To help simplify the absolute must haves for a successful IoT platform, we went ahead and listed the top things here, along with an explanation of why each is necessary.
Follow this list to ensure you are all set before connecting your devices and sensors to begin your digital transformation swiftly and smoothly.
- Connectivity: Although the term IoT was coined in the late 90’s, we can track IoT devices or connected sensors back to the 50’s of the previous century. Concepts like SCADA, or even popular protocol like Modbus, are over 40 years old. During those years, no standard was emerging as the holy grail of IoT protocols. This makes connectivity one of the most, if not THE most important aspect of the IoT Protocol. The challenge to connect devices, especially brown field devices, that are not able to use a newly branded SDK or plug and play connectivity tools, is the IoT platform’s main challenge. The problem goes even deeper in that, not only is there no standard within the communication protocols, but also the structure of the data being sent is different from one vendor to the next.
- Modularity: An IoT platform includes many features. The ability to use those features as modules in the cloud, or in edge serves as a very compelling offer for clients. The majority of IoT platforms only need a subset of features, while some only want to use the device managements capabilities, yet others only want to use analytics and graphs, or their own notification provider or authentication management.
The ability to choose which modules you prefer, provides you with the opportunity to work with a lean platform that consumes less resources, faster response times, if you choose to deploy modules on the edge, and privacy concerns can be amended if you choose to put the data modules in your own servers. Of course the ability to embed external modules, can give you endless extensibility.
- Digital Twins: This is the new buzzword on the block. But, why do IoT platforms even need digital twins? When discussing this with IoT platform end users, you can see that obtaining the statuses from their thousands of sensors or more, is often too overwhelming. Too much data makes you miss what is really important. By creating a digital twin for each of your factory assembly lines, you can aggregate and create special formulas for each of the sensors installed in this assembly line, and all that you will ultimately see, is the bottom line.
- Edge Computing: Also known as, “Fog Computing” is the ability to distribute resources and modules all the way from the cloud to the “Thing”. The advantages are clear, ie. reduce latency and network traffic, which is very important in real time scenarios, or in a power constraint device, and control privacy, data security and network isolation. Together with modularity, this enables you to distribute resources to the edge resulting in a very powerful and flexible IoT platform.
- Security: The well-known joke is that “S” in IoT stands for ‘Security’. We’ve all seen the recent cases where IoT devices were hacked and misused. The temptation to hack IoT devices is huge. Power constrained devices that don’t implement all the relevant security protocol, together with the large spread of IoT devices, gives hackers motivation to target those devices.
The IoT platform’s responsibility is to make hackers work a little bit harder. Items such as; Firmware Updates that let you install security patches easily, secured communication between the device and the cloud, constant monitoring of any changes in the device behavior that will raise a red flag, secured authentication methods from devices like signed certificates or the ability to revoke authentication tokens, and the publishing of security best practices, are all part of the IoT platform’s security responsibilities.
We are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding this list to IoT platform success. Feel free to contact us here.