Internet of Things - Actually doing it

You probably have heard about the "Internet of Things" (IoT) being the hottest thing in IT these days. It's all about billions of devices connected to the internet collecting vast amounts of Big Data.


But, you say, how will this help me, and where would I start?

ItemPath is a way you can start with this technology easily.

What do you want to know?

First, you should have a bit of a plan of what you might want to do. A good place to start is by answering the questions, "What would I like to know that I don't know now?" and "What information would be really helpful to gather automatically?"

Here are some ideas:

- Track the temperatures in a location over time, and log them to each item that was in that location during those times.

- Show in each product's history what the humidity reading was in the room when it was made.

- Log and reference the torque settings of a wrench when this item was assembled

Once you have figured out what you want to know, the next part is relatively straightforward using ItemPath.

Sensor and Device

There is a growing collection of sensors and devices (the "things" in the Internet of Things) that can be used to gather data.

ItemPath offers several sensors and devices for capturing temperatures, humidity, pressure, pH, etc. We also have an Integrations API to work with other REST API based systems.

Connection

The device needs to connect to the internet, typically using a local or cellular network, either wired or wireless, just like your PC, tablets, and smartphones get connected. If you've looked at any home automation products (like Nest, WallyHome, Belkin WeMo, Philips Hue, and others), or the Particle (formerly Spark) Core and Photon, we're talking about the same type of thing. (In fact, to test our Integrations API at first, we connected to WallyHome and a Particle Core.)


Data Gathering

Then, depending on which system the device is built on, it can connect to ItemPath's device server directly or its own cloud server (in which case ItemPath uses the Integrations API to gather the data from the device).


The data collected may be values gathered periodically from a steady stream (like from a temperature sensor), or a single value that is pushed (like a weight).

What happens to this data? Where does it go? ItemPath lets you set custom fields for "Check-ins" (recorded events on items) and for "Snapshots" (checklists for monitoring conditions like safety and quality). These fields can be tagged to sensors you have connected and linked to custom fields in ItemPath.

What's more, the data collected is stored and can be referenced in the history of items that ItemPath tracks. In other words, you can look at an item's history and see the data you gathered about the item itself and about the conditions surrounding the item. The sky's the limit to what this can do for you.


Reporting and Analytics


There's not much value in gathering data unless you can somehow turn it into meaningful data in the form of reports and the results of custom queries.

ItemPath has a powerful built-in tool that lets you do exactly that -- build a query with the data and filters you want. Think of a scenario, set up your report, and let ItemPath pull up the results as lists, charts and graphs.




Experience the "Internet of Things" in action

With ItemPath and some sensors, you will have a functional, modern "Internet of Things" system in place.

You can get started easily by signing up for an ItemPath account at itempath.com.

Once you've got it going, you'll soon think of new ways to expand it to do even more.


ItemPath. Build a detailed history of your things. Supporting the Internet of Things.