December 14, 2020


When was the last time you called Alexa, Siri or Cortana ?

Smart appliances and assistants have become a part and parcel of our life. Objects around us also connect to the cloud and communicate using Internet. This is commonly called as Internet of Things or IoT.

Salesforce IoT cloud stores and processes the IoT data and is backed by Thunder engine. This engine gathers data from devices, websites, applications, etc. and processes the real-time event data.  

“There are over 23 billion IoT connected devices worldwide. This number is expected to reach 30 billion by 2020 and over 60 billion by end of 2025 – Aaron S.Birnbaum, Chief Security Officer, Seron Security LLC”

In this blog, we will cover how Salesforce IoT works followed by a real-time use-case. It will help you understand if this something you would need in your organization too.


Salesforce is in and out a business application, which provides services to end-users or business users. With Salesforce IoT cloud, these services are enhanced with the benefits of big data obtained from connected devices.  

With Salesforce IoT cloud customer service, customer experience, customer satisfaction can be improved at a rapid rate. Eventually your customers will become your brand advocates.

Salesforce IoT cloud could talk to the connected devices directly and start context-based alerts and actions.  

Some real-life IoT examples include,

  1. Sensors in any connected device detect damage/failure and automatically a customer service ticket is created
  2. To understand the performance of turbines in a windmill and maintain them in a timely manner
  3. Finding lost keys using Home monitoring systems and smart security systems, locks, etc.
  4. Smart wear, fitness trackers, smart athletic shoes, etc.

Components of Salesforce IoT

If your company is on the journey to digital transformation, it’s high time you think about Salesforce IoT cloud, especially if you are in the Manufacturing, Energy sector. IoT ecosystem needs the following components

Things – Physical devices which needs to be monitored (or) connected to the Internet from which data can be extracted

Connectivity – It allows the things to talk to each other. They are commonly connected using Internet

IoT platforms – It is helpful for managing the IoT assets

Business Application – A system like CRM which talks to IoT infrastructure, collects data and trigger meaningful alerts/actions.

How does IoT cloud work ?

Salesforce IoT cloud is powered by Thunder. Thunder is a powerful rule-based event-processing engine which will collect, filter and answer to events in real-time.

Thunder is built on open-source tools, they are

Apache Kafka Messaging system which handles the incoming data from all connected devices

Apache Storm Big data event processing platform which gets the data from Kafka and handles events

Apache Spark Big Data processing platform which processes both batch and streaming data, handles analytics as well

Apache Cassandra A distributed Database Management System (DBMS) for handling big data

All of these technologies are run on Salesforce’s proprietary Platform as a Service PaaS – Heroku. Devices can be managed by any of the IoT platforms like Amazon Web Services(AWS) and the data is transferred to Salesforce IoT cloud. It uses REST API to communicate to and from devices.

salesforce IOT cloud
Salesforce IoT Cloud Architecture

Implementation algorithm

Salesforce IoT implementation algorithm includes the following steps

Plan – Identify event triggers and actions or alerts.  

Connect – Finalize the data sources which needs to be connected

Transform – Transform the practical customer scenario to technical terms

Build – Add orchestration rule and incorporate necessary logic using formulae

Deploy – Activate the orchestration rule and understand the state of devices  

Salesforce IoT Explorer edition can be used by non-development teams as well. It has an easy-to-use visual configuration where you can create workflows with pre-configured elements, rules, conditions, actions, alerts, etc.

Salesforce IoT cloud Scenario

Salesforce IoT cloud has many benefits, here are a few to start with

  • IoT cloud could act as a data repository from many connected devices. This data could be used to get context and drive specific actions
  • Salesforce Einstein analytics could be used to process, visualize data from connected devices. You could create reports, dashboards, find trends, patterns, etc and be proactive
  • Improve customer experience and brand loyalty by providing specific notifications in advance. This way customer is well-informed and not frustrated due to last minute changes

Salesforce IoT scenario
Salesforce IoT Scenario

Here’s a sample scenario and steps to setup. Create a platform event in Setup and add custom fields and Triggers according to the Fridge scenario.

Salesforce IoT platform events
Salesforce IoT Platform Events

Secondly, search for IoT in Quick Find, press Get Started and enable Salesforce IoT. Thirdly, you create Contexts. The contexts map events to Salesforce objects. Add the platform event to this context once it is created.

Salesforce IoT Cloud Context

Finally, create an orchestration with the context that we just created. In the orchestration add rules based on the states of the machine – i.e., the rule for normal, warning and problematic states. In the rules, add the events – actions or alerts which needs to be executed.

Once it’s all done, you can execute the orchestration and analyze the traffic.

Salesforce IoT cloud orchestration

Things to consider

Before implementing Salesforce IoT cloud there are a few things you need to consider  

  1. Security – Connected devices and big data generates additional security concerns
  2. Data Privacy – Salesforce collects information constantly and this might make customers feel uneasy, this can be agreed between customers
  3. Flexibility and Scaling –Salesforce’s low-code approach gives a set of pre-defined elements, this can be a limitation if the feature your company requires is not present

Read more about how to check your Salesforce security here.


“The Internet of Things has the potential to change the world, just as the Internet did, Maybe even more so – Kevin Ashton”

It’s hard to evaluate and understand if IoT is required for your business. The future of your business totally depends on how your company reacts to change. With this guide, you would get a rough idea as to how Salesforce IoT could help your company drive digital transformation.

Decide what’s right for your organization and take the first step.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to reach out to CloudIdeas team.

About the author

Priya Ravichandran
Priya Ravichandran

Senior Consultant | Geeky Digital Marketer | Guest Content Writer

Priya Ravichandran is a consultant by day, content creator by night. Priya enjoys writing well-researched and easy-to-read business content. When she isn't typing or writing, she can be found backpacking or dancing.

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