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IoT application development: reviewing the most popular IoT platforms

 
Having high technology potential and promising to transform a variety of industries, today the Internet of Things attracts a lot of attention and huge investment. Analysts expect that by 2020 there will be up to 30 billion connected devices worldwide.

At the moment, we see a significant rise in IoT solutions, with a wide range of use cases, advantages, and opportunities. In these terms, IoT expertise, security issues, and proven technologies take the center stage in mobile and web app development.

By now, there have been defined specific patterns for building, connecting, and securing IoT solutions. With IoT platforms, you ensure seamless integration with various hardware by using a wide range of communication protocols, different types of topology, and applying SDKs when needed. So, what is IoT platform?

Simply put, an IoT platform is primarily about connecting IoT devices and applications and filling the gap between device network and sensor arrangement. By using backend applications and advanced analytics, an IoT platform enables understanding and receiving value from large data amounts generated by thousands of IoT devices.

Since today the Internet of Things attracts a lot of attention and huge investment, there are many IoT platforms providing the ability to develop, deploy, and scale IoT applications. In this post, we’ll consider the most popular IoT platforms including those from such key players as Microsoft and IBM.

 

IoT platforms

 

1. Microsoft Azure IoT Suite platform

 
Like other corporations interested in IoT growth, Microsoft works hard on delivering successful tools and technologies for IoT application development. Microsoft Azure IoT Suite platform provides a wide range of services allowing to build, customize and extend IoT solutions.
 
Microsoft Azure IoT Suite offers the following capabilities:

  • Collecting, storing, and querying large data amounts
  • Analyzing data collected from multiple devices and applications
  • Visualizing real-time and historical data
  • Managing devices
  • Making integration with back-office systems

 
Microsoft Azure IoT Suite is a complicated platform mainly introduced by:

  • Supported protocols: HTTP, AMQP, MQTT
  • Data management tools: Cosmos DB, Microsoft SQL, Azure Storage
  • Monitoring and analytics tools: Azure Stream Analytics
  • Analytics, machine learning: Azure ML
  • Data visualization: Notification Hubs, Power BI
  • Monitoring and management features: IoT Hub, Event Hubs

 
In Azure IoT Suite, Stream Analytics is responsible for providing intelligent data analytics and processing incoming telemetry. Also, this service allows analyzing and delivering informational messages to other services, and performing aggregation.

Microsoft Cosmos DB, Microsoft SQL, and Azure Storage enable data storage and management, while Power BI is used for data visualization via interactive dashboards and tables.

Azure IoT Hub is used for device management and cloud-device messaging. Being an essential platform component, the service ensures the device-to-cloud and cloud-to-device communications and allows sending commands to certain devices.

 

2. IBM Watson IoT platform

 

IBM Watson IoT platform is a cloud-hosted service, allowing to connect IoT devices and manage the entire IoT landscape. The platform provides such possibilities as gathering, analyzing, storing, and communicating data, while enabling the security of multiple devices and applications.

 
Get insight into IBM Watson IoT platform elements:

  • Supported protocols: MQTT
  • Data management tools: IBM Watson IoT Platform
  • Monitoring and analytics tools: IoT Real-Time Insights, IBM Streaming Analytics
  • Analytics, machine learning: Predictive Analytics service (on Bluemix) + SPP Modeler (offline)
  • Data visualization: Embeddable Reporting, IBM Push Notifications
  • Monitoring and management features: IBM Watson IoT Platform

 
So, with IBM Watson IoT you’ll get the ability to remotely manage and monitor devices, receive real-time analytics, visualize data on web interactive dashboards, and even enrich IoT solutions with machine learning and natural language processing capabilities.

 

3. AWS IoT platform

 

Amazon Web Services IoT is an automated cloud platform allowing connected devices to easily and safely interact with cloud applications and other devices. Enabling data processing, AWS IoT platform ensures data protection and communication security.

Like other services, AWS IoT provides remote device management, data visualization, and cloud-device messaging capabilities.
 
Speaking about platform components, the platform includes:

  • Supported protocols: MQTT, HTTP, WebSockets
  • Data management tools: Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Redshift
  • Monitoring and analytics tools: Amazon Kinesis
  • Analytics, machine learning: Amazon Machine Learning
  • Data visualization: AWS Lambda, Amazon QuickSight, Amazon Simple Notification Service
  • Monitoring and management features: AWS IoT

 
The device SDK supports such programming languages as C, JavaScript, and Arduino and contains client libraries, a developer guide, and a migration guide for manufacturers as well.

AWS IoT platform provides SDK for fast and simple connection of devices and applications. Also, Amazon Web Services IoT enables message exchange with AWS IoT via MQTT, HTTP, and WebSockets protocols.  

 

4. GE Predix IoT platform

 
Comprising a wide range of tools and services, General Electric’s Predix platform helps build, deploy, and manage IoT applications. By using GE Predix, you get the ability to register and connect multiple devices as well as collect, store, and analyze large amounts of data.
 
Concerning platform elements, GE Predix includes:

  • Supported protocols: MQTT ,WebSocket, HTTPs
  • Data management tools: Asset Data, Time Series, Redis, PostgreSQL, Blobstore
  • Monitoring and analytics tools: Analytics Runtime
  • Analytics, machine learning: Custom Analytics Support (Python, Java, MATLAB)
  • Data visualization: Mobile SDK, Dashboard Seed
  • Monitoring and management features: RabbitMQ

 

5. Google Cloud IoT

 
With the end-to-end platform, Google provides the ability to connect multiple IoT devices, receive advanced analytics, accelerate business, and improve decision-making. For today, Google Cloud IoT is among the most popular IoT platforms in the world, enabling users to reduce costs and deploy IoT applications.
 
Check out Google Cloud IoT platform elements:

  • Supported protocols: MQTT, HTTP
  • Data management tools: Cloud Storage, Cloud Bigtable, or Cloud Spanner
  • Monitoring and analytics tools: BigQuery
  • Analytics, machine learning: Cloud Machine Learning
  • Data visualization tools: Cloud Data Studio
  • Monitoring and management features: Cloud IoT Core

 
IoT Core represents a completely managed service and an essential platform component, enabling users to easily connect and manage devices and applications, collect and analyze data in real-time. What’s more, IoT Core helps ensure security and establish safe communications,

Using Google Cloud IoT platform, you get advanced intelligent analytics thanks to BigQuery, receive simple data visualization feature with Cloud Data Studio, and derive intelligence with the help of Cloud Machine Learning.
 

Hope, the article has been useful to you. If you have some questions or need advice to your project, feel free to apply to us and get smart recommendations. We’re always ready to help you validate your idea, choose an IoT platform, define the best technology stack, and build a great project.
 
Also, explore the main factors of successful IoT application development and IoT security risks and vulnerabilities.