Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) has announced AWS IoT, a new platform that makes it easy for devices — cars, turbines, sensor grids, light bulbs, and more – to connect to AWS services so that companies can store, process, analyze, and act on the volumes of data generated by connected devices on a global scale. Devices connect to AWS IoT’s Device Gateway, and manufacturers can set rules for how AWS IoT handles the data they send, and the actions they take when various conditions are met (such as sending an alert when a pressure sensor reports an unusually high reading or a motion detector is triggered). Connected devices are usually operated via applications that communicate with them using APIs, but devices may not always be available to respond to API calls because of intermittent connectivity or because of power constraints. AWS IoT creates a virtual version, or “shadow” of each connected device that includes all of the information about the device’s state and is always available so that applications can check the device’s status and take actions that are automatically sent to the device once it reconnects. AWS IoT provides an SDK that makes it easy for developers to use the AWS IoT functionality from connected devices, and from mobile and web applications. A number of semiconductor manufacturers also have “Starter Kits” Powered by AWS IoT that embed the AWS IoT Device SDK and offer connectivity to AWS IoT out of the box.
Today, many of the world’s leading manufacturers, developers, enterprises, and smart cities use AWS services to power a wide range IoT applications that span everything from energy metering and oil and gas production to fleet management and smart homes. However, operating highly available and reliable systems that connect and gather data from large fleets of “things” – sensors embedded in everything from manufacturing equipment and vehicle fleets, to fitness devices and homes – involves a significant amount of development and infrastructure effort. To manage this complexity, customers have had to build custom middleware that can translate device protocols (so that applications can interact with these devices) and provision infrastructure that can scale to support a high volume of simultaneous connections between cloud services, mobile apps, and an array of devices which may connect only intermittently and have limited compute, storage, or battery life. With AWS IoT, customers have a pay-as-you-go service that handles the heavy lifting involved in connecting any number of disparate devices, allowing them to securely interact with each other, cloud services, and applications while keeping them up-to-date, and collecting, analyzing, and taking action on the continuous streams of data they generate.