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Amazon throws its hat into the IoT ring

Could AWS IoT be the glue that binds all of the things together?

The Industrial Internet of Things promises to be a game-changer for all involved. While headway has been made with marketing the concept and there plenty of successful examples of siloed IoT deployments, there are still many unknowns; the elephant in the room being a lack of standardized frameworks and protocols. Vendors are grappling to become the glue that ties the ‘things’ together and last week, Amazon officially threw its hat into the ring. 

AWS IoT allows devices to connect to AWS services and interact with one another, regardless of the protocol used. Companies can store, process and analyse data directly from AWS. Devices connect to AWS IoT via the Device Gateway using HTTP and Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT).

Amazon’s new IoT framework, currently in beta, addresses one of the significant obstacles with industrial IoT, which is sporadic connectivity at end-points. Connected devices are usually operated via applications that communicate using APIs, but when devices are unable to respond to API calls for whatever reason, the house of cards begins to tumble. AWS IoT creates a virtual version of each connected device, known as a shawdow, so that applications can query the device and take actions once it reconnects to the network.

AWS said that it had created a new rule engine, which can filter, process, and route data between devices, AWS services, and applications.

Amazon also announced an SDK for developers, as well as starter kits, manufactured by the likes of Arrow, Broadcom, Intel, Marvell, Mediatek, Microchip, Qualcomm, Renasas, SeedStudio, and Texas Instruments. The kits, which are designed to be a simple entry point into Amazon’s take on IoT, include the AWS IoT SDK and hardware components that are ready to connect to AWS IoT.

“The promise of the Internet of Things is to make everyday products smarter for consumers, and for businesses to enable better, data-driven offerings that weren’t possible before. World-leading organizations like Philips, NASA JPL, and Sonos already use AWS services to support the back-end of their IoT applications,” said Marco Argenti, vice president, Mobile and IoT, AWS. “Now, AWS IoT enables a whole ecosystem of manufacturers, service providers, and application developers to easily connect their products to the cloud at scale, take action on the data they collect, and create a new class of applications that interact with the physical world.”

It’s still early days for IoT and vendors continue to make power plays, trying to grab as much of the ecosystem as possible. Cisco is attempting to shift attention away from the centre of the IoT world, and instead telling customs to focus on the edge of the network. The networking giant believes that in order for IoT to truly take off, the grunt work can’t simply be passed over to the cloud.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has announced its Azure IoT Suite, which allows asset management, remote monitoring, and predictive maintenance from the firm’s public cloud offering. It is also working hard to turn Windows 10 into a hub of all things, with the proviso that the things must have a Microsoft logo on them.

The chips have not yet fallen, but with Amazon’s herculean presence in the cloud space, as well as its mind boggling number of customers and partners, AWS IoT could well become the glue that everyone is looking for. Only time will tell.

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