AWS bolsters its IoT platform with 7 new offerings

 In AWS, Cloud

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the biggest market opportunities of our lifetime. Thirty-one billion IoT devices are expected to be installed worldwide by 2020, and the IoT market as a whole is expected to reach $267 billion by the same year.

Organizations across industries are calling on IoT to drive product innovation, improve operations, increase customer satisfaction, reduce costs, and more, and cloud providers are responding with new IoT applications, analytics, and services. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is at the front of the trend, continually introducing new tools that focus on this market.

In this post, we’ll introduce you to the core components that make up the AWS IoT backbone, share seven new offerings that help strengthen AWS’s IoT platform, and point you to ways in which IoT can be used today.

AWS IoT starts with IoT Core and Greengrass

IoT Core and Greengrass are the backbone of the AWS IoT platform. Released in 2015, AWS IoT Core allows connected devices to securely communicate with your cloud applications and other IoT devices, processes and routes messages between devices and to AWS endpoints, and lets you track and communicate with your devices at all times, even if they’re offline. This enables you to utilize a variety of AWS services to build IoT applications that gather, process, analyze, and act on data generated by connected devices.

AWS Greengrass, announced in 2016, is software that can run compute, data caching, synchronization, and messaging locally for connected devices. It employs the security and access management capabilities of IoT Core, authenticating and encrypting device data at all connection points. Greengrass seamlessly extends AWS to IoT devices, allowing them to make use of Lambda functions to act on the data where it’s generated, while still utilizing the cloud for management, analytics, and storage.

AWS’s new offerings extend this platform and open up new functionality. Let’s take a look.

7 new IoT offerings that strengthen the AWS IoT Platform

1. IoT Device Management

Bringing large numbers of IoT devices online at the same time can be costly, time consuming, and error-prone. IoT Device Management is a managed cloud service that delivers the ability to onboard, organize, monitor, and remotely manage your IoT devices securely at scale throughout their lifecycle. It provides you with access to batch fleet provisioning, real-time fleet indexing and search, fine-grained device logging and monitoring, and over-the-air updates. With IoT Device Management, your business can easily scale its fleets while reducing the cost and effort normally associated with managing large IoT deployments.

2. IoT Device Defender

Security can be a problem for powerful, long-lived IoT devices deployed in a geographically distributed fashion, and the finite amount of compute and memory in connected devices often limits your ability to use encryption and other forms of data protection. In early 2018, AWS plans to release AWS IoT Device Defender to help secure your IoT fleet. The managed cloud service will continually audit your IoT devices, detect abnormalities, alert you on any issues, and suggest mitigation actions, helping bolster security that may be lacking on these devices.

3. IoT Analytics

Available in preview, AWS IoT Analytics is a managed cloud service that provides an easy way to collect, process, enrich, store, and analyze IoT device data. Customers can use IoT Analytics for statistical inference to understand device performance and predict device failure. The service integrates with Amazon Quicksight for quick visualization of your data, and with Jupyter Notebooks for machine learning.

4. Greengrass add-ons

AWS Greengrass offers three new features: access to local resources, over-the-air updates, and the OPC-UA industrial messaging protocol. Greengrass Core devices can now natively interact with the capabilities of the underlying host device resources, including its GPU and camera, using AWS Lambda functions. With over-the-air updates, you can update the Greengrass Core software remotely to take advantage of new features, security enhancements, and bug fixes. Customers can have Greengrass communicate with other equipment utilizing the OPC-UA protocol or their own custom protocol adapters.

5. Greengrass ML inference

Greengrass ML inference, currently available in preview, enables developers to add machine learning to their IoT devices without requiring any specialized ML skills. As part of the AWS Greengrass edge service, it lets you perform inference tasks locally on Greengrass devices, reducing the latency and cost of sending all device data to the cloud for predictions. Instead, data is only sent to the cloud when it requires additional processing. Customers can utilize Amazon SageMaker or another machine-learning framework to build and train their machine-learning models in the cloud, then transfer those models to their IoT devices through the Greengrass console.

6. FreeRTOS

In 2016, microcontroller sales outpaced CPU sales by 40:1, and reached over 20 billion units. Many of these microcontrollers went into small IoT devices such as light bulbs, smoke detectors, and conveyor belts. Amazon FreeRTOS is an open-source IoT operating system made specifically for microcontroller-based edge devices, offering a cost-effective way to connect small, low-power devices to the cloud. FreeRTOS extends the FreeRTOS kernel with software libraries for connectivity, security, and updateability. It enables you to program, deploy, secure, connect, and maintain small, low-powered edge devices.

7. IoT 1-Click

Available in preview, AWS IoT 1-Click is the easiest way for customers to get started with AWS IoT. This service enables simple devices to trigger AWS Lambda functions that execute a specific action based on predefined or custom Lambda functions. For example, you could utilize single-button devices to track asset locations, reorder goods and services, or call technical support. AWS IoT 1-Click creates opportunities to reduce costs and improve efficiency

Ready to adopt IoT?

Increasingly, organizations are recognizing the business applications of IoT and are adopting connected devices for use in preventative maintenance, automated inventory control, self-optimizing production, remote patient monitoring, smart meters, fleet management, connected cars, and more. Whether you’re looking to automate and optimize supply and demand or change the way users interact with your products, IoT can help.

The AWS IoT platform provides businesses with an end-to-end solution where the connected devices, communication, backbone, and security layers work seamlessly with the top layers of the IoT stack, and already numerous organizations in the manufacturing, transportation, energy, utilities, health care, and retail industries are taking advantage.

Contact your SHI account executive to learn more about how you can benefit from IoT on AWS.

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