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How to integrate LoRa with thethings.iO IoT platform

As you know, thethings.iO is the most simple enterprise IoT platform. An IoT platform consists of helping and improving life of developers that are connecting products to the Internet. And as good makers, we love integrating new systems and platforms to thethings.iO that enable our clients of connecting to the Internet more devices.

In today’s post we will show you what is LoRa and its basics. We’ll also show how can it be integrated within thethings.iO platform.

LPWAN protocols

Nowadays, there is a growing interest to connect devices to the Internet, and there is an emphasis on low power wireless commutations (LPWAN).

LPWAN is designed to allow long range communications at a low rate transmission among low power connected things. LPWAN stands for Low Power Wide Area Network standard.

Devices, such as ESP8266 are capable to connect to WiFi networks. We all know that its reach is limited to few meters around the access point. IoT devices require to bridge much bigger distances since we want to use them everywhere. IoT devices usually work on batteries and we don’t have lots of power for transmission.

The dilemma is… how to reach many kilometres without spending too much power? To create radio connections for a certain distance we can either increase transmission power of the system or decrease the bandwidth of the channel and that’s the key of LPWAN protocols. LPWAN is not comparable with WiFi or 2G networks, and not all a replacement for these technologies since size of data payload is not a strong point of LPWAN. On the other hand, we have all the numerous benefits that we commented before.

As you probably know there are different LPWAN protocols such as SigFox, NB-IoT or LTE-M. As you know thethings.iO is the most simple IoT platform for Sigfox, is getting compatible with NB-IoT (I don’t want to spoiler now). Nevertheless today we want to connect thethings.iO with LoRa.

LoRa

LoRa is a Low Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN) solution coming out France and it is intended for systems that require the ability to send and receive low amounts of data over a range of many kilometres without high power costs. It is not an open protocol as it is driven by a chip company called Semtech.

The LoRa wireless system makes use of the unlicensed frequencies that are available worldwide. The most widely used frequencies / bands are 868 MHz (Europe), 915 MHz (North America) and 433 MHz (Asia). LoRa is capable of providing data rates from between 0.3kbps to 50kbps which varies based on required range and interference. The LoRaWAN protocol provides both signing and encryption for parts of LoRaWAN packets.

LoRa topology. Source: https://www.mwrinfosecurity.com/

LoRa solutions are made up of nodes and gateways that communicate with a network server. Nodes represent connected things and they are typically low powered and communicate wirelessly with one or many gateways. Gateways are fewer in number, and transfer data from the nodes back to the network server using standard IP connections. A LoRa solution therefore follows a “star of star” topology, where multiple nodes talk to one or more gateways. Network server represents the edge of the systems that would store and parse the data sent from the nodes.

About The Things Network

The Things Network is a community-based, global initiative to provide free LPWAN coverage over LoRa. LoRaWAN coverage is entirely crowdsourced. Members also contribute by providing support or through software development.

The Things Network Backend route messages from gateways to the right application through the Internet, and back. In our case, the application would be thethings.iO platform. The question is, how can we integrate The Things Network data with our platform? How can receive the data  sent through The Things Network in thethings.iO

Integrating The Things Network within thethings.iO

In order to integrate both platforms we encourage you to read this article https://developers.thethings.io/docs/http-integrations#section-a-integration-example-with-the-things-network in our Developer Center at the thethings.iO, but here you can find a summary of the steps.

  1. Get and customize your callback URL with the productid and the hash. You can find both parameter in the Product Details of the Things Manager. The base path of the URL should be like this https://subscription.thethings.io/http/{productId}/{hash}?idname=dev_id*.
  2. Insert this url at the HTTP Integration section of The Things Network Platform.
  3. Finally, go back to thethings.iO Cloud Code section a create function with the name http_parser. Here you can find an example:
function main(params, callback){
  var result = [
      {
        "key": "temperature",
        "value": params.payload.payload_fields.temperature
      },
      {
        "key": "$settings.name",
        "value": params.payload.hardware_serial
      },
      {
        "key": "$geo",
        "value": [params.payload.metadata.longitude,params.payload.metadata.latitude]
      },
  ];

   callback(null, result);
}

Once the URL is configured and the Cloud Code function is coded, everything is ready to start receiving data and monitoring from thethings.iO IoT Platform.

We hope all this information will be helpful for you. If you want to know more about us, you can create an account by clicking here, sign up to receive our monthly newsletter or follow us on Twitter! Stay tuned and be the first in knowing the latest news of the IoT world and thethings.iO

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How Internet of Things Will Change Your Workplace

Connected workplace

Connected workplace.

Imagine your workplace becoming what we call a “connected workplace.” In this “connected workplace,” your technologies will be connected on the internet and you will be simply be able to share information from one colleague to another in offices around the world. Through thethings.io this is very possible. We enable companies to connect future office devices to the internet, quicker, easier, and for a fraction of the cost.

We want to explain a few key points in which will help you further understand the offices of the future:

  • Connected access. For example, you enter your workplace and you check in with a personalized ID card. The requirement to use an ID to enter the building creates a more safe and secure environment. In addition, if there are any questionable incidences that occur, emergency services are contacted automatically.

