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March 13, 2017

10 open source software tools for developing IoT applications

Check out CBR's comprehensive list of the best open source IoT development platforms.

By Joe Clark

The Internet of Things is turning into something of a nebulous concept, as more and more devices enjoy connected status it’s become more difficult to draw a line in the sand between what does and does not constitute as an IoT device.

Smart homes and connected cars can include so many different IoT devices it’s easy to see that this multi-faceted market shows no sign of slowing, and development continues marching towards progress.

According to Gartner, six billion IoT devices were installed in 2016 giving the IoT market a valuation of over $1 trillion. Similarly, HPE Aruba found 57% of companies have adopted IoT technologies, with that number set to increase to a huge 85% by 2019.

Initially one of the main driving forces behind this IoT revolution was the open source community whose constant experimentation, combined with accelerating technological possibilities, created many new and interesting applications. These applications range from Wi-Fi kettles to smart data analysing machines and everything in between.

CBR lists some of the best open source software tools for IoT development.


1. DeviceHive

Open Source

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DeviceHive is an AllSeen Alliance member and Data Art’s AllJoyn based device. The free open source machine to machine communication (M2M) framework was launched in 2012 and continues to be one of the leading development platforms for IoT applications.

Its cloud-based API can be controlled remotely regardless of network configuration. It’s management portal, protocols, and open-source libraries, can also be controlled this way. Among its potential applications are security, smart home technology, remote sensors, and automation.

The DeviceHive website has a vibrant community and a series of blog posts from enthusiasts mean that you’ll never be short on support. Everything you need for DeviceHive, including components, can be found on their website.


2. Kaa

Open Source

Kaa is backed by Cybervision and is aimed at providing end-to-end support for connected devices across a large cloud. The multipurpose middleware allows developers to create IoT solutions, connected applications, and all manner of smart products.

One of the main benefits of Kaa is that it is easy set up and offers many features that can be easily plugged into the platform. Kaa has described the open source kit as ‘hardware agnostic’ meaning that it can interface with just about any hardware you desire, including devices, sensors, and gateways.

The dev kit can also be used to set up cross-device interoperabilty, distribute over the air firmware updates, and analyse user behaviour to deliver targeted notifications. An all-round excellent piece of tech for anyone looking to get into IoT development.


3. Arduino

Open Source

Arduino is one of the better known platforms, due in part to the fact that it offers both hardware and software. The development kit allows users to code in the Arduino language using an integrated development environment (IDE). Currently the cloud system consists of an MQTT broker which enables developers to send messages from one board to another.

Projects that have been created using Arduino include a location tracking device for pets, a method to take photos and have them automatically uploaded to popular blogging site Tumblr, and for businesses it’s possible to create a print issue receipt from GitHub onto paper.

The Arduino cloud platform will be adding new features over the coming months and are looking for feedback on the current setup. Now seems as good a time as ever to jump on board.


4. Home Assistant

Open Source

Home Assistant is predominantly geared towards home automation, as the name suggests, and operates on a Python based coding system that can be controlled with both mobile and desktop browsers. The open source software is fairly easy to setup and has been noted for its security and privacy capabilities.

The systems is updated regularly every two weeks, and currently supports almost 250 smart devices. The software can run on anything that can also run Python 3, including desktops and Raspberry pi.

However, there is no hub for the Home Assistant network, there’s also no cloud component but the creators believe that this lack of functionality is a sacrifice worth making because even when the internet goes down, the home stays active and your private data stays private.



Open Source

Device Hub is an integrated solution for IoT project development, the service combines business intelligence and cloud integration in order to synthesise hardware and web technologies. The development kit is billed as a ‘Paas’ or ‘platform as a service’ with which both hardware and mobile developers are able to effectively utilise what it has on offer.

SME’s and individuals have enjoyed significant success with the platform which has enabled rapid development of fleet management systems, intelligent vending machines, and wearable technologies.

One of the biggest bonuses of Device Hub is how friendly it is with entrepreneurial parties. Using Device Hub programmes created can be fully white-labelled, re-branded, and installed on-premise or in a Virtual Private Cloud for Enterprise-grade deployments.

What about cloud based platforms?

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