Whether you are a manufacturer, professional or casual user, ioBridge’s technology is designed to make it cost effective and easy for everyone to internet-enable almost anything. The key to ease-of-use is to use integrated yet flexible components that work seamlessly together. One of the benefits of ioBridge’s technology is its flexibility – it is not limited to one type of device – which enables it to be used to internet-enable a diverse range of things.
The following diagram illustrated how it all works. ioBridge’s technology enables the monitoring and control of any physical device over the internet using mobile apps or web interfaces. Physical devices are monitored and controlled using electrical inputs and outputs (IO) that interface with an ioBridge Web Gateway. Devices often have existing IO that can be used or can have sensors or actuators added to provide the necessary IO. As a simple example, a device such as fridge can be internet-enabled by connecting an ioBridge gateway to its existing temperature sensor output or to a new temperature sensor. The ioBridge gateway is connected to the local Ethernet connection just like a computer and the gateway transparently connects to the ioBridge server so that the temperature could be monitored on a mobile phone and so that alerts could be sent if the temperature went out of limit.
As shown in the diagram below, ioBridge offers the following building blocks to make this possible:
- Web and Mobile App interfaces to monitor and control devices
- Web Gateways to connect devices to the internet
- Sensors and actuators to provide IO to devices that do not have existing IO
- ioBridge Server with Cloud Services to connect the gateway with the mobile app or web dashboard and to perform functions such as interfacing with third-party software, logging and sending alerts.
Web and Mobile App interfaces to monitor and control devices
ioBridge offers both professional and free web and mobile apps interfaces to monitor and control devices over the web. Web gateway modules sold on the ioBridge store include a free web interface and will shortly include free mobile apps. The free web interface includes a number of features such as
- A dashboard with user selected widgets such as switches, gauges and charts to monitor and control devices connected to one or more gateway modules.
- A step-by-step wizard interface to create new widgets to place on a dashboard.
- An interface to write logical rules and actions to a module to create local intelligence. Examples range from making the web gateway module behave like a thermostat by switching a heater on and off depending on temperature to a system that controls something a sophisticated as a cranberry bog. Rules written to a web gateway module will work even when the module is not connected to the internet.
- The ability to transform IO readings into desired scales for presentation and logging using basic mathematical functions (Expression Builder).
- The ability to create data logs and to send alerts.
ioBridge also offers professional versions of the free dashboard that add features such as multiple dashboard and multiple user access to subsets of information. ioBridge will shortly also offer free mobile apps that enable users to display widgets created on the web interface on a dashboard designed for mobile displays.
Web Gateway Modules
The ioBridge Web Gateway Module connects devices to the Internet by web-enabling electrical input and output signals. As shown in the diagram the IO on the web gateway connects sensors and actuators to an ioBridge server over the Internet. This is typically done by plugging the ioBridge web gateway into a local network using an Ethernet connection. The ioBridge Web Gateway then connects to an ioBridge server on the Internet using the Internet connection provided by the local network. IO data then passes to and from the ioBridge server without requiring any changes to the local network or the router or firewall settings.
ioBridge sells off-the-shelf web gateway modules on our web store. ioBridge also offers services and licenses to professionals or manufacturers who require customization of our gateways or who wish to integrate all or parts of our gateway technology into new or existing products.
Sensors and Actuators
Sensors and actuators are the parts that interface with devices. Some devices have them built-in like an electronic thermometer with a built in thermistor sensor or a power switch with a built in relay actuator to turn power on and off. ioBridge sells a range of common sensors and actuators that plug into channels on the web gateways. These parts are found under Function Boards and Sensors on the ioBridge store. Examples include temperature, humidity and light sensors and relay and power switch actuators that can be interfaced with a wide range of everyday things.
ioBridge Server with Cloud Services
Working together with the ioBridge Web Gateways, the ioBridge server and associated cloud services is the heart of the system that makes it easy and cost-effective to web enable devices. The ioBridge server is the platform on which the web dashboard and mobile apps are written.
Other important features provided by the ioBridge server include:
- Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that enable customers to interface with devices using their own software. Entire third-party applications have been written that interface with the API provided by ioBridge.
- Data logging. The ioBridge server can easily be configured to log data sent to it from an input on a web gateway module. Up to 4 data logs are included free with every account and data may be logged as fast as every 10 minutes with the free service. Faster data logging is also available for more inputs with an additional subscription but is typically not required for most applications.
The majority of customers use the ioBridge cloud services as a service hosted by ioBridge. Professional users that require more advanced services or that wish to license their own server may do so by contacting ioBridge sales.