There are a lot of IoT platforms out there, Refer my Post on IoT Platform Companies to get the list of top IoT platforms and best IoT platform open source or free IoT platform and their key features. Depending upon what features or functionalities your are looking for, you will have to decide which is suitable for your needs. In most of home automation's and learning for IoT free IoT platforms are we always looks for. That is why I thought I will share my knowledge on few of the top free IoT platform list available to do your IoT projects.

We will be discussing specifically on three free IoT platform open source, Cayenne vs Blynk , Blynk vs Thingsboard, their key features and Comparisons. In this post we will be specifically talking about Blynk, Cayenne and Thingsboard top IoT tools which are easily available with out cost. There are lot of others tools which are also available as open source home automation IoT tools.

Blynk Vs Cayenne Vs Thingsboard

Blynk:

Blynk is a Platform with iOS and Android apps to control Arduino, Raspberry Pi and the likes over the Internet.

It's a digital dashboard where you can build a graphic interface for your project by simply dragging and dropping widgets.

It's really simple to set everything up and you'll start tinkering in less than 5 mins.

Blynk  is not tied to some specific board or shield. Instead, it's supporting hardware of your choice. Whether your Arduino or Raspberry Pi  is linked to the Internet over Wi-Fi, Ethernet or this new ESP8266 chip, Blynk will get you online and ready for the Internet Of Your Things.

You can download Blynk app from below links

Free Blynk app from IOS App store and Play Store.

How Blynk Works: 

Blynk was designed for the Internet of Things. It can control hardware remotely, it can display sensor data, it can store data, vizualize it and do many other cool things.

There are three major components in the platform:

  • Blynk App - allows to you create amazing interfaces for your projects using various widgets we provide.
  • Blynk Server - responsible for all the communications between the smartphone and hardware. You can use our Blynk Cloud or run your private Blynk server locally. It’s open-source, could easily handle thousands of devices and can even be launched on a Raspberry Pi.
  • Blynk Libraries - for all the popular hardware platforms - enable communication with the server and process all the incoming and outcoming commands. Click here to download Blynk libraries.

Blynk App

Now imagine every time you press a Button in the Blynk app, the message travels to the Blynk Cloud, where it magically finds its way to your hardware. It works the same in the opposite direction and everything happens in a blynk of an eye. Refer the documentation on Blynk for more details.

The document Getting Started With The Blynk App which gives the complete details on how to create a blynk account, create a new project in blynk app, Choose your hardware, Unique identifier Auth token for your hardware which is needed to connect to the device, how to add widgets and run the projects. You need to add the blynk libraries in to your computer and configure the auth token in to the program.

My devices Cayenne: 

When we hear cayenne first things comes is Porsche Cayenne or Cayenne Pepper for those are food crazy :). That is not what talking here, we are talking about MyDevices Cayenne who claims that they are the first drag and drop IoT Project builder. Design prototypes and complete IoT solutions with my device Cayenne app in any device or connection.

Main features of Cayenne:

  1. Triggers
  2. Data Visualization
  3. Remote Monitoring
  4. SMS & Email Alerts
  5. IoT Cloud
  6. Asset Tracking

Cayenne IoT ready program for hardware manufacturers will easily enable micro controllers , gateways, sensors and other devices to connect to Internet of Things. Refer my tutorial on simple iot drag and drop app builder cayenne app to know about the detail process on how to sign up in Cayenne and configure for your IoT projects.

Cayenne dashboard

 

Cayenne Vs Blynk: 

Before we talk about Cayenne projects and Blynk projects let me list down some of my findings on Pro's and Con's on Cayenne IoT and Blynk.

  1. Blynk is more complicated and suitable for those who want to write code for functions where as Cayenne is simple to use and no need to programming or write codes.
  2. User interface is small in Blynk and difficult some times, where as Cayenne have a good user interface and easily configurable.
  3. Cayenne provides a very easy triggers / rules engine where as Blynk does not provide a simple way to create triggers
  4. Cayenne provides scheduling where as Blynk doesnt have easy way to do it.
  5. Cayenne is more suitable for beginners where as Blynk can be extensively used for high  end IoT projects using writing your own code.

Thingsboard:

ThingsBoard is an open-source IoT platform for data collection, processing, visualization, and device management. ThingsBoard is an open-source IoT platform that enables rapid development, management and scaling of IoT projects. The goal is to provide the out-of-the-box IoT cloud or on-premises solution that will enable server-side infrastructure for your IoT applications.

It enables device connectivity via industry standard IoT protocols - MQTT, CoAP and HTTP and supports both cloud and on-premises deployments. ThingsBoard combines scalability, fault-tolerance and performance so you will never lose your data.

Features:

  • Provision devices, assets and customers and define relations between them.
  • Collect and visualize data from devices and assets.
  • Analyze incoming telemetry and trigger alarms with complex event processing.
  • Control your devices using remote procedure calls (RPC).
  • Build work-flows based on device life-cycle event, REST API event, RPC request, etc
  • Design dynamic and responsive dashboards and present device or asset telemetry and insights to your customers
  • Enable use-case specific features using customizable rule chains.
  • Push device data to other systems

Refer the documentation to get the complete details about Thingsboard. We will be using Thingsboard community edition for our IoT Projects.


When I started my IoT projects , one of the challenge was to build a IoT platform or use an existing IoT platform which can be used to monitor, control, manage your sensors & devices. Even though there are enterprise IoT platforms available, I have found mydevices Cayenne or Cayenne powered by myDevices is one of the best open source tools which gives very good features to run IoT projects.

