Top 7 IoT Cloud Platforms: Reviewed and Tested

16 Jul 2019

Overview

An enormous amount of digitally driven tech trends, involving in all spheres of our lives, provides us with new innovative and never-before-seen opportunities, designed to enhance the quality of life and streamline working tasks performance. The Internet of Things (IoT) plays an extremely crucial role in establishing a smart-base interaction between people and surrounding entities and objects. It is also of high importance, when it comes to acquiring, sending, processing and analyzing data coming from various sources, whether that be sensors, cameras, transponders, and other devices, both for individuals and large-scale companies.

According to the analysis, performed by the Statista Research Department, the total amount of IoT devices applied, are expected to reach over 75 billion by 2025.

Since such devices collect data on continuously-based terms, the total amount of information is so large, specific tools, services and applications are obviously required for its storage and efficient use. In order to minimize expenses, speed up manufacturing processes and leverage the information, acquired from various devices, most of the companies are switching to the cloud platforms for IoT. However, it is vital to define your primary purposes and goals in the first place and which specific services, such as AWS IoT, for example, you should utilize, in compliance with your requirements and needs. According to Forbes, 83% of companies’ workloads will be in the cloud system by 2020.

Cloud Computing Benefits

When applying to IoT cloud platforms, users get undeniable and tangible advantages as follows, just to name a few:

  • Any application can be remotely scanned and updated at any time;
  • Cloud platforms provide clear and visible real-time data on IoT servers and devices, allowing to enhance business efficiency and streamline costs;
  • Safe and confident cloud storage for IoT, as well as continuously trouble-free data transfer between devices, applications, and cloud through the Internet;
  • A great security level of the whole dataset system, being upgraded on a continuing basis by the providers, putting their best efforts in order to ensure information safety;
  • Cloud IoT platforms provide the possibility for companies to expand their business infrastructure, in full compliance with their requirements, without installation of additional equipment, thus reducing expenses and speeding up the operational processes;
  • Both cloud computing and edge computing, integrated with each other, provide a bigger scope of data on operation processes, allowing to filter and exclude the unnecessary information getting into the cloud, as well as to speed up the whole working process and reduce downtimes, by extracting in-depth near-real-time insights.

Fog and edge computing differences

Fog computing and edge computing are almost the same thing with the same functionality and goals, focused on transferring the data processing and analyzing closer to the original source of their occurrence, within a local network. Both technologies designed specifically to partly replace the utilizing of cloud computing, in order to exclude some internet-connection based issues, thus information analyzing and processing procedures may run faster and more effective. 

The real difference between these two comes down to the way of how and where exactly the processing procedure takes its place.

Edge computing data processing runs directly on the equipment, to which IoT devices, such as sensors or cameras, are attached and bound, without any data transferring.

With the fog computing, on the other hand, data processing procedure occurs within a fog node or IoT gateway, located within the LAN, so it can be placed distantly.

The true goal for users here is to find a balance between cloud computing and fog/edge computing data keeping and transferring when needed, in order to combine all of their advantages and features.

IoT Platform Comparison

Microsoft Azure IoT hub

Price: from $10/month

Documentation: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/iot-hub/

Microsoft is a well-known giant developer of digital and information technologies, providing now its services in IoT marketing as well.

Microsoft Azure IoT hub was designed for multiple industry needs and requirements, including remote monitoring, smart spaces, predictive maintenance, etc. It has strong data security level and great scalability, allowing to choose and pay for the exact features you need at the moment, along with various features and functions, adjustable and flexible pay-as-you-go pricing policy (it is free of charge, if the amount of messages is below 8,000 per day).

Microsoft Azure is quite a good choice for any business type. Despite the azure IoT hub architecture complexity, it can be used by beginners, as well as by experts. Unfortunately, as Azure transfer your business’ computing from your office to the cloud, it needs to be expertly maintained, monitored and patched.

Google Cloud Platform 

Price: from $0.010/GB/month

Documentation: https://cloud.google.com/docs/

Google Cloud provides one of the best efficient and scalable platforms for IoT solutions, supporting both cloud and edge computing. Their main goal is to make things easy and fast, resulting in the fastest input/output, as well as provide reliable, secure and huge data storage, allowing you to easily connect, store, and manage IoT data. You will get the advantage of using Google private global fiber network and integration with other Google services. Pricing on Google Cloud may vary as it depends on your individual business needs and includes several factors like a type of data storage preferred, network and operations usage along with data retrieval options. For instance, you have to pay as much as $1.30 every month for storing your 50 GB of data. There is also an easy-to-use calculating tool to estimate the exact costs that meet your budget.

Google Cloud Platform is a wise choice, as it provides decent easy-to-use features and great multi-functional structure, though most of the components are Google-built technologies, coming along with a limited choice of programming languages.

