IoT Platforms What They Are How To Select One

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: These platforms are more about monitoring, troubleshooting, and administrating the provisioning and health of the endpoints. This is more typical of a lot of hardware in the IoT space.

The kind of platform a company needs is a more difficult question to answer, because it depends on several factors. These factors include whether specific hardware, protocols, real-time access, custom reports, and more are needed.

, for example, do network management

: In the wireless carrier and mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) space, these platforms are trying to simplify connecting cellular M2M data, so you dont have to build much of the data infrastructure behind it.

Many of the IoT platforms on the market today handle bits and pieces of all three typesand this is both good and bad.

and the specific needs that must be met.

Provider costs arent always straightforward.

Before starting Link Labs, Brian led a team at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab that solved communications and geolocation problems for the national intelligence community. He was also the VP of Engineering at the network security company, Lookingglass, and served for eight years as a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and received his Masters Degree from Oxford University.

You licensing cost for the platform is just the beginning

. The provider wants to make the sale, but if they know you cant afford certain features, they probably wont try to push them.

The Internet of Things is an inherently complex networking environment, and thus, the need to automate data tasks at scale has thrust a number of IoT platform players into the market.

If youre building an end device and your value is in selling hardware, then you may want to buy an IoT platform with an upfront license fee. That will allow you to wrap that cost into your hardware.

In our opinion, the most successful platforms will likely be coupled tightly with the distribution of hardware companies that offer a platform on top of the actual connectivity hardware.

Network, data, and subscriber management

Looking for more information about the latest IoT technologies, like LPWAN, LoRa, M2M,

For example, last week Amazonannouncedits new Amazon Web Services (AWS IoT), which is likely based on technology acquired from 2lemetry. This IoT platform is an example of a money saver. It is simply middleware that acts as a messaging system. It is pretty well fleshed out and inexpensive for what you get, but theres still a lot that will need to be built. Platforms that are more highly integratedlike ThingWorx from PTCmight be more costly, but they will offer many more features that will decrease your time to market.

Consider this scenario: One solution you like may have a better user interface and not do as much on the device management side. But in order to utilize the device management piece, you have to use the less-sophisticated user interface. This kind of trade-off may be a deal breaker!

Many companies do this backward. They look at the IoT platform and trust theyre getting the complete solution they needthen realize the mistake six months into development. So its critical to be aware of this before you get started.

If youre starting from scratch, you might be able to get further quicker by selecting a platform that can cover device management, some network management, and some application enablement. However, if youve already built something or are trying to piece together disparate platforms, managing an IoT platform with overlap can make integration more difficult.

The LoRa® name, LoRa® logo and LoRaWAN™ are trademarks of Semtech Corporation or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and/or other countries.

Its important to understand that many companies arent using IoT platformstheyre developing their own platforms in-house. But, depending on how you want to go to market, it may be smart to research pre-built options. Depending on your situation, you may save a lot of time and money by partnering with one of these platforms.

. With development, the cost of integration, and the cost of hiring consultants to onboard into the system if you cant do it yourselfyou could be looking at a major expense. Take this into consideration beforehand.

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Before deciding which solution may be right for your organization, you must determine:

Be sure you also consideryour IoT platforms business model. How is your IoT platform charging you? Is it based on data usage, users, nodes, or something else entirely? This can impactyourbusiness modelso ask the questions early, before you select a provider.

If you have a subscription model with a lower upfront cost, you may want to wrap the IoT service charge into your customers subscription costs.

IoT In Manufacturing: An In-Depth Look

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2 IoT Development Kits To Consider [& Why]

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IoT platforms are often referred to as middleware solutions, which are the plumbing of the IoT. Generally, an IoT or M2M solution is a mashup of functions from multiple vendors, which include:

These solutions can collectively be referred to as thevalue chain of IoT. (And when you talk about an IoT platform, youre typically talking about some part of numbers 3-5.)

A lot of IoT platforms provide you with introductory teaser rates or show off the prices for their base modelthen when you go to subscribe, you realize its ten times as much for the features you need.

Brian is the Founder and CTO of Link Labs. As the chief technical innovator and leader of the company, Brian has led the creation and deployment of a new type of ultra long-range, low-power wireless networking which is transforming the Internet of Things and M2M space.

At a high level, an Internet of Things (IoT) platform is the support software that connects edge hardware, access points, and data networks to other parts of the value chain (which are generally the end-user applications). IoT platforms typically handle ongoing management tasks and data visualization, which allow users to automate their environment. You can think of these platforms as the middleman between the data collected at the edge and the user-facing SaaS or mobile application.

There are three main types of platforms, and weve ordered them here from most sophisticated to least sophisticated:

long-range wireless and more?Here are a few resources to get you started.

This chart from First Analysis shows the various functions, features, and components by platform type:

2 IoT Development Kits To Consider [& Why]

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Its critical to be transparent about your budget with your platform provider

both offer pure device cloud management, for example.

While every company would like to be able to afford the Cadillac of IoT platforms, sometimes they can only afford the Civic. If thats the case in your organization, you need to know that going inthen try to work within your budget. Consider the following:

Therefore, its extremely important to brainstorm what your complete IoT system will look like at scale and select which features are most important to youfirstthen decide what platform type you need.

Another consideration is whether companies are trying to save money or save time. Platforms that are going to savetimeare likely more expensive in the long run, andplatforms that will savemoneymight be more difficult to integrate upfront.

: This includes platforms that offer templates, modules, or widget-based frameworks in order to create actual end-user applications. These platforms can quickly turn data into either intelligence or action. This is a big space with all kinds of players, from players like

The ideal situation for a company would be to cash all of the checks for someone elses hard workbut, of course, this isnt a reality for most.In order for you to extract money from your customers, you have to add value somewhereyou cant just repackage a platform that already exists. You need to understand where your biggest value is in the value chain and focus on that. Then figure out which platforms feed into it. For example:

Application enablement and development

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