ThingSpeak Adds Paid Options to Its IoT Analytics Service

ThingSpeak has experienced tremendous growth over the past 6 years and we continue to add new users from all over the world who are building amazing IoT projects that use ThingSpeak and MATLAB.

As the ThingSpeak user community grows, we have been hearing requests for sending many millions of messages to ThingSpeak, connecting more devices, and building scalable commercial solutions. To address these requests, we are releasing new paid options for ThingSpeak. For more information, see the How to Buy page and the ThingSpeak licensing FAQ.

ThingSpeak users can continue to send up to 3 million messages per year for free (about 8200 messages per day). That satisfies the needs of 99.5% of the user community. To determine how many messages you are using, you can login and look at your account usage.

ThingSpeak IoT Analytics Platform

Cloud-based People Counter Using MATLAB and ThingSpeak

Over the weekend, I noticed a tweet about a people counter using MATLAB and ThingSpeak being demonstrated at Big Data Spain. They were able to detect over 1,500 visitors at their demo station.

People Counter using MATLAB and ThingSpeak

The project uses MATLAB to create a cloud-based people counter by detecting faces with the Computer Vision System Toolbox™. The raw people count is then sent to the ThingSpeak IoT platform for data collection in the cloud and further data analysis.

Check out File Exchange to learn how to build your own people counter using MATLAB and ThingSpeak.

MATLAB Toolboxes are Now Available on ThingSpeak for IoT Analytics

ThingSpeak offers an easy way to collect data from things, analyze and visualize the data with MATLAB, and act on your data. With MATLAB from MathWorks, you have access to powerful data processing and analysis functions for IoT data. To extend the functionality, we offer toolboxes such as the Statistics and Machine Learning Toolbox™ and Signal Processing Toolbox™. These toolboxes need a license from MathWorks. If you have access to these toolboxes linked to a MathWorks Account, you have access to many of the toolboxes on ThingSpeak. All you have to do is to log in to ThingSpeak using your MathWorks Account credentials. With very little code, it is possible to forecast tidal depths using tide data collected by a ThingSpeak channel and the System Identification Toolbox.

Tide forecasting using MATLAB and ThingSpeak

When you are logged into ThingSpeak using your MathWorks Account, you can use functions from the following toolboxes if you are licensed to use them:

We have created many examples showing you how to use MATLAB Toolboxes using ThingSpeak channel data. We have an example using the Signal Processing Toolbox to Visualize and Remove Outliers in Your Data which a common task when you are working with IoT data from sensors. If you want to forecast environmental data by using a feedforward neural network, we have an example using the Neural Network Toolbox operating on weather station data collected by ThingSpeak. In all of our examples, you are able to use the code right on ThingSpeak and allow it to run on a schedule using TimeControl or be triggered to run using React. Many of your licensed toolboxes are now available with your MathWorks Account on ThingSpeak.

Use MATLAB ‘timetable’ to Merge ThingSpeak Data Channels

We released a new version of MATLAB® and it’s available now for every ThingSpeak user. MATLAB R2016b includes many new features that make it easy to work with time-stamped tabular data, manipulate, compare, and store text data efficiently, and find, fill, and remove missing data.

With multiple sensors around my house or office, I want to be able to send data to multiple ThingSpeak channels. But, when I want to perform data analysis, I have a hard time working with data from multiple channels. The channels do not have the same time stamps and are out-of-sync with each other.

With R2016b of MATLAB, I am able to use the new timetable data container. Once the data is a stored as a timetable, I can perform powerful operations such as retime, synchronize, and rmmissing.

In this example, I have two sensors outside of my office here in Natick, MA. One sensor is a temperature sensor that is sending data to ThingSpeak channel 163540. My other sensor is writing humidity data to channel 163545. Both channels are public. My goal is to plot temperature versus humidity over one time series. To accomplish this, I will use timetable and synchronize inside of a new MATLAB Visualization on ThingSpeak.

% Read from the temperature channel
temperatureTT = thingSpeakRead(163540,'Fields',1,'NumPoints',100,'outputFormat','timetable');

% Read from the humidity channel
humidityTT = thingSpeakRead(163545,'Fields',1,'NumPoints',100,'outputFormat','timetable');

% Synchronize two timestables and fill in missing data using linear interpolation
TT = synchronize(temperatureTT,humidityTT,'union','linear')

% Plot Temperature and Humidity over time
title('Temperature and Humidity Synchronized From Two Channels')
xlabel('Temperature and Humidity in Natick, MA')

The first part of the script reads in ThingSpeak data from two different channels and stores the data in two timetables. Once the data is stored in a timetable, I am able to take advantage of synchronize. With synchronize, I can combine both timetables with one time series and fill in missing data using linear interpolation. This results in a plot that shows my data over time without any missing data. To create the plot, I signed into ThingSpeak, selected Apps, and created a new MATLAB Visualization with my MATLAB code.

All ThingSpeak users are able to try this example or explore the other new MATLAB features directly on ThingSpeak. I will leave my temperature (163540) and humidity (163545) channels public, so you can try out timetable example without having to connect devices to ThingSpeak.

Forgetting Something on Your To Do List? Use MATLAB to Analyze Your Tasks.

Allie Fauer, a designer from New York, has released another awesome Instructable tutorial on how to build a “To Do List Reminder Light”. This project is very creative and easy to build on your own. Allie tracks her tasks on an app called Todoist. With a little help of the MATLAB Analysis app on ThingSpeak, Allie is able to analyze her tasks and alert herself of anything overdue. She gently reminds herself with a glowing “Remembrall” globe.

