IoT Product Development

IoT Product Development: Choosing a Web Service Provider

By Ken Oakeson

If you’re planning to deliver an IoT (Internet of Things) product, you may have a solid concept of the IoT Product Development process for the physical internet-connected device, since it’s the centerpiece of your solution. Similarly, you may have a general idea of how you’d like an associated smartphone app or web UI to look, as the UI is the main way that customers interact with your device.


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 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 10X 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 IoT 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. If your solution requirements (power requirements, data latency, data volume, 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.


SGW IoT Product Development Team can help you parse through the options to understand which services are essential to your IoT device, which services are well integrated into the AWS IoT ecosystem, and explore what services are coming in the near future, and 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 – we can provide guidance here as well.


SGW is a member of the APN (Amazon Partner Network) and has both AWS Technical Professional and AWS Business Professional accreditations.