Internet of things: 4 free platforms to build IoT project

Easy to use comparing IoT Platforms table. Building IoT project is a process that could involve the step of finding free platforms. As you may know, Internet of things is a set of physical objects that use network support to exchange data. These objects can be sensors, software, boards and so on. This is an interesting ecosystem where the software can be connected directly to real hardware or devices. The most known board for building internet of things project are Arduino (with its several versions) and Raspberry.
Integrating these devices with cloud platforms is possible to collect and analyze data, create “smart” object that can be controlled remotely.
One way to control such devices is using smartphones like Android and iOS devices. Dev Boards like Arduino or Raspberry are cheap and everyone can experiment IoT projects.
Cloud IoT platforms help developers and maker to build IoT project and test them fast and easily. It is useful to compare IoT Platforms so that it is possible to select the right one according to our needs.

Comparing IoT Platforms

Comparing IoT Platforms: analysis for building projects

Cloud IoT platforms provides several kind of services that can be very useful in building  IoT project:

  • cloud data store data
  • Event logic
  • Platforms integration

Cloud data store enables developers to store data sent from several boards (like Arduino or Raspberry); for example, it is possible to store values read from a sensor. This information can be visualized using a graph or analyzed with other tools.

Event logic is web based programming logic that can be used to trigger some action when an event occurs. Using this kind of platforms is possible to implement some “business logic” using just a web interface without knowing much about the board we are using for the project. Usually ,the logic is like IF-THEN, for example if an event occurs then do this action. An event can be a signal read from a sensor and the action can be an email or an SMS.

Platforms integration is a set of “adapters” that implements specific protocol so that it is possible without writing a line of code mix different internet services to make a chain of actions. For example, using Arduino with Ethernet shield is possible to send an alert via SMS when a value read from a sensor is higher than a threshold level.

Build IoT project with free platform: Description

Below, you find a list comparing IoT platforms that can be useful to create IoT projects with a brief description. Comparing IoT platforms isn’t easy because they have different features and they are focused on different IoT aspects.  This list comparing IoT platforms is built using six different IoT aspects:

  • Data store (the capability to save and store data)
  • Service Integration (the capability to integrate with other external systems)
  • Data visualization (the capability to create charts using the data stored)
  • SDK API (the availability of an SDK to simplify the development process)
  • Event/rule Management (a built-in set of rules to manage the flow of the data)
  • Free account

Temboo: This is a very interesting platform that provides services to integrate Arduino, Raspberry and other platforms with different internet services (like SMS, Email and so on). This platform uses choreos that are connectors toward external services, so that events in Arduino, like sensor signals, can be transformed into different kind of events. Moreover, it provides some logic like IF-THEN.

Carriots: This is another interesting platform that enables smart devices to store data. It uses the data stream concept to enable devices to send data. This platform moreover has a rule management system so that you can implement custom logic directly on the web.  It can moreover send Email, SMS and Twitter messages

NearBus: This proposes a different approach respect to other platforms. Usually, the basic concept that stands behind IoT platforms is connecting the device (Arduino, Raspberry and so on) to the cloud so that these boards can send data. NearBus provides a different way: it maps the device into the cloud so that it gets a part of the cloud itself. It uses an Agent to accomplish this task and it is possible to control this agent directly from the web using a set of API.

Ubidots: This platforms support several kind of board and can be used to store data in the cloud. It offers data capture, data visualization with a built-in dashboard, rules management (or event management). With the built-in dashboard, it is possible to see in real time the graph built on the data sent by the device. It supports several kind of visualization.

Data store
Services integration
Data visualization
Event/rule mngt
Free account
Yes (about 2000 choreos)
Yes(Email, SMS, Twitter)
Yes(Email, SMS, Twitter, Webservvice)

*Nearbus offers a different approach so it is quite difficult to categorize it
**It offers a set of API easy to use

The table above summarizes some aspects of these platforms, that i think they are important. The aim of this comparison is to provides some high-level information about existing IoT platforms and i invite the readers to read carefully each platform features directly on the respective website, before using it.

The are other platforms that can be mentioned here like Xively or Sensorcloud that provide interesting services even if I still haven’t time to use them.

As you can notice, there are several type of platforms with different services, every platform has its unique aspects and it is up to developers and makers to choose the right one according to the project needs.

This list comparing IoT platforms wants to help other developers when starting with an IoT project.

Help me to increase the list to provide a better information.