What do we mean when we say that we’re “connecting the Internet of Things?” Here’s an example: Texas Instruments and Temboo recently announced a partnership that will bring Temboo’s software to TI LaunchPads, making it easier to turn your MCU-based projects into connected IoT devices. We talked with the team over at Temboo about this new integration of MCU hardware and cloud software.
TI: What is Temboo?
Temboo: Temboo is a platform that lets you connect hardware to over a hundred different APIs, databases, and code utilities. The Temboo Library contains more than 2,000 processes (called “Choreos”) from these different web services that can be triggered in the cloud with just a few lines of code that you have running on your device. You can generate those lines of code and test the Choreo in your browser in any of several different programming languages, and it’s great to be adding TI to our list of supported hardware with our new connected LaunchPad integration!
TI: Can you tell us more about that integration with the TI LaunchPad? How does it work, and what kinds of things will it allow connected LaunchPads to do?
Temboo: A Temboo library comes bundled into the most recent Energia release, so any connected LaunchPad being programmed in Energia will be ready to go with Temboo. On the Temboo website, you can select any Choreo in our Library, and you’ll find the option to turn on our IoT Mode feature and select the type of LaunchPad connectivity that you are using from a dropdown menu—there are options for both the TI SimpleLink™ CC3200 LaunchPad, which has Wi-Fi built in, and for LaunchPads that are connected with the TI SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3100 BoosterPack. Fill in whatever inputs the particular Choreo calls for, and the code to run it will be auto-generated right there in your browser! You can copy this code into Energia along with a separate header file containing your Temboo account information and upload it to your board straightaway, or you can modify it in the IDE if there are elements that you would like to alter—the solution is designed to be flexible. It’s a very simple way to have your connected LaunchPad interact with a variety of different web services, from Twitter to GitHub!
TI: What are some of the advantages to using Temboo with a LaunchPad?
Temboo: There are a number of things about Temboo that make it a great way to connect a LaunchPad. For one, Temboo takes several steps to minimize the on-board memory required to interact with a web service, meaning that with Temboo, memory-constrained MCUs can execute all sorts of complicated processes in the cloud once they’re connected. The code snippets that run on the LaunchPads are short, and most of the work involved in executing a Choreo takes place off of the board. Temboo also allows you to save memory by parsing Choreo responses on the server side and by storing Choreo inputs as a Profile in the cloud; both features reduce the number of lines of code that need to run on the LaunchPad itself. That arrangement has the added bonus of making it possible to reprogram your LaunchPad without pushing any updates to the device itself—just change your Profile, and the behavior of the device will change with it!
Another advantage of Temboo is its flexibility—in addition to all the services that we support in our Library, we also make it possible to connect to unsupported web services using our HTTP Choreos and our Choreo-building program called Twyla. As a result, if you can’t find the process that you want to use with your connected LaunchPad in our Library, it’s very easy to simply build your own. And once you have your Choreos set up, Temboo will scale with your network—whether you have just a few LaunchPads or a whole system of connected MCUs, Temboo’s modular architecture is designed to support all kinds of IoT networks!
TI: What is your vision for the future of this new hardware-software integration?
Temboo: We think a lot of exciting work will come out of this, and we’re really looking forward to seeing it. Developers building IoT devices and applications are in need of malleable, customizable solutions to the challenges posed by connected hardware, and that’s a real strength of this integration—the LaunchPad series of MCUs is very versatile, and so is the Temboo platform. One of the things we’re most interested in is hearing what kinds of services LaunchPad developers would like to connect to, and what sorts of Choreos they end up building themselves. We’re frequently impressed by our users’ ingenuity, and we want to do what we can to support it!