We present Practical IoT for Personal Development, a pragmatic IoT tutorial for the busy Kenyan professional. For maximal hands-on experience, its theme is heavily oriented towards Do-it-Yourself (DIY) IoT use cases for the Connected Home (CH), as well as the harness of Open Source (O/S) and commodity IoT devices/components. Included in the discussion are pertinent trends such as AI integration at the edge accompanied by complete templates for further prototype development.


  • Understand the roles of the major IoT architectural components in a CH setup
  • Revise key Internet and IoT technologies for CH application development
  • Discuss popular O/S S/W options and DIY H/W solutions for CH setups
  • Explore the roles of various AI-related verticals (e.g. CV, ML/DL) at the CH Edge
  • DIY projects for CH solutions:

◦ Implement a complete and scalable DIY IoT lighting solution for the CH

◦ Implement a scalable, Internet-accessible, yet fully-edge DIY home surveillance multicam CCTV solution with IoT interfaces for edge-AI integration


Summary of slides can be found here

Prerequisites and Requirements

  • Practical IoT for Personal Development is designed to accommodate those with even the most modest technical background. Nevertheless, while no programming skills are required to complete the tutorial, a background in HTML5/Python/Arduino-C++ will be advantageous; basic digital electronics knowledge is also a plus
  • Required: Smart Phone (or any other portable device e.g. tablet, laptop)
  • Optional:

◦ A Laptop (Ubuntu, Mac, MS Windows); only for those interested in ESP8266 F/W dev.

◦ Highly Recommended: Raspberry Pi (3B or 4B) with at least 16GB SD card; a Picamera v2 if possible


Program Outline

 PART 1: IoT and Home Automation

  • IoT, M2M, and Home Automation Concepts

◦ IoT architectures and components for the CH

◦ Wireless technologies and commodity hardware for DIY CH

◦ M2M with MQTT

◦ Introduction to the O/S Home Assistant (HA) home-automation hub on Raspberry Pi

  • ESP8266 Platform Programming and Physical Computing

◦ ESP8266 development ecosystem: IDE and Support Libraries

◦ ESP8266 API: GPIO, PWM, Bus Communications, Timing and Delays

◦ ESP8266 Networking: WiFi, Web Server, OTA Updates

  • Project-1.1: A Complete and Scalable DIY IoT Lighting Solution for the CH

◦ Remote control a variety of lighting modes on a (e.g. WS2812) addressable LED strip with ESP8266 via smart-phone app interface

◦ Integrate the DIY setup with Home Assistant Hub on Raspberry Pi for a scalable CH lighting solution

NOTE: This template setup can easily be extended for the control of some other DIY device (solenoid, relay, etc) or even HA-supported vendor appliance.

PART 2:  Web and Mobile App Technologies


◦ HTTP/REST and WebSockets

◦ Web Applications, Components/Stacks

◦ Mobile App Technologies

PART 3:  Media Streaming Technologies and WebRTC

◦ Media Streaming Protocols: RTP, RTSP, RTMP, HTTP (HLS, MPEG-DASH)

◦ Media Streaming Codecs and Containers

◦ Live Streaming Setups for IoT

◦ Web Realtime Communications (WebRTC) for IoT

PART 4:  CH Edge Computing and AI Integration

◦ WebRTC edge gateway on Raspberry Pi with multi-user support and multi-cam support for commodity (WiFi) ONVIF or DIY cameras (e.g. Raspi-Cam, ESP32-Cam)

◦ IoT interfaces for:

▪ Remote actuator control (e.g. Camera PTZ, Relay)

▪ Motion sensor (e.g. PIR) “silent alarm” integration

▪ Edge video analytics (e.g. OpenCV/ML) “smart silent alarm” integration

◦ Application scenarios: Home/Office security, child monitor, wildlife observation, etc

Target Audience

Practical IoT for Personal Development will be of interest to:

  • Professionals in IT or Engineering who wish to extend their technical skills
  • Tech enthusiasts, makers and embedded-system builders, electronics hobbyists
  • Tertiary-level students (University, College, Polytechnic, etc)
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