While chatting with people at Cisco Live Europe 2020 in Barcelona, I heard someone say, “3D printing and coffee together.” My initial thought was that there’s some 3D printer demo happening around and they were serving coffee along with it 😀 (crowd-puller sessions 101!)

So, FOMO kicked in and my colleague and I raced our way to the cafe booth where an already present congregation was busy clicking selfies. A closer look at what everyone was huddled around revealed a pretty, red, compact machine putting out cup after cup of coffee with colorful pictures floating on the surfaces.

The selfies those people were clicking were being printed on their coffees and oh my, were they clear and bright! Not the ones to be camera-shy, you can see from the picture below how it went ahead 🙂

Talking IoT

In this whole fancy 3D printing over coffee, Bluetooth was used to load the images into the 3D printer. Of course, 3D printing is not just limited to coffee. It’s used creatively in many gastronomy works. For example, confectionery items such as sugar, chocolate, intricate cake decorations are a popular choice for 3D printing. Not only that, you can even 3D print pasta!

IoT Makes This Possible!

These 3D printers (or the end devices) are connected to the network to allow end-users to transfer or load the files which they wish to print. The modes of data transfer can be over WiFi or Bluetooth or any other IoT protocol.

This Internet of Things (popularly known as IoT) technology which used Bluetooth in the aforementioned 3D coffee printer is embedded in many day-to-day applications around us.

IoT has a lot of protocols under its hood. I like to call these protocols different languages in which all connected end devices used to talk to each other. Bluetooth is one of them and WiFi, ZigBee, LoraWAN are some of the others.

How Do you “Talk” IoT?

It is estimated that 2020 will see about 50 billion network-connected devices, or approximately 6.58 network-connected devices per person, around the globe. These connected devices can use any protocols to communicate its operations. Many smart home devices that let you control your thermostat from the comforts of your couch use Zigbee to communicate with the central hub. Wearable IoT devices like smartwatches or fitness trackers use Bluetooth for communication. Another technology gaining popularity in the IoT industry is the Long Range (LoRa) and LoRaWAN which exhibits long-range and lower power data transmissions for IoT applications.
It is fascinating to see how much IOT has evolved and become ubiquitous, in such a short span of time. Take a quick scan of yourself and your surroundings – can you get a count of how many IoT protocols are you using right now?

Want to explore more about IoT?


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Shweta Palande

Developer Advocate

Cisco Meraki