Software Development

Internet of things: 4 free platforms to build IoT project

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 boards that can be used for IoT 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. Board like Arduino or Raspberry are cheap and everyone can experiment IoT projects.

Cloud IoT platforms help developers and maker to build and test IoT projects fast and easily.


IoT Platforms analysis

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

  • cloud data store data
  • Event logic
  • Platforms integration

Cloud data store enables developers to store data sent from different board (like Arduino or Raspberry); for example it is possible to store values read from a sensor. This information can be visualized using 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 occur then do this action. An event can be a signal read from a sensor and the action can be an email or a 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.

IoT platform descritpion

Below you can find a list of IoT Cloud platforms that can be useful to create IoT projects with a brief description.

Temboo: This is a very interesting platform that provides services to integrate Arduino, Raspberry and othef platforms with differnt 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 in different kind of events. Moreover it provides some logic like IF-THEN.

Carriots: This is another interesting plaftorm 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.

PlaftormData storeServices integrationData visualizationSDK APIEvent/rule mngtFree account
TembooNoYes (about 2000 choreos)NoYesYesYes
CarriotsYesYes(Email, SMS, Twitter)NoYesYesYes
UbidotsYesYes(Email, SMS, Twitter, Webservvice)YesYesYes**Yes

*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 of 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 can be 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.

If you find error please report it to me. Help me to increase the list to provide a better information.

Francesco Azzola

He's a senior software engineer with more than 15 yrs old experience in JEE architecture. He's SCEA certified (Sun Certified Enterprise Architect), SCWCD, SCJP. He is an android enthusiast and he has worked for long time in the mobile development field.
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