When the hoopla around launching an Internet of Things (IoT) startup fades, reality kicks in. Entrepreneurs realize with dread that choosing an IoT platform is not a piece of cake; neither is connecting IoT software and hardware to the Internet or coordinating sensor and network operations, not to mention the security of data deluge. That is why, much too often, the co-founders of IoT startups get lost in an abundance of choices.
So, why not focus on Amazon IoT? This immensely helpful platform has a lot to offer an IoT startup. No wonder such globally known names as iRobot, GoPro, and Under Armour have launched their connected products with the support of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) IoT platform. Here are seven reasons your startup should also consider using the AWS IoT Platform for your next product.
The AWS IoT platform connects IoT devices to the cloud and allows them to securely interact with each other and various IoT applications. This cloud platform makes things intelligent by collecting and measuring data, analyzing it, and transmitting it to the cloud for further actions. Once connected to the cloud platform, you will be able to operate and manage your solution through the AWS console.
To communicate, devices and the AWS IoT platform use the HTTPS and MQTT protocols. And the AWS IoT message broker, a core embedded service-enabling message exchange, also supports MQTT over the WebSockets. Thanks to these protocols, your IoT startup’s developers can effectively connect the product to the cloud infrastructures of various shapes and sizes.
The latest Stack Overflow Developer Survey also shows the public’s appreciation for AWS. It claims that AWS is the public cloud platform of choice for engineers and one of the most preferred platforms for development ever.
IoT security is an issue of public concern and a stumbling block for the majority of IoT startups. Amazon doesn’t spare resources to protect its customers’ data, devices, and communication. Being a tech giant, it can afford state-of-the-art approaches to solving security issues.
To ensure that data exchange between the AWS IoT platform and connected devices is secure all the way, there are multiple authorizations, authentication, and encryption levels. Both authorization methods—the AWS method (SigV4) and the traditional approach using X.509 certificates—are used with HTTPS communications. MQTT uses the certification-based approach while SigV4 connectivity protects the WebSockets connection. Moreover, product owners can form and enforce their own security policies through the AWS Console or using an API.
AWS IoT is integrated with IAM—Amazon’s very own authentication engine. The service also supports Cognito, an identity management service for mobile and web apps. On top of that, AWS arms customers with AWS CloudTrail, a powerful service that locates and fixes security issues in an AWS IoT account. All this is possible because AWS CloudTrail provides event history of the account activity, including actions taken via the AWS Console.
Amazon is an enabler company that has helped multiple IoT startups get off the ground. Startups are phenomenal organizations that not only deliver value to their customers but are capable of changing people’s everyday lives. Big companies like Amazon understand that and strive to support tech innovation that makes a difference.
Of course, their motives are not purely altruistic. Startups are a valuable category of Amazon’s target audience. An entire section of its corporate website informs budding entrepreneurs about how to lower costs, where to start with various SDKs, and suggests special startup packages, such as AWS Activate for Startups. It also offers success stories, featured IoT startups, interviews, meet-ups, and blog posts for education and inspiration. Additionally, the informative and beautiful documentation describes and answers nearly any question an AWS beginner may have.
Serverless applications are great ways to validate startups’ ideas. Using the serverless approach, an IoT startup can reduce the cost of building an MVP and prototypes as well as add agility to the entire development process. Serverless architecture allows developers to focus on core tasks, without needing to think about how to scale or maintain the server stuff. More deployment, less maintenance.
The code is written and deployed in the form of small functions that are executed on the AWS cloud platform. Under the Amazon billing model, startup owners will have to pay only for the time these functions are executed.
Amazon’s purpose-built service enables all this serverless goodness with a rather straightforward configuration—AWS Lambda. No doubt, AWS Lambda is a useful element in the architecture of an IoT back end. With AWS IoT and AWS Lambda, your startup can build a highly customizable and flexible, serverless back end that is highly automated. You can incorporate any code and native libraries to simplify the creation of cloud-based device-specific algorithms. With Lambda, you can set up the code to be automatically triggered from AWS IoT and other services or call it from any web or mobile app. Profit!
Responding to the soaring demand for data-analytic capacities in IoT software, Amazon has introduced a number of essential analytical tools. Take AWS IoT Analytics and Amazon Kinesis Analytics, for example. AWS IoT Analytics is a powerful service for working with the data received from IoT devices.
It’s a historical type of analytics for understanding long-term device performance, business reporting, and ad-hoc analysis, as well as predictive fleet maintenance. The Internet of Things is at the center of all its features: it enriches IoT data with IoT-specific metadata and places it in an IoT-optimized data store. Now captured, raw data is ready for the specific reporting. The embedded SQL engine extends reporting capabilities and provides dashboards with a specific information set.
Insights suggested by Amazon Kinesis Analytics differ from the IoT-specific time-series data in AWS IoT Analytics. Kinesis Analytics is a general-purpose tool designed to process streaming data in real time, not only from the IoT devices but from other data sources as well. For business purposes, it offers immediate responses when certain anomalies appear. For example, based on IoT-streamed data, Amazon Kinesis Analytics can generate alerts when a certain sensor in your product fails.
Every IoT startup founder should think about the possible ways their connected devices will cooperate with other connected things and third-party services. Amazon makes things easier. They partner with a broad network of IoT device manufacturers, IoT device startups, and IoT software providers. So, young entrepreneurs can be sure that their IoT applications won’t be strictly limited by hardware compatibility.
Amazon pays special attention to IoT companies that produce, integrate, or distribute IoT-related hardware. Under the special IoT Hardware Program, it gathers elaborate technologies from trusted device manufacturers and software providers. So, IoT startups can feel safe—their projects will be scalable and secure. AWS IoT Hardware partners and AWS IoT Competency Partners offer deep domain expertise supported by AWS and IoT Starter Kit with products ready to connect to the AWS IoT platform.
Just think of this: The AWS IoT platform, which consists of eight tools and services for the Internet of Things, is just one offering among more than 100 other Amazon Web Services. The top provider of cloud services has a range of solutions tailored for major customer categories, including startups.
With the AWS IoT Core platform, developers can interconnect IoT devices and make use of other Amazon Web Services. The supported services include AWS Lambda, Amazon Kinesis, Amazon S3, Amazon Machine Learning, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon CloudWatch, AWS CloudTrail, and Amazon Elasticsearch Service with built-in Kibana integration.
The AWS IoT platform is a top choice of developers and IoT startups for a reason. Nearly any IoT startup can get down to what it really needs with AWS. Thanks to the impressive infrastructure AWS offers, entrepreneurs get better flexibility in terms of cost and options to choose from the variety of cloud-based services.
The pragmatic approach to IoT security and stability in operations are the final points in favor of AWS as an IoT platform provider. The rest is a matter of personal experience, so don’t hesitate to share your next big thing built with the AWS IoT platform.
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