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IoT Platform:What is IoT Platform?

Last Updated:May 14, 2024

IoT Platform is a platform that integrates various capabilities, such as device connection, device management, secure data communication, message subscription, data forwarding, and data services. Data services provide multiple capabilities, including data storage, analysis, filtering, parsing, and integration. You can connect a large number of devices to IoT Platform and collect device data to IoT Platform. You can also call IoT Platform API operations on your business server by using IoT Platform SDKs to send remote commands to devices.

Get started with IoT Platform

  • Learning path: describes how to configure a device and connect the device to IoT Platform.

  • Terms: describes the basic terms that you must understand before you use IoT Platform.

  • FAQ: provides answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQ) about IoT Platform.

How it works

The following figure shows the communication process among IoT Platform, devices, business servers, and clients.


Before devices can communicate with IoT Platform, you must configure devices, IoT Platform servers, databases, and mobile applications. You can use IoT Platform SDK to configure IoT Platform servers. When you configure devices and IoT Platform servers, you must define and process device messages.

The following table describes the upstream and downstream messaging between devices and IoT Platform.

Communication type


Upstream communication

A device establishes a persistent connection with IoT Platform over Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT). Then, the device submits data to IoT Platform by calling the Pub operation to send payloads to a topic.

IoT Platform forwards data to a business server by using an AMQP consumer group.

You can use the data forwarding feature of IoT Platform to process data that is submitted by devices, and then forward the data to Alibaba Cloud services, such as ApsaraDB RDS, Tablestore, Function Compute, Time Series Database (TSDB), Lindorm, DataHub, and ApsaraMQ for RocketMQ for data storage and processing.

Downstream commands

You can send a command by using a business application. Then, your business server calls the HTTPS-based Pub operation to send the command to an IoT Platform topic.

IoT Platform calls the Pub operation to send payloads to specified topics over MQTT.

For more information about device communication, see Topics.

You can use the data services of IoT Platform to integrate, store, and parse the data of IoT devices. Then, you can measure the metrics of the data, perform data analysis and insights on the data, call API operations, and configure data application for the data. This way, you can mine the data value of the IoT devices.


  • Instance management
    IoT Platform provides individual developers and enterprise users with public instances for trial use. After you activate IoT Platform, you can use the features of the service. IoT Platform provides enterprise users with IoT Platform instances. You can connect devices to the instances and manage or perform O&M tasks on the devices.
  • Device connection
    You can connect devices that reside in multiple regions and networks, such as 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, and Wi-Fi, and devices that run on different platforms, such as C and Android to IoT Platform over multiple protocols and brokers, such as MQTT, Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP), HTTPS, and gateways. This reduces the period of time that is required to configure a device before you can connect the device to IoT Platform.
  • Device management
    IoT Platform provides secure and reliable device management capabilities. The capabilities include device lifecycle management, advanced search, tag management, device shadowing, and device file management.
  • Message forwarding
    You can integrate IoT Platform with multiple Alibaba Cloud services to meet your business requirements in different scenarios. The services include TableStore, ApsaraDB RDS, Lindorm, Function Compute, Message Service (MNS), and ApsaraMQ for RocketMQ. The scenarios include machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, device data storage, device data computing, and message queuing.
  • Data services
    Data services are provided based on the characteristics of IoT data. The data services provide multiple capabilities. The capabilities include data integration, data parsing, data storage, data metrics, data analysis and insights, and data application. This way, enterprise users can mine the values of IoT data with ease.
  • Monitoring and O&M
    IoT Platform provides the following capabilities for devices: monitoring and alerting, integrated log analysis, over-the-air (OTA) update, and smart diagnostics.

For more information about the features of IoT Platform, see Features.


  • Stable connections between IoT Platform and devices

    IoT Platform supports hundreds of millions of device connections and millions of concurrent messages. IoT Platform can help you defend against DDoS attacks whose peak traffic reaches 600 Gbit/s at the access layer and provides a service level agreement (SLA) of more than 99.95%.

  • Cost-effectiveness and nearby access for global devices

    Compared with user-created MQTT clusters, IoT Platform provides more management and O&M capabilities at minimal costs. IoT Platform is available in eight primary regions around the world. This way, a device can automatically connect to the nearest region based on the location of the device.

  • Ease of use and scalability

    IoT Platform supports the pay-as-you-go and subscription billing methods. IoT Platform can automatically scale out resources to accommodate your business growth. IoT Platform provides an integrated device management platform that monitors devices in real time. IoT Platform can seamlessly work with multiple Alibaba Cloud services. IoT Platform allows you to build complex IoT applications with ease.

For more information about the benefits of IoT Platform, see Benefits.


IoT Platform can be used to improve user experience when you use smart home appliances, agricultural equipment, and intelligent media devices. For more information, see Common scenarios.


IoT Platform supports the following billing methods: pay-as-you-go and subscription.

After you activate IoT Platform, a public instance is provided for trial use. Public instances of the previous version use the pay-as-you-go billing method. Public instances of the new version provide resources of fixed specifications free of charge. You can purchase subscription Enterprise Edition instances based on your business requirements.

For more information about the billable items, billing methods, and fees of IoT Platform, see Billing overview.

Activate IoT Platform
Purchase Enterprise Edition instances

Usage methods

The following table describes the methods to use IoT Platform.



IoT Platform console

You can access web service pages that provide interactive operations to manage your IoT Platform resources.

IoT Platform SDKs and IoT Platform API

Use an IoT Platform SDK to send a GET or POST request to the endpoint of the IoT Platform API over HTTPs or HTTP. Then, specify and configure the request parameters that are required to call an API operation based on the API reference.

OpenAPI Explorer allows you to retrieve and call API operations and dynamically generates SDK sample code.

For more information about how to use IoT Platform SDK, see Download IoT Platform SDKs.




Cloud service

Device connection


IoT Platform SDKs and IoT Platform API