Last week, we held a Digi Employee Hackathon to put the new XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit to the test. This is one of several ways we are working on designing outstanding user experiences for new Digi products. With the kits, the teams were able to build projects that connected with the cloud right away. One team member reported, “I got from the box to the cloud in under 20 minutes.” Using the kit’s dashboard, new widgets were developed to whimsically represent data being collected by Device Cloud. Rain, food safety and even child development were addressed by our project teams.
I’m looking forward to doing more of these internal hackathons in the coming year. They’re fun!
We just connected 100,000 Dreamforce conference attendees with 60 shuttle busses, tracking them over hundreds of miles of San Francisco area routes. And it worked perfectly! Digi’s Etherios division teamed up with the Dreamforce folks to provide attendees with real-time information on the status and location of the shuttle buses they use to get around to different event locations and to Bay Area hotels. It’s a great example of the Internet of Things coming to life and creating real-world value for a business and its customers.
Attendees used the Dreamforce Mobile Application to quickly map where their next bus was along with arrival and departure times. The Etherios Cloud Connector running on an Android platform acquired GPS location data from each shuttle. Next, Verizon Wireless sponsored mobile connectivity to Device Cloud, which then used the Social Machine from the Salesforce App Exchange to gateway the Connected Shuttles, their data, reporting, alarms, processes and resolutions into Salesforce. Mapbox provided all the wonderful maps.
100,000 attendees tracked the 60 coaches, displayed their routes, stops, movement, arrivals and departures over the course of the entire event. In addition we streamed all the data to the Dreamforce Transportation Command Center for dispatch and assignment, along with proactive monitoring of the system’s battery levels, charge states, whether any shuttle was off-route, the spacing between them and so forth.
Etherios and the Connected Shuttles were promoted in the Dreamforce Live recorded series:
Every attendee knew where every shuttle was, all the time
Informed attendees were happier customers, helping Salesforce demonstrate their commitment to being a customer company
Any issues with the transportation system could be addressed prior to customer impact
The event managers and transportation providers could keep an eye on quality of services and performance
Dreamforce and Salesforce maintained situational awareness over the entire system
And 100,000 people got where they wanted to go!
Here’s screenshots of the application and some photos from the event:
“…Connected devices are just beginning to slip into homes, from smart thermostats to apps that unlock your door without a key…as the internet of things is poised to remake our homes and offices, it’s facing perhaps its most critical test: adoption by the average consumer. The intelligent future promised by entrepreneurs won’t catch on if those devices can’t connect to each other automatically, lack intuitive programmability, or aren’t appealing designed. If they fail at any one of these, automating our homes may be more trouble than its worth.“
I argue that this intelligent future won’t arrive as some brave new world of scary robots, descending on us en masse. And you certainly won’t bring it all home in one bag.
“The best, easiest-to-use smart objects will likely look no different than devices we use today, Faludi points out. “A big chunk of this will just be baked into things that we buy,” he says. “You won’t buy an ‘internet of things.’“
The new XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit won an Editor’s Choice award at Maker Faire NYC! My team at Digi International has been hard at work all summer bringing together this modular kit to help users create XBee Wi-Fi connected devices for the Internet of Things. There’s a development board with all kinds of input and output components plus modular widgets to make building online web interfaces for seeing data and controlling devices a snap. The kit gets online right out of the box, and contains additional loose components to help you create your own circuits and wire them to the web. Look for an XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit release in November.
Get a sneak peek of the brand new version of Digi’s XCTU for Mac & Windows! It’s the official tool to configure and test XBee radios, as well as other Digi devices. Get the New XCTU beta version below, completely redesigned from the ground up with:
a fresh new user interface
expanded discovery options
automatic device recovery feature
local and remote radio management
API frame generator and interpreter
automatic updates with more features on the way!
