The Internet of Things (IoT) has exploded and it’s evolving faster than most of us imagined. The IoT ecosystem is made of a number of different companies that specialize in different aspects of the field. But for this post, I'm going to focus on 3 IoT platforms that are helping companies connect IoT devices.

The rapid rise of IoT can be attributed to the rise in companies building sensors and receivers, and PaaS providers. But on the other hand, it also works vice versa as the adoption of IoT is also driving PaaS providers.

With PaaS, developers get access to middleware, infrastructure, tools, and services offered by the provider.

PaaS Defined

PaaS stands for Platform-as-a-Service which is a category of Cloud computing. 

This service basically allows users to develop, manage, and run applications in Cloud without having to deal with the logistics of building and maintaining the infrastructure that’s associated with developing and launching an app.

IBM Watson

One area that was difficult for IoT developers was the use of predictive analysis on IoT data. IBM Watson was released to fix that and much more. Watson offers a set of APIs with a host of different services that helps make this process quite easy. 

There are plenty of exciting features, which are the ability to understand the sentiment of a conversation as well as recognize objects in images. So you can use IBM’s cognitive computing service to assist a human in making decisions. 

What Watson does really well is quickly shuffling through an enormous amount of data generated by connected devices. You can access Watson’s skills by accessing the services on offer through the IBM cloud.

Key services on offer:

• API that lets computers understand human conversations
• Machine learning
• Predictive analytics
• Image and video recognition
• Textual analytics

As a result, developers will be able to build a host of new products with new user interfaces and capabilities.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS enables service, security, and support for IoT on a global scale. This is possible because of Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) which facilitates immediate access to the desired computing power.

As a result, it can easily support a high volume of data and big data analyticsFurther, Amazon Kinesis helps you ingest an enormous amount of data from thousands of sensors. 

This service is able to collect a massive amount of throughput data from gateways and devices and then analyze it. Further, it can store it in the Cloud for applications to access and consume. This can enable quick decisions while supporting data at any scale. 

Your data is kept secure whether it’s at rest or in transit by AWS. The company provides a pay-as-you-go service model for IoT application as well as tiered pricing, active marketplace, and reserved instances

This platform also enables infrastructure on demand to accommodate any rising IoT system needs. So you can easily access more computing capability, storage, and global resources as needed. For developers, it’s a great option to build IoT applications as the tools, data management, and programming languages are all flexible. 

AWS offers all the common features of IoT, like the following:

• ActiveMq servers
• Data analytics and storage for vast volumes 
• Device analytics
• Device messaging/notifications
• Enhanced availability and flexibility
• Mosquito servers 
• Pay-as-you-go
• Privacy
• Resources on demand
• Scalability
• Security
• User identity

Another key feature for developers are the services that make it easy to import parts of an application. All the complicated work can be handled by services like Amazon Mobile AnalyticsAmazon Cognito, and Mobile Push

Carriots

Carriots is a great IoT cloud platform that can be used to connect devices and enhance M2M communication while capturing and managing data. It’s quite straightforward when it comes to connecting one device to any other device and then to the cloud.

It’s a fairly simple PaaS that allows up to ten users within a company to use it for free. Beyond that, businesses will only have to pay for the services that they’re using. 

It’s a simple four-step process:

1. Start by connecting the devices to the cloud platform
2. Use the Carriots RESTful API to push or pull encoded JSON or XML data
3. Use two-way communication protocols to generate rules for each device
4. Scale up to an infinite amount of devices

Carriots runs on a public cloud like Microsoft Azure, but developers can access a private cloud with a licensed PaaS. When it comes to IoT PaaS, the main difference here is that Carriots makes it easy to develop custom front end on top of its platform. This enables users to get the exact experience that they’re looking for. 

Further, users also have access to the power of the underlying technology and this has enabled Carriots to enter sectors of the market that weren’t very technologically aware. 

Conclusion

It’s difficult to say if one platform is better than another for building certain types of IoT apps like home automation. But so far, it seems like home automation app builders like what’s offered by AWS while industrial IoT app builders prefer what’s offered by IBM and Carriots.

With so many players in this niche, it’s going to be very interesting to see how things progress, isn't it?

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Andrew Zola is a freelance writer, designer, and artist working in branding and marketing for over ten years. He is a contributor to various publications with a focus on new technology and marketing.

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