Getting Started with Internet of Things (IoT)

I have many people asking me how do I do Internet of Things (IoT) projects. The kind of people which ask me are from various different backgrounds like e.g. College grads, Mechanical engineers, Creative Tech designers, Computer Engineers and even Solutions Architects who have different domain knowledge. Personally, I think everyone is curious about the buzzword and since the market is flooded with devices like Alexa, Google Home and smartphones, people are keen to automate things or derive insights.

In this series, I wish to share with everyone some things for those who are curious to start or do something with IoT in the cheapest and most affordable way. All the articles would be targeted to tech enthusiasts who are passionate to try out stuff and I would be happy to answer questions if someone has any difficulty in following the content. Going through the concepts and terminologies is out of the scope of the articles. The articles would be focused on the practical aspects.

So, lets begin…!

Setting up your first IoT Device ….!

In this tutorial, we would see how we could setup our first IoT device which would be a basis for all our future series of tutorials. We would setup a Linux based IoT device which could access the internet. You could say a mini Linux computer

We would setup a Raspberry Pi which would run Ubuntu Linux operating system with our configurations and various packages by which we would be able to make our IoT application in the upcoming tutorials.

One would need to source the below items before we proceed further.

  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

Download the image of the operating system from the link. Then, you need to decompress the file using the tools on your computer. On Windows, one could use 7-Zip or on Mac, you could use Keka. After decompressing, there will be an image file which you need to burn to the micro SD card. Use Etcher application to accomplish this task. It’s very handy…!

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Insert the MicroSD card with the SD card adapter in the laptop. After you launch the Etcher app, it should detect the SD card or else select the correct drive. Select the image file which you decompressed and flash the SD card. It should take a while, please be patient until the operation completes. Have a coffee…!

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After the operation complete, pop out the micro SD card from the laptop and carefully insert it into the Raspberry Pi

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SD card in Raspberry Pi

Loading microSD card, booting Raspberry Pi and installing Ubuntu MATE

The next step in Ubuntu MATE installation on Raspberry Pi involves loading the microSD card in the Pi. Assuming that your mouse, keyboard, monitor, and power supply cables are connected, turn on the power. This should show the MATE logo like this:

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It’ll be followed by different system configuration screens where you’ll choose the language, location, Erase Disk & Install, Wi-Fi network selection, etc. Fill in those details. Create a username and password and continue. It will kick off the installation.

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Installation progress…

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After the installation is complete, the system will reboot. Login with the username and password. Open the terminal using ctrl + alt + t key combination.

Use the following commands. Completing all the commands will take time for the completion depending on the internet speed of the Wi-Fi or Lan connection the Raspberry Pi is connected.

Update the software repository sources

sudo apt-get -y update

Upgrade the software packages

sudo apt-get -y upgrade

Update the Raspberry Pi kernel

sudo rpi-update

Launch the raspberry pi specific configuration

sudo raspi-config

This will open a menu as shown below.

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Select Interfacing options and Enable SSH. After which it will ask to reboot to take into effect.

After reboot, the setup of your IoT Device is complete…! Congratulations.

In the series of the tutorials, you will use the Raspberry Pi in various roles, either as a stand-alone IoT device or as a IoT gateway.

So stay tuned…!

Linux Enthusiast, Embedded systems, Quick Learner, IoT Developer

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