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Amazon has considerable experience with the Internet of Things (IoT). Its Echo connected smart speakers have made their way into millions of homes, bringing with them Alexa, the company's virtual assistant, along with a host of intelligent, voice-enabled services.
Now, the cloud-computing giant wants to help other enterprises harness the IoT's potential.
During the AWS (Amazon Web Services) Re:Invent conference in Las Vegas this week, the company unveiled new IoT services and software aimed at helping businesses securely deploy device fleets, manage their "things" and draw potentially business-enhancing insights from the data they produce.
First up is AWS IoT Device Management, a cloud service that provides device onboarding, monitoring and remote management. To help keep those devices secure, the cloud provider announced AWS IoT Device Defender. The forthcoming solution will have continuous auditing capabilities along with real-time detection and alerting features that let users know if their IoT devices are exhibiting unusual or suspicious behavior. AWS IoT Device Defender will also include investigation and mitigation tools that help businesses recover from suspected attacks.
Also on deck is Amazon FreeRTOS. As an extension of the open-source FreeRTOS (Real Time Operating System) kernel, this IoT microcontroller operating system provides secure data processing, local and cloud connectivity, and over-the-air updates in the near future.
Finally, Amazon wants enterprises to put their IoT data to good use with a new service called AWS IoT Analytics.
"AWS IoT Analytics is a fully managed service of AWS IoT that provides advanced data analysis of data collected from your IoT devices. With the AWS IoT Analytics service, you can process messages, gather and store large amounts of device data, as well as, query your data," explained Tara Walker, technical evangelist at AWS, in a blog post.
"Also, the new AWS IoT Analytics service feature integrates with Amazon Quicksight for visualization of your data and brings the power of machine learning through integration with Jupyter Notebooks," continued Walker.
Alexa Suits Up for Work
Alexa is Amazon's posterchild for IoT-enabled smart services. Millions of households are using the devices and apps featuring the virtual assistant to power their smart homes, reorder groceries, request Uber rides and much more.
Understandably, security- and privacy-conscious businesses have been reluctant to allow this consumer-friendly technology into their workplaces, despite Alexa's productivity-enhancing capabilities. To remedy this, Amazon launched Alexa for Business.
The Alexa for Business dashboard allows administrators to provision shared Alexa devices and manage their skills and users. They can also set up Alexa for conference rooms, allowing meeting attendees to dial-in to teleconferences using an Echo or activate compatible conferencing equipment. Businesses can also create their own Alexa skills to automate tasks and customize their deployments.
On personal devices managed by Alexa for Business, end users can place hands-free calls and manage their calendars. Users can also look up information on connected applications like Salesforce or Splunk, among a variety of other work-related tasks.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.