IoT, the Internet of Things, is currently one of the most hyped concepts in the computing world. Cloud IoT platforms may even exceed IoT on the hype scale. Nevertheless, both have real applications and could become important to your business. In this article we’ll define IoT and cloud IoT platforms without too much technical detail, then discuss what you need from a cloud IoT platform and how to choose one.
The simple explanation of IoT is that it is physical things connected to the internet. These things can have sensors that measure various parameters and send their data over the internet, typically back to a remote or “edge” server located in the same geography. Internet things can also take directions via the internet and act on them. Most usefully, the physical things that make up IoT might both send measurements and receive instructions.
For example, a “smart” internet-connected soil moisture sensor could report its readings periodically, and whenever the soil in a field was too dry an internet-connected water valve could open. When the soil moisture was adequate, the valve would close.
The moisture sensor and the water valve might be connected to the same “edge computing” device or node that talks to the internet, or they might be connected to different nodes, since many soil moisture sensors are likely to be used for a large field, while only one centralized irrigation system would be needed for each field.