ESP RainMaker Released

Shanghai, China
Apr 15, 2020

ESP RainMaker is Espressif’s end-to-end platform which enables makers realize their IoT ideas faster, with Espressif’s ESP32-S2 SoC, and without the hassle of managing the infrastructure involved.

Today, Espressif announced the release of ESP RainMaker. This is yet another step forward in Espressif's strategic plan to help makers quickly build connected devices, and access them through phone apps, third-party services or voice assistants, without having to manage the infrastructure involved in this process.

In 2019, we announced ESP-Jumpstart, which captures in the device firmware the best practices of various features, such as OTA firmware updates, manufacturing, and network provisioning, with an easy-to-use, yet customizable, format. But beyond this, however, there was more work required of makers in terms of adding features to their devices. Users had to build phone apps that would interact with their devices, they had to write cloud applications that would funnel the device data through the phone apps, and then work on other integrations with third-party services. With ESP RainMaker, we have addressed the issue of managing the infrastructure that is required for the process described above. The ESP RainMaker provides:

  • Device Agent SDK: this allows you to perform network provisioning, OTA updates, and facilitates communication with the cloud. The device SDK also lets you configure and expose attributes of the device firmware that can be read or modified.
  • Transparent Cloud Middleware: this makes the device’s exposed attributes accessible to the user’s phone applications or to other third-party services, like voice-assistants. The cloud middleware is powered by Amazon’s AWS services.
  • Self-adapting iOS/Android phone apps: these apps let you configure and manage the connected device, and display the device’s attributes in an intuitive manner.
  • Python-bindings: these can be used for host utilities that can automate communication with the connected device.

Support for ESP RainMaker is currently enabled for all recently launched ESP32-S2 SoCs. If you already have an ESP32-S2-based development board with you, you can start using ESP RainMaker here.

We are truly excited about this launch, especially because it empowers firmware developers with more freedom, creativity and potential than ever before. By using Espressif’s ESP-IDF open-source SDK along with the ESP RainMaker Agent, you can build applications and choose to expose any attributes of your device in the application firmware. The ESP RainMaker cloud middleware will transparently make the device attributes available to your phone applications and other services. This does not require you to write any code in the cloud. The cloud application is built with AWS Serverless Computing at its base, and is designed to achieve optimal scalability and security. The ESP RainMaker phone applications, then, will redraw themselves to present the attributes of the devices to the user. Reading or changing these attributes is as easy as toggling a button on the phone. The availability of Python bindings lets you access the same attributes through a command-line or through Python programs, so that you can then link with any other services. And all of this happens without any configuration of the cloud interfaces, or phone apps. All you should do is continue focusing on the device firmware. You can watch a demo video about ESP RainMaker here. 

In addition, the ESP RainMaker components take care of common workflows, such as user-to-device association, secure Wi-Fi network configuration, and OTA updates, so that you do not have to spend time implementing these features.

Makers have so many ideas that, when combined with ESP RainMaker, the possibilities are truly endless. All you need to do is focus on turning them into reality. We really look forward to seeing what you will come up with!

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