2024: The Year of Hardware + SaaS?

Alfred Nutile
4 min readJan 26, 2024


This isn’t about creating the next major market disruption; it’s about doing what I do every day with software: building tools and automations that help businesses, from small to large, work more efficiently.

I will share three ideas demonstrating how Laravel, Raspberry Pi, and Ollama can be leveraged to create hardware/software solutions. These ideas are designed to help small businesses harness the potential of LLMs (Large Language Models) and IoT (Internet of Things) and how we as “web developers” can take advantage of this space.

A Developer’s Perspective: Enhancing Efficiency for Small Companies

As a software developer with years of experience, I’ve spent a lot of my career to helping small companies streamline their workflows (other than my years at Pfizer — not a small company 🙂). From parsing PDFs to importing vast amounts of data and interfacing with various APIs, my most common requests have always been about making businesses more efficient and effective in their operations. This same ideas could underpin the approach to integrating hardware with software. It’s not just about technological innovation; it’s about applying these advancements to help small companies thrive, enhancing their efficiency in every way possible.

Embracing the New Landscape of Hardware-Software Integration

As the buzz around traditional Saas products seems to have gradually faded, a new horizon is emerging for software developers. We’re witnessing the dawn of an era where software meets hardware in practical, innovative ways. This isn’t about creating the next big market disruption; it’s about crafting simple, yet smart solutions that blend the digital with the physical, especially for small-scale applications. This integration marks a shift towards more tangible, hands-on technology use in everyday business operations, opening up a world of possibilities for developers and businesses alike.

Innovative Examples of Practical Applications

Imagine a small shop that is 3D printing some widget, where quality assurance is key. A Raspberry Pi with a camera can be set up to monitor and ensure the quality of 3D printed widgets, providing real-time feedback and reducing the need for manual inspection.

How about in a small grocery store and stock management. A camera setup monitoring the shelves, equipped with software to identify when stock levels are low, can alert staff to replenish items like aluminum foil, ensuring shelves are never bare. Could even in time help to maybe see some patterns that might be missed by spreadsheets alone, or with the help of those spreadsheets.

Consider a bustling barber shop, where managing calls and appointments becomes a challenging task amidst the day’s work. Introducing a simple device equipped with software for call management and scheduling can revolutionize how they operate, ensuring no customer is left unattended.

How about a plant nursery that wants a camera or cameras to monitor the health of the plants. This would be very feasible with these technologies.

Harnessing the Power of Open Source Solutions

Making these ideas a reality is more feasible than ever, thanks to open source solutions like Ollma, and Laravel/PHP. These platforms offer the flexibility and robustness needed to develop these hardware-software integrations. Coupled with the versatility of Raspberry Pi, they provide an accessible and cost-effective means for small businesses to adopt these technological aids. This approach opens up a playground for developers to innovate and create meaningful solutions going beyond just hardware.


This Open Source solution can all you to do on premises LLM integrations. Really easy to run it ollama serve and then connect to it with Laravel’s great HTTP client.

OpenAi-PHP Client for talking to that particular LLM

Use Laravel and tools like OpenAiPHP or LaraChain to integrate easily into an LLM.



Alfred Nutile

LaraLlama.io Open-Source Product Created Day to day developer using Laravel, PHP, Vue.js, Inertia