IoT Button Roundup


What is an IoT Button?

An IoT button is a piece of hardware that sends data to the cloud when you press a button; a serverless application then takes an action or series of actions based on the information that is sent when the button is clicked.

What Can I do with an IoT Button?

Your serverless app can run a simple 1-task function, such as:

  • Send an email  
  • Send an SMS  

AWS’s One Click and IoT Button apps make it painless to set up serverless apps that perform seamlessly in the cloud

Create Serverless App Workflows

Your serverless app runs on a series of functions, which creates a workflow  

Common Example Workflow

Imagine that you are a representative for a wine distribution company

One of your customers is running low on stock between your regular visits.

The First Action:

In the stockroom, next to cases of a particular wine, a button tied to the SKU for that wine is positioned on the shelf. When the manager realizes the store is running low on stock, she presses the button – just 1-click!. The wine rep receives an email letting him know that the store is running low on stock for this item.

The rep knows all of the relevant information about the product: the SKU and the typical quantity this customer orders.

The Second Action:

An order is automatically placed in the distributor’s ordering system.

The Third Action:

An SMS is sent back to the customer letting them know the order has been placed and when it will ship.

Create Dynamic Serverless Apps

Using the Twilio API we can ask the customer, via a phone call, how many cases of wine they would like to order.


Demo

What About the Buttons?

Now that we have covered what buttons are and what they can do, let’s review the types of buttons out there.

Wi-Fi Buttons

If you are mainly going to be using your buttons in one place and have a wi-fi network available, the AWS Buttons might be a good bet for you.

AWS IoT Button

Use this button and the AWS ButtonDevApp to develop your serverless apps and test them with the button. You can let your users change the wi-fi Networks the buttons work on with the AWS IoT Button Wi-Fi App.

You can purchase this button from Amazon (Affiliate Link)

AWS Enterprise Button

Once you have developed and tested your Serverless apps, the AWS Enterprise Button is a great choice. It uses the AWS 1-Click infrastructure to keep track of and manage the buttons. The app, available from the Google Play store or Apple’s App store, allows you to easily claim a bunch of buttons at once and enable them.

You can purchase this button from Amazon (Affiliate Link)

Bluetooth Buttons

These buttons require a gateway or a device that captures the bluetooth signals from the buttons and transmits them over the Internet where they can initiate a server less app. You can learn more about gateways in our Bluetooth Gateway Roundup

LTE-M Buttons

The last category of buttons are those that register the button click using the special M2M networks provided by all of the cellular carriers. These devices are much, much cheaper then traditional cellular plans as they are intended for devices that send very small amounts of data.

The AT&T LTE-M Button

This is by far the easiest to set up of the M2M buttons. The button is supported by the AWS 1-Click Service; the cellular service is already included in the cost of this button.

https://marketplace.att.com

Estimote LTE-M Beacon

This product is meant for developers and works with the Estimote’s Events API. The unit runs javascript microapps on the device itself, and can call code for those apps from the cloud via the cellular network. In addition to the button functionality that is described earlier in this video, you can program this device to act as a GPS tracker or a BLE gateway.

You can purchase the Estimote LTE-M Beacon from their website

AT&T LTE-M Starter Kit

Your imagination is your only limit with this unit. Also meant for developers, it has several programmable buttons in addition to heat and humidity sensors as well as an on board accelerometer  You can also use expansion boards with this unit.

You can purchase this unit from AT&T’s IoT Store

Simplify Your Work Tasks with Help from Revolution11

Now that you have a pretty good idea of the varied and fascinating IoT products and services along with a better understanding of what these buttons are and what they can do — there’s bound to be a button for you! WIth so many ways of connecting to the cloud to run important IoT applications let Revolution11 get you started with any project, big or small. Ping us at inquiries@revolution11.com to get going today!

IoT Button Roundup

AT&T LTE-M Button Configuration

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Before Button Configuration:
1. Set up an Amazon Web Service (AWS) Account.
2. Download the AWS 1-Click App from either the iOS App Store or Google’s Play Store.
3. Order an AT&T LTE-M Button here:

https://marketplace.att.com

Adding, Claiming and Enabling the Button

Once you receive your LTE-M Button follow these steps to configure:
1. Open box by prying open the panel on the end that has the white sticker.

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2. Configure the Button on your mobile device by opening the AWS IoT 1-Click and signing in with your AWS password. This opens the app for button configuration on the setup tab. Press the Claim with Device ID button.

