ThingSpeak vs Firebase

When developing a product in the fast-growing industry of the Internet of Things (IoT), manufacturers have to place equal focus on the hardware as well as the software platforms on which the device will run.

The choice of software solution is crucial as the product will need it to store, retrieve, monitor, and analyse data from the sensors. A flexible cloud-based platform is a preferable choice among manufacturers as it is considerably easier to manage large volumes of data in a reasonably sized IoT ecosystem.

Read on as we discuss the details of two of the most popular IoT platforms, i.e., ThingSpeak and Firebase.

Key Takeaways

  • ThingSpeak is a software which allows users to communicate with IoT devices
  • ThingSpeak is open-source, Firebase is a proprietary technology

What is ThingSpeak?

ThingSpeak is essentially an IoT analytics platform service that allows IoT developers to store, visualise, and analyse live data streams on the cloud. It is open-source software written in Ruby, and it facilitates data access, retrieval, and logging, with an API for the hardware and social media websites.

ThingSpeak has integrated support for the computing software MATLAB, which allows its users to deploy the software for online data analysis, visualisation, and processing without purchasing a license. It is often used for prototyping and proof of concept IoT systems that require analytics.

ThingSpeak core features and advantages

  • Collect data privately on-demand from third-party sources

Sensors in the IoT devices detect and measure all types of data like pressure, temperature, humidity, etc., in terms of a numerical value or electrical signal.

Typically, these sensors act locally, but ThingSpeak allows these sensors and websites to send data to a private cloud or a public channel for further actions like data processing.

  • MATLAB to make sense of your data

Using online analytical tools provided by MATLAB, you can easily discover trends and relationships between the data in real-time and then visualise them in the form of graphs, plots, gauges, etc. You can also schedule calculations and combine multiple channels to create a more sophisticated analysis.

  • Act on your data

ThingSpeak provides the means to enable device communication and automatically trigger a reaction. It can be something as simple as social media integrations for a specific input, or intricate tasks like cut-off valves, remote control devices, etc.

React to raw and new information fed into a data channel and queue up commands to be executed on a defined trigger.

In addition to the above-mentioned core features, ThingSpeak also allows you to – 

  • Easily set up devices to send data to ThingSpeak based on popular IoT protocols.
  • View the sensor data in real-time.
  • Execute your IoT scans automatically based on calendars or events.
  • Develop IoT systems without setting up servers or developing web software.
  • Communicate data using third-party services and social media platforms

What is Firebase? 

Firebase is one of the most popular Backend as a Service (BaaS) platforms that allows mobile app developers to design and execute their applications.

Unlike ThingSpeak, Firebase was not exclusively designed to cater to the needs of IoT developers. However, another Google-owned pioneering IoT product – Google Nest – was built on Firebase and several others followed suit.

Firebase can work with any product hardware that can communicate with its REST API, including the most prominently featured Arduino Starter Kits.

Being a universal cloud platform, Firebase has some limitations, like the lack of support for OTA firmware updates, online data processing, etc. However, it is usually not a major issue if manufacturers assemble a device from their chosen parts.

Firebase core features

  • Backend service integrations

As stated earlier, Firebase is a comprehensive app development solution, Firebase integrates seamlessly with several Google and third-party solutions for advanced functionality. You can integrate your product with Google sign-in, Firebase Cloud Messaging, etc.

  • Google Analytics

Firebase is directly integrated with Google Ads, AdMob, Play Store, and BigQuery, which makes data management exceptionally easy and accurate. You also get periodic crash reports from Google Analytics, which can be used to improve your product for better customer satisfaction.

  • Console

Console in Firebase is your one-stop destination for data monitoring and troubleshooting anything and everything on your Android or iOS app. All the data is available to you in real-time, and you can also make the required changes from within the Console itself.

Firebase advantages

  • Realtime database

Firebase uses a NoSQL document database that is essentially a single JSON file that interacts with the database using JavaScript, Android, or iOS APIs. The database is designed to scale automatically with application demand without the need to add servers, partition data, etc.

In addition, the RESTful API also offers query operations other than SQL ones, which restricts the number of documents returned by the query. Essentially, developers can store both static and dynamic content on the Firebase Database.

  • Support for offline operations

Firebase data operations are written locally and synced with the database when the device establishes network connectivity. The platform will validate domain ownership, provide an SSL certificate, and deploy it across the digital footprint of the client app.

In addition, there are controls to protect data in motion and at rest. Data transmission occurs on an encrypted line and users can be authenticated and restricted by the owner to certain actions only.

  • Authentication

Firebase authentication uses either an existing login server or a client-side code. Since it has its cloud to store and sync data, there is no need to host a local or cloud authentication server. Your customers can easily sign into your business through secure platforms like Google, Twitter, Facebook, GitHub, etc.

Firebase Authentication was built by the same team that developed Google Sign-in, so you get the same expertise in data management that went into developing probably the internet’s largest database.

ThingSpeak vs. Firebase Comparison

DescriptionSoftware which allows users to communicate with IoT devicesComprehensive app development platform
Date Launched20102011
Free to StartYesYes
More information at the pricing page.
Pay as you


The choice between Firebase and ThingSpeak is a difficult one to make as it primarily depends on the type of device that you are developing.

If your hardware calls for real-time online data visualisation and processing, consult a software development company to know how ThingSpeak can help you in this regard.

On the other hand, Firebase is good for projects of all scales and scopes, and there is a comprehensive set of manuals available on their website for virtually every occasion. 


What is ThingSpeak?

Software which allows users to communicate with IoT devices.

What is Firebase?

Comprehensive app development platform.

What are the differences between Firebase and ThingSpeak?

– Firebase is a proprietary technology from Google
– ThingSpeak is open-source
– Firebase is a comprehensive development platform
– ThingSpeak is designed for IoT
– Both software are free to start using

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.