The Internet of Things (IoT) has gained popularity over the past few years. Businesses and individuals are now integrating IoT. Therefore, there is an increasing demand for IoT platforms.
You might be confused about what IoT platform and what it offers. Worry not, as we will give you well-detailed information about IoT platforms and what they offer.
What is an IoT platform?
An Internet of Things (IoT) platform is a group of technologies that offer the building blocks for designing and developing your product. Also, this platform offers the necessary “infrastructure” needed to create the particular features of your solution.
The IoT platform’s major goal is to offer all the generic functionality you need for your application. Therefore, developers can devote their time on building features that distinguish their products and as well add values for their customers.
IoT platforms minimize development cost and risk by integrating the non-differentiated functionality. Also, this helps in enhancing the time to market a product. People always believe that IoT platforms include data lakes, transport protocols, and rules engines among others.
The IoT platform is simply a multi-layer technology that automates and manages connected devices. This means it is a service that brings physical objects online. This platform offers the services needed to link the devices to enable communication between machines. Also, an IoT platform brings the world of actionable insights and the world of objects together.
With this platform, you can develop unique software and hardware products for gathering, analyzing, and storing data generated by connected assets and devices.
Let us have a look at the major tasks an IoT product requires to perform. An Internet of Things platform needs to:
- Get real-world data through sensors
- Locally analyze data (edge computing)
- Allow connection to cloud to transfer data and receive commands
- Analyze data to create insights
- Offer insights to users
Types of IoT Platforms
IoT products comprise several components such as software, communication technologies, end-user applications, hardware, and central repository. However, there are different types of IoT platforms. These help in covering every component while developing an IoT product.
Hardware development platforms
These platforms produce development boards needed for creating Internet of Things devices. These include Systems on Chip (SoC), microcontrollers, Systems on Module (SoM), and microprocessors.
These platforms offer communication technologies which helps in linking physical objects with the data center and as well transferring information between them. LoRaWAN, DDS, ZigBee, AMQP, MQTT, Bluetooth, WiFi, and Cellular are among popular connectivity protocols and standards for IoT.
App development platforms
These platforms functions as the integrated development environment (IDE) with tools features and tools for coding.
These platforms integrate intelligent algorithms to perform analysis of collected information and then make actionable insights for customers.
How to Choose the Right IoT Platform
It can be a daunting task when selecting the right IoT platforms since there are a wide range of options and vendors. Therefore, it is crucial you do your assignment well. You need to inquire about these platforms to know what suits your requirements.
If you don’t really know much about the IoT space, it’s advisable to get knowledge from some industry analysts. These analysts will provide you with vital information you should know concerning the IoT space. Also, you need to consider other factors asides from the technical capabilities of the platform.
You need a platform that offers a combination of operational, business, and technical capabilities that work in line with the strategy of your company and the stage of your product adoption lifecycle. For instance, you need to channel your research on IoT platforms that can build and test prototypes easily and quickly if you are new in this space. Also, cost, feature set, and scalability shouldn’t really be a concern.
When it comes to market fit and scale, you should focus on IoT platforms that offer a global footprint, more stability and scalability.
Major considerations when choosing IoT Platforms
IoT could be very risky. You should ensure you work with a reputable company as trusting an unknown company may give you further problems. Also, you need to evaluate the track record, reputation, stability, and financials of the company.
IoT is a very vast field. There is no way it can be dominated by a company. Choosing a company that has a strong partner ecosystem and is a good way of investing in expansion and optionality. The majority of the best IoT platform providers don’t provide hardware. However, they always have a strong partner ecosystem to work with.
Extensibility is very important. Therefore, ensure you choose a provider that offers you programmatic access to their functionality.
It is an added advantage when you work with a vendor that knows your industry. Such a company will design solutions that will take care of your type of data, analytics, and as well help you comply with industry regulations.
It is important to integrate a new platform. Therefore, opt for companies that offer professional services that can train your team. Also, such companies can help you achieve a good architecture and guide you all through the proof of concept stage.
