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The market for the Internet of Things (IoT) platforms is evolving. Reports suggest, by 2023, the global market value for IoT platforms is expected to reach $74.74 billion. The reason for this proliferation in the demand for IoT platforms is the increase of IoT devices and other related components. The IoT devices and the various related components in order to communicate and interact seamlessly in the same environment and generate maximum business value need a facilitator— “IoT platforms.”
What are IoT platforms?
IoT platforms are the middleware solutions that connect IoT devices to the Cloud and help seamlessly exchange data over the network. It acts as a mediator between the application layer and the hardware.
There are innumerable IoT platform providers in the market today and each of the platforms has its own significance in making IoT integration and management easier and scalable.
Top seven IoT platforms
The seven top IoT platforms that are largely trusted by developers and businesses worldwide are:
1. Cumulocity IoT platform: It is one of the leading and independent device and application management IoT platforms, which improves visibility and offers improved control over remote assets. It is a comprehensive cloud enablement platform, which makes data and asset management for enterprises convenient and hassle-free.
- Connects things over any network with a simple plug-n-play approach
- Manages and monitors real-time analytics by providing configurable dashboards
- Extends the existing services with easy workflow integrations
- Ensures easy access through desktops, laptops, and mobile (Android and iOS)
2. Microsoft Azure IoT suite: It is an open-source cloud-based platform that helps in bringing local intelligence to the distributed Internet of Things. One of the top IoT platforms, Microsoft Azure IoT suite, has virtual machines which offer a fully configurable and flexible computing environment. The virtual machines can be resized based on the workload.
In order to work in the Azure IoT suite, the user has to pass the commands over the Azure power shell for starting and stopping the servers and writing operations. This platform doesn't provide any management.
- Supports instant device registry that creates a unique identity for each device
- Offers a cloud-based dashboard that gives instant access to data from across devices and applications
- Allows real-time streaming of analytics to improve decision-making ability
- Facilitates continuous data analysis for actionable insights
- Provides remote monitoring solution to keep track of devices and applications
3. Google Cloud IoT platform: It offers a complete set of tools to connect, process, store, and analyze data at the edge and in the cloud. One of the leading IoT platform providers, Google, offers scalable, fully-managed cloud services for edge/on-premise computing applications using the platform. The platform also provides extended AI capabilities to edge devices with Cloud IoT Edge. It also discovers the efficiency of device operations and performs firmware updates. It is to be noted that there are a few programming languages that support application building on this platform, while most of the technology-components are provided by Google.
- Supports predictive maintenance of devices and optimizes equipment performance in real-time
- Tracks devices’ status, state, and location continuously
- Performs complex analytics, stores collected data, and displays the status of connected devices
- Handles pricing on a per-minute basis
- Provides huge storage and reduces the costs of server maintenance
- Allows integration with other Google services
- Facilitates Big Data analysis
4. AWS IoT platform: One of the most reliable and secure Internet of Things platform, AWS IoT not only helps you connect your devices to the cloud but also safeguard the interactions with the applications available on the cloud and other devices. Even when the devices are not connected to the Internet, the AWS IoT Platform allows applications to monitor devices and facilitate round-the-clock communication between them.
- Supports instant and easy connectivity of devices and applications and helps in authenticating and exchanging messages using WebSockets protocols or HTTP, or MQTT
- Provides a device gateway to manage all the connected devices without having to maintain any infrastructure
- Provides a message broker that facilitates instant message exchange to and from applications and devices with low latency
- Encrypts the exchange of data through authentication at all points
- Assigns a unique identity to devices in order to track the metadata of connected devices
5. IBM Watson IoT platform: It is a PaaS-based development platform by IBM. This platform provides simple apps for IoT services and makes them accessible to beginners. One of the top IoT platforms, IBM Watson offers real-time data exchange, secure communication, and data sensor and weather data service. It is capable of handling huge quantities of data and provides improved customer service.
- Provides an open container architecture that supports hassle-free migration of workloads to the cloud
- Builds, modernizes and connects devices to applications on the cloud seamlessly
- Analyzes unstructured data and understands the data pattern to extract valuable insights
- Provides dashboard for improved visualization
6. Cisco IoT Cloud connect: This Internet of Things platform is a mobile, cloud-based suite that offers solutions for mobile operators and provides flexible deployment options for devices. This platform mainly provides "data and voice connectivity.” Security, on this platform, is ensured by Cisco Kinetic. This platform also extracts IoT data from the components connected to the IoT network, normalizes the data so that it can be used by the applications, and applies rules to the data in motion which improves the decision-making ability of the enterprise.
- Provides a cloud-based dashboard that gives a better view and control of the IoT gateways
- Supports data computation in a distributed network that ensures optimum use of resources in the network
- Allows free-flow of data between the connected devices and the applications based on the cloud
- Provides real-time updates
7. Oracle IoT platform: This platform offers real-time data analysis, endpoint management, and high-speed messaging to provide real-time notifications directly to user devices. Again one of the top IoT Platforms, it is a PaaS-based cloud computing platform that allows users to connect the devices to the cloud, analyze real-time data from the devices to provide real-time insights, and integrate the data with real-time applications, web services, or Oracle Cloud services.
- Supports bi-directional interaction and communication between the connected devices and the applications on the cloud
- Saves metadata of the devices to understand the capabilities, attributes, and lifecycle of the connected things
- Provides integrated Oracle BI Cloud Service Support with improved data visualization
- Supports Big Data analysis
Categorization of the IoT platforms
|Hardware-Specific Software Platforms||Consumer/Enterprise Software Extensions||Connectivity or M2M Platforms||IaaS Backends|
IoT platforms: Creating business value
Internet of Things platforms play a key role in creating business value, but enterprises must tread softly while selecting one. There are many factors that must be considered. For instance, how rich is the service provider’s SDK (Software Development Kit), documentation, support, and API Interface? Businesses should also evaluate the protocols with respect to message size limitations, billing base, and multi-tenancy support.
Besides, factors such as support, availability, recovery time objective, recovery point objective, and more smart IoT platform providers must also offer cloud as well as analytics support. They must allow enterprises to customize the platform according to their business models and experiences.