First Two Weeks in Cumulocity - A beginners perspective

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, I changed my position within Software AG. With a new position, you open a room full of new responsibilities. In the new role of IoT Solution Architect, I was required to learn Software AG’s IoT platform Cumulocity. Since I have already been working for the company for two years, I have heard a lot about the platform and witnessed some great demos tailored to various Industries. Finally, I got a chance to learn Cumulocity.

It’s been two weeks since I have started working on the platform. I would like to present my learnings and growth with Cumulocity as a lifecycle version (here I choose frog) where I emerge, grow, and evolve with it. 

Egg (0-2days)

As life emerges in the form of an egg, with absolutely no idea of what it would turn itself in yet tries to learn and adapt from the environment. Similarly, In my previous job, I was analyzing, recognizing the patterns in the time-series data coming from numerous sensors/devices. When I started as an IoT Solution Architect, I was a little nervous as I never worked on any platform which connects 100s of devices. On day 1, I was given access to the training tenant of Cumulocity and some training modules. It took me 6 hours to complete the End-user training. I was stuck in some places, however, the extensive instant support material available in the platform answered most of the questions I had during the training. I would like to specifically mention a Concept Guide which helped me to understand the architecture and technical concepts behind Cumulocity IoT.  The highlight of this phase was that I connected my iPhone and Android phones in less than 5 minutes with the training Cumulocity tenant started gathering data immediately. 

Tadpole (2-8 days)

As the Tadpole hatches, it moves a little. It tries its option to swim, feed, and look at what nature has to offer. It's the phase of experiments. Here, the first successful phase gave me immense confidence to try building concepts around devices and connectivity protocols.  I would like to point out again to two different documentation available in the platform itself. This first one is Device Integration Tutorials. The documentation shows how you can register third-party devices with Cumulocity IoT in just a few minutes, and then interact with the Cumulocity IoT platform. It covers the devices like Mbed u-Blox, Raspberry Pi, and Tinkerforge which serve as simple demo devices that can be set up for proof-of-concept purposes in a Cumulocity IoT environment.

IoT is a huge ecosystem of connected devices. These devices talk to each other via different protocols and languages. Therefore, I thought the one other concept that is essential in this phase is to learn about different device connectivity protocols. Typically devices are connected via IP ( internet protocol) network or Non-IP networks (RFID or Bluetooth). The

Device SDK Guide talks in detail about various secure reference protocols based on REST and JSON. This provides detailed information on device integration using MQTT, REST, and C++.

For a person from Non-IT and networking background, these concepts can be confusing and very hard to understand. However, Cumulocity makes it simple and easy to apply when it comes to connecting devices. Numerous straightforward examples available in the platform documentation and youtube channel makes a user’s task easy. It took me almost a week to get the concept and working knowledge of connectivity protocol.

Froglet (8-15 days)

As Tadpole discovers the environment and grows into a Froglet, which looks more likely to what Adult Frog will be. It is still in the phase of learning and experimenting to see what more it is capable of. In my third phase, I was ready to connect some devices via Cumulocity and setup smart alerts. Therefore I ordered Raspberry PI 4. It came up with a fan and a few heatsinks. After a failed attempt, I was able to connect Raspi with the cumulocity tenant. Soon after registration, it started showing me some child devices with the Green Status. The process of connecting devices like Rasp is very simple and straightforward.

Next, I will be connecting one of the Modbus devices with a cellular model. My research says the C027 IoT starter kit could be a good device to start with. Stay tuned, I will provide more details through another article. The device partner portal has numerous devices listed which are compatible with Cumulocity-IoT. Please visit the portal for more information. 

Frog (15+days)

Entering in the adult stage of the life cycle as Frog emerges. It is now ready to venture out, follow the learnings from the past phases, and look forward to its growth. In the first three stages, I started with no knowledge of IoT, learned about the device connectivity, various protocols, and connected a device successfully with Cumulocity. However, the real journey begins now where I would like to start using expert-level functionalities like Apama Streaming Analytics to add my logic for quick processing of incoming data from different devices. Another useful addition will be playing with Microservices to extend Cumulocity’s capability as per customer’s needs. A simple example is Python Microservice to develop a python web application. Even it has a machine learning module that enables a user to deploy and manage machine learning models for prediction and prescription analytics.

It is a very vast platform and one can spend years learning various modules and microservices of Cumulocity. However, it is really easy to get started with it, connect, and manage devices. Cumulocity’s adaptability to various industries makes it versatile. As per the need, different microservice can be learned and added to the platform.

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Love the frog analogy and the different steps you took. Thanks for sharing. Would you do anything differently today in 2021, aslo if you are not within Software AG and now with the free training available? Would be great to have links to the different guides and tutorials too.