Mat|r in IoT Research

gridTICs lab adopts Mat|r for research. An interview with Ana Laura Diedrich and Ariel Verdejo

 

Please introduce yourselves

 

Ariel Verdejo:

I am Ariel Verdejo. I am an Electronic Engineer, graduated from UTN, Mendoza and I am currently a fellow at gridTICs

 

Ana Laura Diedrich:

I’m Ana Laura Diedrich, I’m an Information Systems Engineer, graduated from UTN, Mendoza, now I’m doing a Doctorate in Engineering at UTN and I am a teacher and researcher.

 

How difficult was it to learn Mat|r?

 

Ariel Verdejo:

Learning the Mat|r platform was a novel experience for me, because it was the first time that I interacted with this type of platform in this way. It turned out to be a fairly good experience, as we were able to achieve the goals we set for ourselves.

 

Ana Laura Diedrich:

Learning to use the platform was a very good experience. I have experience with other programming languages, so Mat|r|script was familiar to me. But the good thing about the platform, in addition to being cloud based is that it is well documented and one can start from examples. It was a very good and productive learning experience.

 

What did you find of particular interest developing IoT solutions with Mat|r?

 

Ariel Verdejo:

What we found of particular interest was the communications from our devices to mobile devices that Mat|r enabled.

 

Ana Laura Diedrich:

Mat|r provides a lot of simplicity in terms of making a prototype, a first prototype of an

application. IoT projects are very complex, there are many parts involved with different architectures and it is very easy to get dizzy. Mat|r offers the possibility of getting an app on a mobile device in a much simpler way than doing it with any of the traditional approaches.

 

What is SmartHome?

 

Ariel Verdejo:

SmartHome is a prototype that shows what the house of the future could be. The idea is that we can control, from a mobile application, different functionalities within the house.

 

Ana Laura Diedrich:

Smarthome gives you the ability to manage your home remotely. For example it can learn when to turn lights off and on, activate the watering of your gardens or supervise home security. You can access values from different sensors like temperature and humidity to control the comfort of your home. For example, a carbon monoxide sensor to control the stoves… in winter people leave it on without ventilating the house and it is dangerous. 

 

When we began work on this application with Mat|r, we asked ourselves how we could do it, because we could not use an actual house in our lab, so we made a prototype, a small model home, where we put temperature, humidity and light sensors.

 

How did you go about developing the project with Mat|r?

 

Ana Laura Diedrich:

Luckily in Matr, in Mat|r|hub (which is the place where all the Mat|r applications and libraries are available) there were examples of everything we needed as well as visual templates. There were examples of how to interact with certain IoT protocols like mQTT and we could build on those examples to be able to develop an application that allows to control, in this case the lights (activate and deactivate) and get measurements from the sensors.

 

If you had to describe Mat|r in 3 words, what would they be?

 

Ariel Verdejo:

Efficient, intuitive and simple

 

Ana Laura Diedrich:

Simple, rapid and modular

 

What do you consider to be the virtues of Mat|r – specific to your areas of research?

 

Ariel Verdejo:

The main virtue for me was the management of the graphical user interface, at first I thought it was going to be an area too complex for me but then I discovered that it was actually very simple to use.

 

Ana Laura Diedrich:

I would say mainly the support, any doubt we had, an e-mail or slack message got an immediate response. Also the examples, Mat|r|hub, the tutorials and the documentation, were very valuable resources.

 

As far as my experience as a doctoral fellow or researcher and teacher I see that it has a lot of potential, a lot, because frankly developing these kind of mobile applications with the tools that exist today… the learning curve is very long, very slow. I see it in my students who have trouble learning to program, and for us that want to make something fast, try a quick idea. I see that Mat|r can assist us a lot in that, that we can develop more applications with a rich user interface

and all the functionality that any other application or platform has.

 

What differentiates Mat|r from other platforms you have used in your area of research ?

 

Ana Laura Diedrich:

The difference between Mat|r and other platforms? The first thing is that it is all web-based, which allows someone who wants to start with mobile development not having to install the entire development kit that takes a lot of space and take a long time to configure, but just directly becoming a user.You can start to develop applications without having to install anything. 

 

There is also the promise for the Mat|r Project to grow, as a community and as an open source platform, which is very good for the educational field and I think for industry in general. The Mat|r Project guarantees more transparency and more collaboration in developing applications. So we can improve not just our applications but the functionalities of the Mat|r Project itself. There is also the collaborative spirit that is brewing around the project. The ability not only to create applications but to be able to share that application with other people.

 

Would you recommend Mat|r to your colleagues to use in their IoT projects? Why?

 

Ariel Verdejo:

I would recommend it to my colleagues because I have found that Mat|r offers great support. From the moment that one starts, you have the Mat|r academy, besides that there are several

solutions already built, which provides us with different libraries that eliminate a lot of work and makes development easier. It facilitates the work.

 

Ana Laura Diedrich:

Would I recommend it to my colleagues? Of course, it is a very fast tool. It allows us to execute our ideas and have proof of concepts. Mat|r also allows us connectivity, managed through httpp, mqtt and in the future other protocols and platforms. It allows us to test a lot, our connectivity in projects related to IoT, and the Project itself, Mat|r Project, looks quite promising in the future.

 

gridTICs Samrthome on Github: https://github.com/GridTICs/SmartHome