August 13, 2015

663 words 4 mins read

So many IoT software platforms, where to begin?

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When you talk about the Internet Of Things, there are two major types of platforms. The first is hardware and while it’s growing, it’s fairly easy. The big hardware platforms are Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Particle, Intel (Edison), and MediaTek. There are, of course, many more, but that covers a majority of the hardware. However, since the hardware tends to be small, low power, and “dumb”, the IoT revolution will truly be built on software. As such that brings us to our second platform list, which is much bigger and much more confusing.

In my research of IoT software platforms I quickly realized that there were so many of them out there, it was hard to even keep track of them. There’s no “standard” around the connected world, yet, which means feature set differentiation is another story all together. I’ve not even attempted to use most of these platforms, but I wanted to share my list and notes with the world.

  • Pubnub — Pubnub has been around for a while, originally focusing on RTC on the web. Recently they’ve expanded their offerings to include targeting IoT.
  • SmartLiving — SmartLiving seems to be targeting the mid-way point between using something very simple like IFTTT, and full blown programming enviroments.
  • Temboo — Temboo offers a variety of libraries (for various hardware platforms), a variety of SDKs (in languages of your choice), along with a library of choreos to get things done out of the box.
  • Node-Red — Node-Red is a NodeJS based application that sits on the higher end IoT devices (like RPi and Intel) and provides a more graphical/drag-and-drop method of programming.
  • Dweet.io — Dweet is a very simple method of getting IoT data out into the world, much like if you were tweeting. It’s equally easy to collect the data with some other service, if you know the device name.
  • Octoblu — Octoblu touts itself as being the “The Integration of Everything”. It’s a very drag-and-drop web interface for design, along with its own computer systems.
  • DeviceHub — DeviceHub advertises bi-directional communication and APIs. They seem to be very early stage currently.
  • Freeboard.io — A very easy dashboard service for your IoT devices. You can be showing off data from your phone (as a proxy IoT device) with their tutorial in just a few minutes.
  • Parse — Parse is, I think, originally a mobile SDK for exchanging data and running analytics. Recently they’ve expanded into IoT.
  • Amazon Web Services — Amazon is the IaaS leader and while they don’t specifically target IoT, a number of their services (such as Kinesis) can easily be used.
  • ThingWorx — ThingWorx claims to be “the first software platform designed to build and run the applications of the connected world”, but I can’t even find a mention of what hardware they support.
  • Mulesoft — Mulesoft has been traditionally focused on SaaS APIs, but they’ve also started to bring IoT APIs into the mix.
  • IFTTT — If This Then That is a wonderful, easy to use site/service with a plethora of channels for you to choose form.
  • OpenHab — OpenHab is an open source home automation platform. It supports a number of classic IoT devices, along with some more traditional hardware.
  • Seecontrol — Claims to be the “No code IoT cloud service” but is more enterprise focused.
  • Kaa Project — Kaa is an open source IoT middleware platform.
  • Particle.io — Particle is one of the newly emerging hybrid options. They make a hardware and software platform.
  • Pinocc.io — Pinoccio is also a hybrid hardware/software option which is focused on light weight mesh networking.
This is, of course, not an exhaustive list. So if you know of other platforms that I don’t have, please leave a comment and let me know. During my research I found an article dated November 2014 which read “Internet Of Things: Software platforms will become the rage in 2015". While 9 months isn’t exactly prophetic, I would tend to agree after looking at the above list.