"MyDevices" Cayenne is the world’s first drag and drop IoT project builder that empowers developers, designers and engineers to quickly prototype and share their connected device projects. Cayenne was designed to help users create Internet of Things prototypes and then bring them to production. Cayenne app is available in both mobile platform Android, IOS and also you can access Cayenne through web browser.

Lets start our work to setup Cayenne for Raspberry Pi . In this article we will cover how you install Cayenne to Raspberry to connect through Mobile app & Web browser to have it ready to control an LED & other sensors.

MyDevices Cayenne is an open source IoT Platform which is used as IoT Project builder that allows you to control Raspberry Pi & other sensors, relays, actuators connected to your Pi through graphical interface.

Main features of Cayenne:

Widget: A variety of widget are available & parameters can be customized by the user.Add remotely controlled sensors, actuators, relay,GPIO Pins etc.

Customizable dashboard & Visualization : Cayenne stores historical data that enables you to see meaningful patterns of behavior to help understand and guide improvements on your IoT projects and the devices and sensors connected & is easily customizable.

Drag-and-drop widgets: Cayenne uses widgets to visualize devices, their data, status and actions. Every device, sensor and actuator that gets added in Cayenne has one or more widgets associated depending on the hardware capabilities. Widgets are added to the Device list on the left hand side and to each device’s Dashboard.

Triggers: Create tiggers with threshold that can send email alerts.

Easy setup: Cayenne is easily integrated with Pi & installation is simple.

Sign Up to Cayenne:

To install Cayenne what you need is a or ( We will be focusing on Raspberry Pi in this article), Pi should be installed with Rasbian or NOOBS Operating system. If you not have done that yet, kindly refer the article how to install noobs on raspberry pi 3. The Raspberry Pi should be connected to Internet through Ethernet cable or through WiFi.With Cayenne I have to admit that DIY (Do it yourself) raspberry pi projects home automation complexity is simplified.

First create an account in mydevices.com. Go https://mydevices.com/ and click on Sign Up Free, Enter the First, Last name , Email address & password, agree the terms and click on get started free. you can also sign up through Mobile app. Go to play store and install Cayenne App ( App Store or Playstore), signup through the Cayenne app.

Cayenne Sign up page

Register for Cayenne mydevices

Install Cayenne through commands or Mobile app:

Once you login to Cayenne , you will not see any devices because we have not connected our raspberry Pi to the Cayenne dashboard. The easiest way to do this is through Mobile app.

Cayenne Google Playstore App

Once you login to the Mobile application, go to my devices  & click on the Plus icon on the top right corner -> Add device  .This will list you the devices which can be connect & select Raspberry Pi. Since our Raspberry Pi is already connected to WiFi, click on Search for devices.

 

Our cayenne raspberry pi is listed and click on it which will prompt you to enter Pi username & password . By default it is pi & raspberry however for security we have already changed this when we setup our Raspberry Pi with NOOBS. Enter the same and click on done.

Pi user name & password

Now you can select the Pi & click on Setup , which will start the installation & will take 5 to 10 min to complete the installation. The Raspberry will be rebooted & Cayenne dashboard will be available with basic information of the devices like CPU usage, memory usage etc.

Cayenne Installation

Cayenne dashboard

 

Manual installation method on Raspberry Pi: 

To install directly from Rasberry Pi, Connect to you Pi through SSH or open Terminal from Pi, enter the below commands.

wget https://cayenne.mydevices.com/dl/rpi_fqljxbqthj.sh

sudo bash rpi_fqljxbqthj.sh -v

This will take some time, Pi will be rebooted. You can login to the web brower and see the Cayenne dashboard.

Cayenne Dashboard & configuration:

We are now ready with Cayenne dashboard  and ready for cayenne iot project build. However before we proceed, let us see what are the features available and how we can add our sensors & create tiggers in Cayenne IoT.

Widgets:  go to add devices & select the respective device you want to add. We are going to add a Relay module, so go to actuators & select Relay.

Add widgets in Cayenne

In the next screen select the Raspberry Pi ( if you have more than one Raspberry Pi configured in Cayenne select the right device in which you are using the Relay) , Connectivity to Integrated GPIO, Channel should be selected to the right Pin number to which you are connecting the device and choose what type of button to control the action. Click on add actuator and you are done. its as simple as that, you can add in the similar way other devices as required.

Relay configuration

Now if you have all physical devices also configured to the pins defined in Cayenne, when you toggle the switch in Cayenne dashboard the Relay will switch On and Off accordingly.

Configure Trigger:

We can also setup triggers in Cayenne which have two section If an then part. If decide the condition on which what action to need to be that is defined in then part:

Cayenne triggerGo to add new and select Trigger, give a specific name for the trigger. Drag the Raspberry Pi device to the If box and select the sensor , actuators which is configured on which you need to create the trigger. In this case we selected Relay . Next part is then, we have options to setup notifications or setup webhook. Click on Setup notification and you have options to send text message, send email . This is really a great feature in Cayenne and really useful.

I hope you all had a good understanding on Cayenne & how to setup for our cayenne raspberry pi projects. One of the question asked to me is that Cayenne is not free and what is cayenne mydevices pricing? . I would like to re-itrate that Cayenne is free for signup and I am not paying a penny at this point, I am not sure if they will change it in future. One of the words I saw from the post in http://linuxgizmos.com/free-iot-development-and-management-platform-adds-arduino/ is “As for pricing, the product will always be free to makers but we will be rolling out an Enterprise solution with pricing to be announced at that time,” wrote Bromber in an email. We see you in next posts on setting up projects using Cayenne devices.