How does the AWS IoT offering compare to others?

The “Internet of things” (IoT) is a growing topic of interest for all tech device enthusiasts. Last year, Amazon announced it’s AWS IoT offering but how does the AWS IoT offering compare to others?

The Internet of Things is a continuously evolving ecosystem of devices, objects people and things that are connected to the internet. These “things” have the ability to communicate with each other or with applications. In other words, digitizing the physical world. They also have sensors that continuously monitor, measure and evaluate by gathering data. This data can then be leveraged for any purpose that the user requires. For example, a modern car may have many sensors that will measure anything from the tire pressure to the amount of G force generated when going around a corner.

Scalability Potential and Reliable Infrastructure

In order to not only capture all of this data but also to leverage it in some sort of meaningful way requires a huge amount of scalability potential as well as a robust and reliable infrastructure. This is where cloud computing comes in. With its seemingly infinite resources and ever-evolving suite of customer driven services, it would seem to be the perfect fit as the infrastructure base from which these IoT platforms should be built.

However, the large public cloud providers are not only providing the infrastructure to facilitate the creation of these platforms but are also building the platforms themselves removing much of the heavy lifting traditionally needed to create these platforms from scratch.

AWS IoT Platform Launched

In 2015, Amazon announced that after a period of beta testing that it would be making its IoT platform available for general use. Given the pedigree that Amazon has in the public cloud marketplace, it could be assumed that AWS IoT could go on to become the market leader in the IoT platform market and this may well prove to be the case. However, AWS are not the only public cloud vendor looking to make its mark on this market.

As expected, all the other major public cloud providers are also dipping their toe into this market also. Microsoft Azure have developed an IoT platform on top of their infrastructure known as the  the Azure IoT hub which has close integration with Azure’s analytics tools. IBM have also created something similar on it’s Blue Mix public cloud known as IBM Watson IoT platform. Salesforce has also chosen to develop their own IoT platform on the AWS infrastructure without using the already created platform created by AWS.

Competitive IoT Market and AWS Differentiation

So with all this competition it becomes increasingly difficult for vendors to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. IBM is doing this by offering configured IoT platform for different things like buildings and vehicles however this is the exception rather than the rule, as most of the major public cloud providers offer a similar platform with only small differences

AWS IoT SDK enables devices to communicate over MQTT, HTTP or WebSockets protocols and   supports C, JavaScript and Arduino programming languages. Azure IoT also offers secure communication using similar communication protocols, the only differentiation being Azure supports AMQP with Azure also having SDK support for additional languages like Java and .NET.

The AWS Unique Selling Point

Possibly the unique selling point in terms of the AWS IoT offering is the scalability. AWS offer the ability to scale to over a billion devices which the other providers currently do not. Security and pricing will always be a factor when deciding on which public cloud provider to choose for your IoT needs.

At this point, it is difficult to establish which of the large public cloud providers will become the market leader in terms of the Internet of Things or indeed if any of them will, but given Amazon’s track record of leading the way when it comes to its cloud offerings, it would not be inconceivable that when it comes to the Internet of Things that they will continually innovate and establish a significant presence in this marketplace.

The ‘Internet of Things’ Potential Impact

With Gartner predicting in 2015 that by 2016 there will be at least 6.4 billion connected “things” in use supporting a total service spending of $235 billion up 22% from 2015 the IoT marketplace and a report from McKinsey & Company’s Global Institute predicting that “The Internet of Things offers a potential impact of $4 trillion to $11 trillion a year in 2025” it is a market that few if any public cloud providers can choose to ignore.

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