In this article, we are going to take a look at the top free cloud for IoT platforms. Also, we are going to see some important information about IoT. So, let’s start,
What is IoT?
Before we go into the deep discussion, it’s very important to know what the IoT actually is. Below, we will discuss a brief introduction to the IoT.
Do you even think about a system through which you can control a device located on one side of the world from a location on the other side of the world? Yes, it’s possible through the Internet of Things, also known as IoT. In IoT, every device is interconnected with each other through the internet. This is a system of interrelated computing devices, digital and mechanical machines, and objects that are identified with a unique identifier, or UID. It enables us to transfer data through the network without the help of any human-to-computer or human-to-human interaction.
In the system of IoT, devices need not connect with the public internet, they just need to connect to the network where they can be individually addressable. This new field of technology has evolved through the convergence of technologies including ubiquitous computing, increasingly powerful embedded systems, commodity sensors, and machine learning. It is also a combination of some traditional fields like wireless sensor networks, control systems, embedded systems, automation, etc. IoT is becoming the most popular technology in the consumer market.
The most popular concept of IOT is “Smart Home”, where devices and home appliances such as thermostats, home security systems, cameras, and lighting fixtures are connected to a system through a network and the system is controlled by devices associated with that network like smartphones, smart speakers, voice recognition tools, etc. The Internet of Things, also known as IoT, makes human life much easier and smarter by providing complete control over their lifestyle. So, let’s continue on our main point, which is the top 7 free cloud for IoT platforms.
Top 7 free cloud for IoT platforms
The Internet of things is the new trend in modern technology. In our next section, we are going to introduce some free cloud IoT platforms through which you can design and develop your IoT systems easily. Most of them are open source. You can pick whichever one best suits your needs. Let’s discuss them in brief.
Zetta is an IoT platform based on the Zetta API and written in Node.js. It is the complete toolbox that makes APIs based on HTTP. It is the combination of some web technologies like WebSockets and REST APIs that helps to create real-time applications. Users can use it in either cloud or PC mode. It has an easy-to-use user interface that contains all the necessary programs for controlling sensors, controllers, and actuators. Developers can also create necessary apps for smartphones, devices, and the cloud using this platform.
Arduino is another popular platform for IoT. It combines both the hardware and software perfectly, so it is really easy to use. Everyone can use this platform as Arduino is an open source program. If you are looking for a platform that will provide you with stronger control over the whole development process, then it could be the best choice for you. Arduino has its own programming language and it contains an Integrated Development Environment (IoT) with an easy to use user interface. You can easily install its tools and start using them.
OpenRemote is an open-source IoT platform that can create professional and efficient crowd management, energy management, and other generic asset management applications. This platform usually uses protocols like MQTT, HTTP REST, etc. to create a connection to your IoT devices and applications. This platform contains a standard dashboard for automating, monitoring, and controlling an IoT system.
Kaa is a middleware platform that can provide end-to-end solutions for IoT, connecting applications, etc. It featured a comprehensive way through which users could carry out effective communication and deals. It is a suitable choice for both startups and large enterprises. It contains a multicolored IOT solution that contains advanced deployment models. It has a cross-device interpretability feature. It enables developers to create structures, remote device provisioning, and real-time device control. The most important feature of this platform is that it can manage a number of connected devices in a network and it can collect and analyze data coming from the sensors.
SiteWhere is a platform that enables its users to process, repository, and assimilation inputs coming from the device. It runs on the Apache Tomcat environment and provides support for MongoDB and Hbase. You can also deploy SiteWhere to the most popular cloud platforms like Azure, GCP, AWS, etc. With the help of the SiteWhere instance, you can able to run any IoT application. You can also add widgets through REST services, self-registration, or in batches. SiteWhere uses InfluxDB to store event data. It uses protocols like MQTT, AMQP, Stomp, etc., for connecting with the database. By using this platform, users can also integrate third-party frameworks.
Without these platforms, there are many free tools and platforms available to create exciting IoT systems. You can also use simulators like ThinkerCAD that will help you to simulate your design before applying it to the real system. In this way, you can easily prevent any kind of hardware damage, errors, and bugs. Some of the platforms also provide support for the simulator.
Thingspeak is a cloud platform for the IoT with the support of MATLAB analytics. It allows its users to analyze, aggregate, and visualize the data stream. Through this platform, IoT devices can share live data directly with the ThingSpeark platform. Using this platform, you will be able to create instant visualizations and send alerts to web services. With the help of MATLAB, you can do your visualization tasks, analyses, and data preparation. Besides, this is the platform that enables you to build your IoT projects without developing any software on your own. Even you need not have any severe related experiences. This platform contains both free versions and paid versions.
Blynk is an IoT platform for hardware-agnostic. It comes with some exciting features like data analytics, device management, and machine learning functionalities. The most interesting thing about this platform is that it contains a constructor for developing apps by just using drag-and-drop. You will get a number of built-in widgets that can be used to create white-labeled native Android and iOS apps. This platform comes with a free developer plan that is intended for personal use. Their free version will enable you to include up to 5 IoT devices in your project for free. It also comes with a section of free mobile apps for both iOS and Android. Besides, this platform will provide you with a limited version of a free cloud for IoT storage.
