Whether you’re developing a connected pet tracker, a smart kitchen garden, or any other IoT device, at some point, you will need to link up your device to the cloud. The cloud is where your data will sit, be processed, and prepared for consumption. These days, all the big names in cloud hosting, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, and many more have made hosting applications on the cloud so much easier, with simple and scalable services.
Amazon’s AWS cloud hosting platform, for example, offers pay as you go cloud services, including all the computing power and store your application could possibly need, on secure, scalable, and flexible infrastructure. Offerings like these leave you, the product developer, with more time to build your application, adding high value differentiators that will make your product stand out from the crowd.
You will, however, still face one challenge: device provisioning.
What is device provisioning?
Device provisioning is the lump sum of everything that goes on behind the scenes to prepare a device to connect to a cloud service provider. In the case of AWS, it typically involves installing unique client certificates on the IoT devices including an X.509 certificate for TLS-based mutual authentication, as well as a public key that is paired with a private key that is stored on the device. It’s a complex, but necessary step towards building a reliable and secure end solution.
The challenges of cloud connectivity
If provisioning a single device can be a challenge to those with little experience in IoT development, connecting an entire fleet of devices can become a showstopper, even for teams with more exposure to the technology.
Cloud provisioning can involve installing and maintaining dedicated connectivity software on each individual device. The tens of thousands of lines of new code can be too much for resource constrained IoT devices and their small processors. Additionally, merging this code with the application code requires deep understanding of networking and cryptography to ensure that the device is both functional and secure.
AWS IoT ExpressLink is all about speed
To tackle these challenges, AWS has launched AWS IoT ExpressLink – one of the fastest ways to link up IoT devices with the AWS cloud. AWS IoT ExpressLink is all about speed. Because it uses a reduced command set, devices only have to send a few commands to establish a connection to the cloud. It’s a game changer, not only in terms of speed, but also simplicity.
At u-blox, we recently released two AWS IoT ExpressLink modules: a SARA-R510AWS module and a NORA-W2 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth module. Using these modules, developers are spared the many cumbersome tasks involved in configuring, provisioning, and connecting devices for cloud services.