F.A.Q.

Answers to common questions

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What is a Free Account?

The Free Account is designed to allow businesses to test the CloudPlugs IoT platform to manage their Things. CloudPlugs allows registration only of businesses or qualified students.

A business or student can register for a Free Account and prototype deploy and manage up to 10 devices with an aggregate amount of free storage up to 1GB per month and up to 1GB of free traffic per month.

Free Accounts are valid for a period of 6 months.  After this period they must be converted into Business Accounts

Businesses may use the free service for their own internal use, but not to offer commercial services to other individuals or businesses.

For more details please consult our Terms of Service or contact us.

If you need more devices, storage or traffic you can register for a Business Account.

How can I have more free services?

You can request additional free devices by contacting support@cloudplugs.com and explaining the reason for the request. If approved, you account will be allowed to connect a few additional devices.

With CloudPlugs, you can have either a Free account or a Business account.

The Free Account allows 10 devices total (Prototypes, controllers and production things  are considered devices) that can store up to 100MB per month and use up to 100MB of traffic each per month.

The Business Account allows you to use as many devices as and as much bandwidth and storage as needed.  Device licenses are annual and pricing varies based on whether the device is a single device or a gateway, and whether its application is for residential, commercial or industrial use.  

Each device includes 100MB of traffic and 100MB of storage per month. The monthly storage and bandwidth allowance is the product of the number of devices licensed and 100MB, respectively. Excess storage and bandwidth use above the allowance is billed in 100MB increments.

For more information, please contact us.

Can CloudPlugs white label the service with my company name?

Yes, CloudPlugs allows you to white label the service as if it was yours.  Your users will believe it is your own IoT service.  For more details on this service, please contact us.

Can I really manage any Thing?

Yes, you can manage any type of device or sensor as long as you can connect it to the Internet either directly or through a gateway.

Managing a device requires:

  1. Connecting the device to the CloudPlugs IoT service using Edge One™, a SmartPlug™ agent, a PicoPlug™ or a connection library.
  2. Developing or configuring the device application, Edge One™ or SmartPlug™ will publish and subscribe to channels in CloudPlugs IoT.
  3. Developing a control application or dashboard to receive data and issue commands to the device

What do I need to connect my Things?

To connect your things you need the following:

  1. A CloudPlugs account to access the CloudPlugs IoT service platform.
  2. A controller board, or Linux gateway for your Thing.  A list of supported boards and gateways can be found here.
  3. A SmartPlug™, Edge One™, PicoPlug™ or a software library that you will download and integrate with your controller firmware.  Supported libraries can be found here.

Our libraries include examples and have all the necessary functions to connect your Things to CloudPlugs.

How do I connect my Things?

  1. Register to create a CloudPlugs account.
  2. Login to your account.
  3. Click on the Get Started icon and follow the instructions to connect your device with a SmartPlug™ agent, with Edge One™ or with a connection library.

What protocols are supported by CloudPlugs IoT?

The CloudPlugs IoT message broker is polyglot and accepts MQTT, HTTP/REST, WebSockets and PlugNet™ connections. Devices and applications publish data into channels or topics with a supported protocol and devices and applications subscribed to those channels are able to read the data even if they are using a protocol different than that of the device publishing the data.

How many Things can I connect to a single account?

There is no limit on the number of type of Things that can be managed from a single account.

How many prototypes can I create?

There is no limit on the the number of prototypes you can create and test. However, most companies create a few prototypes as required. Once you are familiar with the platform, you will spend most of your time working with Production templates and Production Things.

Why do I need to create a Production Template?

Production Templates are the final step required to take your Things into production.  They specify a class of devices or Production Things. They allow you to:

  1. Create a specific class or model of Things that will be taken into production.
  2. Assign the enrollment credentials to your devices.
  3. Set any specific triggers, additional properties, SmartPlug applications or Containers for a class production Things.
  4. When properties, triggers or applications are added, deleted or changed in a Production template, its corresponding Production Things are automatically updated.

Once you have a desired template, you simple click on Provision Things and the platform will be ready to accept connections from Things that enroll with the proper credentials.

How many templates can I create?

There is no limit on the number of templates you can create from your prototypes.  You can have multiple templates created from a single prototype, each with a small variation to reflect your needs.

What data format is supported by CloudPlugs IoT?

Data is published into CloudPlugs IoT channels or topics in JSON format, and the data is stored in this format.

Are wildcards supported?

Wildcards are used with channels in the same way that wildcards are used with Topics in the MQTT messaging infrastructure.

Wildcards are powerful special characters which allow you to subscribe to multiple channels at once and perform operations across multiple channels with one command.

The channel level separator is used to introduce structure into the channel, and can therefore be specified within the channel for that purpose. The multi-level wildcard and single-level wildcard can be used for subscriptions, but they cannot be used within a channel by the publisher of a message.

Channel level separator

The forward slash (/) is used to separate each level within a channel tree and provide a hierarchical structure to the channel space. The use of the channel level separator is significant when the two wildcard characters are encountered in channels specified by subscribers.  Multiple channel separators are not allowed; therefore, a channel description such as //sensor///temperature is not valid.

Multi-level wildcard

The number sign (#) is a wildcard character that matches any number of levels within a channel. For example, if you subscribe to sensor/temperature/fridge/#, you receive messages on these channels:

sensor/temperature/fridge

sensor/temperature/fridge/meats compartment

sensor/temperature/freezer

The multi-level wildcard can represent zero or more levels. Therefore, fridge/# can also match the singular fridge, where # represents zero levels. The channel level separator is meaningless in this context, because there are no levels to separate.

The multi-level wildcard can be specified only on its own or next to the channel level separator character. Therefore, # and temperature/# are both valid, but temperature# is not valid. The multi-level wildcard must be the last character used within the channel tree. For example, temperature/# is valid but temperature/#/reading is not valid.

Single-level wildcard

The plus sign (+) is a wildcard character that matches only one channel level. For example, sensor/temperature/+ matches sensor/temperature/fridge and sensor/temperature/cooler, but not sensor/temperature/fridge/freezer. Also, because the single-level wildcard matches only a single level, sensor/+ does not match sensor.

The single-level wildcard can be used at any level in the channel tree, and in conjunction with the multilevel wildcard. It must be used next to the channel level separator, except when it is specified on its own. Therefore, + and sensor/+ are both valid, but sensor+ is not valid. The single-level wildcard can be used at the end of the channel tree or within the channel tree. For example, sensor/+ and sensor/+/fridge are both valid.

For more details about wildcards, please consult the Knowledge Base.

Can I modify the data structure of a channel?

The data field(s) within a channel can be modified on the fly.  New field(s) can be added, and field(s) may be modified or deleted.

CloudPlugs IoT offers maximum flexibility.  You do not need to delete and re-create channels when you want to modify the behavior of your existing channels.  Simply modify the data structure and the channel will start transporting the new data published by your Things.

How is security handled?

Devices enroll to the platform using enrollment credentials set in the Production Templates. Once a device is enrolled, CloudPlugs IoT generates a unique identifier for each device as well as a secret connectivity password that will be used by the device to communicate with the platform going forward. Devices may be allowed to enroll only once, or multiple times if the device environment is secure.

Access Control Lists (ACL) can be set for individual devices or for group of devices. ACLs include read-only, read-write and deny or no-access permissions to govern how devices and applications interact with each other.

For more details please consult the Knowledge Base Production Template and Things documentation.

If you would like to see more information published in this FAQ, please let us know.  We want to offer an outstanding service and all feedback is taken into account.

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