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AWS develops IoT for large and small users

Tuesday 8 November 2016 | 09:43 CET | Background
The IoT trend has not gone unnoticed at Amazon Web Services (AWS). In the fall of 2015, the company started rolling out its IoT Cloud platform, which both large and small developers can use. They are able to connect sensors and other devices to the AWS platform via the internet. In an interview with Telecompaper, AWS said it sees itself as a bridge between physical objects and IT services.

Developers need to build the application around the platform by themselves. AWS offers support if need be, but initially, it is up to the developer to build an ecosystem and define rules for it. If customers pay extra, AWS is prepared to carry out development, implementation and administration. AWS was not able to provide any financial numbers on its IoT activities, but the provider said the IoT activities are contributing to its strong increase in total turnover (+54%). 

Simple tools for consumer at home

AWS is offering developers the possibility to develop modules and has some tools to connect things to the internet. For example, developers can use the recently introduced AWS IoT button to carry out simple tasks using Wi-Fi, like turning the lights on and off, or opening a garage door. It is a device with only one button, and it does not need a gateway. The device uses Wi-Fi and operates completely in the cloud. 

Technical evangelist Danilo Poccia of AWS told Telecompaper that the AWS IoT button was sold out. Last August Amazon.com also introduced the Dash Button, with which a product can be ordered from the web shop with the push of a button. This product was launched in 2016, and has recently become available in Europe as well. Companies that produce consumer products, like Gilette, Ariel and Whiskas already offer an Amazon Dash button. 

AWS is offering support to multiple partners who offer Starter Kits that work using the AWS IoT Platform. The kits contain sensors and drivers, which can be coupled to objects. These starter kits running on the AWS platform are offered by partners like Reneasas, Intel, Broadcom and Avnet. 

Largescale deployments for international companies 

On a larger scale, Philips Health Care is an important client of AWS. Philips is leveraging the IoT platform to process information the company collects using sensors placed in patient homes to monitor for example medicine or food intake. This way, patients are able to play a more active role in managing their health in their own environments. 

Furthermore, Philips is using the AWS platform in nursing homes to monitor patients and analyze and send through clinical data. Philips is connecting this ecosystem of apps, devices and sensors to the AWS IoT platform using the name HealthSuite Digital Platform.

Another company using the AWS IoT platform is the French utilities group Veolia. As part of its water treatment activities, Veolia is using sensors to measure the temperature and PH value of water. The data this produces is processed using the AWS platform.  

Sonos is also using the AWS IoT platform to gather data on the usage of devices. Sonos uses the feedback data to help decide which features need further development. 

AWS facilitating startups

Semiotic Labs from Berlin recently won an AWS pitch. This company has developed a system to recognize data patterns and based on this predict future developments. It is meant to monitor industrial installations, to recognize breakdowns before they happen and know when maintenance is needed. AWS said it recognized the ‘out of the box’ thinking and sees it as a good solution to simplify the user’s daily activities. 

Semiotic is using the AWS IoT platform for its system. This saves a small company like Semiotic a lot of money, according to AWS. The company won the pitch worth USD 100,000 in a competition with four other startups running their solutions in the AWS cloud (Datapath, Stilnest, Kinetise and xMinutes). AWS wants to competitions to stimulate companies to search for solutions to simplify daily activities. 

AWS is also providing opportunities to developers in the form of hackathons. These allow private individuals to show off their ideas on the Internet of Things. According to AWS, these sessions are very efficient, because developers convene for a short period of time at a certain place and show enormous focus on innovation. For participants who have more time or are not able to come to the location, virtual hackathon sessions are organized. These last somewhat longer, and developers are able to work in their own tempo from their own location. 

Neutral platform

AWS stresses that all data derived from IoT appliances is only stored in its data centres; AWS does not use the data. Customer that want to analyze the data are able to do so using Amazon Analytics tools. 

AWS said it has no plans to sell data or analysis to third parties for advertisements. It wants to position itself as an interface with physical objects, a service provider to build bridges between internet and the real world. AWS is selling new IoT products in a traditional way. 



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