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Not Every Platform is an IoT Platform!

Not Every Platform is an IoT Platform!

News flash: We are now witnesses to a powerful explosion in IoT solutions all over the globe. The ever-increasing market is muddying the water giving us hard time to decide on which IoT platform has the right technological depth to suit the needs of our specific use-case.

With Hundreds of Choices, How Can You Pick the Right IoT Platform?

The first thing you need to be aware of is that not all platforms are born equal.

Even though many companies tend to offer a complete and mature IoT platform, there are companies whose offer consists of just a small element of an IoT solution or even something completely different.

To help you understand the concept of an IoT Platform, we’ll start by distinguishing five types of platforms:

  1. IoT Application Enablement Platform
  2. IaaS Backends
  3. Hardware-Specific Software Platforms
  4. Analytics Platform
  5. Connectivity/M2M Platforms

To start with, first, we will demystify the concept of a complete IoT Platform which acts as a core of any IoT solution, known as IoT Application Enablement Platform (AEP).

What Is an IoT Application Enablement Platform?

When talking about an IoT Platform, we generally refer to IoT Application Platform. An AEP acts as a core of an IoT solution designed to provide the foundational services needed to build a solution from the ground up. It enables developers to rapidly deploy an IoT application or service without having to worry about scale-out or scale-up factor or requiring years of IoT experience.

Naturally, it needs to meet your business needs and allow deployment with minimum disruption to the existing system. In a nutshell, it enables all other parts of an IoT solution to function as a seamless whole.

According to IoT Analytics, the architecture of the AEP consists of eight crucial components:

  1. Connectivity and Normalisation - bring different protocols and a variety of data formats into one software interface that ensures constant connectivity, the interaction between devices, accurate data streaming and harmonised data formats
  2. Device Management - provides lifecycle management functionality for connected devices, including device onboarding, deployment of software and firmware updates, and configuration of managed devices
  3. Database - cloud-based repository scalable in terms of data volume, variety, velocity and veracity
  4. Processing and Action Management - a rule engine that consists of rule-based event-action triggers, which launches different actions based on the real-time data streams processing
  5. Analytics - uses algorithms for a range of calculations, from basic data clustering to predictive analytics extracting the most value from data-stream
  6. Visualisation - enables graphical display of real-time and historical data, enabling patterns and trends observed in visualisation dashboards and reports
  7. Additional tools - allows developers to prototype, test and market their IoT use cases by creating apps that enable them to visualize, manage and control connected devices
  8. External interfaces - include APIs, libraries, SDKs and gateways that enable integration with third-party systems and the rest of the IT ecosystem

The Platforms Often Mistakenly Referred to as “IoT Platforms”

The following four types of platforms are often referred to as IoT platforms, even though they only represent an element of an IoT solution:

1. Connectivity/M2M platforms - These platforms mainly provide connectivity services through telecommunication networks (for example, SIM-cards, LoRa, Sigfox, etc.). However, they do not focus on the processing and the enrichment of the data. (Examples: Sigfox, Cisco Jasper, Hologram)

2. IaaS Backends - Infrastructure-as-a-service backends provides virtual computing resources over the Internet, including hosting space and processing power for applications and services. IaaS customers access resources and services through the Internet and use the Cloud’s providing services to install the rest of the elements of an application stack. (Examples: IBM Bluemix, AWS, Microsoft Azure)

3. Hardware-specific software platforms - Some companies like to refer to their own proprietary software backend as an IoT Platform. Given the fact that this platform is not accessible to anyone else on the market, it is questionable whether we can refer to as an IoT Platform. (Examples: Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, Google Nest)

4. Analytics Platform (AP) - AP is a unified solution designed to address the demands of users, particularly large data-driven companies, allowing them to draw insights from all the stored information. In its core, it joins different tool for creating analytics systems and provides advanced analytics capabilities that are separated from data ingestion and processing functionality provided by platforms like AEPs. In other words, it provides analytical information based on current data records. (Examples: Splunk, Comarch IoT)

Why WolkAbout IoT Platform?

WolkAbout IoT Platform provides you with a clear vision to a successful IoT solution.

It offers numerous features bundled up in one product allowing you to connect any device, with any protocol, over any network in any cloud or on-premise. In other words, It’s a complete solution that provides you with all the bits and pieces you need to successfully start, execute and maintain your IoT solution.

Start building your IoT solution today and let us do the heavy lifting!

Discover all the functionalities and the value WolkAbout IoT Platform can bring to your business by trying it for free at demo.wolkabout.com.

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References:

IoT Analytics (2016, January 26). 5 Things To Know About The IoT Platform Ecosystem. Retrieved from www.iot-analytics.com