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AWS IoT tutorial

Getting Started – AWS IoT Tutorial

Aspiring to build your career in AWS IoT? This AWS IoT tutorial will help you understand the basic and advanced concepts of AWS IoT service. Let’s get ahead!

Internet of Things (IoT) is a prominent advancement that has introduced reforms in many industries worldwide. Cloud market leaders such as AWS have come forward with their IoT offerings i.e. AWS IoT for helping enterprises capitalize on the potential of the new and emerging technology. Therefore, many technology professionals are aspiring to try out careers in IoT on the AWS Cloud platform.

A detailed AWS IoT tutorial could help you understand its significance clearly and the best practices for using it efficiently. The following discussion would present a detailed impression of the definition and working of AWS IoT with a comprehensive outline of its components. In addition, the discussion would also provide basic information on best practices for getting started with AWS IoT.

Enroll Now: AWS IoT Core Training Course

AWS IoT Tutorial – What is AWS IoT?

So, like any other AWS IoT tutorial, let us start with the definition of AWS IoT. AWS IoT is the cloud service of AWS that includes the facility of highly secure, two-way communication between “connected” devices. The devices could include sensors, smart appliances, actuators, and embedded microcontrollers in the AWS Cloud.

The AWS IoT platform allows the collection of telemetry data from various devices and ensuring storage and analysis of the data. You could also create applications that can provide privileges for controlling the connected devices through their phones and tablets. In addition, it is essential to note that many people find confusion between AWS IoT and AWS IoT Core.

As a matter of fact, an AWS IoT Core tutorial is not anything different than that of AWS IoT. AWS IoT Core is the managed cloud platform that carries out the functions of AWS IoT, i.e. ensuring secure and easier interaction between connected devices and cloud applications or other services.

Components in the AWS IoT Architecture

The most critical aspect for understanding AWS IoT is a detailed impression of AWS IoT components. With a thorough knowledge of the components in AWS IoT, it is easier to establish a formal ideal of its working. The architecture of AWS IoT depends on the following critical components.

  • Alexa Voice Service (AVS) integration for AWS IoT

The first component that you can find in any AWS IoT tutorial is the AVS integration facility. The AVS for AWS helps in introducing functionalities of Alexa Voice to any connected device. AVS for AWS could also help in effective reduction of cost and increasing the complexity of the integration of Alexa.

AVS for AWS uses AWS IoT for offloading intensive memory audio and computational tasks from connected devices to the cloud. Connected device manufacturers could also introduce Alexa effectively for IoT devices with limited resources.

  • Device Gateway

The device gateway component in AWS IoT is a prominent aspect in all introductory tutorials. It helps in supporting devices in highly efficient and secure communications with AWS IoT.

  • Custom Authentication Service

AWS IoT allows the definition of custom authorizers which can help you manage your individual authentication and authorization strategy. For this purpose, you can leverage a Lambda function and a custom authentication service.

Custom authorizers can help AWS IoT in the authentication of devices and authorization of different tasks through different strategies for authorization and bearer token authentication. You can avail the support for implementing different authentication strategies such as OAuth provider callout, JSON Web Token verification, and other similar instruments.

  • Device Provisioning Service

The Device Provisioning Service is also one of the crucial components is AWS IoT that is significant for its functionality. It helps in provisioning devices through the use of a template that describes resources required for a particular device. The resources could include a certificate, a thing, or one or multiple policies. The thing is actually an entry in the registry containing attributes describing a specific device.

The certificates are useful for authentication of devices using AWS IoT. Policies help in determining the operations that a device could perform on AWS IoT. The templates in the Device Provisioning service contain variables which replace values in a dictionary. In addition, you can also utilize the same template for provisioning multiple devices by changing the values for template variables in the dictionary.

  • Device Shadow

The Device Shadow is an important component that you can find in almost every AWS IoT tutorial. The Device Shadow is actually a JSON document that helps in the storage and retrieval of current state information of a specific device.

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  • Group Registry

Groups are one of the prominent components in the AWS IoT architecture as they help in the management of multiple devices simultaneously. Users could also create a hierarchy of groups according to their requirements. The design of groups inside groups would follow a unique pattern in which actions performed on the parent group would reflect directly on the child groups. The Permissions allocated to the group are also applicable to all the devices in the group alongside the ones in all the child groups.

  • Message Broker

The Message Broker is one of the important AWS IoT components as it provides a secure interface for devices and AWS IoT applications to ensure safe publishing and receiving messages from each other. The MQTT protocol can be implemented directly or else users can opt for using MQTT over WebSocket to ensure publishing and subscribing. The HTTP REST interface can help users in publishing.

  • Device Shadow Service

The use of the Device Shadow component in AWS IoT refers to the facility of persistent representations of connected devices on the AWS Cloud. Users could also ensure publishing updated state information to the shadow of a device, and their device could synchronize its state upon resuming connection.

In addition, the Device Shadow functionality in an AWS IoT tutorial also focuses on the capability of devices that can publish their existing state to a shadow that other devices and applications can use.

  • Security and Identity Service

The mention of Security and Identity service is mandatory in any AWS IoT Core tutorial. The Security and Identity service offers a shared responsibility model for ensuring the security of information and systems on the AWS Cloud.