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3. Press the scan button to scan the serial number on the box (You can enter the serial number manually if you have lost the box).

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4. Scan the Serial Number (SN) barcode on the box with your mobile device, or type in the SN number located on the device. The SN will auto-populate on the screen, press the claim button to add this button to your AWS Account.

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5. Click the button on the AT&T LTE-M device and press the finish button to finalize the claim. The LED light on the button will turn a solid green once it has successfully transmitted data to AWS. Once you see “Claim Succeeded” message on the screen, press the ‘Finish’ button.

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6. Press the devices tab at the bottom of the screen to view the device in the app. Click on the device in the list to enable it.

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7. On the next screen, click on the ‘enable’ slider.

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Configuring the Action for the Button

1. Log on to your AWS Console.
2. Click All Services, navigate to → Internet of Things → IoT 1-Click
3. Choose the 1-Click Service, this is what you will use to assign a Lambda Function to the device.

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4. On the left hand side of the screen you will see the menu for managing 1-Click Devices

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5. Click on the Manage Option in the 1-Click Menu
6. Create a test project to attach for the AT&T LTE-M Button. Press the ‘Create a Project’  button.

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7. Enter a Project name and Description and press the ‘Next’ button.

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8. Press Start to Define a Device Template for the Lambda Function you want the device to use.

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9. Name the template, and set an action (Lambda Function). In this case, choose ‘Send SMS’.

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10. A confirmation screen will appear, press the ‘Create Placements’ button.

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11. On the next screen, give the placement a name.

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12. Scroll down to Create Placements and enter a device placement name and enter a phone number (+1xxxxxxxxxx) and write a message in the placement attributes. Press ‘Create Project’.

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13. Press ‘Choose a Device’ to add the AT&T Button to this placement, click on ‘Choose’ to the right of the available devices on the screen, and then press the ‘Create Placement’ button at the bottom of the screen.

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14. You will now see this device in the Placements for this Project.

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15. Press the button once on the AT&T LTE-M Device. When the light on the device turns solid green a text is sent to the specified number.

 

Download a PDF of this blog: AT&T LTE-M Button Configuration

AT&T LTE-M Button Configuration

Why We Think We Won the AT&T Hackathon

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The Revolution11 Team

“Winning means you are willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else.” – Vince Lombardi

Winning the AT&T IoT hackathon in September 2017 has propelled Revolution11 into a new realm within the Custom Application Development market. Several clients have asked for details on the overall contest and they are intrigued as to why we won with our “Smart Manhole” project. In response, we have noted that it is the same DNA, drive and culture that powers Revolution11 in the Custom Application Development market that served us especially well in winning the top prize at the hackathon. The Revolution11 philosophy focuses on small, well-thought out projects, developed in the Agile style. Our cohesive team concentrations on developing solutions for the mobile market; our subject matter expertise and years of experience working with IoT devices and services means that this win is just a springboard to new and exciting innovation for our trusted clientele..

Agile Development
In today’s competitive environment, a company’s processes, and even its business model, changes with a frequency that is undetermined, yet necessary. Traditional software development models rely on long foundation and discovery phases, which often leave software and end products that no longer meet the needs of the organization. And its expensive to boot! Revolution11 utilizes the agile style which suites our goal of rapid, yet precise, development and allows us to pivot with no downtime. A simple debrief with key stakeholders let’s them understand the overall environment. This collaboration permits us to pick the smallest element of a process that will have a big impact, i.e., solving a pain point, saving money or increasing revenue. The solution is then rapidly prototyped, tested by our team and given to a select few end-users. Then comes the live environment where the pain point becomes a thing of the past.

A Small Cross Disciplinary Team
Many old school Application Development firms segregate their teams by technology. The web application team, the database team, an iOS team and the list goes on – the problem with this approach is the segmented thought process often presents itself, not in a good way, in the final product. Rather than use the correct tool for the job, the team that landed the project will contort the project to fit their perspective, rather than applying the most efficient tools for the problem(s) at hand. Firms may employ a variety of strategies that involve technical architecture and insist that the segmented teams to execute against a rigid plan – often leading to delays, and huge cost overages.

Experience Counts in the IoT Industry
IoT development is not a new experience for Revolution11. Our proven forte is to prototype devices and applications based on input from a variety of markets – including the utility and industrial application space. Our team places creativity at the top of the list and is, therefore, well prepared to craft applications specifically designed to solve problems, be they old or new.