Top IoT Platforms
Cisco IoT Cloud Connect
This IoT platform is an offering for mobile operators. Cisco IoT Cloud Connect is one of the best IoT platforms specially designed for industrial and individual use cases. As a mobility cloud-based software suite, Cisco offers reliable IoT hardware which includes access points, gateways, routers, and switches among others.
Cisco IoT Cloud Connect offers incredible cellular connectivity management which enables the integration of all IoT devices. Also, this IoT platform provides extended enterprise solution which enables IoT business applications to develop at the edge and as well ensure centralized network management.
Cisco IoT integrates a threat defense system which safeguards sensible devices and data against any form of cyberattack. Also, this system offers secure remote access, analysis, and visibility of other security services. Cisco is a reliable IoT platform that provides high-level security, centralized connectivity, edge computing, and powerful industrial solutions.
This IoT platform is applicable in home security and automation, predictive maintenance, smart meters, fleet management, and healthcare.
Particle is an IoT edge-to-cloud platform specially designed for device management and global connectivity. It is also ideal for hardware solutions such as asset tracking devices, development kits, and production modules. Particle works with a team of IoT professionals who focus on providing end-to-end professional services. This enhances product development from concept to production.
As one of the most reliable IoT platform, Particle offers firewall-protected cloud. Users of this platform don’t require any technical experience or skills. Also, Particle incorporates third party services through REST API. This platform provides you the capability to work with data from Microsoft Azure.
Particle is widely integrated in environmental monitoring, live vehicle tracking, real-time asset monitoring, and predictive maintenance among others. As regards connectivity, this IoT platform offers three products which are Mesh, WiFi, and Cellular. Also, it offers developer tools and IoT Rules Engine. As an all-in-one solution for software and hardware, you don’t need to spend time on integrating.
Amazon AWS IoT Core
Amazon AWS IoT Core is one of the leading cloud platforms in the market. With this platform, users can connect devices to their services without having to manage servers. Amazon AWS IoT Core offers a high level of security and reliability for the management of millions of devices.
This platform enables the connection of devices to the cloud and as well as the communication with other devices. Amazon AWS IoT Core supports MQTT, HTTP, and lightweight communication protocol. One of the amazing features of this IoT platform is its machine learning capabilities. Amazon AWS IoT Core offers various edge computing services and various connection protocols which include LoRa WAN and MQTT.
Its end-to-encryption all through the points of connection provides a high level of security. Amazon AWS IoT Core is ideal for use in asset tracking, connected vehicle, industrial IoT, connected homes, and smart building. This secure and reliable IoT platform allows you to route messages to AWS endpoints.
Oracle is a managed Platform as a Service (PaaS) that helps to connect devices to cloud. With this platform, users can connect their devices to the cloud and carry out data analysis from devices in real time. Also, they can carry out data integration with web services and enterprise applications. Also, Oracle IoT supports integration with non-Oracle and Oracle applications.
Oracle IoT offers features such as data enrichment and stream processing to analyze data. This platform helps to improve worker productivity and operational efficiency. With features such as endpoint management, high-speed messaging, and device virtualization, this software is an efficient IoT platform.
Blynk IoT is a low-code software specially designed for the development and management of connected electronic devices. This is the only platform that provides full IoT development infrastructure alongside native mobile apps. Also, Blynk IoT allows quick prototyping with IoT features and simple transition to solutions that support very complex enterprise.
Blynk IoT offers a wide range of features implemented in widgets. Also, this IoT platform is compatible with broad hardware. It runs on more than 400 hardware modules with various libraries to link. Furthermore, Blynk IoT provides supported connectivity methods such as USB, WiFi, USB, and Ethernet.
This IoT platform offers a powerful web console with an easy-to-use interface. As an IoT software, Blynk IoT offers a comprehensive package to other vendors. Also, it features a low-code mobile app builder.
Microsoft Azure IoT suite
This IoT platform is specially designed to meet a wide range of industry needs. Also, it can be widely used in various areas ranging from manufacturing to retail and transportation. Microsoft Azure IoT suite offers efficient and reliable solutions for smart spaces, remote monitoring, connected products, and predictive maintenance.
