ThingSpeak™ is an IoT analytics platform service that allows you to aggregate, visualize and analyze live data streams in the cloud. ThingSpeak provides instant visualizations of data posted by your devices to ThingSpeak. ThingSpeak is often used for prototyping and proof of concept IoT systems that require analytics.
ThingSpeak is a IoT cloud service provider. Embedded IoT devices like Arduino, Raspberry Pi can be connected to internet. These boards then can fetch data or upload data to ThingSpeak storage using APIs. The data stored by a device can be accessed by other client entities like Mobile, Tablet, laptop connected to internet using ThingSpeak APIs. So in short ThingSpeak is an IoT service provider that provides APIS to upload, retrive and visualize data from IoT devices over cloud.
Having learnt what ThingSpeak is, let us try to understand it in bit more detail. Basically when a Device like Arduino Yun, Intel Gallileo, Raspberry Pi is connected to the internet, they can access other nodes in the internet ( like Google, facebook or any other websites).
This is where IoT service providers comes handy. They provide easy and secured APIs for the devices to access the data from cloud. ThingSpeak is a great solution for IoT as it not only provides easy time stamped data access mechanism over cloud, but at the same time also integrates Social Network services. Thus generating a Social Notification ( like updating Facebook Status Message, Sending an Email, Publishing a tweet) based on an event ( like Gas leakage, Flood, Over Temperature or a timer event) becomes easier.
Figure 1.: Simple depiction of ThingSpeak services
Now a question is how is this data provided? ThingSpeak allows the user to create their Own Channel. A user can select a channel to be either public or private. In simple terms you can visualize a channel to be like a database table. Every channel can have several properties ( up to 8 now) which can be visualized as being the database fields. Every channel provides a set of APIs: for reading data and for writing data. Public channel data can be read all other users without any key, but for writing the data, you need a API key specific to that channel.
Figure 2. : Architecture of IoT Framework with ThingSpeak
So data is stored securely from a node and can be consumed by several other nodes. ThingSpeak also provides data visualization services which offers easy way to visualize data in charts and graphs. ThingSpeak services are also extended to analyze services which provides statistical operations on the data.
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Author – SHYLAJA J P