Designing IoT solutions from scratch is a massive undertaking requiring complete engineering teams to design and develop all the piece parts (IoT device, connectivity, data handling, data models, security, web/mobile applications, messaging, analytics, ML, device provisioning and many more). Given this, the only realistic approach for a company that wants to introduce IoT in its business is to look for solutions already designed by someone else. There are three major supplier types of these – IoT solutions providers, IoT systems integrators or what are referred to as IoT platform providers.

The former provides complete IoT solutions working with customers to customize these to meet requirements and specifications. IoT Systems Integrators work with customers to select the right solution and then develop and integrate these into complete IoT Solutions. Finally, IoT platform providers offer platforms made up of large number of functional parts (IoT Lego bricks) that can be used to create IoT solutions. The three business models are distinct – IoT solutions providers will provide a complete IoT solution, IoT systems integrators will put together and integrate an IoT solution from existing or new parts while IoT platform providers provide the tools for putting together complete IoT solutions.

Price points for the three are High, Higher & Medium/Low but you have you have to have a team to assemble the IoT solution or find a company that has done a lot of the work in order to realize the price and capability potential that IoT platform providers promise.  

The Leading IoT Platform Provider – AWS IoT

Amazon Web Services is today the leading IoT platform provider followed by Microsoft Azure, IBM Watson and offerings from Google, Oracle, Kaa and others. While the leading contenders are similar in that they offer cloud based IoT platforms, Amazon Web Services is unmatched in market share and the breath of what they offer which includes:

  • IoT Device ‘Thing’ Support for ‘edge’ computing
    • FreeRTOS for microcontroller based IoT devices.
    • Greengrass IoT Agent for embedded board OS based embedded computing products and systems incorporating ML.
  • Security & Encryption Architecture and Certificate Solutions
  • Truly scalable cloud-based access and connectivity architecture
    • EC2 instances
    • Application and Traffic load balancing
  • IoT Core Cloud Based Data Handling application incorporating extensive processing and ML.
  • External and inter application messaging.
  • AWS cloud computing platforms for:
    • Data Storage – Timeseries, Simple, Fast, Relational and Long-Term
    • Analysis, Analytics, ML & AI
    • Web Application Servers
    • Mobile Application Servers
  • IoT Platform Management
    • Cloud Watch
    • Management and Governance Tools
  • Competitive Operational Costs

Building IoT Solutions with AWS IoT Core

With all these AWS IoT Lego like building blocks in place, how do you actually build an IoT solution? All it takes is knowledge, determination, and a clear view of what the end IoT solution should look like. Let us address them in reverse order:

  • Clear View of our IoT Solution – a clear understanding and description of what the IoT solution should look like – users, usages, capabilities. What should the IoT solution deliver? This can be a long laundry list created by gathering all stakeholders (do not forget customers) or a more agile approach with initial, short, medium and long-term capabilities. You need to put together a clear view of the IoT Solution.
  • Determination – let us summarize this as leadership, focus, resources, and management. You need to put together the team that will implement the solution and then organize and fund them properly.
  • Knowledge – in order to build an IoT solution with AWS IoT core, your team must have the knowledge of all the piece parts and how to assemble them into a complete solution. The good news is that there is plenty of AWS cloud expertise around. For more IoT specific parts you need to train and/or hire. Time to hire an AWS IoT architect who understands not only IoT, but how to put together a solution using the AWS IoT Core piece parts.

There should be no misunderstanding – it takes a real effort to build an IoT solution. The advantage of the AWS IoT Core foundation is that it has all the parts needed to create a world class one. Follow up blogs will discuss different aspects of what it takes and how it is done.

At Triotos, we decided to build our solutions using the AWS IoT Core platform and have already integrated the AWS Lego blocks into a set of reference solutions and products that we build our solutions around. This saves our customers from having to go through the substantial learning curve involved with the Knowledge part and instead focus on the Clear View of their IoT Solution and Determination to implement it.

About the Author

Mats Samuelsson

Mats Samuelsson is the Chief Technology Officer for Triotos. In this role, he is responsible for the development, integration, and deployment of Triotos technology initiatives.