Instead of developing IoT software, ready-made IoT platforms can be used to connect and manage devices and connections. This allows one to create a network of smart devices in just a few days and then scale it up.
What is an IoT platform?
It’s a software for connecting cameras, sensors and other devices to an infrastructure for storage and remote access to the collected and processed information.
How does it work?
The platforms allow to connect and aggregate different devices and analyzes data, providing information to users and storage locations.
What is it for?
IoT platforms provide:
- device management;
- data exchange between devices and gateways;
- metric management;
- custom applications creation;
- data security;
- incident monitoring and processing;
- integration of systems and services.
What are the usage conditions?
Most systems charge for services based on the number of connected devices, usage time, and amount of data transmitted, but there are platforms that provide free or conditionally free access.
Where to start?
Free IoT platforms can help you test and verify how IoT solutions fit your business processes without initial investments, identify bottlenecks, and then scale up the network.
Here are some recommended solutions that you can use without paying:
- OpenRemote – an open-source IoT platform used in large professional applications. The solution supports several common protocols, has mobile apps for Android and iOS, allows for creating multiple areas with accounts and authentication services.
- Blynk IoT – an integrated software suite for creating and managing connected devices that supports full development infrastructure with mobile apps for smart devices, pre-configured IoT functions for quick prototyping, wide hardware compatibility, user-friendly web console, server hosting and data storage.
- ThingSpeak – collects and analyzes data online from sensors, cameras and other devices that send information to ThingSpeak, with user visualization and notification. Non-commercial users can connect to ThingSpeak for free, with special options for educational and home use.
- Upswift.io – allows for remote management of connected devices: updates, monitoring, and control. The platform enables quick connection and expansion of devices to an unlimited number of sensors, cameras, etc. Upswift focuses on connecting and managing equipment while ensuring reliability and security. The free plan supports connecting a limited number of devices and team members, one process monitor, and up to 10 MB of data per month.
This is not a full list of such platforms. More and more companies are using these and similar tools because it allows for experimentation and testing of IoT network building and capabilities.
However, such platforms also have their limitations and issues, including:
- Limited functionality: free IoT platforms usually offer limited functionality compared to paid counterparts. You may lack the necessary tools and capabilities for full management and scaling of your IoT infrastructure.
- Limited data volume: free platforms may limit the amount of data you can process or store. This can be a problem if your IoT system generates a large amount of data or if you need to store data for a long time.
- Limited scalability: Free platforms may have limitations on the scalability of your IoT infrastructure. If your business is growing and you are expanding your IoT device network, a free platform may not have enough power and resources to process and manage all the data and devices.
- Uncertainty regarding security: Free platforms may not have sufficient security measures to protect your IoT infrastructure and data. This can pose a threat to the confidentiality and integrity of your system and open the way for potential cyber attacks..
- Limited support: Free platforms may provide limited or no support from developers. If you encounter problems or need help setting up or expanding your IoT system, you may face limited opportunities to receive qualified support.
- Limited control over data: By using free IoT platforms, you may not have full access to control over your data. You may not be able to determine how and where to store data or decide who has access to your data. This can sabotage compliance with confidentiality and regulatory requirements.
When choosing a free IoT platform, it is necessary to consider these issues and balance them with the benefits they can bring to your business. Depending on your specific requirements and budget, you may need advanced customization to ensure maximum compliance with project goals.
Epol Soft creates ready-made solutions for Internet of Things and customizes existing systems. Describe your project, and our team will select and adapt the solution. The checklist can be found here.