AWS iOT Tutorial

AWS iOT Tutorial

Last updated on 27th Sep 2020, Blog, Tutorials

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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.

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.

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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.


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.

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.
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How AWS IoT works

  • AWS IoT enables internet-connected devices to connect to the AWS Cloud and lets applications in the cloud interact with internet-connected devices. Common IoT applications either collect and process telemetry from devices or enable users to control a device remotely.
  • The state of each device connected to AWS IoT is stored in a device shadow. The Device Shadow service manages device shadows by responding to requests to retrieve or update device state data. The Device Shadow service makes it possible for devices to communicate with applications and for applications to communicate with devices.
  • Communication between a device and AWS IoT is protected through the use of X.509 certificates. AWS IoT can generate a certificate for you or you can use your own. In either case, the certificate must be registered and activated with AWS IoT, and then copied onto your device. When your device communicates with AWS IoT, it presents the certificate to AWS IoT as a credential.
  • We recommend that all devices that connect to AWS IoT have an entry in the registry. The registry stores information about a device and the certificates that are used by the device to secure communication with AWS IoT.
  • You can create rules that define one or more actions to perform based on the data in a message. For example, you can insert, update, or query a DynamoDB table or invoke a Lambda function. Rules use expressions to filter messages. When a rule matches a message, the rules engine triggers the action using the selected properties. Rules also contain an IAM role that grants AWS IoT permission to the AWS resources used to perform the action.
 How -AWS- IoT- works

Accessing AWS IoT

AWS IoT provides the following interfaces to create and interact with your devices:

  • AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI)—Run commands for AWS IoT on Windows, macOS, and Linux. These commands allow you to create and manage things, certificates, rules, and policies. To get started, see the AWS Command Line Interface User Guide. For more information about the commands for AWS IoT, see iot in the AWS CLI Command Reference.
  • AWS IoT API—Build your IoT applications using HTTP or HTTPS requests. These API actions allow you to programmatically create and manage things, certificates, rules, and policies. For more information about the API actions for AWS IoT.
  • AWS SDKs—Build your IoT applications using language-specific APIs. These SDKs wrap the HTTP/HTTPS API and allow you to program in any of the supported languages.
  • AWS IoT Device SDKs—Build applications that run on devices that send messages to and receive messages from AWS IoT. 

Getting started with AWS IoT Core

This tutorial shows you how to create resources required to send, receive, and process MQTT messages from devices using AWS IoT Core. You use an MQTT client to emulate an IoT device.


  • Setting up
  • Sign in to the AWS IoT console
  • Create a thing
  • Register a device
  • Configure your device
  • View MQTT messages with the AWS IoT MQTT client
  • Configure and test rules
  • Create and track an AWS IoT Core job

Sign up for AWS

When you sign up for AWS, your account is automatically signed up for all services in AWS, including AWS IoT Device Defender. If you have an AWS account already, skip to the next task. If you don’t have an AWS account, use the following procedure to create one.

If you do not have an AWS account, complete the following steps to create one.

To sign up for an AWS account

  • Open
  • Follow the online instructions.
    Part of the sign-up procedure involves receiving a phone call and entering a verification code on the phone keypad.

Note your AWS account number, because you need it for the next task.

Create an IAM user

This procedure describes how to create a IAM user for yourself and add that user to a group that has administrative permissions from an attached managed policy.

  • To create an administrator user for yourself and add the user to an administrators group (console)
  • Sign in to the IAM console as the account owner by choosing Root user and entering your AWS account email address. On the next page, enter your password.In the navigation pane, choose Users and then choose Add user.
  • For User name, enter Administrator.
  • Select the check box next to AWS Management Console access. Then select Custom password, and then enter your new password in the text box.
  • (Optional) By default, AWS requires the new user to create a new password when first signing in. You can clear the check box next to User must create a new password at next sign-in to allow the new user to reset their password after they sign in.
  • Choose Next: Permissions.
  • Under Set permissions, choose Add user to group.
  • Choose Create group.
  • In the Create group dialog box, for Group name enter Administrators.
  • Choose Filter policies, and then select AWS managed -job function to filter the table contents.
  • In the policy list, select the check box for AdministratorAccess. Then choose Create group.
    Back in the list of groups, select the check box for your new group. Choose Refresh if necessary to see the group in the list.
  • Choose Next: Tags.
  • (Optional) Add metadata to the user by attaching tags as key-value pairs. For more information about using tags in IAM, see Tagging IAM Entities in the IAM User Guide.
  • Choose Next: Review to see the list of group memberships to be added to the new user. When you are ready to proceed, choose Create user.

