An Overview of AWS IoT

  • September 28th, 2016
  • By Amal S
  • Blog
  • When one of the leading cloud platform AWS was integrated with the technology which revolutionised human lives with a set of sensors and internet connectivity, the world saw a technology explosion. The integration of IoT opened new possibilities to AWS systems in terms of application.

    Internet of Things enables bi-directional communication between the outside devices and the business engines inside the cloud. Users can rely on this secure communication as it involves authentication per device using credentials and access control. The bilateral communication enables the user, to collect telemetry information from various devices and to store and analyse the data.

    Using AWS IoT, the user can create applications which can be managed by the clients using their phones or tablets. So it facilitates active user engagement. The basic concept of AWS IoT is that when devices report their state by publishing messages, to message broker through topics, the broker delivers the messages to all clients. The blog provides everything you should know about AWS IoT.

    What is AWS IoT?

    The platform which provides secure bi-directional communication between internet-connected things such as actuators, sensors, smart appliances and embedded devices and the cloud platform AWS is known as AWS IoT.

    AWS IoT Components

    AWS works with a set of components which includes:

    Device Gateway

    The Gateway enables the connected devices to securely and efficiently communicate with AWS IoT. Using the publication/subscription model, the Gateway can exchange messages. It is possible to broadcast data to multiple subscribers for a given topic using the one –to-many communication pattern of AWS IoT. Anytime there can be a change in the number of connected devices. So in such cases, the Gateway can scale up to over a billion devices without provisioning infrastructure.

    Rules Engine

    The Rules Engine handles the processing of messages with other AWS services. To process and to send data to other services such as Amazon Dynamo DB, Amazon S3, and AWS Lambda, and SQL-based language is used. A message broker can also be used for the republishing messages to other subscribers.

    Security and Identity Service

    It manages the security in AWS IoT. In order to securely send data to the message broker, the things must keep their credentials safe. The rules engine and message broker use the AWS security features to send information.

    Thing Registry

    The thing registry is also known as device registry. It organizes the resources associated with each device. Using the device registry, it is also possible to associate certificates and MQTT client IDs, to improve the ability to manage and troubleshoot your things.

    Thing Shadow

    It is also known as device shadow. In order to store and retrieve current state information for a thing (app, device, etc) a JSON document is used.

    Thing Shadows Service

    In AWS cloud, Thing Shadows service provides persistent representations of your Things. The user can publish updated state information to a Thing Shadow. For the use of applications, the user things can also publish their current state to a Thing Shadow.

    How AWS IoT Works?

    The Integration of IoT helps the AWS to connect with devices such as sensors, actuators, embedded devices, or smart appliances. It lets the various applications in the cloud to interact with Internet-connected things. The IoT applications in AWS perform two functions. Either it provides access to users to control the device remotely or collect and telemetry from devices

    In JSON format and on MQTT topics, the devices report their state by publishing messages. Every MQTT has a hierarchical name which identifies the thing, whose state is to be updated. The message is sent to the AWS IoT MQTT message broker, once the message is published on MQTT topic. After that, the information is passed to the clients.

    Using X.509 certificates, the communication between a thing and AWS IoT is protected. You can either use your own certificate or one which is generated by AWS IoT. In both the cases, the certificate must be registered and activated with AWS IoT, and then copied onto your thing. Your thing can present the certificate to AWS IoT as a credential while communicating with AWS IoT.

    Amazon professionals will always recommend that all the devices which are connected to AWS should have an entry in the thing registry. The registry stores information about a thing and the certificates that are essential for security. You can also create rules that define one or more actions to perform, based on the data in a message.

    There will be a thing shadow that stores and retrieves state information for each and everything. There are two entries for each item in the state information. An application can request for the current state information for a thing. After that the shadow responds back with the state information (both reported and desired), metadata, and a version number, prior to a request in JSON format. By requesting a change in the state, an application can control a thing. The shadow accepts the state change request and updates the information with a notification. After receiving the message the thing reports its new state.


    When the IoT and AWS are clubbed together, it opens new possibilities for business and other organizations which make use of cloud services. It eliminates the barrios of communication with the outside world and enables loT devices to connect with AWS applications. The technology which revolutionised the human lives in the very short span of time makes path-breaking changes to the cloud services. With the security and identity services, IoT provides more security to AWS applications. The presence of thing registry adds support to this. IoT embraces almost all facets of human life and AWS IoT upkeeps the spirit high. It is sure that technological advancements are going to be known before and after IoT.

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