It is also essential for users to understand that devices should maintain the safety of credentials for the secure transmission of data to the message broker. The message broker and rules engine leverage the AWS security features for the secure transmission of data to other AWS services and connected devices.

  • Jobs Service

The Jobs service component is also an important addition in any AWS IoT tutorial. Jobs in AWS IoT help users in defining a specific set of remote operations that could be sent and executed on one or multiple devices connected with AWS IoT. For instance, users can define a job that presents instructions for a set of devices to perform maintenance tasks, troubleshooting operations, or application update tasks.

Users have to provide specifications of a description of the remote operations that must be carried out and the list of target devices that should perform the operations. The targets could also be groups of devices or a combination of individual devices and groups.

  • Registry

One of the most significant entries in the AWS IoT tutorial is the Registry. It is a promising instrument that simplifies the organization of resources that are related to every device in the AWS Cloud. In addition, you should also ensure registration of devices and association of a maximum of 3 custom attributes with each device. Users can also prefer to associate MQTT client IDs and certificates with every device for improving their ability in management and troubleshooting the devices.

  • Rules Engine

Undoubtedly, the Rules Engine has a significant role in answer to how AWS IoT works. It is responsible for message processing and ensuring integration of message processing solutions with other AWS services. Users can also utilize a specific SQL-based language for the selection of data from message payloads alongside processing and sending data to other services.

Therefore, users can gain the flexibility of using AWS IoT across multiple AWS services such as AWS Lambda, Amazon S3, and Amazon DynamoDB. Furthermore, users can also leverage the message broker for republishing messages to other subscribers.

How Does AWS IoT Work?

The next critical aspect in any AWS IoT tutorial would refer to the working of AWS IoT. A basic impression of how the components in AWS IoT architecture come together for providing seamless IoT device management on AWS Cloud is essential before getting started with AWS IoT. Here is a brief outline of the working of AWS IoT.

AWS IoT provides support for connecting internet-connected devices to the AWS Cloud and helps applications on the cloud interact with them. Generally, IoT applications collect and process telemetry data from connected devices or enable users for controlling a device remotely. However, this is the most generic explanation for how AWS IoT works. Let’s take a step further and understand the intricacies of the working of AWS IoT.

The device shadow stores the state of every device connected to AWS IoT. Device Shadow service helps in managing different device shadows through responding to requests for retrieval or updating device state data. Devices could communicate with applications and applications could communicate back with devices through the use of Device Shadow service.

X.509 certificates are important tools for safeguarding the communication between AWS IoT and a connected device. You can use, or your own certificates or else AWS IoT can help you by generating a certificate. However, it is essential to register and activate the certificate with AWS IoT prior to copying it to your device. The certificate serves as a credential for AWS IoT when a device communicates with it.

Also Read: Relation between IoT, Big Data, and Cloud Computing

The next important highlight in an AWS IoT tutorial is the necessity for all devices on AWS IoT to have a registry entry. The registry helps in the storage of information regarding a device and the certificates associated with the device. As a result, you can streamline the management of IoT infrastructure alongside improving the security of communications with AWS IoT.

Users can create rules for defining actions that devices have to perform on the basis of data in messages. For example, users can specify tasks such as inserting, updating, or querying a DynamoDB table or invoking a Lambda function. The rules depend on expressions for filtering the content of messages.

Upon matching a rule and a message, the rule engine triggers the specified action by using selected properties. The rules also include an IAM role which enables AWS IoT permission for AWS resources implemented for the concerted action. Here is an example image to show the working of AWS IoT, as explained above.

Interfaces for Accessing AWS IoT

The final aspect in an AWS IoT tutorial before getting started is the outline of the interfaces for accessing it. The interfaces for accessing AWS IoT have a comprehensive role in understanding how it works. Users could find the following interfaces for creating and interacting with the connected devices on AWS IoT Cloud.

  • AWS IoT API is the foremost entrant among interfaces for accessing AWS IoT. It can help in building IoT applications by using HTTP or HTTPS requests. In addition, the API actions also help in programmatic creation and management of certificates, policies, rules, and things.
  • AWS Command Line Interface or AWS CLI helps in running commands for AWS IoT on Linux, macOS and Windows. The commands can help in creation and management of things, policies, certificates, and rules.
  • AWS IoT Device SDKs are also another crucial mention in the AWS IoT tutorial among interfaces for accessing AWS IoT. They can help build applications that could run on devices for sending and receiving messages to and from AWS IoT.
  • AWS SDKs are crucial for developing IoT applications by leveraging language-specific APIs. The SDKs encompass the HTTP/HTTPS API and enable users to program in any of the supported languages.

Are You Ready to Start Learning AWS IoT?

Therefore, you can clearly notice in this AWS IoT tutorial that it is ideal for the management of IoT devices. If you want to start learning more about AWS IoT and different processes, then you can use official AWS documentation. You have to learn more about examples of processes for the creation of resources.

Then you can learn how to use them for sending, receiving and processing MQTT messages from devices that use AWS IoT Core. In addition, you could also practice AWS IoT examples such as implementing an MQTT client for emulating an IoT device. With the information presented above, you can set the foundation for your journey of learning AWS IoT with the AWS IoT Core training course. Start exploring more right now! 

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About Sujith Kumar

Cloud Products Associate by Profession with in-depth knowledge in AWS.
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