You can use this same process to create more groups and users and to give your users access to your AWS account resources. To learn about using policies that restrict user permissions to specific AWS resources, see Access Management and Example Policies.

Create a thing

Devices connected to AWS IoT are represented by things in the AWS IoT registry. A thing represents a specific device or logical entity. It can be a physical device or sensor (for example, a light bulb or a switch on the wall). It can also be a logical entity, like an instance of an application or physical entity that does not connect to AWS IoT, but is related to other devices that do (for example, a car that has engine sensors or a control panel).

To create a thing

  • On the Welcome to the AWS IoT Console page, in the navigation pane, choose Manage.
  • On the You don’t have any things yet page, choose Register a thing.
  • On the Creating AWS IoT things page, choose Create a single thing.
  • On the Create a thing page, in the Name field, enter a name for your thing, such as MyIotThing. Choose Next. To change a thing’s name, you must create a new thing, give it the new name, and then delete the old thing.

When naming your thing objects:

  • You should not use personally identifiable information in your thing name. The thing name can appear in unencrypted communications and reports.
  • You should not use a colon character ( : ) in a thing name. The colon character is used as a delimiter by other AWS IoT services and this can cause them to parse strings with thing names incorrectly.
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Register a device

The registry allows you to keep a record of all of the devices that are registered to your AWS IoT Core account. 

Configure your device

To communicate with AWS IoT Core, all devices must have a device certificate, private key, and root CA certificate installed. Consult your device’s documentation to connect to it and copy your device certificate, private key, and root CA certificate onto your device.

If you don’t have an IoT-ready device, you can use the MQTT client, the AWS IoT Device SDKs, or the AWS CLI. For more information, see the Using the AWS IoT device SDKs on a Raspberry Pi section. The tutorials use a Raspberry Pi, but can easily be adapted for use with other types of computers.

Rules for AWS IoT

Rules give your devices the ability to interact with AWS services. Rules are analyzed and actions are performed based on the MQTT topic stream. You can use rules to support tasks like these:

  • Augment or filter data received from a device.
  • Write data received from a device to an Amazon DynamoDB database.
  • Save a file to Amazon S3.
  • Send a push notification to all users using Amazon SNS.
  • Publish data to an Amazon SQS queue.
  • Invoke a Lambda function to extract data.
  • Process messages from a large number of devices using Amazon Kinesis.
  • Send data to the Amazon Elasticsearch Service.
  • Capture a CloudWatch metric.
  • Change a CloudWatch alarm.
  • Send the data from an MQTT message to Amazon Machine Learning to make predictions based on an Amazon ML model.
  • Send a message to a Salesforce IoT Input Stream.
  • Send message data to an AWS IoT Analytics channel.
  • Start execution of a Step Functions state machine.
  • Send message data to an AWS IoT Events input.
  • Send message data an asset property in AWS IoT SiteWise.
  • Send message data to a web application or service.

Your rules can use MQTT messages that pass through the publish/subscribe Message broker for AWS IoT or, using the Basic Ingest feature, you can securely send device data to the AWS services listed above without incurring messaging costs. (The Basic Ingest feature optimizes data flow by removing the publish/subscribe message broker from the ingestion path, so it is more cost effective while keeping the security and data processing features of AWS IoT.)

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! 

If you’ve gained enough knowledge and are aspiring to validate your skills in the Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine Learning on the AWS platform, you should go for the AWS Certified Machine Learning Specialty exam. Join us and enroll in the AWS Certified Machine Learning Specialty training course and practice tests to prepare for the exam. Get ahead to become an AWS Certified professional.

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