Download a PDF of this blog post: Why We Think We Won

Why We Think We Won the AT&T Hackathon

“Smart Manhole” System Design

Revolution11 Takes 1st Place at IoT Hackathon

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GSMA Conference

Overview

The Revolution11 “Smart Manhole” project originated from a hackathon hosted by AT&T and the GSMA in San Francisco, CA September 9-11, 2017. Read the story here.

The goal of the “Smart Manhole” project is to address the following needs in utility hole maintenance and infrastructure wiring: 1) the ability to know the inside wiring layout before opening a utility hole, 2) the wireless tracking of temperature, humidity and other telemetry data without having to open the utility hole, and 3) receipt of alerts to prevent unauthorized or incorrect access to the infrastructure when a utility hole cover has been opened.

Components

The overall system consists of three main subsystems:
the IoT Device, the Cloud services and the iOS application.

att-iot-s-kit@2x1. IoT Device
The IoT Device is a prototype constructed with the AT&T IoT Starter Kit. The device, once properly enclosed and weather-sealed, is to be adhered to the underside of the utility hole cover. The device serves functions including telemetry data gathering and transmitting, as well as utility cover locating/identification.

  • Sensors: temperature, humidity and acceleration sensors are integrated in the NXP K64F Development Board.
  • NXP K64F Development Board: part of the AT&T Starter Kit, the main development board that hosts and runs the software which handles and controls the cellular shield to transmit the data gathered by the sensors.
  • Avnet Cellular Shield: part of the AT&T Starter Kit, uses the WNC M14A2A LTE module to connect to the AT&T cellular network to transmit data over HTTP.
  • Bluetooth Beacon: a passive bluetooth beacon which serves locating and identification purposes.

> Learn more about the AT&T Starter Kit here:
https://www.business.att.com/enterprise/Service/internet-of-things/iot-platforms-development/starter-kit/

> Revolution11 provides a thorough overview of Beacon technology here:
https://revolution11blog.com/2016/05/27/using-sensors-to-get-information-sent-to-your-mobile-device/

iot-flow-designer-overview-infographic2. Cloud Services
The Cloud consists of all databases and services that are hosted in servers, VMs or other connected computer resources.

  • AT&T Flow: single point of entry for all transmissions from the IoT device.  Processes the data received, appends derived data to the payload and stores to AT&T M2X. Based on the derived calculations, the Flow also pushes data to the email services to generate alerts.
  • AT&T M2X: a time-series database with GET/POST APIs. Used to store all sensor and derived time-series data.
  • External Email Service: An API that the Flow application calls to send emails for temperature/humidity/opening alerts. Currently a PHP service hosted on Amazon EC2 as a temporary measure for prototyping needs.
  • External Database: stores all non-sensor related data from
    external sources (e.g., utility company’s database) that pertain
    to the utility holes.
  • Data Services APIs: API services that the mobile app or other front-end applications can call to obtain all data available that pertain to a particular utility hole. Currently, a set of PHP services hosted on Amazon EC2 serves as a temporary measure for prototyping needs.

> Find more information on AT&T’s Flow Design tool here:
https://www.business.att.com/enterprise/Service/internet-of-things/iot-platforms-development/flow-designer/

> AT&T M2X information found here:
https://m2x.att.com

> Amazon’s EC2 cloud services, go here:
https://aws.amazon.com/ec2/

vector_iphone_6_6s_7_by_aslittledesign-daq6a6i3. Mobile App
The Mobile App is the front-end interface (other than email alerts) that interacts with the end user. The mobile app obtains the UUID and location information from the bluetooth beacons on the IoT device via Bluetooth-Low-Energy 4.0 standard and then, if the user requests, queries the Data Services APIs with the UUID to obtain the sensor time-series data as well as data from the external database to display on the mobile interface. The mobile app queries the Data Services APIs periodically (depending on configuration) to ensure the data displayed are refreshed and up to date.

Flow

System design & data flow diagram:

Flow_Diagram_HR

Conclusion

This prototype, when fully developed, has the potential to save utilities and municipalities both time and money. It will also help increase the security around critical infrastructure.

Revolution11 looks forward to continuing to offer leadership in the IoT space.

Download a PDF of this blog post: Smart Manhole Design

“Smart Manhole” System Design