Read more

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How Internet of Things will change our cities and mobility

Connected City

Connected City

Today we’re going to give you some interesting ways IoT will change our lives in the near future. According to Gartner statistics, by 2020 about 26 billion devices will be connected to the Internet and thething.iO is here to help companies quickly introduce the internet-connected devices into our everyday lives. Be ready to see a vast change in areas such our cities and transportation.

Your city

As stated by the European Comission, the term “Smart City” is a place where the traditional networks and service are made more efficient with the use of digital and telecommunication technologies, for the benefit of its inhabitants and businesses.

For Example:

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Internet of Things; Why? Because we can…

IoT - The Big Bang Theory

Everyone knows the comedy show The Big Bang Theory. We knew everyone was talking about the Internet of Things, but to our surprise, an episode of this hit comedy show suggests the main characters, Leonard and Sheldon, connect their flat lights and stereo using an X-10 system.

You can notice this in the video:

 

For anyone out there wondering why this is done, the most famous nerds of The Big Bang Theory have a simple answer for you: “Because we can.”

Technology is always growing and advancing for one main reason: convenience and simplicity. We use technology to make our lives easier. We are always looking for ways to efficiently use our time and technology provides that incentive for us. The Internet of Things also does this; it has become a big part of our daily lives whether we realize it or not.

We provide simple ways to help companies and developers connect to the internet in a timely and easy manner through our APIs.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and be sure to check out our #IoTFriday blog!

 

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thethings.iO Datacenter: Security and Privacy

As a client based company, we love answering any questions we receive from our customers. The most common one is: Where will my data be hosted? Is that secure and private?

We are happy to announce that our datacenter is in one of the most disruptive places in Barcelona: The Zoo of Barcelona.

One of the new services of the Zoo of Barcelona is the Lion tier. This is where we ensure that the servers are safe and secure in the lions cage. The only people who have access to the servers are the lions and the caregivers of the lions, who sometimes reset the servers when we call them to deploy new versions of the software.

Servers of thethings.iO

Servers of thethings.iO

We are very proud to say that our datacenter is very sustainable. If there is any problem with the manure from the zoo animals, we provide bikes at the monkeys cage that can bring extra energy at the datacenter SAI. Next year, we hope to bring in machines with more intensive CPUs to the shark swimming pool; first to cool down the temperature of the computers and then to increase security.

We hope to see you at one of our datacenters in the city. If you ask the Zoo of Barcelona to bring your cloud solution into their datacenter, they will give you a 10% discount during the first year.

Happy April Fools for the team at thethings.iO! We hope we didn’t scare you too much.

 

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thethings.iO Top Picks from CES 2015

Every January, techies from around the world flock to Vegas for CES, the Consumer Electronic Show, to show off their latest innovations and catch a glimpse of the newest technology. CES 2015 was the largest in the event’s history, with more than 3,600 exhibitors– many of which were startups flaunting the latest IoT gadgets.

CES 2015

CES 2015

As we can see from CES 2015, the world of technology is constantly growing, and here at thethings.iO we know that it is becoming increasingly difficult for developers to keep up. We offer back-end support for your cloud solution, a customizable front-end user interface, analytical tools, interoperability, and guaranteed protection of the customer’s data, so developers can focus on what they do best: building cool things. Take a look at some of our favorite CES 2015 IoT launches, and learn about some of the things we would LOVE to connect to the Internet!

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Learn Intel Edison In 5 Minutes #IoTFriday

Welcome to the new edition of IoTFriday at theThings.IO. Today we want to show you how to start a project with the new platform made by Intel, the Intel Edison, in just 5 minutes.

A new DIY platform of Internet of Things is on the block! After being announced at the last CES 2013 with a lot of high expectations, Intel Edison has finally arrived! We are happy to say that the final result lived up to these expectations. With the Intel Edison, Intel is pushing their new processor, Intel Atom, to focus on the Internet of Things with a very small energy consumption.

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3 Internet of Things Protocols #IoTFriday

Happy IoTFriday ! Today we are going to talk about three of the most popular Internet of Things protocols: HTTP, REST, MQTT and CoAP.

 These three protocols are often discussed among experts who decide which one has the best features, security, and lowest cost, among several other important categories. Deciding which protocol should be used depends on your needs and potential uses. At thethings.iO, we have endpoints with REST, MQTT, CoAp and Websockets. (You can find documentation for IoT developers here.)

Marc showing 3 Internet of Things protocols #iotfriday

Marc showing 3 Internet of Things protocols #iotfriday

REST APIs are the most popular of the protocols. Based on HTTP and TCP/IP, it is the most standard used to share information among services on the Internet. REST APIs enable developers to access their data using market standardized methods and formats also known as JSON and XMLs.

MQTT (Message Queue Telemetry Transport) is an IBM open source protocol that offers a light-weight and easy publish-subscribe outlet to the Internet of Things. MQTT is based on TCP/IP in which several platforms are using for atomization of subscriptions and push messages to customers.

Lastly, CoAP (Constrained Application Protocol) is a simplification of the HTTP protocol. CoAp is mostly designed for processing restrictions that cannot process or run HTTP on the hardware. Even though it is not a standardized protocol, there are a lot of interesting features such as the observe or discovery methods that will boost the Internet of Things.

 

At thethings.iO, we are offering for developers four Internet of Things protocols. Write us in order to have an invitation and test our Internet of Things real-time platform.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter!