Setting up a Raspberry Pi for an IoT project

25th Jun 2021

So you have decided you are going to use a Raspberry Pi as the hardware platform for your IoT project. A key part of the project is to update the software on your Raspberry Pi for various reasons that may arise such as bug fixes, security patches and user level application updates to name a few. Then you must focus on provisioning a robust and secure OTA software update manager for your Raspberry Pi devices. The reason that you have selected a Raspberry Pi for your project probably means that your needs are fairly generic and that you do not need a customized built distribution image . On the upside, with the Raspberry Pi, you are getting a single board computer (SBC) that brings you the benefits of a low cost, widely adopted and ready-made board with pre-built images to get you up to speed in your development. For your project now, an OTA update and Raspberry Pi are integral to each other.

Ensure robust and secure OTA updates for a Raspberry Pi 4 in an IoT project

Technical specs for Raspberry Pi

Before we get to OTA software updates for Raspberry Pi, let’s start with examining the technical specifications of the Raspberry Pi hardware. As a basis, the Raspberry Pi is an enthusiast’s board so there are lots of hobbyists producing support material to get you started out of the box. In saying this, it also packs quite a bit of processing power and it has multiple ports - USB, Ethernet and raspberry pi compatible usb ethernet adapter, Wi-fi and raspberry pi 3 wireless access point;, display port and Bluetooth connections. Everything is provided there for your IoT project from concept through to production. The Raspberry Pi models also have a 40-pin GPIO header so it can support a wide range of peripherals and applications for everything from running security cameras with raspberry pi security camera server to automating the process of watering plants within the raspberry pi plant watering application.

And what about the differences between the different Raspberry Pi models? These are relatively small incremental upgrades generation upon generation. The Raspberry Pi 4 offers increased processing power through a quad core processor from Broadcom running at 1.5Ghz. The graphics processor also offers increased power in the form of a Broadcom Videocore VI GPU. There is also increased memory in the Raspberry Pi 4 with 4 configurable memory amounts compared to one in the Raspberry Pi 3 model variations (B, A+, B+).

Applications for OTA Updates on Raspberry Pi

On the more commercial side, the Raspberry Pi is used in a range of diverse IoT projects. For example, autonomous drones spraying agricultural fields as in the case of Drone Volt, and where digital signage is enhanced in retail as in the case of Tailoradio. Tailoradio’s platform enables retail customers to use a cloud interface to upload content in audio or video content and have it played in the stores. All this content goes through the cloud services and gets distributed to other appliances in the stores.. Beyond the immediate application for the project which you have in mind, there are many things to consider when setting up a Raspberry Pi, a Linux-based embedded device, for an IoT project.

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