SparkFun Electronics®: Delivering “Things” in Internet of Things

IoT is the next step in the evolution of computing which has served as a foundation for the unprecedented growth of connected devices. Devices have gotten smaller and require less power. Sensors are almost ubiquitous, and the act of collecting data is becoming second nature. SparkFun is an online retail store of “things” in the Internet of Things focused on giving end users power inside of the IoT space.

SparkFun is a wonderland for electronics enthusiasts, providing platforms for experimentation, as well as the tools to build the next generation of products capable of leveraging those platforms. The company believes in teaching the next generation to be fully tech-literate by sparking inquisitiveness for how the hardware and software interact instead of just using the app. Building that foundation will allow everyone to understand how computing and IoT affect their world by giving them the power to shape it.

“We are hobbyists, tinkerers, and makers ourselves. SparkFun is passionate about being on the leading edge – we play and build with each new and potential product to fully understand how it will be used by our customers. We also maintain a growing and dynamic catalog to accommodate emerging and evolving tech, as well as our clients’ current interests,” says Nathan.

Nathan Seidle, Founder & CEO of SparkFun Electronics, started the company in his dorm room at the University of Colorado Boulder. He started SparkFun after being frustrated by the process of buying electronic components online, which were usually accompanied by poor pictures and documentation. His goal was to change that status quo and make electronics accessible to anyone who wanted to learn in the process. When Nathan isn’t doing CEO things, he can be found monitoring SparkFun’s on-site, Connected Beehive, or working on his Power Wheels vehicle submission for SparkFun’s annual Autonomous Vehicle Competition.

Products & Services
SparkFun is an industry leader in open source, IoT-capable boards for prototyping. These include the ESP8266 ‘Thing’ board, the SparkFun Blynk Board, which pairs with the Blynk mobile app, and many other products and resources for building connected projects. SparkFun also offers a free, open source data logging service called “Phant,” accessible at data.sparkfun.com.

“Whether it’s a robot that can cook your breakfast or a GPS cat tracking device, our products and resources are designed to make the world of electronics more accessible,”asserts Nathan.

The company also provides online classes to help educate enthusiasts in the wonderful world of embedded electronics. This training helps to developing skills and experience that individuals can employ in designing novel systems.

Collaborating in IoT Security Concerns
SparkFun recently hosted an IoT Security Summit with the Department of Homeland Security. This micro summit was a one-day event analyzing current and future aspects of the IoT industry. The roles of academia and government were discussed, as well as the ways we can help educate users about the risks they take when experimenting with newer tech. While not all prototyping products demand a high level of security, we plan on constantly improving our secure offerings as IoT’s reach expands.

SparkFun’s team provides extra value to their end consumer at every level of their business. The company manufactures hundreds of their products in-house and provides customer service and tech support for each of the thousands of products that make up their catalog. “We live and breathe the world of open-source electronics, and you can see our passion in everything we do. This passion drives our success,” Nathan added.

Going forward, SparkFun’s mission is to teach, support and supply their community with the tools needed to explore the world of embedded and connected electronics. The company is already a champion in the open source of solutions to ensure interoperability and work to make platforms of the future accessible to their customers. SparkFun will continue leading the open-source space by helping prototypers and hobbyists find their internet-connected solutions to real-world problems.

“We live and breathe the world of open-source electronics, and you can see our passion in everything we do, and this passion drives our success,” asserts Nathan.

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