Review: myDevices Cayenne – A Raspberry Pi Drag-and-Drop IoT Project Builder
The Raspberry Pi is ideally suited for an Internet of Things project, especially when it comes to home automation. The MagPi Magazine recently featured an advert for myDevices Cayenne, stating it as a drag-and-drop IoT project builder. As with any home automation toolkit, I decided to explore further and share my review here.
So what is it?
Well, myDevices Cayenne is being marketed as a Raspberry Pi IoT (Internet of Things) drag-and-drop project builder. On first inspection it does exactly that. Once installed and setup, you simply drag-and-drop your devices into tasks, events and schedules to get underway.
In order to use myDevices Cayenne, users need to register to create a free account via their website. This requires a valid email address and a password, only takes a matter of seconds. The next step was to download their app, which is available on iOS and Android, which was also free. Once installed, there are detailed installation instructions that helps guide you through the process.
Getting myDevices Cayenne installed on the Raspberry Pi is pretty simple and it should take less than 10 minutes before you have everything up and running. The app gives you detailed instructions on how to do this, as does their website. The best method is to follow the instructions on their website, which involved adding a new device via their dashboard:
To proceed, select “Device” and then select “Micro Computer” and then “Raspberry Pi”:
Once you have gone through this, you are then prompted to generate a new Raspberry Pi installer script, which you will then need to enter via SSH to complete the installation:
Now you have two more steps to follow. The first is to log into your Pi via SSH and then enter the wget link, so that your Pi downloads the installation script. This script is a series of numbers and letters and is unique to you, so please do not share it with others (and it’s why I have blacked out mine above). The second step is to run the script by following the second line of code above, starting with “sudo bash”.
The installation on your Pi will vary in time depending on a number of factors – i.e. internet speed, which model of Pi you are using etc. When I ran my installation, I had started with a brand new Raspbian Jessie image and it took 2 – 3 minutes on the Pi 3.
myDevices Cayenne Dashboard
When installation has completed, your Raspberry Pi should appear as online on the myDevices Cayenne Dashboard – whether this is accessed via web browser or through the app. Once at this point, it is possible to check various stats for your Pi such as:
- CPU usage
- Network activity
- RAM usage
- Storage on your SD card
It is also possible to add extra sensors to the dashboard, although at the moment only a handful are supported. However, the Community Forums are filled with requests and the developers are busy working on expanding the number of supported devices available. At the moment it is possible to use the following devices with myDevices Cayenne:
In each category, there are additional types of devices available. For example, within the Actuators -> Motor, there are two other options: Motor Switch and Servo Motor.
Likewise in the extensions category, there are a wide range of other devices under the different headers – including six analog converter devices ranging from the MCP3004 to the ADS1015.
The sensors category is very appealing as these devices allow you to really explore the power of myDevices Cayenne. It is also possible to add some generic devices as either analogue or digital inputs / outputs, but this does not work for every device. For example, the DHT11 humidity and temperature sensor is currently not supported, and trying to add this manually did not work. However, the developers have acknowledged this in the forum and are actively working on an update.
Recipes, events, schedules etc.
It is worth noting that myDevices Cayenne is still in the beta phase of their project but from what I’ve seen so far, it looks very promising. For example, with some logical thinking it is possible to create events based on sensors and devices attached to your Raspberry Pi. This could be something like:
The similarities to the popular IFTTT.com are striking, and this opens a world of possibilities to Raspberry Pi users, especially as the support evolves and grows as myDevices Cayenne’s popularity increases.
Verdict – 8 out of 10
For Raspberry Pi users looking to break into the IoT world, then myDevices Cayenne is looking very promising. The simplicity of installation is refreshing, and as support grows for devices and sensors I can see this being used in various projects. Currently, the number of supported devices is quite low but as peripherals are very affordable, this is not a major issue especially for a free platform.
Once popular HATs and accessories become supported (such as Energenie’s PiMote, Raspberry Pi SenseHAT etc.), the popularity of myDevices Cayenne will surely take off. As an iPad user myself, I find it slightly disappointing that their app is not designed for iPad, but merely upscales the iPhone version. However it is just as quick to access the dashboard through Safari and add the bookmark to the iPhone as a pseudo-app instead. I for one will be keeping an eager eye on myDevices Cayenne’s progress and look forward to using it with various IoT home automation projects.