Getting Started With the Arduino IoT Cloud

The Arduino IoT Cloud is a online platform that makes it easy for you to create, deploy and monitor IoT projects.

Introduction

Connected devices around the world are increasing by billions every year. The Arduino IoT Cloud is a platform that allows anyone to create IoT projects, with a user friendly interface, and an all in one solution for configuration, writing code, uploading and visualization.

In this article, we will take a look at some different components of the Arduino IoT Cloud, and provide a general overview.

But if you’re itching to get started and explore the Arduino IoT Cloud yourself, that is also perfectly fine! You can always come back here for more information!

IoT Cloud Documentation

The Arduino IoT Cloud has several pages of documentation available. Below you will find a list of some popular pages:

Features

Below is a list of Arduino IoT Cloud features.

  • Data Monitoring - learn how to easily monitor your Arduino's sensor values through a dashboard.
  • Variable Synchronisation - variable synchronisation allows you to sync variables across devices, enabling communication between devices with minimal coding.
  • Scheduler - schedule jobs to go on/off for a specific amount of time (seconds, minutes, hours).
  • Over-The-Air (OTA) Uploads - upload code to devices not connected to your computer.
  • Webhooks - integrate your project with another service, such as IFTTT.
  • Amazon Alexa Support - make your project voice controlled with the Amazon Alexa integration.
  • Dashboard Sharing - share your data with other people around the world.

Compatible Hardware

To use the Arduino IoT Cloud, we need a cloud compatible board. You can choose between using an official Arduino board, or a board based on the ESP32 / ESP8266 microcontroller. The Arduino IoT Cloud currently supports connection via Wi-Fi, LoRaWAN (via The Things Network) and mobile networks.

All cloud-compatible Arduino boards come with a hardware secure element (such as the ECC508 cryptochip), where you can store your security keys.

Wi-Fi

The following boards connect to the Arduino IoT Cloud via Wi-Fi.

Connection via Wi-Fi is an easy alternative, and your credentials can safely be entered during the configuration of a project. This type of connection is most suitable for low-range projects, where you connect your board to the cloud via your home/work/school router.

LoRaWAN®

The following boards connect to the Arduino IoT Cloud via The Things Stack, a LoRaWAN® Network Server connected to thousands of public LoRa® gateways.

Connection via LoRaWAN is recommended for low-power projects in both remote and urban areas, where Wi-Fi or other popular connectivity types are not available. The MKR WAN 1300/1310 boards are equipped with a LoRa radio module and has a slot for an antenna. With the right low-power configuration, the board can send data to the cloud for months on a single battery.

To learn more about setting up LoRaWAN® devices, visit the Configuring LoRaWAN® devices in the Arduino Cloud guide.

GSM / NB-IoT Boards

The MKR GSM 1400 and MKR NB 1500 require a SIM card to connect to the cloud, as they communicate over the mobile networks.

Connection through mobile networks can be considered in remote areas where there's no Wi-Fi, or in mobile projects (such as cargo tracking).

For more information, visit the Arduino SIM page.

ESP32 / ESP8266

The Arduino IoT Cloud supports a wide range of third party boards based on the ESP32 and ESP8266 microcontrollers with support for Wi-Fi. To set them up, simply choose the third party option in the device setup.

Configuring third party boards.
Configuring third party boards.

To learn more about ESP32/ESP8266 support and how to set it up, visit the Connecting ESP32 & ESP8266 to Arduino Cloud IoT guide.

Support

If you have any problems with the Arduino IoT Cloud, you can browse through common troubleshooting issues and find information on different features in the Arduino Help Center. If you don’t find the answer you are looking for, we are always happy to help you with any question regarding our products!

Go to Arduino Help Center

A Walk Through the Configuration

Setting up the Arduino IoT Cloud.
Setting up the Arduino IoT Cloud.

Setting up the Arduino IoT Cloud and accessing the different features available involves a few simple steps. So let’s take a look at how to go from start to finish!

1. Creating an Arduino Account

To starting using the Arduino IoT cloud, we first need to log in or sign up to Arduino.

2. Go to the Arduino IoT Cloud

After we have signed up, you can access the Arduino IoT Cloud from any page on arduino.cc by clicking on the four dots menu in the top right corner. You can also go directly to the Arduino IoT Cloud.

Navigating to the cloud.
Navigating to the cloud.

