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How to Choose the Right IoT Platform: The Ultimate Checklist

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How to Choose the Right IoT Platform: The Ultimate Checklist

Don’t know which IoT platform to choose? Here are some things to consider in the realms of connectivity, industry vertical, and data transferral.

· IoT Zone ·
Free Resource

Choosing the right IoT platform is a complex endeavor. Whether you’re an IoT hobbyist, experienced developer, or senior executive, the landscape is massive and confusing. This article aims to clear up some of the complexity and offer a quick and scannable guide of the IoT platform landscape. It also provides criteria for how you should evaluate IoT platforms based on your needs.

"We’re a cross-functional, fully-integrated, full-stack, serverless, hardware agnostic, AI, IoT platform that offers you infinite infrastructure . . ." said every confusing IoT platform website ever.

What Is an IoT Platform?

In the simplest terms, an IoT platform is an integrated service that offers you the things you need to bring physical objects online. It needs to be capable of supporting millions of simultaneous device connections and easily allow you to configure your devices for machine-to-machine communication.

“Here’s the dirty little secret of IoT: it’s really, really hard to build a well-functioning IoT product.” — Zach Supalla

IoT Platform Types

End-to-end IoT Platforms

Fundamentally, end-to-end IoT platforms provide the hardware, software, connectivity, security, and device management tools to handle millions of concurrent device connections. It also provides all the managed integrations you need — OTA firmware updates, device management, cloud connection, cellular modem, etc — to connect and monitor a fleet of devices online.

Examples:  Particle

Connectivity Management Platforms

These platforms offer low power and low-cost connectivity management solutions through Wi-Fi and cellular technologies. This can range from connectivity hardware, cellular networks, and data routing features.

Examples:  MulesoftHologramSigfox

IoT Cloud Platforms

Cloud platforms aim to get rid of the complexity of building your own complex network stack and offer the backend services (plus other services) to monitor and track millions of simultaneous device connections.

Examples:  Google Cloud IoTSalesforce Cloud IoT

Data Platform

Of course, every type of IoT platform deals with data in some way. But these IoT data platforms combine many of the tools you need to route device data and manage/visualize data analytics.

Examples:  ClearbladeAzureThingSpeak

IoT Platform Verticals

Of course, categorizing these IoT platforms under a single category is probably presenting it to simply. All these platforms tend to offer more solutions and that can’t be broken down into a single category. So you need to examine what they are offering, and who they are offering it to.

Hobbyists

  • Prototyping Solutions
  • Development Kits
  • DIY solutions

Consumer Electronics

  • Utilities
  • Home automation
  • Wearables
  • Anything with Alexa-involved

Industrial IoT (IIoT) Solutions

  • Smart factory warehousing applications
  • Predictive and remote maintenance.
  • Industrial security systems
  • Asset tracking and smart logistics
  • Energy optimization
  • Transportation monitoring
  • Connected logistics

Industry-Driven

  • Agriculture
  • Healthcare
  • Transportation
  • Smart Cities
  • Energy

What You Should Look for When Examining Platforms

When examining these platforms, these are the types of things you should be examining or looking for based on your solution:

1. Connectivity

How well does the vendor’s network coverage fit your business’s current and future initiatives?

2. Method of connectivity

What type of connectivity do you need? Do you need a Wi-Fi or cellular solution for your IoT product? You need to assess these needs and see how the vendor can address them.

3. Market Longevity

How long has the IoT platform been in business? The IoT space is relatively new, but quickly building. Finding an IoT platform that has been offering services for 4+ years is usually ideal.

4. Type of service

How does the IoT platform describe and sell themselves? Some services are purely connectivity platforms, while others are end-to-end solutions that offer the hardware, software, and connectivity. You need to assess what your business needs. How will your needs change over time?

5. Geographic Coverage

Do they provide embedded sim with global support? Does the IoT platform cover the regions your business needs?

6. Data Plan

Does the vendor offer a fair data plan? You’ll want the ability to pause or suspend your data services at any time and the ability to control how much data that is used.

7. Security/Privacy

Examine how they’ve deal with security and privacy issues in the past and review their security content. You need to assess how their platform combats security issues and how it abstracts the complexity away from you.

8. Managed Integrations/API Access

How does the vendor integrate all the complex stuff that you need for IoT — like cellular modems, carrier/SIM cards, device diagnostics, firmware updates, cloud connections, security, application layer, RTOS — into a simple package that your engineering team won’t have to worry about?

9. Data Access

How will you integrate the data acquired through the IoT platform with your enterprise backends and current cloud service? What do you plan to do with this data? Does the service match those needs?

10. Domain Experts/Engineering Services/Partner Collaboration

IoT deployments are complex and you need a partner who can help you through the product development process. Does the IoT platform help you service those needs?

11. IoT Ecosystem

Take the time to learn and understand the relationships between the services the IoT platform offers. This will help you learn how their services can help you build your product. If you don’t understand, talk to a sales representative.

12. IoT Roadmap

IoT platforms are only expanding from here on out. Does the IoT platform’s roadmap match your organization’s needs? Do they plan to expand into connectivity, data, hardware? How does that help you?

13. Hardware

Does the vendor offer any off-the-shelf applications, developer kits, or starter packages for the specific use case you are targeting? You will likely have to do some customization, but not having to start from scratch can save significant time and effort.

14. Hardware Agnosticism

Hardware Agnosticism is code for “we handle the software only, meaning you’re totally on your own to build all the hard stuff.” Which means, don’t fall for it.

15. Device Management

How does the vendor allow your to monitor, segment, and manage IoT devices that are out in the field?

16. OTA Firmware Updates

How does the vendor allow you to send updates and fix bugs on your devices remotely? It is a simple or complex process? (hint: you want the simple solution).

The IoT Platform Short List

Now that you’ve learned the types of IoT platforms, the verticals, and the things you should be looking for, it’s time to start looking. Here is a short list to help you start finding the right IoT platform for your solution. Good luck!

If you have this amount of time to look through 450 (and more) IoT services. Cheers to you. If you want the shortlist, keep scrolling.

The Short List

  • ParticleParticle is an enterprise IoT platform that offers everything you need to build an IoT product, from device to cloud.

  • Salesforce IoT — Maximize your business efforts with IoT cloud services.

  • Microsoft IoT Azure — Enhance your operational productivity and profitability with a preconfigured connected factory solution.

  • Artik CloudThe ARTIK IoT platform enables open data exchange for the Internet of Things

  • Google Cloud’s IoT Platform— integrated services that allow you to easily and securely connect, manage, and ingest IoT data

  • IBM Watson IoT IBM’s new Watson Internet of Things (IoT) is a cognitive system that learns from, and infuses intelligence into the physical world.

  • ThingWorx providing the fastest way for industrial companies to unlock the value of physical and digital convergence.

  • Xively Platform an enterprise IoT platform to help accelerate your connected product or service.

  • ThingSpeak Platform ThingSpeak is the open IoT platform with MATLAB analytics.

  • Carriots Platforma service designed for IoT projects. Collect data from objects, store it and build powerful apps.

  • C3 IoT— a complete platform as a service for rapidly developing and operating big data, predictive analytics, AI, and IoT software applications.

Topics:
iot platform ,cloud platform ,data platform ,iot

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