Raspberry Pi, the credit card sized Single Board Computer (SBC) has been a great success in the very short time since its been launched. With over 2.5 million boards sold since launch, it boasts of an impressive user community, developing projects around home automation and in some cases as an always on replacement for the home server running tasks like DHCP, DNS, Torrent etc.
But Raspberry Pi has been used in a number of applications in the Enterprise as well. Lets look at some of them
1) Digital Signage
Digital Signage solutions have been used extensively in companies large and small. Typical uses include Corporate presentations, live data feeds, Financial market information, monitoring of critical resources etc.
Raspberry Pi can be very successfully used to convert a standard television to a fully featured Digital Signage solution. Some of the most common projects are Screenly, Raspberry Digital Signage etc
We have earlier discussed the threats to an enterprise from the inside. One way to control them will be to strengthen the monitoring and alerting mechanisms inside your network. Raspberry Pi has been recently used as cheap Honeypots that can be very easily deployed across your facilities.
This would help in early detection and remedial measures can be quickly adopted, should a threat arise. There have been a number of projects where existing Honeypot projects have been ported to run on the Raspi.
Some of them include Glastopf Pi , Kippo Pi, Dionaea deployed on Pi etc
3) Network Monitoring Node
Raspberry Pi is reasonably capable of running most of the tools that you might want to have for monitoring and trouble shooting your network. Typical tools that can be of use are MTR, Pachet Capture, NMAP, NMON etc.
Here is an excellent primer on turning your Raspi to a full fledged Network monitoring node
4) Environment Monitoring
Monitoring environmental parameters in the Datacenter like temperature and humidity is vital. There are commercial products and applications that help achieve this.
Here is a project which helps in monitoring the temperature levels at individual rack level, EnvMon
This project can very easily be expanded to monitor Smoke, humidity, motion etc.
5) Energy Monitoring
Monitoring energy usage and its quality with Raspberry Pi is made possible with the Open Energy Monitor Project.
Raspberry Pi is used along with custom build electronic sensors to measure AC Electricity (apparent power, current, voltage, real power, power factor), Temperature, Humidity, Pulses (from pulse output utility meters), Elster IrDA (direct utility meter interface) and Solar PV power diversion. Efforts are now ongoing to include moisture, CO2 and other air quality measurements.
6) Raspberry Pi as Industrial Controllers
Control systems are widely used in the industry. Raspberry Pi can be interfaced with the hardware sensors and controllers using the General Purpose IO (GPIO) pins provided. There are 17 GPIO pins on the version B that can be used to control anything from Christmas Lights to complex industrial controllers with multiple sensors, relays etc.
OpenMUC is one such project which can be run on a Raspberry Pi. It supports most of the major protocols like Modbus TCP, IEC 61850, DLMS/COSEM, M-Bus etc.
From thier website “OpenMUC is a software framework based on Java and OSGi that simplifies the development of customized monitoring, logging and controlling systems. It can be used as a basis to flexibly implement anything from simple data loggers to complex SCADA systems.”
More at OpenMUC
The latest in Raspberry Pi family, the compute module is aimed at such industrial applications.
There are still a number of uses that the little board is put to use for. With a fairly powerful processor, a number of choices when it comes to OS flavors and a strong user community, the best is yet to come for Raspberry PI..