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5 Key Factors to Selecting the Right IoT Platform

DZone's Guide to

5 Key Factors to Selecting the Right IoT Platform

Want a quick and simple checklist to decide on the right IoT platform? Here's a list of what to consider for your solution.

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iot platform checklist

You have identified a market demand for an IoT Solution. You have a device and a communication channel strategy. How do you select the right IoT platform to provide the IoT Software capability needed to complete your solution and start addressing the market demand?

In June 2017, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) published a paper asking “Who Will Win the IoT Platform Wars?” They go on to define the three main capabilities of a complete IoT Platform:

  • Connectivity Management (Connecting Devices, Networks, Systems, etc.)
  • Data Aggregation and Storage (i.e., Data Processing)
  • Application Enablement (Rules engine, API’s, Device/Data control)

What I like most about the paper is the section titled “Key Factors to Selecting the Right IoT Platform” or buying guidelines. I consider BCG a credible source for research and industry advice.

  1. Select a fully capable platform
  2. Evaluate your risk appetite
  3. Match the platform to your developers’ skills
  4. Consider openness and ease of integration
  5. Select the platform business model that fits your needs

Factor 1: Select a Fully Capable Platform

The first priority is to select a vendor with a complete IoT Platform:

  • Connectivity Management (Connecting Devices, Networks, Systems, etc.)
  • Data Aggregation and Storage (i.e., Data Processing)
  • Application Enablement (Rules engine, API’s, Device / Data control)

Factor 2: Evaluate Your Risk Appetite

The point BCG makes here is you have a choice. Engage with a startup, who may provide a great deal of flexibility and ingenuity to deliver a complete solution at the risk of them folding or being acquired. Or engage with a large established software company who will most have gaps but with the expectation that they will fill in gaps through future enhancements or acquisitions. It reminds me of the old marketing campaign from IBM, nobody gets fired for buying from IBM. While they may not have the best in class, most flexible solution, they are a known entity that will not disappear. But you never really know if IBM delivered at a justifiable price point.

Factor 3: Match the Platform to Your Developers’ Skills

In my humble opinion, this factor should be bolded and flashing as it is all too often overlooked, yet a common reason for failure (see “Why IoT projects are failing”). BCG claims that 69% of developers they interviewed rated the difficulty of filling gaps in their current IoT Platform as “moderate” or “hard”. 40% found learning the new platform harder than learning most programming frameworks. Let that soak in!

At minimum, if you must fill gaps with additional development, be certain you have developers with the proper skills and they are onboard and committed to your success (#AreYouInTheSoftwareBusiness).

Factor 4: Consider Openness and Ease of integration

BCG is making two points. First, consider an open framework that is modular, with easy to use APIs. Second, a framework that will easily integrate with existing systems.

Factor 5: Select the Platform Business Model That Fits Your Needs

The important thing here is to consider the economics and ensure that the way you will acquire the final solution fits with your business constraints. From an economic standpoint, you will need to understand up front or one-time fees, reoccurring monthly or annual fees, and if you have to hire or allocate people to the effort. These fees should be evaluated not just for the development effort but for the life of the product. Because time is money, do not ignore how long it will take to return value to your company.

Take a deep dive into Bluetooth mesh. Read the tech overview and discover new IoT innovations.

Topics:
iot ,iot platform ,connected devices ,iot solution

Published at DZone with permission of Ron Pascuzzi, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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