Partnering for Success: Lantronix and Cisco

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

—Isaac Newton

There are dozens of great quotes attributed to Newton, but the aforementioned quote is definitely one of my favorites.   As one of the most influential scientists of all time and as a key figure in the scientific revolution, Newton’s contributions have impacted all areas of our lives, especially technology.

Isaac Newton Partnering for Success: Lantronix and CiscoOne of the critical success factors for any tech company is “strategic partnerships.” Nowhere is this more critical, and more relevant, than during a market transition – and that’s exactly what we’re seeing today regarding the explosive growth of the Internet of Things, or “IoT.”   You’ve seen the stats: “Over 50 billion devices will be connected by 2015!” or “There is already an average of 6 devices connected to a single person.”   They go on and on, but one thing is certain – the Internet of Things is happening. It’s not a matter of “IF,” it’s a matter of “When” and “Who” – as in “Who will come out on top.”   The surest way to come out on top is to partner with and stand on the shoulders of giants. And Cisco is one of those giants.

As a new Cisco Solution Partner, Lantronix can more quickly, easily, and cost effectively keep in lock-step with the most innovative technologies, gain deeper visibility into strategic market trends, and leverage sales and marketing opportunities through Cisco and across the entire IoT ecosystem.

Specifically, Lantronix will be working with Cisco and its partners and teams on IoT infrastructure solutions – providing the market with the “back bone” powering IoT – specifically our award-winning SLB and SLC families of IT Infrastructure Management solutions. With Lantronix and Cisco, no matter where you are located, you can connect to your equipment throughout the world, then diagnose and remediate problems remotely. Imagine the cost and time savings your business will realize when you no longer have to deploy labor forces to accomplish exactly what you can now do from a central data center. Even more—with Lantronix, you are not hampered by a down network. It simply makes no difference.

And who knows, Lantronix may soon be an IoT giant upon whose shoulders others may stand!

SLB Branch Office Manager Earns TweakTown’s “Best Features” Award!

Today more than ever, the need to keep IT equipment operational 24/7 is critical to the health of a company. Enterprises with distributed branch or satellite offices – such as those in retail, finance, insurance, healthcare, and food services industries – are presented with special challenges, as they need a centralized solution that can manage each location remotely. Our Secure Lantronix Branch (SLB) Office Manager is designed to do just that.

Recently TweakTown, one of the biggest technical media Web sites in the world, took an in depth look at SLB and liked what they saw! Reviewer Paul Alcorn tested SLB and provided his thoughts on each step of the process, from product specs to installation and management to the software interface – and finally his conclusion.

Here’s a snippet: “Lantronix SLB is simply outstanding. While covering a recent event in Seoul, South Korea, we could log in and manage our TweakTown lab in Kansas with no problems at all. When utilized in tandem with the SpiderDuo remote KVM/IP, we can expand the functionality of the SLB even further. The ease of use and superior functionality of the Lantronix SLB is backed by a five-year warranty, and wins our TweakTown Best Features Award.”

SLB earned a 94% rating from TweakTown. Check out the full review here.

slb product summary tweaktown SLB Branch Office Manager Earns TweakTowns Best Features Award!

Remote Out-of-Band Access in the World’s Deepest Underwater Observatory

(thanks to by Brian Chee, Senior Contributing Editor, InfoWorld Test Center)

Imagine the world’s deepest observatory at 3 miles below the sea surface. Now think about what a challenge it would be to monitor equipment for such a remote location. This was the problem encountered by Aloha Cable Observatory (ACO), as they sought to replace an old power distribution unit (PDU) with a solution that would supply remote power management, control and configuration for critical seawater systems.

Enter SLB! The Secure Lantronix Branch (SLB) Office Manager from Lantronix was selected to securely manage remote servers and IT infrastructure equipment over the Internet and control devices that only had serial remote access. ACO technical staff deployed SLB to perform last-resort power reboots of various control computers in the power and control section of the dry land portion of ACO.

“We needed to replace a failing PDU that was too old to provide encrypted remote access – an issue that threatened to put us in violation of acceptable use policies,” said Brian Chee, IT specialist, University of Hawaii at Manoa. “The SLB solved that issue while supplying more control in less rack space since the SLB provides the functionality of three different devices in a single RU.”

SLB provided ACO with secure, remote out-of-band access while offering more flexibility and power control. If SLB can accomplish these feats 3 miles under the surface of the ocean, think about what it could do for your business!

SLB and Underwater Observatory 2014 Remote Out of Band Access in the Worlds Deepest Underwater Observatory

Sending data from Lantronix to Google Analytics

Google and Lantronix

The following is a copy of a guest post from Kurt Busch, CEO, and Mariano Goluboff, Principal Field Applications Engineer at Lantronix as originally posted on Google’s corporate blog at: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2014/03/sending-data-from-lantronix-to-google.html

Background

Google Analytics makes it easy to create custom dashboards to present data in the format that most helps to drive business processes. We’ve put together a solution that will make several of our devices (networking and remote access devices) easily configurable to enable delivery of end device data to Google Analytics. We use the Lantronix PremierWave family of devices to connect to an end device via a serial port like RS-232/485, or Ethernet, intelligently extract useful data, and send it to Google Analytics for use in M2M applications.

What you need

To get started, grab the Pyserial module, and load it on your Lantronix PremierWave XC HSPA+. You’ll also want a device with a serial port that sends data you want to connect to Google Analytics. A digital scale like the 349KLX is a good choice.

Architecture overview

With the Measurement Protocol, part of Universal Analytics, it is now possible to connect data from more than web browsers to Analytics.

