Wire IoT devices

Smart environments use a lot of servers, containers, and devices. Sometimes you need a lightweight system to connect and monitor these devices. IoT devices offer multiple open systems, but how can you wire them?

Node-Red [1] is an open-source system based on NodeJS that fulfills this requirement. IBM initialed Node-Red. One year ago, I was looking for a lightweight tool that can monitor a photovoltaic plant. The process is straightforward. You have to check periodically if the inverter of the photovoltaic plant is alive. In case there is no response, the system has to inform someone to check the plant.

Nod-Red offers a plugin for the inverter of the photovoltaic plant. In this case, the inverter's state can check via an API call. Nod-Red provides an SMTP client for e-mail communication. That is sufficient to send an alarm message. CheckSolar is the implementation of this process. It checks every hour between 9:00 and 18:00 if the inverter provides electricity to the network. Figure I describe the process.

Figure I, Node-Red Check Solar.
Figure I, Node-Red Check Solar

The process runs in a docker container with the official Nod-Red image for the Rasberry Pi. The interfaces use HTTP/HTTPS or SMTP. Figure II describes the deployment as a UML diagram.

Figure II, Node-Red deployment
Figure II, Node-Red Deployment Diagram

The process runs without any problems. Node-Red is stable and robust. For me, it is an easy solution to monitor different environments. It's ideal for controlling IoT devices and plants. The fact that it runs on docker on a Raspberry Pi makes it an excellent standalone solution for any business.

Node-Red can become a lightweight and rapid Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) or Business Process Management (BPM) solution.

[1] nodered.org

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