IBM Bluemix

Price: from $0.011/499.99 TB/month

Documentation: https://cloud.ibm.com/docs

Bluemix is one of the cloud-based IoT platforms for building, managing, monitoring and running all types of scalable applications, coming with flexible pricing and layered security. It also supports a DevOps system, open source API and few programming languages, actually offering both PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) platforms. With a PaaS, based on open-source IoT platform Cloud Foundry, it is able to work with the applications in the cloud, as well as in on-premise environments.

While using IaaS, it is possible for companies to leverage IT resources through the Internet – such as compute power, storage and networking. In the view of complex infrastructure and interface, it’s quite hard to get insight on it for a beginner.

Oracle IoT Architecture

Price: from $75.00/month

Documentation: https://docs.oracle.com/en/solutions/iot-asset-monitoring-cloud-with-enterprise-asset-management/

Oracle is one of the best cloud platforms, providing various features, oriented toward manufacturing and logistics operations, supporting integration with Oracle and non-Oracle applications and IoT devices, using REST API.

According to the IoT platforms Gartner, the Oracle has 4.4 overall rating. The Oracle main goal is to help your products reach the market as soon as possible, using high-speed messaging and endpoint management, extending and improving your supply chain, customer experience apps and operational efficiency. By using Oracle IoT cloud platform, you can connect your devices to the cloud, perform a real-time analysis research and integrate acquired data with the company’s apps or web-services. 

The pricing for the Oracle is calculated in compliance with the number of devices. There is an exact fixed amount of messages per device and month and additional charges will then be applied in case of exceeding that amount.

Cisco IoT Cloud Connect

Price: by request

Documentation: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/service-provider/iot-cloud-connect/index.html

Cisco is one of the global leaders in IT service sphere, with the goal to strengthen the relationship with customers and partners. Cisco IoT Cloud Connect is a cloud-based software suite, designed for mobile operators, in order to optimize and streamline the network, security system and data management as well as provide splendid IoT experience. 

The control system is protected by the Cisco IoT cloud from hacker attacks and human-based factor issues. It also provides the possibility for performing flexible virtualized deployment options for devices, along with real-time visibility.

Alibaba IoT Architecture

Price: by request

Documentation: https://www.alibabacloud.com/help/product/30520.htm

Alibaba is a rapidly growing company, which is a part of the Chinese eCommerce corporation- Alibaba Group, believed to be and called as “The Chinese AWS” for a similar structure and working methods. Alibaba IoT platform provides a bunch of services, along with flexible discount plans for new customers, covering up all the key cloud services such as hosting, object storage, elastic computing, a relational database (SQL), Big data analysis (Hadoop), Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and NoSQL database. Being the largest cloud vendor in China, Alibaba provides great opportunities for those seeking to do business in the country, however, it also serves international customers as well.

A high-security level, complied with international regulations, including PCI DSS and HIPAA in the United States, Germany's C5 and the European Union's General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) is claimed by the developer. Though Alibaba is meant to be an international platform, it doesn’t offer the same robust scope of data as those within its own native country.

SAP IoT Platform 

Price: from 25 EUR/month

Documentation: https://help.sap.com/viewer/7436c3125dd5491f939689f18954b1e9/Cloud/en-US

The SAP is a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) product, based on open standards, providing smooth and multi-functional environments, including Cloud Foundry and Neo, for the development, management, monitoring and running of cloud applications. It’s one of the leading IoT Cloud Platforms for the last couple of years, offering most advanced technologies, in order to boost your business efficiency and optimize operational processes. This platform is based on SAP HANA, which is an in-memory database and apps development platform, designed specifically for processing high-flow real-time data.

The SAP provides the users with a wide scope of features, such as a variety of programming languages available for utilizing, DevOps, which simplifies the application development process, user experience, allowing you to develop customizable user interactions and many more. The SAP pricing is quite expensive and tiered up to three types: Medium Business, Enterprises, and Developers.

With consideration of aforementioned, if you decide to use and apply such services, ByteAnt is always ready to offer you competitive solutions with an eye to IoT Cloud Platforms development or provide an appropriate consultation regarding any other software development issues of your interest. Feel free to contact us anytime.

 

From Smart Home appliances to connected cars and robotics, our IoT app development services has no bounds.
About the Author
Valeriy Ilchenko
CEO at ByteAnt
Valeriy is CEO of ByteAnt with over 15 years of experience in software development always focusing and embracing new technologies IoT and SaaS. Besides leading the ByteAnt, Valeriy is a public speaker on tech talks, events, and meetups; mentor and marathon runner.
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From Smart Home appliances to connected cars and robotics, our IoT app development services has no bounds.

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