Choosing the right IoT platform for your business can be challenging due to the active marketplace and diverse value propositions. When evaluating IoT platforms, it is important to consider certain aspects, as there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question “How do I choose the best IoT platform for my business?”.
Consider factors like compatibility, scalability, security, and pricing when evaluating platforms. We have provided a brief comparison of popular IoT platforms such as AWS, Azure, Google, and CLEA to assist you in making an informed decision.
- Compatibility – IoT platforms should enable seamless integration and interoperability across various devices – including sensors, gateways, and other IoT endpoints – communication protocols, cloud services, data analytics tools, and other third-party applications commonly used in IoT deployments.
- Scalability – Many IoT projects grow over time, and an IoT platform should comfortably scale to a growing number of connected devices, as well as to increasing data flows.
- Security – IoT platforms should prioritize security, to safeguard integrity, confidentiality, and availability of the whole IoT system.
- Pricing – The pricing structure should be transparent, both in terms of upfront costs and recurring expenses, and possible pay-as-you-go or staggered pricing that accommodate increasing device counts or data volumes.
To help you in your own considerations, we have come up with a brief comparison of some of the most popular IoT platforms, looking at the different services and features they provide.
1. AWS IoT Greengrass
AWS IoT Greengrass is an open source IoT edge runtime and cloud service that extends AWS functionality to edge devices. The ability to run AWS Lambda functions and containerized applications on edge devices allows for real-time data processing at the edge, as well as performing machine learning inference locally using cloud-trained models. With Greengrass, devices can also operate offline, ensuring continuous functionality even when connectivity is intermittent.
AWS IoT Greengrass provides comprehensive device management capabilities, including remote device configuration, software deployment, over-the-air updates, and device shadow synchronization. It is designed to scale for large-scale IoT deployments: by creating groups, organizations can deploy software updates to multiple devices collectively, as well as manage local messaging and data synchronization within the group. Greengrass seamlessly integrates with various AWS cloud services, allowing bidirectional communication between edge devices and the cloud and enabling easy ingestion of edge data into AWS IoT Core, Amazon S3, Amazon Kinesis, and AWS IoT Analytics.
2. Microsoft Azure IoT Hub
Microsoft Azure IoT Hub is a cloud-based service that serves as a central hub for communication between an IoT application and the devices it manages, with support for a wide range of protocols for device connectivity, including MQTT, AMQP, and HTTP. It enables bi-directional communication between devices and the cloud, allowing devices to send telemetry data and receive commands and notifications back from the cloud. Such feature is critical for real-time monitoring, analysis, and visualization of IoT device data.
Azure IoT Hub can scale to lots of simultaneously connected devices and events per second to support complex IoT workloads. Device twin and direct methods enable remote configuration, monitoring and control of devices, firmware updates, and management of device properties, ensuring centralized control and efficient management of IoT deployments. Robust security mechanisms – such as the usage of X.509 certificates and integration with Azure Active Directory for fine-grained access control – protect both devices and data. Azure IoT Hub seamlessly integrates with other cloud services from the Azure ecosystem – Azure Stream Analytics, Azure Functions, and Azure Machine Learning – for advanced data and event processing and analytics on the cloud.
3. Google IoT Core
Google IoT Core is designed to provide a scalable and secure cloud-based infrastructure for IoT deployments. Using a distributed architecture, it can effortlessly handle high-volume data ingestion and processing, easily scaling to many IoT devices. Supporting standard protocols like MQTT and HTTP, it allows devices to securely send telemetry data to the cloud, also providing features like message routing, filtering, and transformation.
Google IoT Core offers robust security features, including device authentication using X.509 certificates or JSON web tokens, as well as access control through IAM roles and policies. It integrates with other Google Cloud services like Cloud Pub/Sub for reliable message queuing and event-driven processing and Cloud Functions for serverless computing. The integration with the Google Cloud ecosystem allows organizations to leverage additional services for analytics, machine learning, and storage. With its simple device management interface and intuitive setup process, Google IoT Core is an accessible platform for businesses looking to deploy and manage IoT devices at scale.
CLEA is SECO’s Edge and Cloud AI/IoT software platform for advanced intelligence and analytics, built to transform devices and data into actionable value in the easiest and most secure way. CLEA goes beyond traditional IoT platforms by focusing on field data, while still providing cutting edge features in device management such as application management, remote assistance and a variety of services designed for large, mission-critical fleets.
Amongst its device management features, over the air (OTA) software updates with support for roll back and partial rollout, mobile connectivity management, file transfer and log review are some of our users’ favorites. CLEA enables customers to have full control over their data journey, from how it is collected to how it is processed to where it is stored.
It is designed to scale to huge numbers of connected devices and exchanged messages, and in turn provides the capability to deploy AI models at scale in minutes, in the Cloud, but also on your fleet at the Edge. CLEA users are also provided with all the tools to build their own customized AI applications: an extensive set of APIs and clients eases the data engineer and data scientist’s job, who can then use their favorite frameworks to build their models, although some ready-made integrations are provided, for example with Tensorflow and Spark.
What’s more, the whole CLEA stack is built atop Kubernetes and is not only cloud-agnostic – which means freedom of choice between AWS, Azure, and Google cloud services – but it can also run on premises and in other deployment scenarios, according to the customer’s needs.
As we already said, several technical factors come into play when comparing different IoT platforms, but some features more than others deserve in-depth evaluating.
AWS IoT Greengrass and Microsoft Azure IoT Hub both excel in tight integration with their respective ecosystems, making them a natural fit for business who are already using AWS or Microsoft services and tools. Both their infrastructures can also support large-scale deployments, capable of handling a high volume of devices and messages concurrently. In the case of AWS IoT Greengrass, a steeper learning curve and possibly higher costs might represent a limitation, while Azure IoT Hub’s cons may include complexity for non-Microsoft ecosystems and higher pricing.
With compatibility for a wide range of devices and support for multiple protocols like MQTT and HTTP, Google Cloud IoT Core offers flexibility in device integration, and is also extremely easy to use thanks to a straightforward setup and user-friendly interface. However, compared to other IoT platforms, it may have fewer advanced features and customization options, which might be a limitation for businesses with specific needs.
Built to be the foundation of smart-IoT operations, CLEA’s architecture is excellent where scalability, privacy and reliability is a must. Completely hardware-independent, CLEA runs on the customer’s own infrastructure / intranet and is open-source, so users have full control over security and customization. Price is also always under control, as CLEA is always provided as a monthly subscription, which is metered on the consumption and on the deployment model. What really sets CLEA apart, however, is its compatibility with multiple cloud providers and its availability for on-premises needs. This means you can effortlessly integrate your IoT solution with your preferred cloud infrastructure, which makes the right option for businesses seeking flexibility and scalability.
Looking for a centralized platform? CLEA offers an ideal solution for building service ecosystems and vertical IoT products.
Get started by exploring these resources. If you prefer speaking with a SECO expert, contact us today to discuss how we can advance your IoT strategy together.