An IoT platform plays an integral part in IoT products. It helps in accelerate the time-to-market, reduces the development cost, minimizes the risk, and helps you arrive at product-market fit faster.
If the concept of the IoT platform is not clear then you are not alone. There are so many product leaders who face the same challenge. IoT App Development company is one of the best options if planning to build a platform. Below are some of the approach of IoT platform that includes:
- What exactly is an IoT platform and why you need it?
- How IoT platform fit into your overall product strategy
- What are the different categories of the IoT platform across the IoT technology stack?
- What are the key considerations that you need to keep in mind while choosing an IoT platform?
- How you need to decide between buying, or building your IoT platform?
What is an IoT Platform?
IoT helps in providing a head start in building IoT systems by proving the built-in tools and have the capabilities to make IoT much easier and cheaper for the business, users, and developers. Internet of Things solution cannot work without software this even includes a middleware that is known as an IoT cloud platform or IoT. It is basically a multi-layer technology that enables straightforward management, provisioning, and automation of the connected device within the universe of IoT.
IoT helps in providing the infrastructure that can be used to create the specific feature of your solution. For your application, the goal of an IoT platform is to provide all the generic functionality. Then it is very important to focus on building the features that differentiate your add value, and product for your customers.
By taking the non-differentiated with the functionality, helps in reducing the development cost and risk and accelerates your product’s time to market. When people mainly talk about the IoT platforms there is technical jargon like rules engines, Transport, data lakes, etc. All of this needs proper supervision and proper planning. Below are some of the key functions of the IoT platform that are needed to be covered.
- Collecting real-world data with the help of sensors
- Analyzing the data locally
- Connect the cloud to transmit the receive and data commands
- Storing the data in the cloud
- Analyzing the data in the cloud to create the insights
- Proper command to perform the specific tasks based on the insights
- Presenting the proper insights to the users.
Some important “behind-the-scenes” capabilities are provided by the IoT platforms:
- Identify and manage all of the IoT devices at the scale.
- Across the IoT technology stack try to perform the operations securely.
An IoT platform can provide you with the best infrastructure and tools based on simple descriptions to cover as many of these tasks that are possible. For example, if the Internet of Things platform comes up with the best features but doesn’t allow you to transfer data from one device to another then it will build a big gap. In this type of situation, you can produce more than one IoT platform in the product.
IoT Platform Helps:
- Helps in connecting the hardware such as devices, and sensors
- Provides the users and device with security and authentication.
- Helps in handling the software and hardware communication protocols.
- Analyze, visualize, and collect data the sensors and devices gather.
- Helps in integrating all the above with the exhibiting business systems and other web services.
How IoT Platforms Can Fit With Your Product Strategy?
For the IoT, the platforms are not unique if you look at the other domains then you will realize that there are so many few platform options. The Ios and android are two mobile dominant platforms, the macOS, and Windows are desktop platforms, and the Xbox and Playstation gaming console platforms. in all of this market, you will see few dominant players then there is the reason that you don’t find the same in IoT.
You must have a very strong strategy for the IoT section before going for product development. A proper robust strategy should cover below mentioned three areas:
- Proper market research is the need and knows should the market want your product. This is even called desirability.
- Is there any business model from where you can make money with your product? This is also known as viability.
- Then you need to understand can you build your product. This stage is known as feasibility.
IoT platform helps in reducing the risk and accelerating the feasibility in the development process. You need to make sure that once you have considered the viability and desirability then only you can plan for feasibility. In the easy world, this means that your product or service must help the customer to solve their problem or pain with your solution. Once you have completed the Data, UX, and business decision areas then you are ready to select the IoT platform. First, you have to make sure that you start with the UX Decision Area to gauge desirability and then complete the data business decision areas for viability.
The Various Categories of IoT Platforms:
The IoT platform considers as one of the complexes because it needs to be integrated by multiple components across the 5 layers of the IoT technology stack. When talking about the complexity it is very hard to find or cover all the areas of the IoT technology stack. Here you need few different types of IoT platforms to cover the whole spectrum. mobile app development services are in huge demand nowadays.
Below are some of the most common categories of IoT platform:
- IoT connectivity platform
- Cloud platforms
- IoT device platforms
- Analytics platforms
Now we will explain the entire common platform properly:
- IoT Cloud Platform (a.k.a Application Enablement IoT Platforms):
This category comes with the core building blocks for the product that even includes transporting, consuming, analyzing, storing, and displaying data. The aim of this is to enable the rapid development of the application by abstracting the complexities of building IoT solutions. In the market, you can see a lot of IoT platforms so it becomes difficult to find out which one to use. The application enables platforms to come with all flavors such as:
- Industrial platforms
- Platforms targeting developers
- Consumer platforms
- Platforms focusing on specific verticals
- Higher-level platforms good for the prototyping or MVP’s
- On-premise vs Edge vs Cloud platforms
There is ample information that is available on a wide variety of IoT platforms. The IoT Analytics comes with several great reports on this topic. Below are some of the top players in that IoT cloud platform space.
- IoT Cnnectivity Platforms:
For IoT technology stack connectivity plays an integral part. Linking on the ground IoT device with the cloud or any other big data repository. There are so many platforms that mainly rely on Wi-Fi so that they can connect to the internet. For this type of product, connectivity management will be included in their application and helps in the enablement platform. By sending the extra time and effort to guarantee the connectivity then it may not be worth the investment.
