• Victor Kmita

What IoT Platform Does Your Business Need In 2021: A Buyer’s Guide

IoT platform. IoT integration platform. IoT low code platform. IoT orchestration platform. Have you already got confused in terms? - Come on in to discover the difference.



What Kind of IoT Platform Do You Need?


Try to google platforms for IoT development. Spoiler alert: you will find an unprecedented number of terms covering similar product functionality in a curious wrapper.

"Why do they tell us different stories?" - once asked my colleague Julia. - Well, it looks like an efficient tool. But a client who urgently needs a solution to a business issue has no time to dig deeper into all these platform types. Often, a hasty choice leads to disappointment and poor customer experience.

Today, my job is to prevent it from happening and provide you with a sort of buyer’s guide. How is the IoT platform different from the IoT device orchestration solution? When should you use an IoT low code platform, and when should it be an IoT integration one? Read about each product's features, benefits, and practical usage below.


Distinctions Between IoT Solutions Offers


IoT Low Code Platform


What is it?

IoT Low Code Platform is an aPaaS focused on Internet of Things software development. It contains a set of ready-made tools and templates applicable for entire IoT infrastructure creation. Moreover, here a system can provide convenient digital product maintenance. It allows configuring any piece of code as needed.


Such platforms usually offer seamless integration with large vendors’ products like SAP or IBM and build robust connections between IoT ecosystem components.


IoT low code platforms also perform accurate data processing. They collect information about the Internet of Things system operation to report its condition regularly.


When is it used?

The platform is used as a versatile tool for almost any IoT product creation and support during its lifecycle. This application does not require any additional software purchase, because here a company gets all the tools in one package.


Benefits
  • open source

  • the ability to connect devices of different nature

  • comparatively short time2market

  • reduction in development costs by half and more

  • device management

  • compliance

  • user-friendly interface

IoT solutions worth considering: Mendix, XME.fast code platform, Appian


Case Study

A global developer with over 1 million facilities has used the XME.fast code platform for IoT device management platform development. The company needed to create a mechanism for tracking the operation of smart home devices, their remote firmware, and monetization of this service.

“This project required a flexibility and guarantee of flawless interaction with third parties: device creators and security team.” - admits Victor Kmita, CEO at XME.digital. “Moreover, except creation, the selected vendor had to apply its expertise to build a transparent network for re-selling the client's services. Seven engineers from our side and the XME.fast code platform could deal with it in tight schedule conditions.”

Consequently, we used the fast code platform to create an IoT management system, running thousands of devices worldwide. Now we're maintaining the product and providing reports concerning the solution's operation & firmware resale.


IoT Integration Platform or IoT Device Orchestration One


What is it?
Following the Gartner Glossary,“The IoT integration market is defined as the set of IoT integration capabilities that IoT project implementers need to integrate end-to-end IoT business solutions successfully.” Hence, IoT integration platforms are created to connect communication protocols, devices and just-created Internet of Things products with the existing software.

Basically, the IoT orchestration platform has the same functionality as the integration one. It is a platform that connects separate systems and sensors and provides a unified dashboard for convenient management.


When is it used?

These platforms are used when enterprises need help in establishing interoperability between your IoT ecosystem components. In this case, a company should already have a developed Internet of Things platform. The narrow specialization of such solutions is a strong advantage on the one hand. On the other hand, it's a significant drawback. By choosing this path, a company should be ready to spend more time and resources on IoT technology implementation.


Benefits
  • support for a variety of communication protocols

  • simplification of the IoT platform implementation in the digital corporate infrastructure

  • real-time data transmission

  • Big Data management

  • building integrations between any devices and components

IoT solutions worth considering: SnapLogic, ThingWorx, Axonize

Case Study

Large software developer Qualtrics used IoT integration platform SnapLogic to boost integrations and load data from different resources to one storage. This approach allowed them to make core business decisions faster and simplify access to information.

SnapLogic is great at connecting quickly to an external source,” says Jacob Rasmussen, Data Engineer at Qualtrics. “Anyway, the platform has some troubles connecting to certain external sources that it has specific snaps for, which is frustrating. So, the product is well suited for engineers looking for a fast and easy way to load data from external sources. On the other hand, it is not great for real-time updates to large datasets or for large data rebuilds."

You may also like: Secrets of Robust IoT Ecosystem Integrations.



IoT platform


What is it?

The IoT platform is the central point of the Internet of Things infrastructure. It takes overall operational activities related to device control, data management, analytics & predictions, remote control, etc.


Using the IoT low code platform, your company can create its custom version on its own. But in this case, vendors offer you a ready-made analog as a service.


When is it used?

Typically, enterprises choose this path when they do not have complex business processes or sufficient development time. Like any other Platform as a Service (PaaS), these IoT platforms are designed for standard industry needs and are extremely difficult to customize.


Benefits
  • fast implementation

  • the ability to change a vendor at any time

  • no need to spend resources on creating a platform

  • high level of data protection

IoT solutions worth considering: Watson (IBM), Particle


Case Study

The British elevator and escalator manufacturer KONE has used the Watson IoT platform to control millions of elevators worldwide. Due to the ready-made platform, the company implemented IoT technology quickly and satisfied its business needs on time.


Created Internet of Things infrastructure allows the enterprise to predict elevator failures and provide a prompt response to a problem even before it occurs. The platform can offer the most reasonable scenario for solving any trouble.

“Globally, we serve 1.1 mln elevators and over 1 billion people per day,” - shares Henrik Ehrnrooth, CEO and President of KONE. “They require safe and on-time services. So, due to Watson, we can predict the condition of the elevator or escalator, and that’s why it helps our customers manage their equipment over the lifecycle in a much better way. Moreover, due to this product, we can assure our employees with accurate data and create all conditions for quality work performance.”

IoT Device Monetization Platform


What is it?

Sometimes it's not enough for companies to benefit from development just receiving business process optimization. They want to expand their audience, convert competitors to customers, and open new revenue streams. The IoT device monetization platform has a lot in common with the regular Internet of Things one. But one of the main differences here is the ability to generate income from its usage. Not only software vendors can supply PaaS. Now any enterprise can do it.


Moreover, IoT device monetization is also about transformation free services into paid ones. Take the above experience of the real estate developer as an example. The company has managed to transform its business, receiving profits from a previously free service.

The peculiarity of these platforms is that, among other things, they enable you to track the commercial activities success concerning IoT assets monetization.


When is it used?

IoT device monetization platform creation is primarily driven by changing a business model and getting additional financial benefits from spent resources. Besides, who, if not business representatives in a particular niche, know what their segment needs? It's just the way they share their IoT insights. However, this approach positively affects innovation and digital development in general.


Benefits
  • expanding of additional sources of income

  • recoupment of spent resources

  • going beyond competition

  • an opportunity for cooperation with other companies to create valuable hybrid services



Afterwords


It's incredible how many ways of transformation an enterprise can choose due to IoT technology. The number of platforms is mushrooming, the amount of their names doubles. Meanwhile, understanding your business goals and delving into the vendors' concepts will never get confused about the diversity of offers.


A particular issue requires a specific solution. However, the most valuable things are always versatile. The same applies in particular to IoT platforms choice.


If you are still thinking about what tool will help to get the most from the Internet of Things - contact our experts. We will advise which platform might meet the needs of your company.