Check out these screen shots for a sneak peek. Then download the new XCTU 220.127.116.11 beta:
World Maker Faire NY is less than a week away! We’ll have project demos for you to check out, a new development kit, and we’ll be giving a talk on connecting your projects to the Internet. It’s going to be an extremely fun weekend. If you’re going to Maker Faire, be sure to stop by the Digi booth where we will be debuting our XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit. The Kit makes Internet-enabling your project easy. Maker Faire attendees also have a chance to sign up for the beta version of Digi’s new XCTU software.
Digi’s Liz Presson and I will be presenting September 22, 2013 at 12:00p.m. EST on the Electronics Stage. We’ll show you how an Internet connection can improve your project and turn it into something amazing. This will be a great first step to getting your projects online. Everything from how to get started, what technologies to use and examples of great internet enabled projects will be covered.
Travis Good just wrote a nice MAKE post on my “Liking the Guest” talk from Make Media’s Hardware Innovation Workshop last month. In it I make the point that caring about the people who use your product is a basic interaction design principle, in the same way that white space and alignment are principles for graphic design. In our everyday lives, when we like someone, we cooperate. When you like your users, you travel together with them towards a common goal. John Hench, who helped design Disneyland said, ”Liking the guests is key to everything we do.” I think it’s also a key part of the maker movement. Liking our users helps us create the things that matter, not just usability but also the crafting little details, telling big stories, designing engaging experiences and above all tolerating the errors that are part of being human. Read more about Liking the Guest on the Make Blog.
This week we are taking part in deploying over 500 sensor motes at Google’s developer conference, Google I/O, May 15-17. The network will make up the Data Sensing Lab, a project that utilizes Digi’s XBee ZigBee modules and ConnectPort wireless gateways. The sensor data will be collected and managed by Device Cloud. The project demonstrates how real-time machine-to-machine data can provide insight into customer behaviors and preferences.
The senor network will provide more than 4,000 data streams running over Device Cloud with continuous updates on temperature, pressure, light, air quality, motion and noise levels in San Francisco’s Moscone Center during the conference. The Google Cloud Platform team will gather, transform, and analyze the information, then share heat maps and other data visualizations in collaboration with the Google Maps team.
Google is getting a global view of their entire multi-million dollar event, as it plays out in real time. They’re learning where people are going and when, how loud the applause is for each presentation, where it’s figuratively hot and where it’s literally cool. But they’re also learning how easy it is to integrate Device Cloud’s APIs with their own cloud-based business systems. Google and Digi collaborated to create a complete end-to-end solution in just a few weeks, one that’s ready to hand us 40 million fascinating data points.”
Another great article called Gadgets to Help Tend a Garden in The New York Times today. Roxie Hammill and Mike Hendricks review a variety of technology solutions for home gardening, including our own:
Botanicalls, a collaboration among artists and technologists, has designed a do-it-yourself kit with a sensor that goes into the dirt to measure moisture. When it gets too dry, the plant posts, “Water me please.” And it will send out a polite thank you when you respond.
“We didn’t want it to be like that person who only calls when he wants something,” said Robert Faludi, a professor at the School of Visual Arts in New York and in the Interactive Telecommunications program at New York University. The kit is for sale at botanicalls.com/buy/ for $100.
The goal was to encourage a happy relationship between plants and people. “A lot of people are afraid of plants. They’re afraid whatever they do the plant is going to die. This makes it possible for them to have a plant in their lives where they might not otherwise,” Mr. Faludi said.
I spoke live with Mac Slocum at O’Reilly’s Strata Big Data conference about Digi International’s involvement in the Data Sensing Lab here, as well as the future of M2M and the Internet of Things-what I’m hoping will be an Internet of Things People Want. Our part in the lab was to assemble a network of 40 XBee ZigBee radio sensor nodes running Arduino, gateway their data via a ConnectPort X2e running the XBee Internet Gateway and post everything to the iDigi Device Cloud where it could be passed off via Amazon Web Services to a team of visualization experts for analysis. Here’s the interview: