A comprehensive list of IoT technologies and tools for IoT engineers

IoT which is very effective and efficient technology has been changing the fate of many industries. But with every passing moment, ever-increasing businesses are demanding more refined IoT products than ever. And for that, IoT app development companies and IoT engineers are pushing the boundaries of this very disruptive technology. Fortunately, there are lots of open-source resources available for IoT engineers to experiment and come up with unique products. So, if you are one of those IoT engineers who are on the hunt to discover goldmine, here is one. In this blog, I will list out top IoT OS, top IoT hardware platforms, top IoT software platforms, and top IoT protocols. 

Top IoT OS

Generally, in mobile phones, an OS works as a translator between hardware (touch screen, speakers, power button) and the software. It takes user command as the input from the hardware, processes it using software and gives relevant output. Same as a mobile OS, an IoT device should have OS which processes the data and manages functions. In the specific term, an IoT OS takes care of memory, size, power and processing capacity. In older versions of IoT devices, IoT OS doesn’t play a significant role. But since the latest IoT devices collect much information and have a lot of nodes, a control system (OS) is needed. 

Following are the top 5 most popular IoT OS. 

Contiki

Contiki is the open-source operating system for the networked, memory-constrained systems. Using it, you can seamlessly connect microcontrollers with the internet. It is used widely in the IoT projects of street lighting, sound monitoring systems, radiation monitoring and alarm. In-built TCP/IP stack and lightweight preemptive scheduling over event-driven kernel are its two major characteristics which fuel its popularity.  

Ubuntu core  

Ubuntu core is yet another very popular IoT OS. It is called a transaction version of native Ubuntu OS. Using this OS, you can configure many digital signs, robotics and gateways. Ubuntu core uses the same kernel and libraries of Ubuntu, but on a smaller scale. It supports all major platforms like Raspberry Pi 2 and 3, computes Module 3, Intel DragonBoard 410C, Intel NUC, Samsung Artik. Security, tamper-resistant, hardened against corruption, strict confinement, and vulnerabilities scanning are the major features of Ubuntu core.

Mbed OS

Mbed is the operating system for internet-connected devices which are having 32-bit ARM Cortex-M microcontrollers. This OS includes features offering security and connectivity. It also offers Mbed online IDE with code editor and compiler which is very serviceable to write code. This IDE lets developers enjoy private workspace with ability import and export code. Additionally, Mbed OS enables developers to create microcontroller firmware which runs on the IoT device. 

RIOT 

RIOT is a small operating system for IoT devices. It is the open-source OS and released under LGPL. RIOT provides multithreading and real-time abilities and it is based on a microkernel architecture. One can easily write the code of the application in RIOT using C or C++ programming languages. 

The ThingBox Project 

This is the revolutionary OS. The ThinkBox Project is a set of software which has already been installed and configured. The best part of ThingBox project is that you can painlessly create IoT application from the web browsers without writing a single line of code. 

Top IoT hardware platforms

IoT hardware is the vitally important part of the IoT project. It includes communication modules, microcontrollers, and SoC modules. To actualize the IoT device, we need to configure or modify the IoT hardware and fit it in the product according to our requirements. And here where the IoT hardware platform comes in action. It is used for the development of the ‘things’ in IoT. Raspberry Pi, Arduino Uno, ESP8266, Banana Pi, Panstamp are the most popular IoT hardware platform.  

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Following are the top 5 most popular IoT platform. 

Particle.io 

Particle.io is the most popular platform for IoT hardware development. With it, you can build and manage the fleet of IoT devices. You can derive many more benefits from Particle’s cloud-connected microcontrollers which are capable of powering your product. Not only this, its cloud-connected microcontrollers allow you to give wifi, cellular or mesh connectivity to your product. These microcontrollers are powered by the lightweight operating system which is secure and offering scalability. 

Adafruit Feather 

Adafruit Feature is yet another most popular IoT hardware platform. It is the fully developed and tested development board from Adafruit. It is equipped with LiPo batteries and micro-USB plugs. Adafruit Feather is flexible and very lightweight development board. It also comes with the accessories and so, adding unique functionalities is really easy. You can check out its accessories here

Intel 

Intel has been leading the IoT movement and probably among a few companies which have experienced the evolution of IoT. Intel had already released many boards a while ago. Those boards accommodated all-important IoT features.  But later, Intel had discontinued some of the boards and launched a few more revolutionary boards. Though Intel IoT hardware platforms have all the same features as other platforms, there is one area where no other platforms can beat Intel – processing power! Intel Edison Compute module is the most popular IoT hardware platform. 

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Espressif

Espressif which has earned expertise in creating chips with the high level of integration offers development boards for IoT project. These all-in-one development boards help developers complete IoT project without spending too many hours. All development boards of the Espressif are armed with energy-efficient wireless SoCs. Also, many of its development boards combine Wi-Fi and BLE communication technologies. 

RE-Mote 

Re-Mote was developed jointly by industrial partners and universities of many countries. It is developed to power large IoT projects of logistics and smart cities. It consumes very less power and yet enables IoT engineers to develop large scale IoT applications and products. It is running on 512 KB programmable flash and 32 KB of RAM and supports dual-band operation. In order to develop an application based on real-time information, it is equipped with real-time clock capabilities. 

Top IoT software platforms 

Just because of the fact that an IoT project includes hardware as well as software development, IoT project has always been a tedious task. IoT engineers do not only need to take IoT hardware into account, but they are also required to write code to control the hardware product via a cloud system. To do so, IoT software plays a significant role. And to use the IoT software, you should have knowledge of some programming languages. 

Following are the top 3 IoT software. 

PlatformIO 

PlatformIO is the complete open source ecosystem for IoT development. It is cross-platform IDE and unified debugger, making remote unit testing as well as firmware update easy. It supports dark and light themes and multi-projects workflow. Its unified debuggers can debug more than 250+ embedded boards with zero configuration and it supports multiple architectures. Since PlatformIO is equipped with a multi-platform build system, there is no dependency on OS. 

Tessel 2

Tessel 2 is the robust IoT development platform which leverages all the libraries of Node. Js. Thanks to its compatibility with node.js, a developer can seamlessly write the code of IoT device within minutes. Not only node.js, but it also supports multiple languages such as Rust and JavaScript. Here, it is worth mentioning that Tessel 2 is not only the software platform but it is the hardware platform too as it offers development board. Tessel 2 claims that by just installing npm and adding a few libraries, you can build your IoT application. 

Losant

Losant provides an enterprise IoT platform which is an application enablement platform for the enterprise. By using this platform, enterprises can build medium to large scale IoT applications. Losant has two very unique features. One is real-time stream processing and another is batch processing. Because of these two features, an enterprise can perform complex analytics and offer a dynamic experience to users.     

Top IoT protocols 

An IoT device actively sends data to the server and mobile apps. At the same time, it also gets data from mobile apps and server. So, whenever there is data communication between two entities, we must follow a protocol which protects and ensures the optimal security to the data while it is being exchanged through the communication channel. 

Following are the top 3 IoT protocols. 

Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP)

CoAP is the web transfer protocol and it is generally used with constrained nodes and constrained networks. With this protocol, one can establish the connection between the server and client – the client can send a request to server and server can respond in HTTP. To reduce the space usage, it derives benefits from User Datagram protocol. Automation, mobiles and microcontrollers are the areas where CoAP is used widely. 

Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP)

AMQP is very useful for message-oriented middleware environment which is responsible for routing and queuing. It establishes the point to point connection and supports secure data exchange. Using AMQP, developers can establish the link between one message with another. Because of its security features, AMQP is widely used in the banking industry. This protocol tracks each and every message until the message is delivered to the user.  

MQTT (Message Queue Telemetry Transport) 

MQTT is the most preferred IoT protocol. It supports remote device monitoring, establishes the connection and collects data from many IoT devices. It runs on TCP and so, it can exchange message based on the event. One unique thing about MQTT is that it is the subscribe/publish protocol. Meaning, only a device gets a message from another device if a device is subscribed to another device. Since MQTT is the light-weight protocol, it is only used in devices which require less power and battery, I.e. car sensors, smartwatches and fire detectors. 

Conclusion 

Developing an IoT product and software to control it is not as easy as pie. e-scooter app development is the best example of how difficult it is to actualize the IoT product like e-scooter and software like e-scooter app. An IoT engineer has to convert a physical object into a smart one by fitting in IoT controller or IoT hardware in it. Then he has to write the code for the user system which is used to interact with the IoT device. And lastly, to let users interact with IoT devices, he has to establish a connection between IoT device and user system (mobile app) using protocol. Throughout these processes, he does not have any other option than available hardware platforms, software platforms, and protocols. 

News Reporter
Vishal Virani is a Founder and CEO of Coruscate Solutions, a leading Uber clone script providing company. He enjoys writing about the vital role of mobile apps for different industries, custom web development, online marketing, and the latest technology trends.