FreeWave Blog Series: The Intelligent Edge (Part 3) | @ThingsExpo #IIoT #AppDev

Part 2: Novice App Dev – A Q&A with Greg Corey from FreeWave

In the third installment – and second half of an interview we ran last week (read part one of the interview here) of “The Intelligent Edge,” we sat down with Greg Corey, FreeWave systems engineer, to talk about his new app – ZumDash – and the future of app development of the Internet of Things.

FreeWave: Over the course of developing ZumDash, are there any lessons or things that you took away from it that if you could go back and do it again, you would change, or moving forward you kind of see as something that you will incorporate into future projects?

Greg: Yes, definitely. I’ve only been using this a couple months, and I’ve learned a lot about it. I think what’s really important about Node-RED is that it empowers non-software developers to solve problems using software, and it’s taught me a lot about the types of problems that you’ll run into when doing software development. There are some challenges I’ve had to overcome in that. But, every release that I make of this app it gets better and it becomes more usable.

FreeWave: When you say more usable, what are some of the things that you’ve of tweaked to make that happen?

Greg: So, instead of having to change a setting in five different places, you change it in one and then you can store that setting and pull it from there. Bringing stuff to the forefront where a user can modify it instead of having to modify the code underneath. Basically, giving users more control over how the application runs and making it simpler after setup are two of the things I’ve tried to flip this on. Incorporating some UX/UI elements.

FreeWave: Are there any high-level industry points that you think are important to consider as well?

Greg: One thing is that FreeWave radios have always been just a radio product, and that goes for any radio manufacturer: you put data in and then it comes out the other side. And our radios have been put on sites to do just simply that task. If you look at the consumer space, 10 years ago, and you think of all the devices that we had in our lives, like a GPS navigation device, and then maybe an iPod, and a tablet, and then maybe a voice recorder or something like that. Those are like four or five different pieces of hardware that only did specific tasks.

Now, in 2017, everybody has a smartphone, nobody has an iPod anymore, nobody has a GPS navigation device anymore because they’ve all leveraged software on hardware on smartphones. Eventually, radio platforms are going to go the same way. In the industrial setting, people are going to buy a radio and put it out there, then they have all these other specific hardware devices to do these things. What if the radio could be that smartphone where you just leverage some software and were able to cannibalize all these other hardware-specific devices by using software just like the smartphone revolution.

FreeWave: So, ‘things’ are becoming not just smarter but they’re having a greater possibility to put interactive software applications onto devices that didn’t really used to have that capability?

Greg: Hardware has gotten really cheap and it’s gotten really commodified, so any manufacturer can put together a little hardware solution in a very small form factor. The advantage anymore is not hardware anymore, it’s software because a lot of these hardware manufacturers are using the same chipsets from the same vendors. And, really, the playing platform is equal if you’re making just hardware, but the real secret sauce and the advantage comes in leveraging software on devices.

FreeWave: What about the Fog Computing aspect of this that seems to be a growing piece of the puzzle?

Greg: Fog Computing – that’s the paradigm where you can have these intelligent Edge devices that are making decisions instead of having everything centrally located. It’s like mainframes back in the day, everything was centralized, and then we got decentralized, right? And then everybody got a laptop. And then going to the Internet of Things, and the IIoT, it’s like we went back to something that was centralized, and now we’re going back to the decentralized aspect, where we’re thinking, “Maybe devices need to be independent and intelligent out on the Edge.” It’s a really broad category. It just depends on what you’re looking to do in a network.

FreeWave: Are there any projects or anything that you’re working on that you wanted to share?

Greg: I’m constantly improving the usability of the ZumDash right now. And then, I don’t want to say too much, but we’re working on a couple of projects where customers want to implement this type of technology, but we’re not really ready to release names or corporate specifics about these projects.

FreeWave: Do you see any other interesting trends or challenges facing the Industrial IoT app development space?

Greg: There’s this paradigm that in the future everybody will be a software developer. And the reason that everybody isn’t a software developer today is because it’s difficult to write code. If you put a semicolon in the wrong place or something like that, it will break the code. It’s extremely detail-oriented, and it’s like learning a language. It’s like speaking Japanese. But in the future we’re going to make software tools that make software development easier. That way, technical people can leverage software tools to solve problems using software without actually knowing how to write the code. I think in the future everybody is going to be a software developer and using Node-RED, and OpenPLC, and other projects that we’ve been working on with ZumIQ.

FreeWave: That concept really provides perspective on a practical setting for a lot of the industry megatrends that we see all the time. Are there any specific barriers to reaching the point that you’re talking about, where everyone is a software developer, that you could foresee potentially either derailing that or pushing back?

Greg: That’s a good question. I think there are definitely software developers that will outright object to that idea in that, “It’s not as simple as dragging pieces here and there and making something.” And then there’s the quality of code. Generally speaking, the easier you make it to do something the less flexible it becomes. So, that could be a possible obstacle. Working in Node-RED, for example, there’s a lot of stuff that I know how to do now, but there’s some stuff that is really specific and it’s just not that flexible in the framework to do it. I don’t see any insurmountable obstacles when it comes to making software development easier. I’ve been a systems engineer for seven years now, and I’ve always wanted to solve problems theoretically. I know how some things should work from the system perspective, but I just didn’t know how to write the code to make it all work, and using Node-RED I can do that.

If you’re interested in learning more about the ZumDash and app dev at FreeWave take a look at our recently published solutions brief.

More Stories By Scott Allen

Scott is an executive leader with more than 25 years of experience in product lifecycle management, product marketing, business development, and technology deployment. He offers a unique blend of start-up aggressiveness and established company executive leadership, with expertise in product delivery, demand generation, and global market expansion. As CMO of FreeWave, Scott is responsible for product life cycle/management, GTM execution, demand generation, and brand creation/expansion strategies.

Prior to joining FreeWave, Scott held executive management positions at Fluke Networks (a Danaher Company), Network Associates (McAfee), and several start-ups including Mazu Networks and NEXVU Business Solutions. Scott earned his BA in Computer Information Systems from Weber University.

Latest Stories
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices t...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DevOps promotes continuous improvement through a culture of collaboration. But in real terms, how do you: Integrate activities across diverse teams and services? Make objective decisions with system-wide visibility? Use feedback loops to enable learning and improvement? With technology insights and real-world examples, in his general session at @DevOpsSummit, at 21st Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, explored how leading organizations use data-driven DevOps to clos...
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
As many know, the first generation of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solutions were designed for managing virtual infrastructure (IaaS) and traditional applications. But that's no longer enough to satisfy evolving and complex business requirements. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, Embotics CTO, explored how next-generation CMPs ensure organizations can manage cloud-native and microservice-based application architectures, while also facilitating agile DevOps methodology. He expla...
The past few years have brought a sea change in the way applications are architected, developed, and consumed—increasing both the complexity of testing and the business impact of software failures. How can software testing professionals keep pace with modern application delivery, given the trends that impact both architectures (cloud, microservices, and APIs) and processes (DevOps, agile, and continuous delivery)? This is where continuous testing comes in. D
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve f...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...