After having covered a feature on top IoT platforms from India that is connecting the data network to sensor arrangements, we are sure of one thing- though IoT platform products may be in the state of infancy, there’s plethora of it available in the market in India and across the globe.
While the world is abuzz with Internet of Things, networking is at the heart of IoT deployment and it is various sensors, databases, and analytics applications that sum up to the Internet of Things Platform. Dwelling as both hardware-based and software-bases, these platforms need many things in critical considerations such as the apps that can interpret the data and tools that can take action for finding applicability, to name a few.
With IoT becoming a “thing” in both consumer technologies such as wearables and connected cars and in enterprises such as in supply chain optimization or business intelligence, IoT platforms is gaining wider popularity and acceptability. But before we own one, it is important to know what essential ingredients an IoT platform should have. IoT India Magazine picks out 5 such “must-haves” for an IoT platform.
1. Analytics compatibility- Can it conduct complex data analytics?
A connected device comes up with a large amount of data generated. And however daunting the task of processing this data sounds, it is the customary and mandatory part of the process, so that a better meaning out of this data is generated. For this to happen, it is important that the IoT platform delivers the analytics abilities and that too complex data analytics.
Some of the important factors for analytics compatibility are- easy integration with existing operation, support for structured and unstructured data, to be able to work in distributed computing environment etc. All of it should be done with a meaningful analysis of data.
And if it comes in conjunction with AI and machine learning algorithms, you should grab one immediately. As it can select the best data analysis algorithm automatically for you, without you indulging in deciding the analytics algorithm for data set. The one based on Apache Hadoop v2 and COTS (commercial off-the shelf) hardware is a good example.
2. Protocol compatibility- Which IoT protocols does it support?
For all the large amount of devices to be accessible, it is important that an IoT platform has protocol compatibility. Moreover, if a protocol is not compatible with your device, the whole device may not operate in the first place. It thus becomes extremely important to know that which protocols an IoT platform can use or not, which can ensure multi-vendor interoperability.
Few examples of IoT platforms and protocol compatibility are- ASW IoT is compatible with HTTP, Microsoft Azure defines compatibility with MQTT, HTTPS and AMQP, Cisco’s Jasper is compatible with GSM and 3GPP, to name a few.
3. API- Does it have an easily customizable dashboard?
If the business has to make most of their IoT deployments, it is necessary that a certain amount of customization is allowed. So, IoT platform must be chosen in such a way that dashboard, which combines and analyses data, automatically acts based on data insights. It should be able to control the interaction between device and apps.
Most of the platforms have customization made easy as it has non-coding dashboard with just drag and drop tools. It is also advisable to chose the one that offers extra guided workflow. To be able to export dashboard into HTM code would be an advantage as it allows to be used in all browsers.
In short, a clean, well documented API is what makes the next must have in an IoT platform.
4. Security- Does it ensure IoT security?
Security, as always remains the most important feature, as all the aspects of IoT comes with a potentially high security risk. With lot of data at its disposal, it’s essential that IoT platforms have specific structures that secure data at every part of the system and prevent cybercriminals and data thieves from making an unauthorized use of the data. Even the large amount of IoT sensors that are connected to IoT platform have high vulnerability to cyber attacks if they are unsecure.
Data encryption is therefore necessary. Some of the security options are traditional certificate-based methods, data packet encryption and network encryption. The cyber security needs to be applied at every layer of the architecture.
5. Sensor/ Device compatibility-
After having defined the importance of protocol compatibility with an IoT platform, it is important to note that these protocols help you in deciding which devices an IoT platform is compatible with. Some of the important things to note here are the memory footprint, network stack support, memory footprint, programming language support etc.
Moreover, it’s also important to understand if the platform is suitable for consumer IoT or industrial IoT. Based on it a few points should be kept in mind, such as if it’s meant for industrial IoT, it should have the power and robust functionality suiting the industrial use and if it is for consumer market, it better have a focus on usability.
While the above mentioned points make it to a list of features that IoT platforms should definitely have, additional pointers like how it monitors and control connected devices, understanding of how the IoT data collection works, a deeper eye on the important differentiators in IoT platforms that you are looking for, would help you in finding the best you may want to own.