Building Blocks of Building an IoT Product – The Cloud Service
The final building block of an IoT product development is the cloud service. This is what really matters to most IoT customers. Do you want to see whats inside your MI band and how it sends the signal to your phone? Think in terms of the customer. It really doesn’t matter unless it sends data which you can see on your app.
Cloud service and the app is the most interesting piece of the IoT product which helps you visualize, analyze and process data and also helps you take actions. You can build your own cloud service from scratch or you can build it on manage platforms like Azure IoT, Google IoT etc. or you can totally offload this process to a third-party cloud service provider.
For DIY projects I will highly recommend going with a 3rd party cloud services because it not only saves enormous time but a lot of work on building and managing cloud software services. After your DIY is successful and you want to build a full fleshed IoT product which needs an IoT Cloud Service, you can go ahead with either option of building it from scratch or using a managed services based upon your budget and expertise in the field.
I am listing down some of the cool 3rd party cloud services which you can use while developing your project. Also, providing a list some of the popular managed IoT services for your reference.
3rd Party IoT Cloud Service
ThingSpeak – Internet of Things Cloud
ThingSpeak is easiest cloud service to connect your IoT devices to the cloud and visualize data in a beautiful graph. It is super easy to set up, took me 10 mins to create an account, connect a device and plot a temperature graph. ThingSpeak is also free for students, colleges, and non-commercial use and it is very much sufficient while you are working on your DIY project.
ThingSpeak also allows you to make rules on sensor data and take action based on that. Backed by Mathwork, the company behind MatLab, ThingSpeak also provides some serious analytics features for your project.
Wia – Cloud Service for IoT
Wia is another super cool cloud service similar to the ThingSpeak but more powerful in terms of control flows and tons of integrations. I personally like the user interface of Wia apart from its power device management and analytics.
Wia is also free for individuals and it takes hardly 10 minutes to get your account setup, connect your first device and visualize data. They also have a very nice documentation for most of the IoT boards we have discussed so far and a very powerful API for extended use.
Blynk – Mobile App for IoT
If you are more interested in a mobile app for your projects then Blynk is the right solution for you. Blynk is an iOS and Android App which helps you connect, visualize and control your IoT devices. It provides a digital dashboard for drag and drop features to build your custom user interface.
The most interesting bit about Blynk is every project can be branded and published to App Store and Google Play with your own icon and app name. Isn’t that cool?
Managed IoT Cloud Service
Managed cloud service providers are PaaS (Platform as a Service) for IoT ecosystem. One will go for managed cloud service providers only when you are building your own IoT product with expertise in software and cloud systems. For DIY enthusiast I would not recommend going for managed IoT platforms as it needs more effort and time. It would be ideal to stick with some 3rd Party service above until you are very sure to launch your own product and services.
Some of the most popular managed IoT platforms are –
- Google IoT
- Azure IoT
- Amazon IoT
- Samsung IoT
- IBM Watson IoT
- Salesforce IoT
Now we are all set to start work on our first DIY IoT project. In the next article, I will give a quick overview of Arduino board and we will start with building some cool project.