A beginner’s guide to the Internet of Things and WordPress
Regardless of recent advancements in web technology, at its core the internet is still based on sending data from one place to another. However, this is no longer the sole domain of computers. We’re now seeing web technology seep into all aspects of everyday life. And that’s when the Internet of Things and WordPress enter the conversation.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a rather vague term used to describe interconnectivity between various web-enabled everyday objects. For example, phones were one of the first devices to be connected to the internet, but now we’re seeing watches and even entire houses powered through the web.
In this article, we’ll begin by looking into what the IoT is and how it will impact you, then introduce three IoT platforms that integrate with WordPress. Finally, we’ll sum up how the IoT and the WordPress REST API will soon work together to create bigger and better websites, apps, and much more!
The Internet of Things and its impact on web development
In short, the IoT simply describes how everyday objects connect with each other through the web. For example, a smartphone app could directly control your central heating or lights, or your watch could change channels on the television.
Eventually, everything will be connected. Potential development implications for creative, useful, and unique applications is high. However, there are two other potential impacts worth considering:
- The IoT industry, at this point, arguably has no practical ceiling, so further revenue streams could open up as it grows.
- The security and privacy implications are already causing concern, but still, the potential to build unique applications is exciting.
And then there’s the Internet of Things and WordPress. The IoT can also connect directly with WordPress for a more featured experience. There are already services available to help you do just that.
3 IoT platforms for creating WordPress-specific tasks
IoT-related services are a little hard to find right now — no surprise for a fledgling technology. However, let’s take a closer look at three current services that enable you to control IoT devices from WordPress — or even control WordPress itself.
If This Then That (IFTTT) is a long-standing free platform that connects various services through applets. For example, you could link your social media and WordPress websites so that new content auto-posts when you upload it. There are myriad potential uses for this technology, limited simply by the applets that are available.
The major plus points for the end user center around time and productivity. By connecting services, you’re essentially creating macros to help carry out mundane tasks. In some cases, this will save you countless hours in administration.
Getting started with IFTTT is as simple as signing up for an account, searching for an applet (related to WordPress, for example), turning it on, and then walking through the setup wizard — which will vary depending on the applet. There’s also a dedicated platform if you’d like to create your own custom applets.
Next up is littleBits, an initiative to get children learning about how the electronic devices they use every day work. By purchasing different kits, you’re able to create drum machines, self-driving cars, and even a motion-activated R2-D2!
Going back to the Internet of Things and WordPress, each invention can be connected to the internet, and through a dedicated WordPress plugin, you can link both platforms to give you notifications on your various website-related activity.
This lets you watch for new comments, keep track of your eCommerce sales, or even cause a light to flash when your site goes down.
However, we should point out that the plugin itself hasn’t been updated for a while. In any case, given that the IoT and littleBits are both relatively new, you’ll likely want to customize the plugin’s code to achieve your specific goals.
Finally, we have Particle. This full-featured IoT platform for connecting devices offers practically everything you’ll need to create a safe, secure, and reliable connectivity method using Integrated Development Environments (IDEs), Software Development Kits (SDKs) and much more.
Of course, having a one-stop shop for connecting IoT devices will save you a lot of headaches when setting up a specific application.
In addition, the associated community will be invaluable when working through bugs in your applications.
Particle is free for basic prototyping. However, by purchasing and connecting one of Particle’s hardware solutions with IFTTT, you can create web-enabled buttons in the same vein as Amazon’s Dash buttons. That’s just one example — your possibilities are nearly endless!
How the Internet of Things and WordPress REST API work together
Of course, no discussion about the Internet of Things and WordPress would be complete without mentioning the WordPress REST API. This is a way to make WordPress talk with other platforms and programming languages. As you might expect, the implications for integration are tantalizing.
The REST API provides a standard set of endpoints that make pretty much everything within WordPress available to work with, and this widens the scope for what’s achievable — more so than using IFTTT or Particle.
For example, you could set up eCommerce push notifications, or connect with wearables to display live heath data directly on a WordPress website. In short, the Internet of Things and WordPress REST API will work together to create immensely powerful platforms, websites, and more — so getting up to speed now is key.
While it might seem like a marketing term on the surface, the Internet of Things is anything but that. In fact, it’s the undeniable future of the internet as a whole. When you combine the Internet of Things and WordPress REST API, it will be a major factor in how the web is used moving forward.
In this article, we’ve taken a look at the IoT — what it is, and how it can both benefit your development and impact user behavior. Then we rounded up three platforms that help you create IoT tasks for WordPress – IFTTT, littleBits, and Particle. Finally, we broke out the crystal ball to see how the IoT and the WordPress REST API will likely merge, and what to expect.