Presentation Summary

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a Very Big Deal these days. There are more connected devices than people in the world:  Approximately 8.4 billion (and quickly rising).  Sadly, it seems like there are about the same number of ways to get a device connected.  And, like everything, there is the hard way and the easy way.  But now we can do it all wirelessly using very small, cheap hardware.  Best of all, we can now control/monitor it using free software that is easy to set up and accessible anywhere using a smart phone or web browser.

For IoT home automation, we need a few basic things:

  1. Something that we want to control or monitor (a.k.a. "the Thing") -- This could be turning on living room lights, monitoring a refrigerator's temperature, or even feeding the fish by sending a Twitter message.

  2. Devices to do the control and monitoring ("Hardware") -- We will talk about some of the options but focus on a few inexpensive and readily-available IoT device (and where to get them).

  3. Control unit -- We will use an open source product by IBM which will allow us to create a control and monitoring dashboard without writing any code.

Other than the Raspberry Pi used for the dashboard and messaging system, all of this can be done for under $20...and as little as $5.

Speaker Biography

Bill MacIntyre is a software developer with the Innovation, Information and Technology Branch of the federal government.  He is also a lifelong gadget and electronics addict, especially when it involves doing cool stuff as cheaply and easily as possible.  Some of Bill's most recent hobby work has been doing home automation on a budget.  Like many others, Bill has avoided getting into home automation because it can be very confusing (and, until recently, quite expensive) and often uses proprietary hardware and software.  This presentation will demonstrate how Bill managed to break through the IoT wall of confusion and create connected devices very easily and very inexpensively using a combination of readily available hardware and free software.