Oh no! Five loads of laundry to do and the washing machine has just gone on the blink! And now there’s a $500 service bill standing between you and clean clothes. Didn’t see that coming, did you? But you could have …

Woman waiting for washing machine

As it turns out, you can proactively monitor performance of your household devices and address problems before they turn into disasters. And who wouldn’t want that?

In a recent article, IBM Senior Technical Staff Member Andreas Nauerz said “Devices are continuously processing data but if you handled individual data points, that would be cost intensive.” Instead, he sees a common design pattern emerging where data is pushed to IBM Watson, which can have simple rules defined to identify thresholds. Where those thresholds are reached — for example, if a sensor detects a temperature that exceeds a certain level — the additional processing is triggered, such as activating a sprinkler. What Andreas describes is the essence of the new developer journey, Detect voltage anomalies in household IoT devices.

In our example, the device is a washing machine and the sensors are monitoring the amount of fluid, water temperature, and speed of the motor. An attached Raspberry Pi is importing a stream of data from the sensors and piping it into the Watson IoT Platform, which in turn is publishing the data to the cloud for handling batch analytics.

Another unique feature of this journey is the use of Node-RED. For those who do not know, Node-RED is a tool for wiring together the Internet of Things in new and interesting ways, including hardware devices, APIs, and online services.

Node-RED is running on the Raspberry Pi. It’s built with Node.js and takes advantage of the huge node module ecosystem to provide a tool can integrate many different systems. It’s lightweight, which makes it ideal for running at the edge of the network. In our use case, when anomalies are detected, Node-RED triggers a response, such as shutting down the machine when the voltage is found to be too high.

For anyone who has to do laundry, this use case hits home. Now think about how many devices you use, both inside and outside your home. With a little imagination, you’ll find that the potential is enormous. To get started with smart IoT devices, check out our Detect voltage anomalies in household IoT devices developer journey today.

And who knows? Maybe we can even figure out a way to stop me from putting my white shirts in with my colored socks. Dare to dream …

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