The Internet of Things has always needed is a serious backer to push it on to the mainstream’s radar and make it robust enough as a topic to gain broad adoption.
This new platform focuses on keeping the IoT hardware continuously communicating – matching the reliability Amazon Web Services is known for.
To compensate for spotty connectivity and/or loss of power (two big problems in South Africa) a virtual version of each device (called a “shadow”) is created. The shadow includes all the information of the actual device, and actions can still be taken on the device which will be cued for when it is available again.
Things within AWX IoT will communicate via both Hyper Text Transfer protocol (HTTP) and Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT) with all exchanged data being encrypted. All this moving data is controlled by a Rules Engine in which you can instruct devices on what to do and when to do it, as well as setting authentication:
To get people and companies started, AWS IoT is offering starter kits from various big-name hardware manufacturers such as Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm. With the hardware in hand, you can sign up for the AWS IoT Beta with a free tier account, and then move up to something more serious (and expensive) if it works for you.
If you’re the average maker this service will have various degrees of usefulness to you. If you’ve never mucked around with the back-end of a website or have had to worry about server rental and other trappings of the internet, you may well be lost here. If you do have experience in such things it may be fruitful to jump onto the new service now and poke around with the Beta, especially since there are free versions available.
However, we feel like bigger business that need to monitor some serious (and, again, expensive) assets will likely get the most mileage out of this service.
As far as hardware is concerned, the starter kits contain components that are useful outside of these applications. The Intel starter kit, for example, comes with an Intel Edison, an Arduino breakout board and Grove sensors and actuators. And, because this is an Amazon company, almost all of the kits can be bought directly from the Amazon store.
We’ll keep you up to speed as this service grows and leaves its Beta stage, and any great maker projects that come out of it.