Building an IoT Notification System

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Building an IoT Notification System

Here's a great way to build your own IoT notification system that sends alerts to multiple devices using an ESP8266, PushingBox, and relatively few lines of code.

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This article describes how to implement an IoT notification system. A notification is a way we can send alarms or other kinds of information to users. This post details, step by step, how to build an IoT notification system using a few lines of code and integrating existing cloud platforms. The aim is to send a notification to several devices, such as Android, iOS, or a desktop PC. This IoT project uses an ESP8266, but you can use other IoT development boards to test it like the Arduino UNO, MKR1000, other ESPs, and so on.

This is an interesting project because it is possible to further extend, and we can use it in several scenarios where it is necessary to send a notification or an alert:

  • Flood alert
  • Temperature monitoring
  • Air quality alert
  • Alarm systems

And so on. They are just a few examples where it is possible to use this IoT notification project.

The idea that stands at the base of this project is building a general purpose IoT notification system that you can reuse in other scenarios, without writing too much code.

We have covered the notification topic in several other tutorials. For example, we have already described how to send notifications using Google Firebase. Moreover, it is possible to use other IoT development boards to implement a notification system.

IoT Notification Project Overview

Before diving into the project details, it is useful to have an overview of this project and the components that we will use. To make things simple, the aim is to monitor temperature and air pressure and send those readings periodically using a notification message. The project overview is shown below:

IoT notification system

For the sensor, the project uses BMP280 — an I2C sensor. There is a library to use in order to exchange data with this sensor. You can download it from GitHub or import it into your IDE.

The cloud notification system has two components:

  • One that is used by the ESP to trigger the notification (PushingBox)
  • The second is the system that sends the notification to the connected devices (Pushbullet)

PushingBox is an interesting cloud platform that simplifies the process of sending data. It exposes a simple API that our IoT notification system uses to trigger the notification.

It is possible to divide this project into two different steps:

  1. Configuring the notification system
  2. Developing a simple program to read data from the sensor and trigger the notification

Configuring The IoT Notification System

The first step is configuring the notification system so that the ESP program can invoke an API exposed by PushingBox and trigger the process of sending the notification. I suppose you already know the Pushbullet cloud platform and you have already an account. If not, you can register for free and activate your account.

In order to receive the notification, you have to install the Pushbullet app on the device you want to use. You can receive the same notification on different devices at the same time. For example, if you want to receive the notification on your Android smartphone, you have to install the Pushbullet app from the Google Play store. Once your account is ready, you can go to the dashboard and get your API key (settings menu item):

iot notification pushbullet

This is the API key we will use later in the project. Now it is time to configure PushingBox in order to receive the notification call from the ESP and trigger the notification. If you do not have one, you have to create a free account. Once you are logged in, in the dashboard, select My Services to add Pushbullet as service:

Internet of things notification system

The next step is creating the scenario, or in other words, the content of the message we want to send:

How to send IoT notification

That’s all. In a few steps, we have configured all the systems that this IoT notification project will use to send the notification. Save the deviceID because we will use it later.

Implementing The Notification Using ESP (Or Arduino)

The last step is implementing the sketch that reads the temperature and the pressure from the sensor and triggers the notification. This is quite simple because we can use a library that simplifies our work.

The connection schema is shown below:

IoT notification using ESP8266

In the first step, let us read the sensor data:

#include <ESP8266WiFi.h>
#include <Wire.h>
#include <Adafruit_Sensor.h>
#include <Adafruit_BMP280.h>

Adafruit_BMP280 bme;

void setup() {

    if (!bme.begin()) {
        Serial.println("Could not find a valid BMP280 sensor, check wiring!");
        while (1);

Now in the loop method, we can read the data:

float temp = bme.readTemperature();
float pressure = bme.readPressure();

Finally, we can focus on the last part of this project — connecting to the PushingBox API. Add the following lines at the beginning:

// Pushingbox API
char *api_server = "api.pushingbox.com";
char *deviceId = "v10BAFBDA2376E5E";

And add the following method, which connects to the PushingBox API:

void sendNotification(float temp, float pressure) {
    Serial.println("Sending notification to " + String(api_server));
    if (client.connect(api_server, 80)) {
        Serial.println("Connected to the server");

        String message = "devid=" + String(deviceId) +
            "&temp=" + String(temp) +
            "&press=" + String(pressure) +

        client.print("POST /pushingbox HTTP/1.1\n");
        client.print("Host: api.pushingbox.com\n");
        client.print("Connection: close\n");
        client.print("Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded\n");
        client.print("Content-Length: ");
    Serial.println("Notification sent!");

Notice that, in the code above, the sketch sends three different parameters:

  • deviceId (as specified in the configuration step)
  • temperature(temp)
  • pressure (press)

The last two parameters will be used by the notification system in the message template to replace the $temp$ and $press$ with the current values measured by the sensor.

It is time to test this IoT notification project. Just upload the sketch into your ESP and wait for the notification that should arrive in a few seconds. The final result is shown below in case you use the Pushbullet Chrome extension:

IoT push notification from arduino

While if you enabled the smartphone notification, you will get:

IoT android notification


At the end of this tutorial, you, hopefully, gained the knowledge of how to develop an IoT notification systems that sends messages to several devices using a few lines of code. As stated above, this IoT notification tutorial can be further extended, and we can use it in several scenarios.

iot ,notifications ,alerts ,iot cloud ,esp8266 ,tutorial

Published at DZone with permission of Francesco Azzola , DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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