3. Creating a Thing

The journey always begin by creating a new Thing. In the Thing overview, we can choose what device to use, what Wi-Fi network we want to connect to, and create variables that we can monitor and control. This is the main configuration space, where all changes we make are automatically generated into a special sketch file.

The Thing overview.
The Thing overview.

4. Configuring a Device

Devices can easily be added and linked to a Thing. The Arduino IoT Cloud requires your computer to have the Arduino Agent installed. The configuration process is quick and easy, and can be done by clicking on the “Select device” button in the Thing overview. Here, we can choose from any board that has been configured, or select the “Configure new device” option.

Configuring a device.
Configuring a device.

We can also get a complete overview of our devices by clicking the “Devices" tab at the top of the Arduino IoT Cloud interface. Here we can manage and add new devices.

The device tab.
The device tab.

5. Creating Variables

The variables we create are automatically generated into a sketch file. There are several data types we can choose from, such as int, float, boolean, long, char. There’s also special variables, such as Temperature, Velocity, Luminance that can be used. When clicking on the “Add variable” button, we can choose name, data type, update setting and interaction mode.

Creating variables.
Creating variables.

6. Connecting to a Network

To connect to a Wi-Fi network, simply click the “Configure” button in the network section. Enter the credentials and click “Save”. This information is also generated into your sketch file!

Entering network credentials.
Entering network credentials.

7. Editing the Sketch

Now that we have configured variables, devices and network settings, we can get to programming our devices!

An automatically generated sketch file can be found in the “Sketch” tab. It has the same structure as a typical

.ino
file, but with some additional code to make the connection to your network and to the cloud.

A sketch that, for example, reads an analog sensor, and use the cloud variable to store it. When the sketch has been uploaded, it will work as a regular sketch, but it will also update the cloud variables that we use!

Additionally, each time we create a variable that has the Read & Write permission enabled, a function is also generated, at the bottom of your sketch file. Each time this variable changes, it will execute the code within this function! This means that we can leave most of the code out of the loop() and only run code when needed.

To upload the program to our board, simply click the "Upload" button.

Editing a sketch in the cloud editor.
Editing a sketch in the cloud editor.

After we have successfully uploaded the code, we can open the “Serial Monitor” tab to view information regarding our connection. If it is successful, it will print “connected to network_name” and “connected to cloud”. If it fails to connect, it will print the errors here as well.

The cloud editor is a mirrored "minimal" version of the Web Editor. Any changes you make will also be reflected in the Web Editor, which is more suitable for developing more advanced sketches.

8. Creating a Dashboard

Now that we have configured the device & network, created variables, completed the sketch and successfully uploaded the code, we can move on to the fun part: creating dashboards!

Visualize your data.
Visualize your data.

Dashboards are visual user interface for interacting with your boards over the cloud, and we can setup many different setups depending on what your IoT project needs. We can access our dashboards by clicking on the “Dashboards” tab at the top of the Arduino IoT Cloud interface, where we can create new dashboards, and see a list of dashboards created for other Things.

Navigating to dashboards.
Navigating to dashboards.

If we click on “Create new dashboard”, we enter a dashboard editor. Here, we can create something called widgets. Widgets are the visual representation of our variables we create, and there are many different to choose from. Below is an example using several types of widgets.

The different widgets available.
The different widgets available.

When we create widgets, we also need to link them to our variables. This is done by clicking on a widget we create, select a Thing, and select a variable that we want to link. Once it is linked, we can either interact with it, for example a button, or we can monitor a value from a sensor. As long as our board is connected to the cloud, the values will update!

Let's say we have a temperature widget that we want to link to the temperature variable inside the Cloud project thing.

Linking a variable to a widget.
Linking a variable to a widget.

Note that not all widgets and variables are compatible. A switch and an integer can for example not be linked, and will not be an option while setting up your dashboard.

We can also have several things running at once, depending on your Arduino IoT Cloud plan, which we can include in the same dashboard. This is a great feature for tracking multiple boards in for example a larger sensor network, where boards can be connected to different networks around the world, but be monitored from the same dashboard.

Congratulations

Illustrated character hugging an Arduino Board
Illustrated character hugging an Arduino Board

You are just a few easy steps from deploying your very own IoT project. Having a project connected to the Arduino IoT Cloud opens up many possibilities, such as tracking data in real time, triggering remote devices and building wireless systems.

What will you create?

Start your IoT journey

More tutorials

You can find more tutorials in the Arduino IoT Cloud documentation page.

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