By Daniel Appelquist (@torgo), Open Web Advocate at Telefónica Digital
This week, in collaboration with Telefonica Digital’s R&D, M2M and BlueVia teams, Arduino launched a new GSM connectivity module for its popular prototyping board family.
Arduino is known throughout the world by people who build electronics and internet of things prototypes – sensors, actuators, robots, digital signage – as being the ubiquitous brain inside of smart “things.”
Arduino is open source hardware, which means anyone if so inclined can download the plans and build their own Arduino boards, but it’s also “open hardware” – designed to be tinkered with and extended. Their community had responded with a range of add-on boards (so-called shields because of how they connect in a modular fashion on top of the Arduino board itself).
Take a look on Kickstarter for any Internet-of-things projects and you will find that many of them are using Arduino or have used it through initial prototyping stages of their products. It is one of the forces powering the long tail of machine to machine – lowering the barrier to development of Internet of things applications and driving a surge of creativity and innovation in this space.
The GSM connectivity shield, designed by Telefónica R&D and manufactured and sold by Arduino, now brings ubiquitous connectivity to the Arduino platform. Along with these shields, Arduino is bundling Telefónica M2M SIMs with a special offer aimed at these long tail developers. Developers can go to BlueVia.com to activate their SIM, add balance to their account, and monitor and configure their Arduino shield remotely. The SIMs offer the same data package across a number of countries in Europe and the Americas including USA.
The Arduino integrated development environment is also now shipping with code libraries to control the shield, again developed by Telefónica R&D, meaning Arduino developers don’t have to install any special software libraries to start working. The idea is to allow Internet-of-things developers to get up and running quickly so they can start building great stuff.
So what’s the end game? Beyond giving a shot in the arm to the burgeoning Internet-of-things ecosystem, we hope that many of the developers who use the shield will develop their offerings into products, some of which might fit within our more mainstream M2M business offerings.