If you’ve worked with Microchip-IoT boards in the past, you may already be familiar with what they are and how they work. If not, we’ll bring you up to speed with the components and services that enable us to securely visualize sensor data in real-time on AWS.
At a very high level, the AVR-IoT & PIC-IoT boards are development boards, equipped with several status LEDs, two built-in sensors (light & temperature), a secure element (ATECC608A), and a WiFi module. The boards are pre-configured so they can start sending data to a dedicated Microchip sandbox hosted on AWS as soon as their WiFi settings are updated. Once your board is online, you can view that sensor data in real-time on the web, via the CLICK-ME.HTM file.
AWS IoT Architecture for AVR-IoT & PIC-IoT
That out-of-box experience takes all of 30 seconds to set up for data to start flowing, but there’s actually a fair amount of work that goes into making this possible behind the scenes. In this blog post, we’ll be focusing on the cloud services that support the AVR & PIC sandbox environments, and provide a rough framework for you to begin tinkering on your own.
The first and most important piece to this system is data ingestion – how we transmit data from a device on the edge securely to the cloud. In this instance, there are several pieces that are pre-set on the hardware or configured on the firmware, in addition to the cloud layer:
- Device transmits over 2.4GHz WiFi
- Device is capable of certificate-based authentication (via the ATECC608A)
- Device is sending data over MQTT to AWS IoT Core
AWS IoT Core is a managed cloud service that lets connected devices easily and securely interact with cloud applications and other devices. It acts as the cloud gatekeeper to all data flowing from the edge.
Once your data is in the cloud, there is a lot of flexibility in what you can do with it. Since the AVR & PIC IoT devices are simply transmitting temperature and light data, we can invoke a simple Lambda function to store that data to DynamoDB where it can be accessed on demand by the URL you were redirected to via the CLICK-ME.HTM file with the help of AWS API gateway.
Lambda functions are an event-driven, serverless computing service offered on AWS that are an extremely simple and powerful way to handle run code without provisioning or managing servers. The benefit here is that we don’t need to worry about managing the resources required to process data feeding into the AVR or PIC sandboxes, which can be a hard and potentially costly estimate to make, as well as an additional administrative burden.
Moving Beyond the Sandbox
Hopefully, this post was informative and helpful in providing some additional detail on how the AVR & PIC IoT sites work. If you’re looking to explore more complex cloud solutions on AWS with your AVR or PIC IoT board, you can use services like Kinesis to perform real-time analytics or SageMaker for machine learning to take your project a step further.