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IOTTLY – The first IoT Open Source Distro for Makers
“There are secrets hidden inside the most ordinary things, that are revealed to those who know how to look and listen”. These are the words that appear in the first few lines of a famous Italian song from the 1970s, entitled “It takes a flower”. Now, it’s clear that those lyrics were not written by the biggest fan of Gene Roddenberry. However, they constitute the inspiration for the creative optimism of Stefano Terna and Daniele Grieco, and have accompanied their efforts during the launch of the the Kickstarter campaign for IOTTLY for Makers / Education, a new italian project designed to get regular people into the new world of the Internet of Things.
IOTTLY is a software system that will simplify and streamline the control and management of everyday objects through the Internet. IOTTLY will be made available to makers, students and enthusiasts, and will support the creation of digital projects built with open-hardware like Arduino and Raspberry Pi.
IOTTLY, being fully Open Source, is the first product of its kind to extend the Distro model to the Internet of Things, integrating and optimizing open tools currently available as well as new packages, in the same way that Ubuntu made it easy for millions of users to enjoy Linux.
The Internet of Things is a collection of technologies that will enable users to access and control simple everyday objects, even those that were not originally built for that purpose. Due to its disruptive nature, this technology is getting the attention of the media and of companies like Gartner, McKinsey and Accenture. It is also behind an ever-increasing number of new platforms, some of which have been sponsored by big Internet players such as Google, Facebook, Oracle, and Cisco.
If the Internet of Things is going to allow our fridge to be connected, then this should also involve ways to remotely upgrade it, enhance its energy efficiency, and repair it. It should generate much more than a simple alert telling you when the milk is expired, accompanied by supermarket ads.
The realization of complex IoT projects through just a few clicks requires both a deep understanding of the user’s needs and also the kind of technical competence that enables objects to communicate efficiently with each other and with the user. Therefore, a wide base of technicians and makers must have the opportunity to collaborate, support and test the project during the development phase. The same community will then be able to promote new applications following the established practices of the world of digital creations. The future of this technology will depend on a growing number of custom real-life applications, shared among do-it-yourselfers and the public in general.
The driving ideas behind the IOTTLY project emerged from the teamwork done at TomorrowData, a startup company that produces vertical solutions for IoT infrastructures and provides Machine Learning predictive applications for SMEs.
- IOTTLY for Makers enables programmers and builders to manage their Arduino, Raspberry Pi or UDOO boards through an intuitive online app.
- IOTTLY for Makers automatically generates the device-specific code that allows the board to receive, execute and respond to commands: the code is translated into C/Wiring for Arduino, and Python for Raspberry Pi and UDOO.
- IOTTLY for Makers is available on the cloud as SaaS and it can be used from any device. You can also install a copy of it on your server or on your notebook.
- OTTLY-enabled firmwares are made available for download and can be flashed onto the board (done via USB only once, at the beginning).
- As soon as a board is switched on, it connects automatically to IOTTLY. From that point on the Over-The-Air firmware upgrade is enabled.
- Messages are drafted and annotated by using the Message Designer. IOTTLY automatically generates the firmware code to handle all incoming and outgoing messages.
- The code editor allows the user to edit the code and add the necessary business logic to the firmware. IOTTLY integrates with git and GitHub, to enable the collaborative management of firmware sources from within the editor itself.
- IOTTLY takes care of compiling the firmware code on the server, maintaining all the configurations for each preset Board compiler.
- The Device Admin Console is automatically configured with previously defined messages, and, by relying on the built-in functionality of the firmware upgrade, newly developed functions can be instantly deployed and tested.
- IOTTLY handles communication with the boards, taking care of all the technical aspects (protocols, security, project-specific message semantics);
- IOTTLY supports developers and makers in the full cycle of coding > building > deploying over the air;
- IOTTLY features true bidirectional communication with the boards.