Google Cloud announced the global availability of its IoT Core service in 2017. It is a fully managed service on Google’s Cloud Platform, enabling customers to securely connect and manage IoT devices at scale.
The service provides a complete solution for collecting, processing, analysing and visualising IoT data in real-time.
Following the announcement of Cloud IoT Core in May 2017, Google Cloud first made the service publicly available in beta.
The service was then made generally available in February 2018, with the addition of a new feature which enables users to publish data streams from the IoT Core protocol bridge to multiple Cloud Pub/Sub topics to simplify deployments.
Cloud IoT Core features
One of the most advanced features gives customers the ability to verify the ownership of device keys, as well as the ability to bring their own device keys signed by their Certificate Authority (CA), whilst IoT Core verifies the code during the authentication process.
This allows manufacturers to provision their devices whilst offline, and then register the CA certificates and public keys with Cloud IoT Core.
The service, which is best suited for industrial firms in sectors like transport and utilities, has been designed so that users are able to easily connect and manage millions of IoT devices globally.
Naturally Google is keen to speak about its security features, which remains one of the main concerns with industrial IoT deployments. Google Cloud ensure that users are able to connect IoT devices and gateways to Cloud IoT Core through HTTP so that data can be transferred into the cloud platform easily and at scale. The service will also continue to support the standard MQTT protocol.
This ensures that customers are provided with the essential data sources for their analytics system, while also providing them with access to all operational data that may help the business react to changes in real-time.
Lastly, for customers that may need to retrieve the most recent state of an IoT device, Cloud IoT Core provides an option to maintain a logical representation of the physical IoT device, as well as device properties and the last reported state.
Cloud IoT Core now also includes APIs for all applications to retrieve and update the device properties and state, even when devices are not connected.
In a blog post, Google Cloud product manager Indranil Chakraborty explains the ongoing development of a partner ecosystem around IoT Core. “We continue to work with our partners to offer devices and kits that work seamlessly with Cloud IoT Core. You can now procure kits from our partners and start building IoT solution relevant to your business case."
One early customer of IoT Core is Smart Parking, a New Zealand-based company which designs smart software for car parks to manage their operations better.
John Heard, group CTO at Smart Parking Limited said: “Our devices are heavily used and constantly send us a huge volume of data. By connecting these devices to Cloud IoT Core, we have a secure and reliable way to not only ingest that data but then also use it to gain valuable insights.
"We know exactly how our systems are performing and can push updates to devices to ensure we deliver the best products and services as cost-effectively as possible.”
Along with the provided features, Google Cloud offers a simple price plan which is based on the volume of data used per month. For data usage of 250MB and less it is free and from 250MB and more, there is a charge of between $0.0045 to $0.00045 per MB depending on data volumes.