We recently released an addition to ARTIK cloud services that will make a big difference to developers working with IoT devices. It’s called the Proxy Hub, and it greatly expands the devices that are available to the ecosystem.
The Proxy Hub allows you to connect devices that cannot directly communicate to ARTIK cloud services. Read on for details.
When to use the Proxy Hub
Many IoT devices utilize local network connections such as Bluetooth or ZigBee, and cannot access the internet directly. You can use the Proxy Hub to connect these devices to ARTIK cloud services!
The Proxy Hub can also substitute for a Cloud Connector. Cloud Connectors are a way to connect third-party devices to ARTIK cloud services via their external clouds. However, not all devices sync their data to a third-party cloud, or provide the necessary APIs for building a Cloud Connector. In these cases, the Proxy Hub can be used.
There are other advantages to using the Proxy Hub. For example, devices connected via the hub also benefit from real-time status updates and increased rate limits!
How does the Proxy Hub work?
The Proxy Hub discovers and maps local devices to virtual devices on ARTIK cloud services. It uses what we call proxy plugins to broker the connection using your local network. A proxy plugin corresponds to a device type, and multiple proxy plugins can be hosted on the hub.
You can develop your own proxy plugins to connect any device type you need!
Several proxy plugins are already available and include popular devices such as Philips Hue lights, Belkin WeMo, and Nest. These can be accessed on our Works With page, along with the Proxy Hub application.
The team has also included plugins for useful software devices that can be made available on demand. For example, the TTS Player is a virtual device that converts text to speech.
In short, they involve the following:
- Download the Proxy Hub application.
- Download and add the proxy plugins for any supported devices you want to connect.
- Install the hub and start the server, then open the specified URL. After logging into ARTIK cloud services, follow the instructions to complete Proxy Hub setup.
- Access the hub via an intuitive web UI.
In the above screen, you can add new devices to the hub simply by searching for and clicking on the supported proxy plugins. Local devices will be discovered by the hub, while software devices (e.g. Shell Proxy and TTS Player) are added manually and on-demand. Adding a device will create a corresponding virtual device in your ARTIK Cloud Account.
As long as the server is running, the devices will communicate with ARTIK cloud services via their proxy plugins on the Proxy Hub.
You will likely want to develop your own proxy plugin to connect your own third-party devices or new device types to ARTIK cloud services. Our documentation walks you through how to add or discover devices, send data to ARTIK cloud services, receive Actions, schedule updates, and much more!