In the first two episodes, we looked at Transports, the physical and wireless mechanisms used to transfer data between things, and Protocols, the communication standards which enable devices at each end of a transport to “speak the same language” and understand what is being communicated.
Now that we have our things connected and talking, it’s time to make them work together to do something useful, and that’s what this episode, Services, is all about.
Every time you search the web, post a photo to social media, or read an email, you’re using a service, an application running across one or more computer servers—probably many more—which process your data and other information on the internet and do something useful with it. One service might be getting you weather data, one service might be hosting cat photos, one might be a forum for chatting with friends and family. Those services are designed to be useful to you, the human, who wants to know what the traffic will be like on the way to work. The IoT services we’re discussing in this episode are similar in almost every respect, but instead of human users clicking around on mice and keyboards, the primary users of IoT services are things, things measuring sensors and controlling blinky lights, servos and whatever other hardware you think to connect.
Services are what you’ll use to route events to and from your IoT devices, coordinate real-time communication between multiple devices, and record, process and visualize the data that your “things” are producing. In short, you might say that services are the “internet” half of the Internet of Things.
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.