There are many tools available for building software, including programming languages, frameworks, and editors. But if you haven’t tried Node-RED, you might be surprised at how easy it can be to build a complex flow of data that includes hardware monitoring, UI elements, and all of the functions and widgets you might need. To show you how easy it can be, we created a web UI that monitors some of the satellites that orbit the earth. And, by adding a simple chatbot using IBM Watson Assistant we demonstrate how to add these features to any conversation, giving you the flexibility to use these tools during the flow of a conversation.

One of the specialties of Node-RED is in wiring together hardware devices for the Internet of Things. But what if, instead of devices at the edge of the network, you want information about devices at the edge of the thermosphere? Node-RED offers not only built-in modules but many contrib nodes created by the community, one of which allows easy monitoring of over 50 satellites. I was actually surprised to learn of the tooling available for HTTP requests, UI features, and custom functions. And, of course, there are nodes available for most of the AI tools offered by IBM Watson.

Try out this code pattern to build a satellite tracker using Node-RED and IBM Watson Assistant. In minutes, you can create a prototype for tracking satellites while gaining some insight into how you can customize the Watson tools and Node-RED for your own use.

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