IoT platforms facilitate scalable deployment of IoT sensors as they provide a platform for securely managing and analyzing their IoT devices and data. Important features of an IoT platform include data management, analytics, application development, interoperability, device management and security.

What is an IoT platform?

IoT platforms are middleware that integrates applications and hardware while providing an environment for data analytics. These platforms transfer information between two IoT layers: hardware and applications. They transmit data from a variety of hardware to the cloud to make it useful for applications while transferring commands from applications to hardware.

IoT platforms are middleware between applications and hardware
Image source

What are the components of an IoT platform?

To understand IoT platforms, businesses should understand the components of IoT systems. Though every IoT platform has its own specific set of unique features and mechanisms, a complete IoT platform has four different components:

  • Connected IoT devices collect different types of data (voice, video, image or structured time series data on vibrations, heat, etc.) from the environment. Some IoT devices also interact with their environment beyond just data collection.
  • Connectivity solutions enable devices to communicate with each other while transmitting data to the cloud or to receive commands from the cloud.
  • Data processing software that performs analysis either at the edge or on-premise that is collected from devices. With the results from the analysis, organizations can make data-driven decisions.
  • Monitoring and administration software: This provides a user interface that allows users to interact with the IoT system if needed. The most general purposes of the user interface layer are remote control of the devices and visualizing the results of analyses.

Why is it important now?

According to Cisco survey, 75% of IoT projects fail. An IoT platform can help businesses succeed by reducing development time and with that increasing the speed-to-market, making applications scalable, lowering costs and avoiding technical mistakes.

An IoT platform simplifies development because it solves many problems and complexities that businesses deal with when building an IoT application. Using a platform lets enterprises focus on the solution instead of making them involved in setting up an infrastructure that supports the IoT application.

The figure below shows the proliferation of IoT devices. With the increasing number of sensors and devices, collected data and the complexity of IoT projects increases as well. An IoT platform helps businesses combine a variety of devices and manage IoT data at scale. 

The graph highlighting the proliferation of IoT devices
Source: Hackernoon

What are its benefits?

Faster deployment: An IoT platform is software that facilitates the process of building IoT systems by providing various built-in tools. It facilitates data collection and transmission, device management, and application development within the IoT system.

Reduced investment to set up an IoT system: Relying on an off-the-shelf IoT platform enables companies to trade-off between investment and operating costs. An IoT platform reduces the development and testing costs of an IoT system. However, by relying on a 3rd party platform provider, the company will need to pay long term subscription or license fees.

What are the important capabilities of an IoT platform?

  • Application development: Users can develop and deploy IoT applications that are compatible with devices compatible with the IoT platform.
  • Data management at scale: With the increasing number of sensors and devices, collected data and the complexity of IoT projects increase. An IoT platform helps businesses manage data at scale.
  • Analytics: An IoT platform can have analytics capabilities such as rule engines, event stream processing, machine learning, and data visualization. It can support the analysis of data either at the edge or in the cloud to generate actionable insights.
  • Interoperability & integration: A platform can provide communication with different types of devices (sensors, cameras, wearables, etc.) so that their data can be transmitted to the cloud correctly.
  • Device Management: IoT platforms enable users to track, monitor, and manage physical IoT devices. Effective device management is important for the connectivity and security of IoT devices.
  • Security: Organizations can ensure the security of data within the IoT system by relying on the features of an IoT platform.

What are the leading IoT platform providers?

  • ARTIK Cloud by Samsung
  • Autodesk Fusion
  • AWS IoT
  • B+B SmartWorx by Advantech
  • Bosch IoT Suite
  • Carriots Platform
  • GE Predix
  • Google Cloud IoT
  • KAA Platform
  • Losant Platform
  • Macchina Platform
  • Microsoft Azure IoT Suite
  • MyDevices Cayenne Platform
  • Initial State Platform
  • IBM Watson IoT
  • Particle Cloud
  • Salesforce IoT Cloud
  • Samsara Platform
  • SiteWhere Platform
  • Temboo Platform
  • ThingSpeak Platform
  • ThingWorx
  • Ubidots Platform
  • WebNMS Platform
  • Xively Platform
  • Zebra Zatar Cloud

We’ve written a few articles about IoT technology before, feel free to check them out:

Edge Analytics in 2020: Guide to intelligent IoT applications

IoT Analytics in 2020: An In-depth Guide

Top 28 IoT Applications/Use Cases of 2020: In-Depth Guide

If you still have questions about IoT platforms, don’t hesitate to contact us:

Let us find the right vendor for your business

Sources:

Avsystem

Gartner

Thingssquare

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