a network between different kinds of hardware (or we can say sensors), and software, so that they can share and exchange data. Some of very common examples  of IoT are Google Thermostat, Phillips Hue, Fitness bands (fitbit, Microsoft band etc).

IoT development boards available in market

 There are lots of IoT development boards available in the market, currently. Some of them are:
  1. Raspberry Pi (The most popular among developers because of the community and support)
  2. Bannana Pi
  3. Intel Galileo
  4. Ardunio Uno
  5. And, lots of leading manufacturers are providing their own development boards

Lots of new development boards are making their space in the market but Raspberry Pi is one of the most famous boards available in the market. The reason behind its popularity is the community behind this development board. You can easily find online support if you are ever stuck somewhere.

Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It is a capable little computer which can be used in electronics projects, and for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word processing, browsing the internet, and playing games. It also plays high-definition video. We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming.”

Raspberry Pi is available in different models, such as Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, Raspberry Zero and the Pi 1 Model B+ and A+.

Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3 are the latest models currently available. Raspberry Pi Zero is officially launched only in the UK and the US.

Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3 both are almost the same in looks but internally,  some upgrades have been done in the latest model. Both of the models are loaded with 1 GB RAM. The older model contains quad-core 900 MHz processor while Pi 3 is powered with quad-core 1.2 GHz. Pi 2 runs on 32-bit architecture whereas Pi 3 runs on 64-bit architecture.

model

model

You can power up your Pi with an ordinary mobile charger having a micro-usb cable. There are three ways to connect your video device: HDMI, AV (RCA cable) or display port available on the board. There is an official 7” touch display available for this purpose.

The main attraction of IoT development boards is GPIO pins. GPIO means General Purpose Input Output pin or interface.

GPIO pins

Each pin holds a special purpose, like some pins output +5v, +3.3v, Ground (GND), or 26 GPIO pins.

By using these pins, we can read and write the data from different sensors. By using these pins, without using extra circuits, we can connect to up to 26 sensors. But somehow, if we need to connect more devices, then we have on board support for I2C.

Operating System support

The major difference between a microcontroller and these IoT development boards is the support for variety of Operating Systems. For example: Raspberry Pi 2 and Pi 3 support various flavors of Linux and Windows 10 IoT Core.

Different flavors of Linux are Jessie Raspbain (based on debian Linux), Ubuntu Mate, Snappy Ubuntu core, Kodi (xmbc) media player operating system. To install the Operating System, Pi supports SD-Card.