Let’s graph the Internet of Things

plot-IoTIoT is generating data and to quicky look at it during the prototype phase is sounds good to plot these data in a dashboard. There are many solution you can install on your server and configure to get pretty nice dashboard. But if you want to go faster it would be really nice to have a SaaS solution for doing this. I have tested some of the solution I have found and friends helped me to found (not easy to search on google …). This post details these experiments

My need

My object are producing a flat json file with all the data in it ; every time a new data is received it is added to the end of the file. This is the source of my data and I want to graph different fields of this dataset.


The first service I found was Actoboard they are providing a really well designed solution to do what I was looking for. You start in a minute just by creating an account.

The main issue is the validity of this account : you will get a full access to the  solution but only for a limited time (10 days around) Then you have to pay to use it. Personally, I found the offer really expensive : 19€ per month for the minimal offer. Even if the service is good and it sounds not expensive for a company, when you are a hacker like me and do not make money with it, it sounds expensive.

By-the-way, once your account created, you add datasource, it is easy to do and you can do test poling to ensure what you have is correctly read. You can set the polling frequency. I spent a lot of time to understand why my data were not loaded. It sounds it was because the system only taken into account the first line of my file instead of the last as I was expected. Behind this it is not really clear how the system proceed the json files. I try different format considered as valid by validator the system detected as non-json … at the end it works and I spent about  1 hour to make it works, so it is acceptable.

From this datasource, you identify metrics. You can proceed some mathematics operations on the incoming data. The system is polling data and when a new data is detected, it is stored in the system, no problem if you provide multiple time the same data line it will works.

Then you create widget of any kind with the metrics you described. On widget you can request to display aggregated metrics and you can choose the aggregation method.

Once done .. just wait & display the results !

IoT Dashboard with Actoboard

IoT Dashboard with Actoboard


The freeboard.io service is based on an opensource solution nad also allow to create dashboard. The billing system depend if you want to have private or public dashboard in the github spirit. So basically you can use it for free if you don’t care your dashboard are accessible by anyone – that sound perfect for prototyping aspects as I’m looking for.

To get start you need to create a dashboard and a datasource. Compared to Actoboard you have no documentation and no way to test if the system gets anything or not. I’ve created my json datasource and only get “never” in the Last Updated field… so it sounds like I did a mis-configuration … refresh did not get more feedback… Looks nice but…

In Progess

This post will updated later, it is in my Draft box for too long to stay here and so I decide to publish it. By-the-way it is not yet complete and it will soon. If you have some platform to be tested, please add a comment and I’ll review it.






2 thoughts on “Let’s graph the Internet of Things

  1. One unusual tool for IoT Dataviz is using ELK Stack (Elastic Search / Logstach / Kibana).
    It is used initially for monitoring, but the huge quality design of Kibana and Logstach connectors could make a good candidate for IoT.

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