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A Browser-Based Sandbox For Testing Cloud IoT Alerts

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Percepio has released a browser-based sandbox for developers to test technology for monitoring remote nodes and sensors throughout the Internet of Things (IoT). The DevAlert cloud-connected tool monitors activity in an IoT node and alerts developers if there is a problem, ideally before it becomes visible to users. This provides a diagnostic feedback loop from remote devices to developer and support teams, as well as visual trace diagnostics that can cut debugging time by up to 80%.

The package runs an open source cloud emulation of an ARM Cortex M4 microcontroller, with a sample application of an elevator controller full of bugs to demonstrate how the alerts work. “It’s embedded software, cloud software, and desktop software, so it’s complicated to set up, and previously you had to do the full integration to see anything,” Johan Kraft, founder and CEO of Percepio in Sweden, tells eeNews Europe. “We wanted to reduce that and smooth it out so you could try it out in five minutes.” DevAlert requires both embedded and cloud skills to set up, which takes two people; however, with the sandbox, an embedded engineer can set it up in a matter of minutes.”

“We did a lot of customer meetings last year and we felt it was a bit abstract and we didn’t have good demos, so we needed to make it more real and paint a picture of how it works,” he said.

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“Everything is integrated as a ready to run package,” said Kraft. “This is an interesting way to use a virtual platform. I’ve seen a lot of activity in virtual platforms so it fits in with the trend.”

Percepio chose the open source xPack QEMU package over ARM’s virtual models because it can be run both locally and in the cloud.

After the 15 day evaluation period there are two paths to take, he says. “You can try a more sophisticated evaluation on your hardware and using our cloud using a small tool to upload the alerts via the debug interface, or you could be like one of our customers. They are going all in and setting up a cloud connection, routing this through the backend of the device. This normally uploads data to the server and that could include the DevAlert data.”

“The positive thing is that we separate the data handling, Most of the data stays on the OEM side and the traces we record are stored in the device backend with the application data and from there only the metadata needs to be uploaded to DevAlert for indexing and classification so the benefit of having this in two steps is that we can provide a fully managed service but the initial upload and data stays on the customer side,” he said.

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