5 Open Source Tools and Resources for the Internet of Things (IoT)

Written by: Becky Holton

Open source as a concept and a development methodology has been promoted and advocated for decades. The term itself was created in 1998, the same year when the Open Source Initiative was launched. However, the tendency to support creating software that can be used, modified and redistributed freely has begun even earlier on, at the mid-1980s. Before the appearance of OSI, though, such software was only referred to as the “free software.”

What about the Internet of Things? IoT is, simply put, a common platform used to store, analyze and share data collected from various devices equipped with specific sets of sensors. This huge network of connected devices is incubating a monumental change , and it is indeed already taking place.

So how does the open source go along with IoT? According to some experts, open source actually fuels the API economy , and that IoT and API economy will, in the future, need to rely on open source more than ever before.

When it comes to open source tools and resources, here is a list of the best-known platforms related to IoT, operating in different fields. 1. Node-RED

Node-RED is an open source visual editor and IoT dashboard developed by IBM. It allows programmers to efficiently connect material I/O, databases, cloud-based systems, and most APIs. This tool allows you to create program flows by uniting black box functions, called the nodes, using a web interface.

From some points for view is very similar to Wordpress because it encapsulates complex processes into a user friendly interface.

Home Assistant application, which is used for smart homes can be integrated with the Node-RED. This way, you take a very complex application and add a more friendly development environment to it. Unlike a developer, you will only need to use drag and drop in order to create different functionalities to your Home Assistant application. In this context, as a joke, we could say that “var useCode = false”.


RIOT is an operating system released under GNU Lesser General Public License .

Many people consider it the Windows of the Internet of Things. Nowadays, if we take a look at desktop computers, Windows has a 74% market share . Unlike Windows, RIOT is an open source operating system, meaning that it is developed by its community and its users don’t have to buy licenses to use it.

If technology keeps evolving at this pace and the IoT becomes the new big thing, you will use RIOT to turn on your tea pot while you get out of bed.

It is very popular because it is destined to low power wireless IoT devices, such as sensors, appliances, and similar hardware. It needs little resource in order to operate properly and to make the hardware communicate to each other.

3. Arduino starter kit

The Arduino project began in Italy in 2013. It was imagined as a program to help students and other enthusiast create smart devices able to interact with their environment, while doing so in a simple, cost-efficient way. Arduino today is a company known for developing open source hardware and software and producing single-board microcontrollers and microcontrollers kits. Some Arduino boards come preassembled, as DIY kits, and they are especially useful tools for programming beginners.

Arduino starter kit is one of the most basic hardware IoT device which you can buy. If you want to create a device to feed your cat whenever you like, take the Arduino starter kit, and add a wireless receiver to it. Then, learn more about the way you should wire the board and the way you should write the code in order to make it accessible using the wireless network. This should be your entrance to the IoT world.

4. OpenHAB home automation software

OpenHAB is a home automation software solution developed in Java. It focuses on ease of operation during setup and configuration. Its goal is to help create possibilities for various home gadget users to keep their electronics up to date, or even create new possibilities and features according to their needs.

For example, you could use OpenHAB to make your appliances communicate to each other. When you bought them, they were labeled as smart devices , but their were smart at a local scope, they weren’t able to communicate to each other and be smart at a global scope.

By connecting your appliances to OpenHab you could have a smart home. Whenever your wash machine is broken it’ll send a message to your computer, which will send an email to your service provider. This is what a smart home is all about, isn’t it?

5. DeviceHive

DeviceHive , an open source IoT platform, is a free machine-to-machine communication framework that has become one of the most popular platforms for creating IoT applications. What’s especially attractive about this tool is its relative ease of operation combined with remote control of all its processes.

Long story short, each devices speaks its own language and DeviceHive is helpful because it will help you integrate all this devices into one platform. From there, you can integrate them all and make sure they communicate efficiently to each other and function properly.

Think of it as a translator knowing multiple languages. Whenever you want to communicate to a device which doesn’t speak your language, you can ask him to communicate for you.

It is estimated that by 2025 there will be over 21 billion IoT devices around, and this is only one of the many future predictions for the IoT in general. BestEssays.com tech content writer Mark Green emphasizes that “these predictions openly show the future has arrived,” and we can expect more and more innovation along the way. When it comes to open source tools and platforms in IoT perspective, content creators from College-paper.org , Proessaywriting.com and Ninja Essays suggest that, following the current trends, we can expect more developers to join in on this tendency.

Becky Holton is a journalist and a blogger at Essayhave . She is interested in education technologies and is always ready to support informative speaking at Bestessaytips .