If you’re planning to deliver an IoT (Internet of Things) product, you may have a solid concept for the IoT product development process of physical connected products and the software development process, since it’s the centerpiece of your solution. Similarly, you may have a general idea of how you’d like your connected devices or Web User Interface (UI) to look, as the UI is the main way that customers interact with your device in real time.
Your platform choice for the web services component, however, will likely be the greatest determinant in how well your solution scales from the exciting initial product release to the volumes that make the product profitable.
Specifically, your web services component will be comprised of the services supported by the IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service) provider, along with the product-specific IoT technology pieces that you build on top.
Among the standard web service providers, some clear leaders have emerged in the last several years. In particular, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has a disproportionately large percentage of the hosted web service volume.
In 2015, Gartner’s closely-watched Magic Quadrant Report for cloud infrastructure indicated that AWS had greater than ten times the volume of all the other industry players combined (measured by computing capacity). A year later, Gartner simply describes it as “many times” the volume of the others combined. Whatever the ratio is now, AWS is in front, followed by Microsoft, then Google, then a number of others.
In the Internet of Things or IoT product development space, there are other service providers that don’t have the scale or volume but provide more comprehensive platforms built around particular protocols and technologies.
IoT Product Development: Web Services Benefits
If your solution requirements (power requirements, data latency, data volume, data collection, etc.) map well to the strong suit of one or more of these providers, you should consider them as well. With AWS as an IaaS/PaaS provider, you should expect the following benefits:
- Economies of scale that allows relatively low prices and plenty of capacity.
- A secure framework, although you are always responsible for a portion of the overall security.
- Elasticity to quickly scale up (e.g. when your product sales and usage spike) or down (e.g if your product is not used much in a particular season).
- A worldwide footprint that provides a shorter latency (i.e. a more responsive service).
- A very large and growing set of services covering the spectrum from IaaS (things like virtual machine instances and corresponding block storage) to PaaS (business analytics or machine learning, as examples).
Although AWS’s broad array of services may be the attribute that’s most difficult for competitors to match, it can be difficult to determine which ones to use and how to best use them together – even more so if you’re considering services that AWS has just introduced or are currently only available to preview.
An IoT product development team can help you parse through these options and understand which services are essential to your IoT device. What services are well integrated into the AWS IoT ecosystem, and explore what services are coming in the near future? Also, which services you may want to take advantage of in the future, as your product evolves or your product portfolio expands.
You may also want to use a particular set of AWS services to validate your prototype, but do it with an eye towards what services you’ll need in your polished final product design.
SGW is a member of the APN (Amazon Partner Network) and has both AWS Technical Professional and AWS Business Professional accreditations.