IOT Development at Internet Speed

Interview with Ronald McCollam from Resin

Ronald McCollam, Solutions Architect at Resin.io

IOT developers have a tough ride compared to web developers at the moment, according to Ronald McCollam, head of the Solutions Architecture Team at Resin.io. The software company provides containers to the IOT, where every IOT project is a software project, priding themselves on safely and speedily deploying them using their platform.

“Web developers now enjoy a culture and set of tools that allow them to fearlessly deploy software many times per day, quickly and safely. By contrast, much of the embedded world still operates on the annual software-release cycle. Between these infrequent releases, security vulnerabilities are exposed and software improvements are delayed or unrealized.”

These are hard truths by Ronald, whose main role is “understanding what it is that people want to build and helping them make sure it can be managed and updated safely.”

Asked about the origins of Resin, Ron responds in true maker style: “Resin grew out of a real issue. Our engineering team was building a digital signage product for the 2012 London Olympics. They hadn’t realized exactly how large a problem keeping remote devices up to date can be, until they found themselves walking around the city with USB sticks and keyboards having to physically touch all the signs after a bad push. We realized there had to be a better way, but after some research it turned out that nobody else had really solved this problem well either. Resin was born out of that experience with a goal of making updating and managing remote devices simple, fast, and (most importantly) safe.”

Wondering how the product has evolved since, he tells us, “It’s continuing to evolve, with us filling in more gaps in the ecosystem as we run into problems ourselves. We’ve built an amazing open source cross-platform tool, Etcher (etcher.io), for writing SD cards and USB images. And we’re about to release our (also open source) base ResinOS as a standalone platform for managing containers on IoT devices. There’s lots of exciting development going on!”

So much development sure is cool! But, what is personally most exciting about the IOT?

“To me, the most exciting thing is the potential created by the level of control and information being built into our environments. Just like with the early days of the Internet, it wasn’t really possible to imagine everything that would happen and how it would change daily life, but the excitement, experimentation, and drive to do really cool new things were all there — just like the IoT is today.”

Truly exciting! So, what advice would you give developers using your platform?

“Just dig in and start playing with it! There are fantastic tutorials that will get you up and running over the space of a lunch break. Coming from a software background myself, I have to say it was mind-blowing to see how easy it can be to get out and start interacting with real devices.”

Are you looking forward to speaking at IoT With The Best?

“Absolutely! The speaker lineup for IoT With The Best is an amazing list of intelligent and awesome people and I’m honored to be a part of it. I can’t wait for the conference to start!”

You read it here — we can’t wait for the conference either!

Ronald will teach developers how to use standards-based tools to bring the tools of the web world to the Internet of Things at our upcoming IOT With The Best, Online Developer Conference 29th–30th October. Ronald’s presentation will include a brief demo of the resin.io platform to safely push live code updates to devices 5000 miles apart!