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A Simpler and More Intelligent Internet of Things with Digi and Temboo

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The ongoing drought in the western United States underscores the importance of maintaining and conserving a reliable supply of fresh water—whether for drinking, irrigation, fire control or manufacturing, reliable water storage is essential. Of course, half the battle in maintaining a water supply is managing it: once a tank system has been installed and filled, water must be properly distributed when it is needed and retained when it is not. If tanks are remote and many are spread over a wide area, monitoring them can become a costly and time-consuming obligation.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 12.03.09 PMThese are the sorts of challenges that Digi and Temboo are overcoming by building a more intelligent Internet of Things. A network of Digi hardware running Temboo Choreos is flexible and smart—devices can be programmed to execute a wide variety of processes, and be reprogrammed without being interrupted. This is a solution that combines ease of automation with the trustworthiness of manual control. To illustrate the solution’s benefits, and demonstrate how the whole system works, we’ve built a model of the water tank problem. This system puts Temboo and Digi to work, keeping water levels right where they ought to be.

Our tank monitoring solution uses an XBee ZigBee radio to wirelessly exchange sensor information and remote control commands using Digi’s new XBee Gateway, a programmable device that joins ZigBee mesh networks to the Internet. A small Temboo client written in Python is installed on the XBee Gateway, allowing it to connect to over one hundred different web services using Temboo Choreos. With Temboo, the memory constraints of the small devices in the network cease to be an obstacle to intelligent behavior, as much of the code required to execute complex processes is offloaded to the cloud.

In our model, a sensor attached to the XBee radio monitors the water level of our tank, and sends those readings to the XBee Gateway. If the tank leaks and the water level falls, a response is triggered on the gateway. First, the gateway uses Temboo’s Yahoo Weather Choreos to check the forecast for rain. Temboo’s Nexmo Choreos are then used to telephone the relevant individual with an automated voice message that gives a real time rain forecast and offers a choice of actions to take by entering a number on the phone’s keypad.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 11.56.33 AMIf a storm is on its way, there is an option to ignore the alert. If the leakage does not need to be urgently addressed, there is an option to schedule a maintenance event for the future, which the Temboo program on the gateway handles via a Google Calendar Choreo . If the situation is urgent, however, there is another option to activate a backup pump at a different point in the XBee network and refill the tank.  Of course, all of this will only work properly if the sensor and gateway are powered on and functioning, so our system needs to be prepared for any loss of connectivity—if, for any reason, transmission of the level of water in the tank stops, another Temboo Choreo will file a Zendesk ticket to alert support that the system needs attention.

The most exciting thing about this model, however, is that it is only a small example of a massively scalable system. XBee technology can connect hundreds of different devices in a much larger network, and Temboo’s Library contains over two thousand other Choreos that can be used to execute an immense variety of tasks. Modifying the behavior of the Temboo program on the gateway to, for example, switch notification services is just a matter of changing Choreos, a simple task.  Digi’s hardware and Temboo’s software are coming together to build a lighter, smarter and much easier to use Internet of Things.

Demo created using:

Are you using Temboo or XBee in your Internet of Things application? You can share how you’re using wireless technology by tweeting us at @XBeeWireless and @Temboo.

The Next Generation of XCTU

You may have heard there is a new version of XCTU available. We rebuilt it from the ground up and added a number of new features. Now, you can graphically diagram your ZigBee networks all from within the XCTU interface. You can even perform tests to determine your XBee’s range with the built in range test. And for all the Mac users out there, we should mention that XCTU is now compatible with OS X! Here’s a quick demo of the software in the video below:

The next generation of XCTU will make building your ZigBee networks a breeze. Want to get started? Head over here to download the latest version of XCTU.

Digi Mass Transit Control System at Embedded World 2013

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Control systems for a bus are simulated in this Digi mass transit demo using Intelligent System Framework-ready hardware from Portwell and Kontron based on the Intel® Atom™ processor and running the Android* OS.

One system displays the driver operator panel, and the second system provides passenger information such as bus stop locations, as well as static and video advertising sponsored by nearby businesses. A camera connected to the driver operator panel also provides a simulated view of the passenger area with recording options for additional passenger and personnel security purposes. The systems share data, such as current bus location, route and arrival information over the iDigi Device Cloud and show the delivery of mass transit passenger-oriented services via Intel mobile phones and tablets.

Digi and the Intel Intelligent Systems Framework

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Digi International is utilizing the Intel® Intelligent Systems Framework to deploy a wider set of solutions with contributions from the Intel ecosystem to help solve business problems and tap into a much larger market. Joel Young, senior vice president of research and development and CTO of Digi, describes why we are supporting the framework and the advantages of developing with common standards for manageability and interoperability.

video via Intel

Throwback Thursday

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We hope you enjoy this Digi International throwback video straight from the ’90s. We present to you “Here’s Digi” circa 1994.

What throwback tech photos or videos do you have? Share on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments section below. We’d love to share your Thursday throwback next week!

Connect, Monitor and Control Any Device from Anywhere

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The XBee Internet Gateway 1.4 allows you to monitor and control any device from anywhere using the Internet and the iDigi Cloud. The current version runs on Digi’s ConnectPort line of gateways and is intended for easy prototyping of sensing and control solutions. ConnectPorts are small devices that attach local networks of XBee radios to the Internet using Ethernet, WiFi, cellular data radios, even global satellites.

This latest version of The XBee Internet Gateway has some outstanding new capabilities that you can see here.

Here’s a helpful video that Jordan Husney put together to get you started. In the video, he explains how to send “AT” formatted configuration commands that read sensors attached to remote XBee radios and remotely trigger switches, lights, motors or other actuators. He uses the iDigi Device Cloud environment (free for developers) to send and receive information. These commands can also be sent directly from programs you write yourself:


Remote AT Commands via the iDigi Device Cloud using the XBee Internet Gateway (XIG)

Supplies you’ll need:
power cord
ethernet cable
ConnectPort X2 device
IP Address for ConnectPort X2
iDigi Developer Account

Full user documentation: Google Code