Choosing the Best IoT Cloud Platform

The IoT industry is growing at a rapid speed. Several studies estimate that the number of IoT-connected devices will exceed 90 billion by 2025. There are already a lot of products available in the market, and companies are looking for the best solutions for their IoT products. For example, when creating a new product, you need to pay a lot of attention to the selection of a cloud platform as it determines the smooth operation and ease of use. Its choice will depend on criteria such as security, device and communication requirements, and needs for collecting, storing, and processing data. So, in this article, let’s look at the best cloud platforms.

What Is an IoT Platform?

An IoT platform is a set of technologies that enable corporations to connect, manage, and analyze data from their devices. IoT platforms typically provide a set of tools for device administration, collection and analysis of the data. Some IoT platforms also include capabilities for connecting to other systems.

IoT platforms make it possible to establish a connection between various physical objects to the internet. This helps to gain new insights and enhance the performance of apps. Thanks to IoT platforms, companies gain the capability to:

  • Build devices to collect various data.
  • Design applications to interact with devices.
  • Make tools for data management to store and share the information.

Peculiarities of Cloud-Based Platforms

Now, when cloud services are becoming more common with businesses of all sizes, new platforms are emerging. In comparison to local solutions, they provide several benefits. First and foremost, businesses can save on the costs of purchasing and maintaining their own hardware and software. Also, they help companies to become more efficient by providing them with the ability to scale their resources up or down as needed.

IoT cloud services help in reducing the time required to perform some tasks. For example, when you need to check the location of a particular device, you can check it by using the GPS or the location services provided by the cloud. Also, such services help in providing the best data security by using the latest encryption methods.

The three types of IoT services include:

  • IaaS. It provides basic functionality, such as virtualization or storage. It enables organizations to deploy and manage their own applications and data on the cloud.
  • PaaS. Here developers can create, deploy and manage applications on the cloud. It includes features such as application development tools, database, web server and middleware.
  • SaaS. These are cloud-based apps that can be accessed by users over the Internet. It includes applications such as email, office suite, customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning.

How to Choose an IoT Cloud Platform

Choosing the best solution for the project is quite a complex task. There are hundreds of options and vendors at every level of the IoT stack. That said, it’s impossible to have a single set of criteria for all possible IoT projects. Consequently, you will have to do your research to determine the best option for you. To do this, you need to consider things like:

  • The requirements that the project has for device and platform communications. You need to take into account possible hardware limitations and particular protocols that would be used.
  • Security of devices. Some companies require certain authentication to allow devices to connect to the cloud. Some additional means may also be needed to increase security.
  • What tools will be needed for application management and troubleshooting? Are there functions for remote device administration?
  • What data does the company have to collect, store, and process? Depending on the type and amount of information to be stored, you may need different solutions.

So, while IoT platforms share a lot of similarities, they are quite different. Also, your current requirements may not be the same as the requirements you will have in the future. For example, If you’re creating a product for the IoT market, you’ll want to make sure the platform can support the development process as well as any future changes.

Best IoT Cloud Platforms

To help you find the platform that’s right for you, we’ve prepared a list of the most popular solutions on the market today. We will also discuss their main features so that you can choose the best IoT platform for your business.

Amazon Web Services IoT Platform

Being one of the leading cloud platforms, it lets connected devices easily and securely interact with cloud applications. It can support billions of devices. With AWS IoT, applications can keep track of and communicate with devices, even when they are offline.

Main AWS IoT features:

  • Processing of a large number of messages;
  • Secure connection with IoT devices.

Microsoft Azure

This is a collection of services and solutions designed to accelerate IoT projects. It includes pre-configured solutions for common IoT scenarios such as remote monitoring. Azure IoT Suite also includes a set of additional tools and services which can be useful for companies to better manage devices. Due to the plethora of features, this platform is quite complex, it will take you a little time to familiarize yourself with it.

Azure IoT features:

  • Quick creation of IoT applications with a collection of ready-to-use templates;
  • The ability to connect and monitor billions of devices;
  •  Creation of virtual models of the real world to optimize operations and costs.

IBM Watson IoT

IBM is another IT giant that develops a platform for the IoT. Its functionality makes it possible for companies to build, scale, and operate IoT applications. One of the advantages of the platform is that it provides simple examples of apps and interfaces, so even beginners can handle its functionality and features. There also are many analytics capabilities to help get more information from the gathered data.

Salesforce IoT

This is a cloud computing service that helps you to establish a connection between thousands of devices. It also provides you with the ability to take action based on the data. The Salesforce IoT cloud has partnerships with some other companies.

Some features include:

  • Connecting devices and data to create a system of record.
  • Configuring actions and rules to automate responses.
  • Building apps to gain insights and take action.
  • Integrating and extending IoT data across the entire Salesforce Platform.

Oracle IoT

This PaaS platform offers a complete end-to-end solution for collecting and visualizing data from devices and systems. It offers a complete set of features with which users can manage all their devices. The connection of IoT devices can be implemented by using several protocols, including MQTT and HTTP.

Some of the features include:

  • The platform makes it possible to collect and store information from various sensors.
  • Developers can use a set of APIs to retrieve data from IoT devices and systems.

Google Cloud IoT

This is a complete set of tools to connect millions of devices. This service lets you work with data from any number of devices, at any scale. By using machine learning algorithms, this platform identifies patterns that indicate changes in equipment conditions and predicts when equipment is likely to fail. It is worth noting one peculiarity of this platform — it is quite complex and has no customization options, which in some cases can be a problem.

Some features of the service include:

  • Exchanging data between devices and other apps;
  • Connecting and managing devices at scale;
  • A number of tools to process and visualize diverse information.

Cisco IoT

It is designed to manage and monitor a wide variety of devices. This solution is designed primarily for mobile communication operators, and it can fully optimize and utilize the network infrastructure to monitor a large number of devices with different data requirements.

Some features are:

  • A set of features for in-depth control and monitoring of sensors that are connected to the network.
  • Providing security for the data that is being transferred.
  • A set of additional tools to control, manage and store information.

Conclusion

Cloud-based IoT solutions provide a complete infrastructure for deploying IoT applications and using millions of devices: sensors, accelerometers, gyroscopes, etc. A cloud solution typically provides a set of built-in tools, including a web server, application server, and development tools. The choice of the best IoT cloud platform will depend on a wide number of factors, for instance, the size, scope and complexity of IoT projects, organizational needs and preferences, and technical capabilities.