Many companies we speak with are still confused about what an IoT platform does and why they need one. Let’s go back to basics with a definition of an IoT platform and why you should consider a pre-built IoT platform for your business needs. We’ve also put together this comprehensive IoT comparison chart to consult when choosing a platform.
What is an IoT platform?
IoT platforms are enablers for business digitalization:
- They connect and manage sensors and devices throughout their life cycle.
- They allow you to rapidly develop useful applications based on your new data streams.
- They make applications available for users on any device and interface with external systems.
There are a number of components an IoT platform needs to have in order to perform these functions well:
- Connectivity for any device or sensor you need, now or in the future.
- Device management for the entire life cycle.
- Rules and actions to take automatic actions based on the data you’re collecting.
- Data visualization and analytics sliced and diced in different ways for different users.
- External connectivity to applications and 3rd party software.
- Built-in security at every level of the application.
- Data storage and optimization to have the data available when needed.
When do you need an IoT platform?
There’s a lot that goes into building a platform that can scale and grow with your business’s needs. Here are a number of factors that IoT solution providers need to take into consideration:
A flexible platform can always incorporate new technologies fast. Here are the Popular IoT Protocols of 2019, for example. If you build or choose a platform that only supports the standards you are currently using, your IoT applications will be severely limited in how they can grow. New standards and protocols are introduced all the time. You’re going to need to support them if you want to include the latest and most cost-effective sensors.
Your business needs may also change, and your platform should be flexible enough to meet any unexpected future demands.
How will you build flexibility into your IoT business?
Speed to Market
A faster time to market means fewer expenses and a stronger competitive positioning. Can a platform get you to market faster than the alternatives without compromising on flexibility and scalability?
Deploying an IoT application relies on deep expertise in cloud computing. We regularly deploy on premise, private clouds and public clouds with varying security and performance requirements.
Performance, even at peak hours should be high. A security company running a connected alarm application for businesses must be able to deal with an event peak load at 10pm when most employees arm their alarms. At 11pm, no one is arming their alarm and the system needs to scale back down.
Part of maintaining high performance consistently is having a high availability and disaster recovery plan in place.
Many of our customers scale their IoT business quickly. Order of magnitude changes in devices supported, notifications from devices, customers, and more are quite routine. Platforms are generally quite good at scaling seamlessly.
Security is an important topic that warrants consideration separately. How you treat your sensitive information in every layer of your platform is critical. There is much regulation around security and privacy. For example, each of your customers is going to have a different retention policy, which means you’ll have to store their information for different lengths of time. They’ll also have different data access policies of the information.
How to choose an IoT platform
Choosing an IoT platform will let anyone – digital enterprise, system integrators, and service providers – focus on their core business while letting the platform provider worry about putting the right infrastructure in place.
To help you choose the right platform, we’ve put together an IoT Platform Comparison. This is a feature-by-feature comparison of all platform types to help you choose the best fit for your business.