Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Weather powered by the Internet of Things, cloud and analytics

Earlier today, IBM announced the creation of a new Internet of Things (IoT) unit and announced a partnership with the Weather Company (parent company of the Weather Channel) to leverage IBM cloud and analytics.  I wanted to share my personal experience installing and using my first home weather station leveraging the same technologies (IoT, cloud, analytics) albeit on a somewhat smaller scale.

Last November, I purchased an Ambient WS-1400-IP home weather station.  My key requirements were low cost (<$200) and cloud integration with Weather Underground (owned by the Weather Channel).  The WS-1400-IP met these requirements and it was easy to install and configure. 
I installed the outdoor sensor array on a tripod on my shed.  The sensor array is self-contained, wireless and uses a solar panel to charge the three AAA rechargeable batteries (included).  There are no wires or cables. 

Data captured by the sensor array includes temperature, wind speed, wind direction, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, rainfall, UV and solar radiation. The WS-1400-IP doesn't include a console for viewing weather data to keep costs low.  Instead there is a smartphone and tablet app (iOS and Android) to view weather data.  A web browser can also be used.  

The ObserverIP device connects easily to the Internet and Weather Underground (free!) to share data with the Weather Channel and the National Weather Service to aid in weather prediction

I installed a D-Link DCS-934L surveillance camera ($50 from Groupon) and connected it to my Weather Underground account.  The camera has a built-in FTP server and I configured it to upload a picture, once a minute, to Weather Underground.  

In short, setting up and using the home weather station with my kids has been a great experience and I highly recommend it.  My weather station has been up and running for four months now without any major problems.  I did have to reboot the ObserverIP device once when data wasn't being transmitted to Weather Underground but that has been the only issue.  I also had to clean the sensor array of heavy snowfall a few times but I haven't had any issues with the sensor running out of power due to lack of sun (solar power).


Mayen Martinez said...

I'm curious about the D-Link DCS-934L Camera. Is it a good security camera that would protect my home and my family? Just curious. I love your work btw. Keep up the good work!

Chris Pepin said...

I'm very happy with the webcam.It's affordable and easy to setup and use.