Barriers are coming down between operational technologies. Barriers such as were existing between industrial hardware and software for monitoring and controlling machines and the ERP systems and other information technology people typically use when operating and supporting their business. Manufacturers are having an exciting time as new opportunities are emerging every day for improving the productivity. Along with the rise in the challenges, there are innovations in creating new sources of customer value.
Data is not a new thing for manufacturers. In fact, there was enough data with manufacturers long before the Internet of Things and Big Data came into existence. Although manufacturers have been collecting and analyzing machine data for ages, they can now replace their legacy equipment and systems. With the explosion of the Internet of Things, the flow of data on the customers’ side is also ramping up. Networked products are tightening the connection between customers and manufacturers, with service capabilities expanding and creating entirely new revenue models.
With every organization wanting to participate in the Internet of Things, and IT professionals wanting to know how to add IoT skills to their resume, it is time to look at the different options for learning about IoT. Although there are many ways to gather this knowledge, nothing really can beat the hands-on experience.
The tiny single board computer, the Raspberry Pi or RBPi is one of the key learning platforms for IoT. Not only because this involves very low cost, but also because it offers a complete Linux server in its tiny platform. When you use the RBPi for learning about IoT, you will find that the most difficult thing to face is the picking the right project to make a start.
On the Web, you can find several thousand projects based on the RBPi. They involve the ambitious types, silly types, while some are really great for learning about Linux, RBPi, and the intricacies of the IoT.
When starting out with IoT projects and the RBPi, it is prudent to keep to a boundary – use some common sensors and or controller types. Custom-built hardware is fine for geeks, but for those who are just starting out with IoT, going wild with hardware builds can lead you astray.
While selecting a project, choose one that has something interesting going on for the control software. While it would be foolish to start with an epic development project, just to make a meaningful learning experience, simply calling pre-existing scripts and applications is also likely to cause a loss of interest.
Choose a fun project to start with. Of course, you will be training for the IoT. Nevertheless, training in the form of drudgery is no fun. Therefore, select a project that will want to make you move forward and continue your journey with the education.
You can buy individual sensors from the market and hook them up to your RBPi. However, as a beginner, you might be well off buying a kit for a specific use such as a single wire temperature sensor or a humidity sensor. Later, when more confident, you could move on to Hardware Attached on Top or HATs for the RBPi.