The widespread availability and adoption of cloud-based services has accelerated the development and acceptance of certain technological tools and concepts. The Internet of Things took advantage of cloud proliferation, capturing both consumer and corporate attention.
IoT has moved to the top of Gartner's Hype Cycle because of the explosive growth of mobile devices and consumer-oriented wearable technology. Corporate executives are strategizing over how to transform their businesses by deploying a new generation of "smart" products and services. Creating these smart products and services requires four essential elements: sensors, software, analytic systems and communications networks.
Rapid advancements in nanotechnology have made it possible to produce and place sensors on almost anything. Another rapid evolution of software, fueled by the open source movement, has created a new set of applications that can instruct the sensors to capture specific data and transmit that data to the appropriate destinations.
The cloud plays a pivotal role in the evolution of IoT in two primary ways. First, it provides the pervasive network connectivity necessary to transmit the messages to and from the sensors. Second, it provides virtually unlimited data storage and compute power to capture and analyze the data that IoT-enhanced products and services generate.
The idea of businesses taking advantage of this type of connectivity has been recognized for years, but it was generally relegated to a limited number of industries under the label of machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. Because the cloud dramatically reduced the cost of connectivity, data storage and computing power, it allowed businesses to significantly expand the range of products and services that could be connected economically. In other words, the cloud has exponentially expanded the M2M opportunity and ignited the IoT market.
AWS claims a number of relevant offerings for IoT deployments. It starts with more than 30 Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud instance types with varying CPU, memory, storage and networking capacities to fit different use cases and applications. AWS also offers highly scalable analytic capabilities, such as Amazon Kinesis, which can process hundreds of terabytes of data per hour from hundreds of thousands of sensors at a time. AWS also supports every major software development code associated with IoT deployments.
In response to the lingering security concerns regarding IoT, AWS offers Identity and Access Management capabilities, Secure Token Service for data storage with built-in encryption, and Amazon Cognito for securing mobile infrastructure.
More importantly, AWS provides all these functional capabilities on a pay-as-you-go basis, which gives it additional financial and deployment flexibility advantages. This is particularly important at this stage of the IoT development lifecycle in which many organizations are still in pilot programs and want to mitigate the risks associated with initial trials. The AWS offerings enable businesses to experiment without making significant capital investments.
In addition, the parent company, Amazon, has also been a pioneer in deploying robots and other remote-controlled and automated systems to manage its other operations, including warehousing and inventory control. These real-world experiences give it a solid understanding of the operational realities associated with the evolution of IoT.
AWS also augments its rapidly expanding array of IaaS products with a growing partner ecosystem that can supply in-depth business expertise about how to use its solutions to address specific IoT operational needs and capitalize on real-world IoT market opportunities across various industries.
All these assets can make AWS a de facto -- albeit underappreciated -- leader in the IoT market.
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