Learning IOT: What is it? How to use it? When to use it?

Recently I have been mentored by a great guy who also owns an IOT business.  He has offered a free class where I live on Saturdays to learn about the basics of IOT.  In addition he has been explaining how IOT can be used to solve specific problems in industrial settings.  I already had an electronic and software background so learning IOT was not a major stretch.  The biggest stretch is understanding when and how to use IOT.

So what is it?  Its all about sensors and data.  You have sensors collect data that improves your decision making processes or automates something.  It can reduce human errors, reduce human labor, or see something previously unseen.  It is about solving problems using technology.

How to use it?  Define a problem, find a way to solve the problem using technology, build a solution to the problem, and repeat.

When to use it?  When the problem being solved can create value to the end user and continue to generate value beyond the install for years.  That value also needs to be more than just saving labor costs.  It needs to save on ‘lost opportunity’ costs.  In other words, the problem solved provided a higher level savings than just labor.  If the labor can be redirected to a more profitable avenue and/or a process can have more uptime.  Those savings can potentially save millions of dollars versus thousands of dollars over the years.

From what I now understand IOT is here to stay.  What will it look like and who will benefit from this paradigm shift in technology?  Sensors are cheap, but they are not cheap to install and maintain.  What data systems are needed?  Will that data system be proprietary or open?  Is it secure from outside hacking?  Are there enough experts out there to support the potential needs of end users?  Will it be dominated by data giants like AWS and Microsoft?  I hope to learn the answers to all these questions as I dig deeper and deeper into IOT.

SSL Certs!!!

A while back I read that Google was going to include SSL certificate status for a website in its ranking criteria. So I started taking an interest in making sure websites are setup as HTTPS if the customer has chosen to use a cert. I then found out that you can now get certs for free! I was even happier to find out that my web host not only uses a free certs source, but sets them up automatically whether I choose to use them or not! This was an awesome thing to find out about my current web host CrocWeb.com. Every time I turn around they are doing something better than all my previous hosts combined.

That is why this domain is now an HTTPS domain. It was free to get the cert and free to set it up. Kinda nice to find this kind of service is now accessible to the masses for little to no cost.

Back doing Freelance coding again…

For a while I was able to keep busy starting a company.  I designed a robotic system for controlling a 200lb floor crawler for scanning petroleum tanks.  Now that the company is moving forward I have more time to do some freelance work.  I am excited as I get to play with newer architectures, languages, etc.

It will be fun to build new things for other peoples’ dreams and make some extra cash along the way.  In the last five years we have worked with other companies to build prototypes.  I also got a chance myself to write code for some exciting projects.  It is always neat to get a peek into other peoples’ worlds and challenges.  Even better when you can help someone succeed.

To all my perspective employers:

Lets get messy and build some great shtuff!