A bright idea

Connectitude IoT LightUp

From idea to product over a weekend

Background

We at Connectitude always strive to make things easily accessible and highly visual. No matter if it is for alarm and event notifications for Industrial IoT, using our Connectitude IIoT Platform, or if it is about internal notifications at our office, within our own DevOps teams.

To trigger a behavior where our teams feel the urge to take on a task as soon as it happens, we have now introduced a notification that lights up, in different colors, when there is a call to action. These alerts can originate from different sources, e.g. a software build error among our automated builds or from a high priority task reported by a customer.

If you are a developer from the early 21st century you might remember those automated build notifiers that were quite popular. They came in all different color and shapes, like the one we had in the shape of a bunny, our very own “build bunny”.

When we now started looking for a new and more modern notifier, there were not that many to find. There are some very specific build monitors like “Siren of Shame” and other traffic light variants, but none of them are very generic and does not look that nice to place in a modern office. After some serious thought we started asking ourselves why we needed such a specific device after all, when there are so many different IoT lights available nowadays connecting over standard protocols like Z-Wave and Zigbee.

That was when we decided to build our own notifier, after all how hard could it be. We decided to go for the Philips Hue color lights, mainly due to good APIs and flexible color configurations. In order to keep the costs as low as possible, we decided to buy a custom lamp for the Philips Hue light bulbs, instead of Philips own Hue lamps like the “Flourish table light”. Our final choice landed on the FABO lamp by IKEA, which has a very competitive price.

The software controlling the lights is also custom built, with flexible configuration support in mind. Please feel free to use as is for your own notification scenarios. Pre-built docker containers can be found at https://hub.docker.com/r/connectitude/iot-lightup, and if you want to customize it to support additional sources, please feel free to fork the repository at https://github.com/Connectitude/iot-lightup.

Hardware

Philips Hue Bridge

Philips Hue Color bulbs (E14 or E27)

IKEA FABO lamps (small or large)

Any computer, server or Raspberry Pi, capable of running Linux docker containers

Software

Linux / Docker

.NET Core 3.0

Q42.HueApi (https://github.com/Q42/Q42.HueApi)