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IoT posts

  • By Vijay Devarapalli
    When to Use LTE Cat M for IoT Devices When to Use LTE Cat M for IoT Devices HEader

    What is Cat M?

    LTE Cat M (also known as LTE-M) is a low power wide area (LPWA) technology designed to support “Massive IoT”, i.e. billions of IoT devices, with cellular technologies. Today Cat M is mostly referring to Cat M1, as Cat M2 adoption will take a few more years.

    LTE radio technology uses “categories” to differentiate the capability of each device that attaches to an LTE network. For example, Cat 1 refers to devices that can support download speeds up to 10 Mbps, while Cat 4 refers to devices that can use carrier aggregation and support download speeds up to 150 Mbps. Cat M1 refers to a category of devices that operate on a narrow 1.4 MHz channel with observed download speeds in the 589 Kbps range, and 1.1 Mbps on the uplink (3GPP release 14). The older Cat M modules have even lower speeds (300 Kbps …

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  • By Julia Makivic
    Make an Interactive Sculpture with Twilio Autopilot and Airtable sculpture.png

    In a previous tutorial, I described how to build a text-based messaging game using Twilio Autopilot, Facebook Messenger, and Airtable.

    Now, it’s time to bring that data into the real world, with a creative display of all the data from Twilio Autopilot that is being stored in the Airtable database.

    In this tutorial you’ll learn how you can make a small internet-connected sculpture that displays how players respond to each question stored in the Autopilot task. You’ll use a wifi-enabled microcontroller to read data from Airtable and to display the data on a small LCD screen that would be embedded in the sculpture.

    Photo of finished sculpture

    Seeing live results from the game displayed on the sculpture makes me feel more connected to the anonymous players playing the game during a time where most of us are communicating through digital means.

    I made the sculpture out of polymer clay with an embedded circuit …

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  • By Vijay Devarapalli
    The Benefits of “Consumer Profile” eSIMs for IoT devices ConsumerProfiles_BlogHeader.png

    eUICC SIMs (aka eSIM) present a significant step forward in cellular connectivity for IoT devices. What does the architecture look like for implementing eUICC SIMs? This article provides a technical deeper dive and explains the benefits of the so-called Consumer Profile architecture over M2M Profiles.

    The convenience of deploying SIMs digitally

    If you are deploying a fleet of IoT devices, you don’t have to worry about buying SIMs, getting them shipped and clearing customs, managing an inventory of physical SIMs and having a process in place for swapping SIMs when needed. eUICC SIMs eliminates all of that by converting a physical SIM into a digital profile that can be downloaded on-demand onto an eUICC SIM.

    For unmanaged IoT devices, eSIM/eUICC means you can deploy once and never have to visit the device location for a SIM swap to change your connectivity provider.

    eUICC SIMs are also known popularly as eSIM, …

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  • By Tobias Goebel
    A Look at the Fragmented Landscape of IoT Connectivity IoT Connectivity Options Hero

    While use cases for IoT abound and deployments are growing rapidly, the technology landscape can still be overwhelming to newcomers. This article gives an overview of wireless connectivity protocols and their respective strengths, weaknesses, and recommended fields of application.

    The ever-expanding IoT

    Enterprises and government agencies are leveraging Internet of Things (IoT) technology to maximize efficiency and reduce operating expenses while improving service delivery to their constituents. By implementing connected solutions, IoT is driving advancements across a wide variety of vertical industries, including utilities, connected vehicles, agriculture, healthcare, transportation, and security for businesses and homes. IoT is also driving new opportunities for innovation – solving problems while delivering global economic and environmental change.

    The growth in IoT over the past few years and its future market potential are both impressive. The market intelligence firm International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates IoT spending was approximately $742 billion in 2020. Looking forward, …

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  • By Tobias Goebel
    What is the Difference between eSIM and Embedded SIM in IoT? eSIM vs Embedded SIM

    There is a new kid on the SIM block: the eSIM. But don’t confuse this with embedded SIMs! Oh and there’s eUICC, and 1FF, 2FF, and 3FF, too. And what is an MFF2? This post will help. Let’s dive right in!

    What is a SIM?

    A SIM (Subscriber Identity Module), also called a Universal Integrated Circuit Card or UICC, stores information that uniquely identifies a cellular subscription. For about three decades now, the SIM has been what lets us connect (“attach” in tech speak) our devices to the cellular networks of the world. It holds the credentials and security keys necessary to identify a subscriber. That identity comes in the form of a so-called IMSI number, or International Mobile Subscriber Identity, which is unique for every user or device on or off the network. SIMs also run an application that …

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  • By Jonathan Williams
    Twilio Microvisor to use Brand New Low-Power STM32U5 MCU with Advanced Performance and Cybersecurity Microvisor STM32U5 Family

    Since the SIGNAL launch announcement of the Twilio Microvisor, where we announced a new approach to delivering the necessary IoT foundational components, a lot has happened.