How does IoT works?
We already introduced some amazing open sources. Now it’s time to understand how the Internet of Things actually works. Let’s discuss it,
In an Internet of Things system, all the devices and objects are connected to a platform. These devices and objects contain built-in sensors and actuators and integrate data coming from different devices. To share the most valuable information with the application that was built to address specific needs. With the help of powerful IoT platforms, you will be able to find useful information and information that can safely be ignored. Below we shared how an IoT system works in brief,
First of all, there are sensors on every device connected to the network. One device can contain multiple sensors for various purposes. These sensors share necessary information with the cloud through the network. For example, a smart home is the most popular example of IoT. Here, we can see sensors that measure the temperature. When a temperature is measured in too hot an environment, it sends that information to the cloud where the core system analyzes that information and takes necessary action.
Secondly, there is a system on the cloud that analyzes this information and takes action through the actuators. Now get back to our smart home example. When the system gets information that the room is too hot, it instantly takes action to cool it down. Here, the air conditioner is the actuator that receives that instruction from the cloud and provides action by following it. Please note that it is possible that a device can act as both a sensor and an actuator. For example, an air conditioner can act both as a sensor and an actuator because all air conditioners contain a temperature sensor that measures the current temperature.
This is the basis of how the Internet of Things works. But bigger systems contain the more complex. These systems contain a large set of sensors and actuators. Besides, the code behind the major systems is also large. For example, in a factory management system, there could be numerous types of sensors for different purposes. When this system takes action, it needs to consider all the data coming from different sensors that are related to the situation. Besides, there is a set of rules provided by the user or admin that needs to be taken into consideration too.
Benefits of IoT
The internet of things opens a new doorway to industries. Today many industries are using IoT technology. Below shared some common benefits the IoT provides to businesses,
- Through the help of IoT, you can monitor the processes of your business.
- IoT improves the customer experience.
- New businesses or startups can now save a lot of time and money.
- IoT enhances business productivity. It also adapts and integrates business models.
- IoT can also help to make better decisions and generate more revenue.
- IoT improves the security of the business.
- IoT can provide you with cost-effective operations.
These are the common benefits that the IoT provides to use or businesses. Business Automation is the most exciting feature of IoT as it creates direct connections between apparatuses, devices, and other hardware without the help of any humans. Besides IoT provides a worldwide connection that improves access to pieces of information.
With the help of automation supported by Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning, the Internet of Things provides an easy control system. The connectivity of any IoT system is facilitated by wireless communication technologies and cloud computing. With the help of IoT, factories can now be in need of fewer human laborers for less complex tasks, and the labor cost is below what the business needs.
By using IoT systems, industries can now create automated control remotely over multiple operation areas, including tracking, inventory management, and more. IoT enables every business to have higher efficiency in resource management, such as water consumption, power management, etc. Let’s see an example to make it easier to understand. If we think about a simple motion detector, it can reduce the misuse of electricity and water bills and provide business cost efficiency. Besides, if we think about an automatic fire alarm, it can save both the workers and the business inventory from any unexpected accidents. So, IoT makes the working environment safer and more secure.
Disadvantages of IoT
Though IoT can create a significant positive effect on any business, there are some drawbacks to IoT that we can not ignore. The first drawback of IoT is the security flaws. As an IoT system and its connections mostly depend on networks, there could be a chance of unauthorized access to the network if no strong security is provided. Besides, data leakage is a common issue in IoT systems as smart devices receive and send confidential information. It’s very important because if a system fails to provide sufficient protection of data, this may lead any business to disastrous, costly, and tragic consequences.
On the other hand, to implement an IoT system, a large infrastructure is required and it becomes costly for small businesses. Besides, this large infrastructure will consume more power, which will increase the cost of power. So a business needs a significant investment to install a complete IoT system. The maintenance cost for the whole structure is also high.
There is another problem with IoT-based systems. As the whole system is mostly based on network connectivity. If the connectivity loses at any time, it can cause a massive effect on the industry’s productivity. To prevent this, any industry requires a high-skill network specialist to continuously check and maintain the network. That is costly for a business. Besides if there is any bug or error in the system, it can corrupt the whole system. IoT does not have any international standard for compatibility which makes it difficult for devices with different manufacturers to connect with each other.
On the whole, IoT may provide numerous benefits to the system, but it needs too much time to become profitable for any business. That’s why it’s not suggested for startup businesses, as their investment and inventory are limited.
As we already discussed, IoT is one of the most popular and promising technologies that enables us to lead a smarter life. We can surely say that it will be widespread, updated, and useful in the coming future. Even the current version of the Internet of Things has the ability to provide impressive solutions. But though the Internet of Things also has some drawbacks in some major areas like implementation, maintenance, etc., new businesses should consider these along with their ability before planning to implement an IoT-based system. IoT is a concept of creating a giant network that can connect things with people.