This cellular kit allows Makers and developers build smart devices that work everywhere with one click.
So far, when speaking of the Internet of Things, Wi-Fi continues to play an integral role in the deployment of gadgets. However, when service is unavailable or unreliable, the device is no longer connected — it becomes solely a ‘thing.’ In an effort to curb that problem, Chicago IoT startup Konekt launched a Kickstarter campaign a few weeks ago for its tiny cellular development kits, the Konekt Dash and Dash Pro. As an expansion upon the original Konekt Toolkit, Dash packs all of the hardware that both Makers and designers need to connect and manage millions of devices via machine to machine (M2M) cellular connection. With unparalleled security features and over-the-air (OTA) access for firmware updates, Konekt Dash paves the way for IoT solutions that deliver reliability and privacy in the field.
Designed as a business-to-developer (B2D) product, the Konekt Dash and Dash Pro were built to facilitate rapid innovation in the IoT. By relying on a cellular connection, these devices enable developers to deploy real IoT solutions in places where Wi-Fi is either unavailable or unreliable. While the original Konekt Toolkit includes the SIM card and services required for cellular IoT, the most recent package significantly accelerates time to market by providing a circuit board with integrated battery management. Aside from that, both kits are breadboard-able and consist of an ARM Cortex-M4 MCU, a cellular modem, a built-in charger, and all the other requirements for devising a cellular product. Now, developers simply need sensors and code to deploy a fully-functioning IoT solution that works anywhere with cell service.
“It works like an Ardunio and can run firmware written in Wiring, C, or ARM assembly. It’s open-source, and infinitely hackable, so you can easily adjust and build the Dash into any of your own projects,” the team explains.
What’s nice about Konekt Dash is that it can be used across a plethora of industries as well, ranging from smartphone-controlled home security systems to dog trackers to consumer applications. Embedded with additional layers of high-level security such as SSL, AES 256 PSK encryption and automatic and encrypted OTA key exchange, the Dash’s heavyweight brother, the Dash Pro, is a suitable option for applications like parking meters, ATM security, industrial temperature monitoring and healthcare applications. Because the Konekt Dash already comes with pre-loaded a global SIM, a data plan, APIs, a cloud platform and a management portal, just a few developers can launch a project with the resources of a much larger team. Compared to existing IoT development kits, not only does Dash offer major enhancements in security, its remote management capabilities allow developers to securely complete OTA firmware updates and run diagnostics on each device without fear of the device breaking in the field.
For its crowdfunding debut, the team had created a couple of shields to ensure that users could get started with their project immediately. These included an Arduino shield for integrated Atmel based projects, a magnetic relay shield for switching external devices on and off, as well as a solar shield to power portable devices. As you can see, the Konekt platform was designed to be both modular and hardware agnostic. In other words, it plays nice with third party kits, like Arduino. In fact, the team has even unveiled an Arduino Maker Kit reward on Kickstarter, which includes an Uno R3 (ATmega328), a Seeed Studio GPRS v3.0 shield and a Konekt SIM.
“Konekt Dash continues our efforts to democratize the cellular IoT space by giving makers, hackers and OEMs of all sizes access to enterprise level infrastructure in a super accessible, turnkey, open source package,” explained Ben Forgan, co-founder and CEO of Konekt. “By introducing enterprise-level encryption – something no other IoT kit offers – we’re also empowering developers to create solutions for industries with strict security and privacy requirements. Essentially, Konekt Dash can eliminate nearly all the legwork that goes into engineering the complex infrastructure needed to build a cellular IoT product or solution that works without Wi-Fi access.”
Sound like something you’d like to have or know more about? Head over to its official Kickstarter page. Currently in the final leg of its campaign, the Konekt team has ‘Dashed’ right past its initial goal of $10,000. Shipment is expected to begin in August 2015.