What are some IoT platforms besides ThingSpeak
6 free IoT platforms to get you started in the Internet of Things
There are thousands of solution providers, products, and services in the rapidly growing world of IoT. In the world of IoT platforms alone, there are currently over 620 different providers worldwide. But not all of them are equally accessible. Most IoT platform services are proprietary. Do you always have to pay if you want to test whether an IoT platform is right for you? What if you want to continue working after the free trial period has expired? Or if you just want to keep it small at the beginning? You need a free IoT platform.
When choosing the right IoT platform, it is important that you have the freedom to experiment on your own terms and at your own pace, in an environment that is always accessible for a rich user experience. Fortunately, more and more providers are making this possible with free IoT platforms. And we've put together a list of 6 free IoT platforms that allow you to do just that: build a small IoT project and explore the full functionality of the platform at the same time.
IoT platform software and services
Below is a brief overview of the main functionalities of the IoT platforms that we will look at in this article:
IoT device management
This includes tools for managing, monitoring and controlling IoT devices. Here you will find device management tools that provide information about device performance in real time and enable updates of individual devices or entire device fleets from a central location.
IoT development toolchain
Some IoT platforms offer tools for developing and improving IoT apps; others even have an IoT app store with ready-made app templates. IoT development capabilities often complement low-code or no-code platform offerings to ensure maximum freedom.
Extracting the data from various device fleets and making them available for analysis is the first step towards the IoT project. This is why IoT data collection and analysis capabilities are essential for IoT platforms. Ideally, an IoT platform offers tools for collecting, transforming and modeling the data as well as for visualizing the findings. AIoT platforms go one step further by also offering advanced analysis functions and the ability to create machine learning models.
Nowadays it is standard that most IoT platforms offer security functionalities that can be supplemented by additional software tools.
A community for developers
In order to overcome the onboarding hurdle and quickly lead users to self-employment, IoT platforms are expected to offer detailed resources and self-service programs. In addition, a growing user community will offer help in creating and deploying IoT apps or building fleets.
Here is our list:
Known as the cloud IoT platform with MATLAB analytics, ThingSpeak enables the aggregation, analysis and visualization of live data streams. IoT devices send their live data directly to ThingSpeak. From there you can create instant visualizations and send alarms via web services. Essentially, however, you are writing and running MATLAB code to perform your data preparation, visualization tasks, and analysis. As a cloud platform, ThingSpeak enables you to set up IoT projects without having to develop your own software. Plus, you don't need to set up a server.
Non-commercial users can use ThingSpeak for free. Free accounts remain free, but have some limitations when it comes to certain functionalities. Commercial users have the opportunity to test the platform in a free version for a limited period of time. The free IoT platform also offers paid plans for academic, student, and home use that allow you to send more data and connect more devices.
As a hardware-agnostic IoT platform, Blynk.io has device management, data analysis and machine learning capabilities and allows you to connect to any device. They also have a mobile app constructor that you can use to drag and drop IoT apps. You get a variety of pre-built widgets to create white label native iOS and Android apps for any use case.
Blynk comes with a free developer plan that is for personal use only. IoT engineers, developers and tinkerers can test the platform and create their own IoT projects. The free version allows you to add up to 5 IoT devices for free, comes with a selection of free mobile apps for Android and iOS, gives you limited free cloud data storage and libraries to work with the hardware of your choice. These capacities are sufficient for a first prototype or for setting up a first small IoT project. The free version of Blynk is not suitable for commercial use.
The Record Evolution platform is a cloud service that facilitates the development of AI solutions for IoT edge devices. The hardware agnostic platform for IoT & AI comes with tools that cover the entire IoT development cycle. This includes IoT device management, OTA IoT app development in a cloud IDE and data warehousing.
The easy-to-use interfaces designed for collaboration make AI accessible to analysts and engineers. At the same time, the platform makes the IoT implementation tangible for data scientists. The platform serves as a decentralized hub for the organization of teams and the implementation of IoT projects and thus enables comprehensive IoT enablement within every organization.
In the free version, users already have enough resources to set up a small IoT project. This can be the first step for startups, freelancers, and data enthusiasts. The free plan includes:
- an unlimited number of product employees, devices and IoT apps,
- a free data pod (a compact data warehouse with computing resources sufficient for a small project),
- free app days that allow you to run around two IoT apps on devices for free. In this way, you can connect and manage your IoT devices free of charge and develop and deploy applications over-the-air.
Particle.io contains all the building blocks for developing an IoT product. This includes connectivity, device management and even the hardware required to prototype IoT solutions and quickly scale them thanks to the robust infrastructure. The platform supports IoT data acquisition and over-the-air development in a cloud IDE.
Particle has a free starter plan. How to get:
- a console for device and fleet management,
- Access to the suite of developer tools and firmware libraries,
- Standard OTA device updates and diagnostics,
- Cellular data.
The starter plan includes the Particle device operating system, the platform's web IDE, the Particle device cloud and allows users to connect an unlimited number of devices. You can also invite product contributors and get community support.
Thinger.io is a free, open source IoT platform. It comes with an easily scalable cloud infrastructure that enables users to easily connect and manage devices from anywhere. Thinger places a high value on the developer experience and focuses on clean designs and simple coding. This is another hardware agnostic IoT platform so you can plug in just about anything.
Thinger has a maker plan that is free and is aimed at developers, students, makers, or private tinkerers. The plan includes
- a developer,
- the possibility of connecting up to two devices,
- access to the community cloud,
- the basic functions of the platform. The platform's basic capabilities include IoT device management, data buckets, access tokens, dashboards, and endpoints.
As a developer-centric platform, Thinger enjoys a large developer community.
With Upswift.io you can manage connected Linux and IoT devices from anywhere, which includes updating, monitoring and control. Upswift prides itself on the fact that any device can be connected to the platform in less than 60 seconds. This IoT platform focuses solely on connectivity and device management. The range is therefore less extensive, but designed to be particularly robust.
You can test the platform in the free prototype version. You have the opportunity
- add up to three devices,
- create up to three device groups,
- invite three additional team members.
The associated functions include remote access and control, OTA updates, a process monitor as well as a data and resource monitor, logs of up to 10 MB per month and a map view.
Get in touch with us to discuss your use case and find out which IoT platform is right for you.
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