Building a business with VNC Connect on Raspberry Pi

Our friends over at RealVNC are having a whale of a time with Raspberry Pi, so they decided to write this guest blog for us. Here’s what they had to say about what their VNC Connect software can do, and how Raspberry Pi can be integrated into industry. Plus, hear about a real-life commercial example.

What is VNC Connect?

RealVNC’s VNC Connect is a secure way for you to control your Raspberry Pi from anywhere, as if you were sat in front of it. This is particularly useful for Raspberry Pis which are running ‘headless’ without monitor connected. The desktop can instead be presented in the VNC Connect Viewer app on, say, a wirelessly-connected iPad, from which you have full graphical control of the Raspberry Pi. The two devices do not even have to be on the same local network, so you can take remote control over the Internet. Which is great for roaming robots.

real vnc overview
VNC Connect is all of these things

You can read more about RealVNC for Raspberry Pi here. It’s free to get started for non-commercial use.

Commercial potential

RealVNC have seen an increase in the use of Raspberry Pi in business, not just at home and in education. Raspberry Pi, combined with VNC Connect, is helping businesses both to charge for a service that they couldn’t previously provide, and to improve/automate a service they already offer.

We’ll get to the solar panels next… (this photo makes sense, honestly)

For example, Raspberry Pi is a useful, as well as a cost effective, “edge device” in complex hardware environments that require monitoring – a real IoT use case! Add VNC Connect, and the businesses which perform these hardware installations can provide monitoring and support services on a subscription basis to customers, building repeat revenue and adding value.

With VNC Connect being offered at an affordable price (less than the price of a cup of coffee per month for a single device), it doesn’t take these businesses long to make a healthy return.

A commercial example: monitoring solar panels

Centurion Solar provides monitoring software for home solar panels. Each installation is hooked up via USB to a Raspberry Pi-powered monitoring system, and access is provided both to the customer and to Centurion Solar, who run a paid monitoring and support service.

Monitoring solar panels online with Centurion Solar

Having every new system leave the factory pre-installed with VNC Connect allows Centurion Solar to provide assistance quickly and easily for customers, no matter where they are, or how tech-savvy they are (or aren’t).

The software is currently being used in over 15,000 systems across 27 countries, with more new users every week.

“We’ve gone from being in limp mode to overdrive in one easy step, using RealVNC as the driving force to get us there.”

Johan Booysen, Founder at Centurion Solar

You can read more here.

Possibilities across many sectors

There are many more industry sectors which could be considering Raspberry Pi as a lightweight and convenient monitoring/edge compute solution, just like Centurion Solar do. For example:

  • Energy
  • Manufacturing
  • Healthcare
  • Transport
  • Agriculture
  • Critical National Infrastructure
raspberry pi use in biological sciences jolle jolle
Remember this blog about how Raspberry Pi is a versatile tool for biological sciences?

The possibilities are only limited by imagination, and the folks down the road at RealVNC are happy to discuss how using Raspberry Pi in your environment could be transformative. You can reach us here.

From the engineers to the CEO, we’re all Raspberry Pi enthusiasts who love nothing more than sharing our experience and solving problems (our CEO, Adam, even publishes a popular bare-metal Raspberry Pi operating system tutorial on Github).


James Carroll avatar

I love seeing businesses get involved with the Raspberry Pi. It means more and better support down the road. The community that surrounds it is what makes the Pi truly great.

Margaret Stephanie Leber avatar

“FREE (t o g e t s t a r t e d)…”


Helen Lynn avatar

The free level of service is entirely sufficient for many hobbyists’ needs, and it’s quite in order for businesses to require payment for some services while providing others free of charge.

Anders avatar

It’s a service to business so standard and reasonable to charge. Anyone who wants to use VNC for personal use free forever can do, you don’t need a service like this.

Tech News Australia avatar

We have done a review on VNC and established a connection to our test rapberry-pi in our gadget office. We actually concluded that raspberry-pi offered a higher bandwidth connection as opposed to connecting to a desktop or a laptop on the same local network. This was a interesting and suprising result. Raspberry Pi when combined with VNC Connect has a much greater perfomance impact as opposed to other remote connection software interfaces. The review and results were so impressive we have our editors writing up this story.

Liz Upton avatar

That’s unsurprising to us, but very good to hear! Would you mind dropping me a line at liz[at]raspberrypi[dot]com when your story is live? We’re building a new section of this website for enterprise customers at the moment, and would love to be able to point them at your findings.

Tech News Australia - Editor avatar

Sure not a problem will send you over the URL once the report is finished

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