Internet of Things – Three Popular Development Boards

The Internet of Things (IoT) is developing at a rapid pace, as a result of the availability of small, inexpensive computing hardware. IoT development boards combine micro-controllers, processors, wireless chips, and other components in a pre-built, ready-to-program package. Development boards come in various configurations and here are three popular ones.

Arduino Uno

The Arduino UNO is an open-source microcontroller development board based on the ATmega328P(datasheet) which has:

  • 14 digital input/output pins
  • 6 analog inputs
  • A 16 MHz quartz crystal,
  • A USB connection,
  • A power jack,
  • An ICSP header and
  • A reset button

The Arduino Software (IDE) runs on Windows, Macintosh OSX, and Linux operating systems. The Arduino IDE supports the languages C and C++ using special rules of code structuring.

Applications:

Few applications of the Arduino Uno boards are:

  • Robotics and Control Systems
  • Home and Industry Automation
  • Traffic Light Countdown Timer
  • Underground Cable Fault Recognition
  • Controlling of Electrical Appliances using IR
  • Parking Lot Counter
  • Weighing Machines
  • Medical Instrument
  • Emergency Light for Railways
  • Auto Intensity Control of Street Lights
  • Biotechnology
  • Agriculture

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Cross-platform
  • Simple, clear programming environment
  • Open source and extensible software and hardware
  • Large support of community

Cons:

  • Memory limitations
  • Less powerful
  • Processing power is weaker than the microcontroller
  • Requires effort to accomplish some tasks such as scheduling and database storage

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Raspberry Pi 3

Raspberry Pi is a fully functioning credit card-sized computer, which runs on a customized Debian Linux called Raspbian. Like a computer, a Pi has a memory, processor, USB ports, audio output, a graphic driver for HDMI output.

Pi is a powerful platform based on a Broadcom BCM2837 SoC with a:

  • 2 GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor
  • 1GB RAM

Raspberry Pi 3 is equipped with:

  • 4 GHz WiFi 802.11n
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • 10/100 Ethernet port

Advantages of Raspberry Pi over Arduino:

Raspberry Pi Arduino
Multitasking and suitable for complex projects Runs one program at a time, used for repetitive work
Suitable for software projects Suitable for hardware projects
No limiting to programming language Limited to Arduini, C/C++
Built-in Ethernet port for networking Need to connect external hardware and implement coding
Act as a server and communicate to other computers, connected devices. Excels in controlling small devices like sensors, motors, and lights

Applications of Raspberry Pi:

  • Media Streamer
  • Arcade machine
  • Tablet computer
  • Home automation
  • Carputer
  • Internet radio
  • Controlling robots
  • Cosmic Computer
  • Hunting for meteorites and Coffee
  • Raspberry based projects

Pros:

  • Super powerful with lots of memory and processing capabilities. Expandable memory.
  • Linux based OS and now even Windows 10 can be run on top of it to make processing more user-friendly.
  • A lot of GPIOs available, and the more the GPIOs, the more sensors you can interface.
  • If you have experience with Linux, it’s very easy to get started with it, otherwise it will take some time to get the hang of it.
  • Python, C, C++, Ruby, Go and many more can be used to program the Pi exactly the way you can code any computer.
  • People have successfully used Pi to run Open CV , data mining algorithms etc. and connected the results to various applications.
  • In terms of cost, better than an Arduino with Ethernet shield.
  • Great on-line community and endless possibilities of what can be done using it.

Cons:

  • You need good knowledge of Linux systems to get things moving
  • The processing power will be an overkill processing-wise for most of the applications since we will use it only to send data across.
  • Closed source.
  • Power hungry.

NodeMCU

The NodeMCU is an open source firmware, built around a System-on-a-Chip (SoC) called the ESP8266, and features:

  • Wi-Fi capability
  • Analog pin
  • Digital pins
  • Serial communication protocols

Applications of NodeMCU:

  • Geolocation using ESP8266
  • ESP8266 based wireless server
  • Pressure Sensors on Railway Tracks
  • Air Pollution Meter
  • Humidity and temperature monitoring
  • Wi-Fi controlled robot
  • Temperature logging system
  • M2M using ESP8266
  • Make your personal assistant

Pros:

  • Provided inbuilt WiFi functionality
  • Cost-effective
  • Integrated support for WIFI network
  • Low energy consumption

Cons:

  • It is a 3.3V device, so it may not be compatible with some peripherals
  • Lack of official documentation
  • WiFi code takes a lot of CPU power

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Glossary:

ATmega328P – Single-chip microcontroller created by Atmel in the megaAVR family

BCM2837– Broadcom chip

ESP8266 – A low-cost Wi-Fi microchip capable of either hosting an application or offloading all Wi-Fi networking functions from another application processor.

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References:

Benefits of EDI Usage in Transportation Management Systems

The need for real-time visibility has reached an all-time high for transportation companies. As Bart De Muynck, Research Vice President, Gartner, says, “Organizations have increasing demands for real-time, or at least near-real-time visibility into their orders, multi-modal shipments, and inventory across a network of business partners, both stationary and in transit.”

Providing T&L companies access to real-time information is Electronic Data Interchange, which is the inter-organizational exchange of business documents in a pre-defined structured format. EDI permits trading partners to generate, receive, and process data with little or no human intervention. With EDI, standard business documents can be transmitted instantaneously using telecommunication capabilities.

Benefits of EDI

  1. With EDI, routine high volume communications can be automated. This ensures that dispatchers and accounts receivables staff have time to focus on value added services. For example, expenses associated with usual operational tasks can be considerably reduced or even eliminated, lowering transactions costs by at least 30 percent. When this number is multiplied annually, the savings can be substantial.
    A study by La Londe and Cooper found that firms with electronic ordering have experienced sales increases of up to 50 percent. EDI enables firms to be more responsive to customer needs by decreasing order transmittal time and lead times.
  2. EDI eliminates dispatchers from having to manually key information into dispatch operational and billing systems. This results in savings while eliminating any costly data entry mistakes. Thus, errors due to illegible faxes, lost communication or incorrect phone messages are eliminated and documents processed much faster.
  3. For the transportation industry, business cycles are revved up sharply. Normal waiting time for documents which range from a day to a couple of weeks, can happen in the space of a few minutes.
  4. Companies can use EDI to integrate with various transportation management systems or direct carrier systems. This will help to tender and re-tender loads, transmit and receive appointment time and status.
  5. Eliminating paper transactions and substituting them with electronic alternatives, is a display of corporate social responsibility.
  6. However, one of the key benefits of EDI stem from the real-time visibility into transactions. This makes for faster decision-making and improved responsiveness to rapidly changing economic and market scenarios. The business model is altered completely from a demand-driven model to a supply-driven one.

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To summarize, In the quest to achieve a paperless society, Electronic Data Interchange has long been a leading technology. It predates the emergence of Internet and now a chief electronic network connecting just about every business to every other. To know more about the benefits, read whitepaper ‘EDI in Transportation: The Standard that Continues to Automate and Integrate Operations