IoT App Development the AWS Way at ClearScale

September 23 2019

The Internet of Things (IoT) encompasses a wide range of devices, from sensor-embedded medical devices to smart cars. By 2020, it’s estimated there will be over 20 billion of those devices producing 4.4 zettabytes of data. That’s a lot of data — and it offers incredible value for businesses that know how to use it.

Not surprisingly, companies of all sizes and across just about every industry want to leverage IoT-generated data, and they’re eager to develop applications that will allow them to do so. But creating those applications, integrating them with IoT device interfaces, and then harnessing and using the data they produce, isn’t necessarily easy.

IoT App Development Challenges

It’s not that the development process for IoT apps is that difficult. But there are several choices that have to be made regarding the best platform to use, the best topology and protocol for connecting devices, and so on. That requires a certain level of expertise and experience to ensure the optimal decisions are made to achieve the desired outcomes.

There are also a number of unique challenges associated with IoT app development. That includes:

  • Hardware-related issues such as interoperability and connectivity

  • Scalability as IoT solutions need to process events from millions of devices

  • Testing, which can be complicated because it requires assessing how an IoT app will work in a wide range of scenarios and when encountering issues coming from the different layers of the system

  • Security and privacy, including protecting data as it’s transmitted from IoT sensors and devices to the gateway and then to the cloud, as well as regulatory requirements

There’s no standard playbook for developing IoT apps because each one is different. However, developers experienced in dealing with these and other IoT-specific issues are better positioned to help you overcome obstacles and implement the right components and services. They’ve seen what works and what doesn’t, so that you can benefit from their lessons learned.

That’s been the case at ClearScale. We’ve had the opportunity to work with companies across numerous industries to develop and integrate IoT apps and the supporting infrastructure. That has enabled us to further build upon our expertise in app development and develop effective, real-world solutions to IoT app development challenges. Read about some of our experience here:

AWS as a Preferred Platform

One of the primary considerations in IoT app development is the platform the application will be built on. AWS is among the most popular on the market — and one we like to use at ClearScale.

We have become so proficient in using AWS and its services that we earned the distinction of being an AWS Premier Consulting Partner. Because of our proven track record of designing and implementing advanced IoT solutions for clients we’ve also earned competency in IoT. That means we’ve been vetted, validated, and verified as having demonstrated success in this specialized area.

Among the reasons we like using AWS for IoT app development is that it offers a highly reliable infrastructure platform in the cloud and scales to billions of different devices and trillions of messages.

It also offers easy-to-integrate services that save development time and costs and help overcome many of the challenges unique to IoT app development. For example, AWS is currently the only platform that offers easy-to-use services for data management and rich analytics designed specifically for noisy IoT data. AWS IoT Analytics, for example, makes it easy to run sophisticated analytics on massive volumes of IoT data.

Another thing we like about using AWS is that it offers services for all layers of security. That includes preventative security mechanisms, such as encryption and access control to device data, as well as a service that continuously monitors and audits security configurations. AWS IoT Device Defender, for example, continuously monitors and audits your IoT configurations to make sure that they follow security best practices.

In addition, AWS supplies tools that bring artificial intelligence and IoT together to make devices more intelligent and enable continuous improvement. AWS also supports more machine learning frameworks compared to most other platforms.

Spotlight on AWS IoT Greengrass

One of the tools we’ve found to be extremely useful is AWS IoT Greengrass. The software seamlessly extends AWS to edge devices so they can act locally on the data they generate. At the same time, they use the cloud for management, analytics, and storage. Even when they’re not connected to the Internet, the devices can run AWS lambda functions, execute predictions based on machine learning models, keep data in sync, and securely communicate with other devices.

With AWS Greengrass, we can also use familiar languages and programming models to create and test device software in the cloud before it’s deployed to devices. By programming it to filter device data, only necessary information is transmitted back to the cloud.

In addition, AWS Greengrass authenticates and encrypts device data for local and cloud communications. Identity has to be proven before any data is exchanged between devices and the cloud.

Experience Generates Benefits

Tapping the expertise of IoT app developers like we have at ClearScale allows companies to get to market faster because those app developers’ experience can help speed up the overall development process. It also offers cost savings, since there’s no need to hire full-time staff with the specialized expertise required. Plus, outsourcing frees up internal teams to focus on more strategic endeavors.

The ClearScale team has worked with a wide range of companies to develop cloud-native IoT apps as well as to modify legacy apps for use in the cloud. Our experience also includes data collection/analysis and artificial intelligence.

There’s a lot more ClearScale can do as well. To learn about our full range of services, contact us.

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