How Design Kits Simplify IoT’s Last Mile to the Cloud

August 31, 2018 by Majeed Ahmad

A sneak peek of two IoT platforms allows developers to save time and cost while they streamline connectivity to the cloud services.

A sneak peek of two IoT platforms allows developers to save time and cost while they streamline connectivity to the cloud services.

A new crop of the Internet of Things (IoT) development kits is simplifying design work while streamlining the last mile that links embedded systems to the cloud. This article will present two case studies that allow IoT designers to quickly implement their ideas with a combination of modular hardware and software solutions.


PI Development Hardware

First, take UrsaLeo kit from RS Components (RS), which comes with pre-registered access to the Google Cloud. The IoT kit allows developers to configure their own dashboards and charts, so they can set event-based text or e-mail alerts and run Google analytics.

The apps and APIs in the UL-NXP1S2R2 kit help IoT designers manage sensors, run diagnostics, and share information with enterprise software or third-party tools. RS Components is targeting this kit at the IoT sensing designs employed in automotive diagnostics, healthcare, and general data monitoring applications.


The UrsaLeo sensor kit allows developers to collect and analyze data on a dashboard within minutes. Image courtesy of RS Components.


The IoT platform is based on a Silicon Labs Thunderboard™ 2 sensor module which is ready to connect to the Google Cloud services. The module contains sensors for temperature, humidity, UV, ambient light, barometric pressure, indoor air quality, and gas detection. It also features a digital microphone, a 6-axis inertial sensor, and a Hall sensor.

The UrsaLeo kit also features the EFR32™ Mighty Gecko multi-protocol 2.4 GHz radio from Silicon Labs. It supports Thread, ZigBee®, and Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE) as well as proprietary short-range wireless protocols. The kit also offers a ceramic antenna, four high-brightness LEDs, and a coin cell or external battery pack.

Portable Software Agent

A portable software agent from Ayla Networks is another use case showing how IoT platforms are simplifying connectivity to the cloud services. It allows IoT developers to select any cellular or Wi-Fi module and have it connected to the Ayla IoT cloud without a lengthy certification process.

Generally, for a specific connectivity chip or module, IoT designers have to build software and then have it certified. That inevitably results in time and cost overhead. What Ayla has done here is bypasses this need to generate source code to port software on a specific connectivity module.


A view of how a communication module pre-loaded with a portable software agent facilitates connectivity to the cloud. Image courtesy of Ayla Networks.


So IoT developers can pick any connectivity hardware and use Ayla's portable agent software to connect to the cloud service. The portable agent comprises of source code, reference implementation, a porting guide, and a test suite for both cellular and Wi-Fi solutions. Ayla also recommends development partners to perform porting work for IoT designers that don't have the in-house firmware team.



The development kits explained in this article are a testament of how IoT platforms can play a vital role in quickly adding application enablement capabilities to the connected embedded systems—and how IoT developers can focus on their business priorities instead of getting stuck into the IoT's connectivity labyrinth.

What other IoT kits have caught your eye recently? Let us know in the comments below.