As an open IoT platform, Microsoft Azure IoT is ideal for both professionals and beginners. Microsoft Azure IoT helps you create a robust application. Users can easily create secure edge-to-cloud solutions with this open-source platform. With the ready-to-use tools, features, and templates, you can create flexible applications based on the needs of your company.
Microsoft Azure IoT Edge offers you the capability to perform in offline mode. Also, this IoT platform provides enhanced AI solutions and fully managed databases. The Microsoft Azure IoT is ideal for use in several applications which include healthcare, automotive industry, and retail. Users can start using this platform with two solutions; with open source IoT templates and as an IoT SaaS.
IBM Watson IoT
This is one of the best IoT platform you can always rely on. IBM Watson IoT allows you to investigate and capture the data for equipment, devices and make better decisions. This IoT platform is a fully managed cloud service for scalable connectivity options, data lifecycle management, device management, and secure communications.
With this platform, users can get insights from assets, things, buildings, and equipment. Also, users can optimize resource and operations. Its bidirectional communication facility and correct business insights help to boost revenue. IBM Watson IoT features domain expertise, security and flexible solutions, AI and analytics, and captures real-time data.
Furthermore, this platform is ideal for use in regulatory compliance, energy consumption, and building management. It is no doubt that IBM Watson IoT offers great functionalities and features at a very affordable price.
IRI Voracity is an affordable and fast IoT platform that offers a wide range of features and tools. It is a data management platform that allows IoT data management at every phase of your business processes. Also, IRI Voracity is a suitable choice for analyzing and transforming data.
This IoT platform integrates two engines such as IRI CoSort and Hadoop to enable the processing of Big Data. Also, IRI Voracity can govern, discover, transform, and analyze data from different sources and in a wide range of formats like Linux, ISAM, MQTT, and more.
Also, IRI voracity offers a faster analytic alternative that carries out transformation and extraction of large data. Its data governance portal allows classification in silos, and data search. This IoT platform offers anonymization and encryption to ensure compliance with data privacy regulations.
IRI Voracity comes with a DB Ops environment which enables users to use all databases from a place. This IoT platform is ideal for use in data governance, big data analysis, and ETL modernization.
ThingWorx is a popular IoT platform widely integrated in the engineering, manufacturing, and service sectors. As an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform, ThingWorx offers solutions to common problems across several industries from maintenance to asset optimization and remote monitoring.
Users can easily manage the development lifecycle of IoT applications. Also, this platform gives you access to data and IoT from the hybrid environment. ThingWorx offers benefits such as reduced costs, improved compliance, role-based visibility, and increased uptime.
With this IoT platform, users can have real-time insights from IoT data to optimize operations and as well avoid potential issues. Also, ThingWorx offers advanced tools and applications needed to scale and create IIoT solutions. Users can have complete control over processes and data networks devices.
ThingWorx is ideal for use in applications like remote maintenance, optimized equipment effectiveness, remote asset monitoring, and predictive maintenance.
Google Cloud Platform
The list is incomplete without mentioning the Google Cloud Platform. Google launched its IoT platform to develop IoT. It is one of the best IoT cloud platforms. Also, the Google Cloud IoT integrates different services that improve connected solutions.
Its Cloud IoT core enables you to handle and capture device data. Google Cloud Platform features a Cloud Pub which executes data ingestion for further data processing. The AI Platform has some machine learning features while the Google Data Studio helps users to visualize data by simply making dashboards and reports. It also features strong data visualization and location tracking.
Google Cloud Platform supports various embedded operating systems. This IoT platform partners wit IoT hardware producers like Microchip and Intel. Google Cloud Platform is widely used in applications like real-time asset tracking, smart buildings, and predictive maintenance.
Large enterprises usually opt for giant IoT platforms like Amazon or Microsoft. This is because these platforms give the best offerings, however, they are the most expensive. Also, smaller companies may look for cost-efficient options that will meet their requirements.
There are a wide range of IoT platforms available in the market. However, you should consider features like industry-specific features, the provider’s reputation, and the technical capabilities of a platform. Ensure all these parameters meet your requirement. Also, they should comply with the budget and strategy of your company. We have compiled a list of reliable IoT platforms, you can opt for any of these platforms.