Here is a jewel for the enthusiasts of IOT: the Wio Link board. When used along with Node-RED we have a powerful IOT module that is easy to prototype and test.
This board was created by a talented young team from Seeedstudio
. My respects to those brigth minds. They managed to create a product that is really , really and I mean really plug and play. This board overcomes the few hurdles of ESP8266 module.
The solution bundles many smart and handy features: (1) easy to add and change sensors and actuators by using the family of"plugable"Grove modules (2) quality circuit board with integrated USB and power regulator (3) download of configuration files via WIFI , also known as OTA - Over the Air configuration (4) Android and IOS apps to allow visual configuration of the modules (5) APIs exposed in a public server to allow Restful HTTP access to the data from sensors (6) fair prices (for the overall quality of the product) (7) configurations open sourced(8) Seeedstudio encourages the communitity of IOT enthusiasts and has opened a space in their web pages to allow people to show off ideas and projects thru"recipes". (9) Support for integrating Wio Link to IFTTT environment (something good for starters but contrained by the slowness of IFTTT servers).
The operation of the board is performed by this sequence of three (easy) steps:
(1) Visual Programming (drag and drop) the Wio Link card
(2) Download configuration to Wio Link via WIFI (over the air)
(3) Command (read / write) your sensors via internet
Those three steps require connection to the internet. None of them can be done without internet access.
First things first....
Before you can start using your Wio Link and Grove modules there is a initial setup to be carried out. The purpose of this initial setup is to create a login in a public server and tell Wio Link board what is the wireless network it has to connect as a client to have internet access.
Guess how this initial setup will be done ? Whoever designed this setup process certainly decided it should be simple and not rely on physical connection to Wio Link. How Wio Link could possibly know which wireless network to use , among many that are normally available, and how to give Wio Link the SSID and password ?
Here comes the app. The whole idea is to allow the smartphone to connect to the Wio Link to sent the SSID and password of the wireless to be used.
The process is ilustrated on this page of Seeedstudio: click here
Seeedstudio also produced a short video, available in their site as well as in YouTube, that shows how to make the initial setup.