Simulating the IoT Experience Online

Featured Iot Sensors Simultion

The Internet of things has captured the imagination of tech enthusiasts, hobbyists, students, academics and journalists alike. Yet a common refrain is that many IoT concepts are developer-centric and lack touch with our daily lives.

Considering that we’re still in the initial stages of IoT development, it is helpful to have free online tools which can demonstrate a hands-on approach in exploring IoT concepts straight from your laptop.

While there are many decent online simulation tools, the one we will discuss was created by IoT4SME, an Erasmus+ program of the European Union. Here are a few good examples from the website.

1. Explore Your Smartphone as a Sensor

Were you aware that your smartphone is a powerful IoT device in itself? To learn this first-hand, simply download the Android app for a simulation.

Your smartphone has various sensors including temperature, proximity and accelerometer. After registering a free app account with Ubidots, you have to go back to the app and shake your phone. It will show a “data sent correctly” message.

Android App Sensor Data Sent Ubidots

The following are the accelerometer readings (x, y, z axes) derived from an Android phone on Ubidot’s simulation website. You can further drag the sliders to simulate the orientation of your phone from another server.

Accelerometer Readings Ubidots

2. Simulate Raspberry Pi

To simulate a Raspberry Pi setup experience, go to “Demonstrators” at the above IoT4SME link. Go to the ViSH Editor presentation (it’s a new format), slide 5. Before that you can learn a bit about the position of GPIO connectors on the Raspberry Pi board.

Raspberry Pi Gpio Connector

Next, you must select one of the experimentation modules for Raspberry Pi. You may write in an output pin, read from an input pin or code any program you want.

Experimentation Raspberry Pi Input Output Practice

I selected Practice 3 “read from input pin” and changed the code a bit as shown below.

Read Input Pin Iot4sme Raspberry Pi

Granted, the code is not very elegant, but I was able to learn how to run it in Python and select the desired GPIO pins.

Python Output Run Raspberry Pi Simulator Online Iot4sme

3. Simulate Arduino

To simulate Arduino projects, you should go to a separate link which is not directly available from the above website. Slide 7 contains eight examples for you to play with. I selected example 3: “controlling lights with temperature sensors.” It has a similar coding interface as the previous example.

Arduino Simulation Online Iot4sme

Go to slide 9 where you can choose from a number of IoT projects for instant simulation. I chose Project 1: “Fire alarm system.”

Experimental Iot Projects Simulation Arduino Iot4sme

The complete connections for Arduino Uno are visible, but you only have to click “Simulate.” This will be followed by “Initialize.”

Simulate Fire Alarm System On Arduino Uno Iot4sme

When the simulation begins, you can hear a loud noise on your laptop or phone which is an approximation of a real fire system. Further, you can manually reset the temperature and gas readings.

Simulation In Progress Fire Alarm Arduino Uno R3

Other IoT Simulation Tools

There are many other IoT simulation tools available online, but you will have to register an account, complete a download and installation and pay for using the service.

  • IoTify has a decent simulation tool for network analysis and checking your IoT endpoints in the cloud. The tool is mostly used by developers though.
  • Bevywise has a powerful simulation tool with support for thousands of device endpoints, reusable templates and automation.
  • Amazon Web Services has a simulation tool for Amazon IoT devices such as Alexa. You need to have an AWS developer account.

Conclusion

Considering that the Internet has been around for only two decades, the IoT revolution remains a conundrum for most of us.

With a simulation exercise tool online, you can get a hands-on feel of what IoT looks like from the comfort of your laptop.

If you faced any problems running any of the above simulations, let us know in the comments. Also, we welcome your opinion and direct experiences with these simulations and welcome whether they have helped you develop an interest in IoT projects.

7 comments

  1. Hello,
    I just opened the link for Ubidots. There was great trouble as I couldn’t register my account even after three attempts. The site seems to have hung up for some reason. Do you know how to get around this stalemate? or is this a server problem.

    As for the Arduino and Raspbery Pi simulation boards, they are wonderful replicas. The fire alarm with Arduino Uno sounded more like a noisy buzzer my ears are still hurting.

    How do I register myself for IoTify do they charge money? Can you please provide more information. Thanks a lot buddy.

    1. “I couldn’t register my account even after three attempts. The site seems to have hung up for some reason.”
      When you click sign up for free you get a message that the app name should contain either only letters or numerals. Try an entirely numeric app name. Following this you can see a captcha puzzle. You immediately see a dashboard with a free 30 day trial. Then you can activate API keys and tokens. Here is a screenshot for your reference.
      https://ibb.co/TgFxM9V

      You have to upgrade to a paid plan after 30 days. It starts at $20/month for 10 devices.

      “How do I register myself for IoTify do they charge money?”

      You have to click sign up for free. It’s an easy registration form. Yes they charge money as well.

  2. I have worked with Raspberry Pi in my college lab being that I am an Industrial Science major. You can’t learn much with online simulations alone. How is it any different than reading from a laboratory manual? This is just my opinion, simulations are a lazy exercise for those who lack motivation.

  3. I might be a little new to all this but is there any other website where I can learn about the Internet of Things from the beginning. I am going through those simulations but it seems that a lot of these technologies are fairly new.

    I subscribed to iOt Tech Trends but do you have any beginner’s articles.

    1. Thanks

      This website itself is an excellent resource for all your IoT queries. In fact there are probably very few sites where you can learn all IoT concepts in one place. Because the whole thing is fairly new, our understanding of Internet of Things is evolving with time.

      Although we don’t have specific “beginner’s” articles, you can check out this Glossary of IoT terms: https://www.iottechtrends.com/iot-glossary/

      Use the search button to find more relevant articles on any of these IoT concepts.

      1. Sounds great. I was reading a bit on the topic of IOT.

  4. “Were you aware that your smartphone is a powerful IoT device in itself?”

    No shit, Sherlock! My device runs on Snapdragon 810. That’s unbelievably powerful. Anything is possible on an Android including work with Raspberry pi or Arduino.

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