Lantronix integrated the Measurement Protocol by using an easy to deploy Python script. By being able to natively execute Python on PremierWave and xSenso devices, Lantronix makes it very easy to deploy intelligent applications leveraging Python’s ease of programming and extensive libraries.

The demonstration consists of a scale with an RS-232 output, connected to a Lantronix PremierWave XC HSPA+. The Python script running on the PremierWave XC HSPA+ parses the data from the scale, and sends the weight received to Google Analytics, where it can then be displayed.

The hardware setup is show in the picture below.

pwen xc hspa ga test weight 700 Sending data from Lantronix to Google Analytics

The technical details

The Python program demonstrated by Lantronix uses the Pyserial module to parse this data. The serial port is easily initialized with Pyserial:

class ser349klx:
# setup the serial port. Pass the device as '/dev/ttyS1' or '/dev/ttyS2' for
# serial port 1 and 2 (respectively) in PremierWave EN or XC HSPA+
def __init__(self, device, weight, ga):
  while True:
   try:
    serstat = True
    ser = serial.Serial(device,2400, interCharTimeout=0.2, timeout=1)
   except Exception:
    serstat = False
   if serstat:
    break
    
  self.ser = ser
  self.weight = weight
  self.ga = ga

The scale used constantly sends the current weight via the RS-232 port, with each value separated by a carriage return:

def receive_line(self):
  buffer = ''

  while True:
   buffer = buffer + self.ser.read(self.ser.inWaiting())
   if '\r' in buffer:
    lines = buffer.split('\r')
    return lines[-2]

The code that finds a new weight is called from a loop, which then waits for 10 equal non-zero values to wait for the weight to settle before sending it to Google Analytics, as shown below:

# This runs a continuous loop listening for lines coming from the
# serial port and processing them.
def getData(self):
  count = 0
  prev = 0.0
  #print self.ser.interCharTimeout
  while True:
   time.sleep(0.1)
   try:
    val = self.receive_line()
    weight.value=float(val[-5:])*0.166
    if (prev == weight.value):
     count += 1
     if (count == 10) and (str(prev) != '0.0'):
      self.ga.send("{:.2f}".format(prev))
    else:
     count = 0
     prev = weight.value
   except Exception:
    pass

Since the Google Analytics Measurement Protocol uses standard HTTP requests to send data from devices other than web browsers, the ga.send method is easily implemented using the Python urllib and urllib2 modules, as seen below:

class gaConnect:
def __init__(self, tracking, mac):
  self.tracking = tracking
  self.mac = mac
 
 def send(self, data):
  values = { 'v' : '1',
     'tid' : self.tracking,
     'cid' : self.mac,
     't' : 'event',
     'ec' : 'scale',
     'ea' : 'weight',
     'el' : data }
 
 res = urllib2.urlopen(urllib2.Request("http://www.google-analytics.com/collect",
                                        urllib.urlencode(values)))

The last piece is to initialize get a Google Analytics connect object to connect to the user’s Analytics account:

ga = gaConnect("UA-XXXX-Y", dev.mac)

The MAC address of the PremierWave device is used to send unique information from each device.

Results

With these pieces put together, it’s quick and easy to get data from the device to Google Analytics, and then use the extensive custom reporting and modeling that is available to view the data. For example, see the screenshot below of real-time events:

pwen xc hspa ga test screenshot Sending data from Lantronix to Google Analytics

Using Lantronix hardware, you can connect your serial devices or analog sensors to the network via Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or Cellular. Using Python and the Google Analytics Measurement Protocol, the data can be quickly and easily added to your custom Google Analytics reports and dashboards for use in business intelligence and reporting.

Lantronix + dweet + freeboard: Connecting a microcontroller’s serial port to the Internet of Things

IMG xpico wifi tower module Lantronix + dweet + freeboard: Connecting a microcontroller’s serial port to the Internet of ThingsTalking to my customers, everybody is asking about the Internet of Things. There is so much information about the IoT, that it can be confusing to figure out how to solve your specific business problem with all the options available.

Where the rubber meets the road is putting hardware, software, and services together to get to a cogent solution. All while reducing costs and time to market, of course. So when I heard someone wanting to connect to Bug Labs’ dweet.io I was intrigued. Here’s a service that claims to make the sending of data very easy. I don’t even have to sign up for a free account, I can just start sending data from my device? Let’s try this out.

I took a Lantronix xPico Wi-Fi Freescale Tower System connected with a Kinetis microcontroller. The xPico Wi-Fi manages the TCP connection to the dweet.io server, so the microcontroller only needs to construct the message to be sent. The dweet.io platform accepts data with standard HTTP requests, so the microcontroller just sends the following data to the UART port, and the rest is taken care of by the xPico Wi-Fi.

GET /dweet/for/<uid>?potentiometer=<value> HTTP/1.1\r\n
Host: dweet.io\r\n
Connection: keep-alive\r\n
Accept: */*\r\n
\r\n

The program running on the microcontroller sends new data any time that the potentiometer on the Kinetis Tower board changes. This video shows how it works:

http://youtu.be/xmrgD9j_iFA

Using freeboard.io, it couldn’t have been easier to view the information being posted. In literally 5 minutes, I had a dashboard that shows current and historical data:

freeboard screen 600 Lantronix + dweet + freeboard: Connecting a microcontroller’s serial port to the Internet of Things

Conclusion

There are many services and products to help get your device connected to the Cloud. Lantronix hardware and the software applications that run on it make it very easy to connect your device to the network. The dweet.io and freeboard.io services from Bug Labs can take the data from the device and make it actionable quickly.

Figuring out how to use the Internet of Things to your advantage doesn’t have to be complicated. We can help you design and implement a total solution of hardware, software, and services to meet your needs.