Akamai Taps Content Delivery Network For New IoT Messaging Service

'I can see that approach working if they throw it on their CDN and it's much faster,' one solution provider says of Akamai's new IoT Edge Connect message broker service.


Akamai is taking its global content delivery network and turning it into a legion of Internet of Things message brokers that the company says can scale better than what cloud service providers offer.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based company, which has its roots in content delivery networks, announced on Wednesday the launch of IoT Edge Connect, a new offering in its Edge Cloud solution line that is targeting the ever-growing number of connected devices coming online.

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Lior Netzler, vice president and CTO of IoT at Akamai, told CRN that IoT Edge Connect aims to help companies support larger IoT deployments by improving the way messages are securely sent to and from devices. The new service does this by combining an IoT message broker using the popular MQTT messaging protocol with streaming data and key-value-store database capabilities.

The service is hosted on Akamai's network of 240,000 edge servers in more than 130 countries across the world that have been traditionally used for its legacy content delivery network business, which enables businesses to serve content to users closer to where they live.

"We're basically using the same network for content delivery to deliver messages out to IoT but flipping it around to also collect messages," Netzler said.

The executive said IoT Edge Connect is more scalable, economical and secure than other offerings on the market, including what the major cloud service providers offer as part of their IoT core services. This means the service can support hundreds of millions of endpoints and 10 times more messages than other IoT or in-app messaging cloud solutions while improving the battery life of devices.

Since IoT Edge Connect is a hosted cloud solution, it also eliminates the need for businesses to operate IoT message brokers on their own servers, according to Netzler.

"We are enabling you to handle hundreds of millions of devices without you having to worry about infrastructure," he said.

Akamai said IoT Edge Connect includes end-to-end authentication for secure communication and that it's the only International Standard Organization-compliant cloud broker out of the major cloud providers that delivers on all three levels of quality of service.

Wilfred Martis, CEO of RattleTech, an Altadena, Calif.-based software development firm that works with Amazon Web Services, said Akamai using its content delivery network as an IoT message broker service could work for mission-critical systems where message delivery speed is key.

"I can see that approach working if they throw it on their CDN and it's much faster," he said.

Martis said use cases could include automotive and other modes of transportation — use cases that Akamai itself has cited — where assets are continually moving and decisions are continually being made. He said it could also work for industrial systems, especially where there are multiple locations.

Netzler said while Akamai plans to sell this solution directly for now, IoT Edge Connect can be sold by channel partners who refer or pre-integrate the solution. Next year, the company plans to focus more on the channel, he added.

"In the future, we will be fully channel-enabled," he said.