To Do List Reminder Light

Allie uses the MATLAB Analysis app on ThingSpeak to check her to do list and see if anything is overdue. If a task is overdue, the MATLAB code writes the task overdue into a ThingSpeak channel. The MATLAB code is very straightforward and does a bit of analysis on her task list to see what is overdue. To get the MATLAB Analysis code to keep checking her task last, she schedules the MATLAB code using the TimeControl app on ThingSpeak.

Allie also has other ideas on how to make use of her status light:

  • Alert you when you’ve forgotten to water your plants
  • Tell you when you’re out or range of important objects like your keys or wallet
  • Combine with IFTTT to alert you when you’ve forgotten to respond to emails or phone notifications

To build your own Remembrall light, follow the step-by-step tutorial on Instructables.

Introducing MATLAB Central…

We launched MATLAB Analysis and Visualizations on ThingSpeak last year and have noticed a sharp increase in IoT analytics being used in your projects. We are seeing everything from analyzing squirrel behaviour to analyzing traffic patterns. As we are all learning how to use MATLAB in our IoT projects, we need to take notice of MATLAB Central.

MATLAB Central - ThingSpeak Community

MATLAB Central is “a place where you can get answers.” We have over 100,000 community members and MathWorks employees all sharing projects and files, experience, and answering questions. And, ThingSpeak is showing up on MATLAB Answers and File Exchange. This is great news for the ThingSpeak Community. If you already have a MathWorks user account and use it on ThingSpeak, you already have access to MATLAB Central. All you have to do is sign in. If you are new to MathWorks, you can sign up for a free user account to gain access to MATLAB Central and other features of ThingSpeak.

Check out Ned Gulley’s post, “Going Way Back with MATLAB Central” to learn about how the MATLAB community has formed over the years.

Cheers to MATLAB Central hitting the 15th year mark! We are happy to be a part of the story.

The Top IoT Countries (According to ThingSpeak Stats)

2016 has been a huge year for IoT and the growth of ThingSpeak. We are looking at where our users and visitors are coming from and we are seeing some surprising trends. India alone represents 10% of ThingSpeak traffic and usage. The countries of Europe make up over 35% of ThingSpeak. Poland is also a strong IoT country. We have noticed many public weather stations and radiation detectors popping up all around the country. Poland by itself represents 3% of our traffic and usage. The last surprise is Australia dropping out of the Top 10.

Top IoT Countries 2016

The Top 10 Internet of Things Countries*

  1. United States
  2. India
  3. Germany
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Italy
  6. Brazil
  7. France
  8. Poland
  9. Canada
  10. Spain

*According to ThingSpeak Usage Stats

Analyzing Squirrel Behaviour and Weather Forecasting with MATLAB and ThingSpeak

Lord Kelvin said, “If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.” In Carsten’s project, he built a squirrel feeder complete with sensors and a camera. The “Squirrel Cafe” allows squirrels to lift a cover and take a peanut. When that happens, data gets collected and the feeder tweets its data summary with a photo. Carsten is learning a lot about the behaviours of the squirrels and is also trying to forecast the coming winter based on how many nuts are being taken. Behind-the-scenes, he is using Raspberry Pi, ThingSpeak, and MATLAB.

Squirrel Monitoring

The Squirrel Cafe is connected to the ThingSpeak IoT Analytics platform using the Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry Pi collects data from a tilt sensor, temperature sensor, and a camera to determine how many nuts the squirrels are taking. Whenever the lid opens, the current temperature gets measured by the DS18B20 sensor and sent to ThingSpeak for storage and analysis using MATLAB.

Squirrel Cafe System

Carsten is also testing a theory. He noticed through observation that there might be a correlation between the number of nuts that get taken from the feeder and how long the coming winter season will be. This winter forecast and “nuts per minute” calculations are being performed by ThingSpeak’s MATLAB Analysis app. We are excited to see what the results prove in the next few years.

For full project details and source code, visit Carsten’s website for this project at


Prototyping IoT Analytics with MATLAB and ThingSpeak

Rob Purser, our Senior Development Manager for IoT, will be holding a hands-on workshop at this year’s IoT Evolution in Las Vegas. Rob will teach the attendees how to prototype IoT analytics using MATLAB and the IoT platform, ThingSpeak.

IoT Evolution - Internet of Things Conference

The Internet of Things typically involves a discussion of smart devices and the cloud, with much less attention paid to the data collection, pre-processing of acquired data, and development of real-time analytics algorithms. A successful data analytics strategy involves embedded sensor analytics, historical data analysis, and online analytics. In this hands-on session, each participant will work with devices and try out the various types of analytics in action.

IoT Evolution West 2016

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas
900 Convention Center Blvd
New Orleans, LA

IOTD-02: Prototyping IoT Analytics: Hands on with ThingSpeak and MATLAB
Tuesday, July 12, 2016 at 2PM
Forum 15

What Do Students Need to Learn to Be Successful in IoT?

I will be joining a panel at the ASEE’s 123rd Annual Conference in New Orleans. The goal of our panel is to discuss what students need to learn to be successful in IoT. Our session is Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 at 1:15pm in Room 261 at the New Orleans Convention Center.

ASEE IoT Conference 2016

The IoT panel at ASEE will be moderated by Dr. Gerald W. Recktenwald and features Dr. Jacob Segil from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Dr. Duncan James Bremner P.E. from the University of Glasgow, and Hans Scharler from MathWorks.

American Society for Engineering Education Conference

New Orleans Convention Center
900 Convention Center Blvd
New Orleans, LA

T426·IoT: What Do Students Need to Learn to Be Successful in this Field?
Tuesday,  June 28, 2016 1:15 PM to 2:45 PM