Building an IoT Prototype With Intel's Edison Compute Module
The next question of course, is "Where to begin?" More than likely, the answer is "With a prototype!" Whether it involves inventing an entirely new "thing" or taking an existing "thing" and connecting it to the Internet, more than likely, you're going to need what's called a "compute module." Generally speaking, a compute module is the hardware that can make an otherwise dumb device and make it smart. For example, imagine taking a dumb sprinkler control that only knows the times of day to activate and deactivate a lawn sprinkler, and making it smart enough to suppress activation on days when rain is expected.
Compute modules have input/output pins that can send electronic impulses to devices such as sprinkler control panels in such a way that the compute module can essentially take the place of a human who would otherwise be manually operating the panel. For example, the flip of a switch on a control panel usually triggers some sort of electrical activity inside that panel. But what if a compute module, connected to the panel's circuitry, did the same exact thing? If that compute module is then connected to the Internet in such a way that it can check Weather.com for the local forecast on a regular basis, you could write a bit of code that routes an electronic impulse through the compute module's input/output pins to sprinkler control panel's circuitry and, well, you get the idea.
But which compute module should you build your prototype with and how should you go about doing it? There are several different compute modules on the market. This series talks about some of the various options but focuses on proceeding with your prototype using Intel's Edison compute module.