Every day the world becomes more and more connected. Everything from the cars we drive, the phones we use, devices we wear, and to the factories producing our products. These devices can be linked together and to a huge network of data. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be 50 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices and an estimated 90% of cars will be connected.
Taking advantage of IoT we can build applications that provide a more personalized experience for each individual user, not only by displaying personalized content, but also by changing the look and feel of the application itself to adapt it to how people “feel” about certain topics, this can be achieved by using the cognitive capabilities of Watson to analyze social networks, in combination with physical sensors we can personalize the experience even more by using information from the environment.
Large companies and independent developers can implement applications that use this combination of technologies to create a new generation of applications, making both, the products offered by these applications and the applications themselves more attractive to users.
Developers can implement such a system by connecting IBM Watson’s Tone Analyzer with input from the Twitter API to create an application that will analyze the ‘tone’ used in the language of tweets from selected Twitter accounts. The applications theme will be dictated by the dominant tone of the latest tweet – for example, if Watson determines the last tweet had a mostly angry tone, the application will have a blue theme in response. The blue theme, in this instance, is an automated attempt to influence the mood of the user by using color psychology in response to the angry tone of the tweet.
SimpleLink SensorTag by Texas Instruments is a relatively low cost IoT-ready device designed for early adopters and IoT enthusiasts to start experimenting. It has sensors for different purposes: Infrared thermopile temperature, 9-axis motion, altimeter/pressure, ambient light, magnet and humidity sensors. It works under Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology supported by Bluetooth 4.0 and is compatible with Beacons and Bluetooth Smart. The Texas Instruments BLE mobile application allows you to quickly put the data gathered by these sensors right onto the IBM IoT Foundation (IBM IoTF) cloud, either on the Quick Start boilerplate or well in a custom IoT application powered by IBM IoTF.
While IoT is still a buzz word, it is mature enough that most people have a general idea what it is, and what a ‘thing’ is. But what might not be as clear is how to connect to an IoT device to do something useful. That is, the concept of IoT might still be somewhat nebulous, and using it to one’s advantage is still a mystery for most people.
Given the proliferation of small, low consumption sensors, there is a need for software that can be used to create IoT applications that can tie together devices and its data to users. Enter Node-RED. Node-RED is used to create IoT applications. It is a Flow-based Programming tool, meaning it is a network of connected “nodes” where each node has a specific purpose. For example, a node can be created to listen to a sensor on a device, such as a SensorTag, and pass the sensor data to a temperature function node which might act upon the data at a certain threshold by sending the data to an email, or twitter, node. The network of connected (wired) node is consider a flow.
In this workshop, the attendee will learn how to connect an IoT device to the IBM IoT Foundation (running on IBM Bluemix) to retrieve its data and combining it with IBM Watson services to personalize the experience in the application. A mobile / web application, that displays relevant information to the user, and a Bluemix application, running the backend and gathering the data from IoT Foundation, will be developed using IBM Rational Application Developer.