    We announced Microvisor itself back in September as a new IoT Device Builder Platform which leverages the Arm® TrustZone® technology for Cortex®-M processors to offer unmatched IoT security, and provides powerful features such as remote debugging and fail-safe over-the-air (OTA) updates.

    We’ve since been working hard on implementing both the device and cloud pieces of the solution as well as speaking with numerous Beta Program applicants to understand their needs and wants. As part of this, we have really started to zone in on the key careabouts when it comes to building secure IoT devices at scale. And today, we’re excited to announce Microvisor will first target the low-power STM32U5 family from STMicroelectronics.

    Key IoT considerations for embedded engineers

    There is obviously a …

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  • By Sudheer Chekka
    How to Build an IoT Medication Tracker iot-medication-tracker-header

    Per CDC estimates, medications prescribed to patients are not taken as directed 50% of the time. This non-adherence causes 125,000 deaths per year in the US.

    Common reasons for patients not following the healthcare provider prescription instructions are:

    • Not understanding directions
    • Forgetting
    • Taking multiple medications each day with different schedules
    • Inability to order medication refills timely

    In this digital era, technology is transforming healthcare with continuous monitoring of patients. If we are able to make it easy and fun – think Fitbit, for example – to keep track of our steps per day, calories burnt, heart rate, oxygen saturation, and more, why should it be hard for patients and their healthcare providers to keep track of the medication schedule and automate prescription refills?

    It shouldn’t. In this post, I’m going to show you how to build a demo IoT medicine tracker. While you'd have to build more …

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  • By Miguel Grinberg
    Programming the Raspberry Pi Pico Microcontroller with MicroPython Programming the Raspberry Pi Pico Microcontroller with MicroPython

    With the release of the Raspberry Pi Pico, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has expanded its product offering beyond their highly successful line of mini-computers and went even smaller by entering the microcontroller market.

    Raspberry Pi Pico

    Unlike the Raspberry Pi, which functions as a general purpose computer and runs the popular Linux operating system, the Pico is a much more primitive device that lacks a central operating system and can only be programmed to perform specific tasks or control connected peripherals, usually as part of an embedded system or Internet of Things device.

    While most microcontrollers can only be programmed in C or C++, the Pico also offers support for MicroPython, a slimmed down version of Python that is designed specifically for small devices. This makes it a great choice for beginners who want to design their own devices but don’t have the patience or interest to learn low-level programming.

    In …

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  • By Julia Makivic
    Build a Text-Based Messaging Game with Twilio Autopilot, Facebook Messenger, and Airtable game-autopilot.png

    Screenshots from gameplay on facebook messenger

    Have you ever wanted to make a text-based messaging game, like “Bury me my Love?” Text-based messaging games are games that occur through the medium of text. They can be played with other players or they can be played against an automated system. In this case I built a game where players communicate with an automated system built using Twilio Autopilot and Facebook Messenger.

    The title of my game is called Camaraderie Park. Players complete a short questionnaire filled with a few outlandish questions meant to help them find which part of Camaraderie Park is most suited to them.

    Play Camaraderie Park by messaging the Camaraderie Park Facebook Page.

    Follow this tutorial to learn how to make your own text-based adventure on Facebook Messenger using Twilio Autopilot.

    You Will Need

    • A Twilio account (If you sign up for a new account through this link, you’ll get …
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  • By Tobias Goebel
    From Business Case to Deployed IoT Device with Twilio Electric Imp IoT Business Case to Device Electric Imp

    So – you have an idea for building a connected device, which would let you tap into the promises of the Internet of Things. Maybe you’ve worked out a business case, showing how the investment of building the required infrastructure to maintain your device will be counteracted by the benefits expected from being able to collect usage data and control the physical asset. Whatever the case, chances are you’ve underestimated what it takes to build and maintain IoT devices and make everything reliable enough to serve your business properly.

    Twilio’s decades of collective experience helping companies bring IoT products to market unfortunately show us that too many businesses simply fail their business case: it takes them years – not months – to establish reliable connectivity, and many give up before reaching a return on investment or even a functioning deployment.

    In this post, I’ll explain the challenges of IoT, …

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