Spice up your Pi for IoT development

February 01, 2016 // By Richard Quinnell
Developers seeking to enter the IoT market quickly discover that creating a nifty device is not enough. No matter how clever, the device is only one part of a larger system that includes such things as gateways, servers, analytics, web services, and even mobile apps. Developers without the resources to provide all these elements must find them elsewhere, which can make for integration challenges.

Something new has entered the market, though, which claims that it solve those challenges for you, especially if your device design is based on the Raspberry Pi.

Platforms that IoT developers can leverage to support their device designs are not new. Companies like ThingWorx, Ayla Networks , Google, and Apple along with consortia like the Allseen Alliance are offering platforms that they hope will attract users and build an ecosystem of interoperable devices around their platform as a common standard. But nearly all of the platforms available require the IoT device be custom designed and programmed to operate with that platform.

A company called myDevices offers an alternative. Its platform, released in late 2015, is device-agnostic, supporting a wide variety of wireless technologies as well as standard data communications protocols such as CoAP, MQTT, and the REST API. The platform will adapt to the device rather than forcing the device to conform to it. It will also let devices using the platform talk with one another, serving as a translator.

Whatever platform a developer chooses, however, there remains a lot of work to in order to create a device that can utilise the platform. That includes building and configuring the device, deciphering and coding for APIs to interact with the platform, and the like. Until now, that is.

myDevices has just released Cayenne, a tool for developers and makers to rapidly configure a complete IoT system, including mobile apps, rules engines, and analytics, starting with a widely-available development board – the Raspberry Pi. And you don't even need to work at configuring the Pi. Cayenne is designed to automatically discover any Pi connected to the same network as the host computer, then download its agents into the Pi. When the Pi reboots, it is ready to serve as the basis of an IoT device.

Cayenne provides developers with a host of capabilities for turning that Pi into a fully