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How Amazon Is Changing the Internet of Things

Credit: dennizn/Shutterstock

In November 2017, Amazon unveiled a host of new services for its AWS IoT platform. There was plenty to learn about how AWS would lure developers to build services for the fast-growing IoT space.

One place to start is with a new, dedicated analytics service for data. Appropriately named AWS Analytics, it's built to manage all that data generated by devices in the Internet of Things. When you get multiple devices talking to one another and running various protocols, there's a lot to store and analyze.

"With the AWS IoT Analytics service, you can process messages, gather and store large amounts of device data, as well as, query your data," said Tara Walker, a technical evangelist for AWS, in a company blog post. "Also, the new AWS IoT Analytics service feature integrates with Amazon Quicksight for visualization of your data and brings the power of machine learning through integration with Jupyter Notebooks. [Read related article: What Small Business Owners Need to Know About AWS]

AWS Analytics enables you to collect and analyze the vast volume of data that is collected from Internet of Things devices. Credit: Amazon

As is common with new technology, security is a main concern for any type of connected device. Amazon's solution is the AWS IoT Device Defender, which is built to lock down everything. Amazon says that the service can analyze data shared from devices and audit security practices to ensure they are playing along with the company policy.

If devices aren't behaving as they should, administrators are notified so they can investigate if something is awry. As Amazon notes, a spike in outbound traffic can be an indicator of a device that's been hijacked to participate in a DDoS attack. Many good security practices with IoT revolve around having the right information to analyze the situation. This is particularly critical with IoT, as data is shared across devices and with cloud services.

There are also IoT use cases that are especially sensitive to security, such as fitness wearables, retail sensors, and the connected home. While building easy sharing makes them easier for day-to-day use, security concerns should also get the same type of attention.

Another intriguing innovation is the AWS IoT button, which is based on the company's popular Dash buttons. A company can use the set of APIs to build a product that sends an alert, makes an order, or another communication from a small IoT device.

Another service to keep an eye on is AWS Greengrass. This service enables companies to use edge computing systems that process data closer to its creation point. With Amazon rolling out machine learning to the service, companies will potentially be able to better train their systems to have IoT data be used for real-time decision making. These are key services that are part of Amazon's wider effort to capture what's projected to be a $267 billion IoT market by 2021.

Derek Walter

Derek Walter is the founder of Walter Media, which offers writing and content strategy services. He is also the author of Learning MIT App Inventor: A Hands-On Guide to Building Your Own Android Apps.