On the other hand, the products that are part of critical IoT such as equipment, the smart grid, and connected cars come with more robust communication technologies to reach the internet. There are so many IoT devices that rely on cellular technology such as 4G, 5G, or NB-IoT. This data doesn’t flow directly from the IoT device to the internet and the cloud platform. Whereas, the whole data is traveled through the cellular network that is managed by the mobile network operator before being routed to the internet.
For transferring data it is better to leverage the third-party infrastructure such as from the IoT device to the cloud. This even includes the dedicated bandwidth, added security, and strict connectivity SLAs.
When working with the network operation brings a lot of challenges. Maintaining a partnership with the cellular carriers and connecting the IoT devices with the mobile network all over the world will ensure that the product can work all over the world. This is the place where IoT connectivity plays a major role to manage the connectivity between the cloud platform and the device across the cellular operators.
Working with a single interface for deploying, managing, and monitoring is better than contracting with multiple carriers. The platform even comes with some additional functionality such as connectivity management, traffic monitoring, geolocation, over-the-air updates, device management, and device provisioning. The industries are developing a line between the connectivity and cloud the IoT platform is started to blur. It is very important to select the best mobile application development services.
- IoT Device Platforms:
For developing IoT devices the platform provides hardware building block. The hardware is considered as the long pole in the tent it is very important to consider what already exists in the market to accelerate the efforts. Depending on the position of IoT product adoption cure it is very important to select the right IoT device platform. Once traction in the market is gained it is better to focus on the shift from the product-market fit it is better to focus on profitability. This is the right time to invest in the custom hardware for reducing the cost of the bill of materials, miniaturization, longer battery life, improved serviceability, better supply chain agreements, etc.
- IoT Device Platforms:
In this stage the main goal is innovation. This will help in understanding the customer needs and the main purpose of potential solutions to address them. The main aim should be to create an understandable prototype that can be shared with the customer and can be iterate as quickly as possible. This is one of the perfect times to leverage the full off-the-shelf hardware components to build your prototypes.
Here when you are approving the product-market fit is very important to come up with customized IoT devices that are more closely resemble the final product that you want to launch. Some hardware components can even be leveraged such as Beagle, Arduino, and Raspberry Pi as the core of your device. this hardware engineering can be used to build blocks as one of the apart of your custom hardware. This will help in coming up with a semi-custom IoT platform.
In this stage form factor is the main focus, not just functionality. IoT devices help in an enclosure, hardware user interface, etc. which are some of the elements that require the focus of both industrial design teams, and engineering.
Once you are done with the product market now you can focus on custom hardware. The main goal is to optimize for the form factor, supply chain, cost, and serviceability. The IoT devices are pre-market fit so they can be expensive. In this stage to complete the goal, it is best to redesign your IoT device. You can work with the connectivity vendors or the cloud vendors who will help in selecting the best hardware for your IoT product.
They can even help you with the reference architectures and the partner who will help you with the IoT device manufacture and design at scale. Hire an ios application development company If you are planning to build an ios application as they have a lot of experience in this field.
- IoT Analyics Pltforms:
The main goal of an IoT product is not just to collect data. It helps in providing actionable insights to the users. This is one of the reasons that data is one of important than collecting data. Most of the cloud platform comes with an analysis tool that is enough for a lot of application. But if your application comes with some additional requirements around data processing, visualization, artificial intelligence, digital twins, or machine learning the IoT can help your platform to accelerate your IoT development.
Some of the platforms even come up with generic analytics capabilities that can be customized, offer specialized, asset tracking, vertical-specific capabilities such as logistics, or predictive maintenance.
How to Select The Right IoT Platform?
Choosing the right IoT platform is one of the difficult works. In each layer of the technology stack, you can get a lot of options and vendors. It’s very important to research to determine the best option for you. below are some of the key areas to look for when selecting an IoT platform:
- Large Ecosystem:
No single company can dominate the IoT as it is so big. If you are looking for a company with a partner ecosystem, and a strong app ecosystem that will be a good investment in optionality and expansion. Most of the IoT platforms don’t come up with hardware themselves but have a good connection with the partner with a good ecosystem to pull from. This is one of the good signs.
- Reputable Company:
Most people things IoT risky enough. But trusting a company with the core of your product can even backfire. You have to make sure that you evaluate their stability, reputation, track record, and financials as research will play an important role.
- Open APIs: You have to make sure that extensibility will be the key so you have to make sure that you need to select a provider that gives programmatic access to as much of their functionality as possible.
- Strong Onboarding: when you aligning with the vendor that will understand your industry is always an advantage. The solution they will come up with will help in designed to handle your type of data, even helps you comply, and analytics with industry regulations.
- Vertical Focus: You need to ask for the companies that have a strong solution department that can be trained your team. This will even help you with the architecture and guide you through the proof of concept stage.
In the end all you want to build a partnership. It is mainly a complex decision and a decision can’t be taken alone. For this, you need to work closely with the various groups in your company, which even includes UX, Engineering, Finance, Data science, etc.
Should You Buy or Build Your IoT Platform?
There are so many benefits of commercially available IoT platforms. Many companies believe that everything needs to be started from scratch in IoT solutions. This type of company spends a lot of money and time building non-value-added infrastructure instead of focusing on building differentiated features to serve their customers. There is no need to building the whole complete IoT infrastructure by you. Below are some of the most common myths that are heard against using commercially available IoT platforms.
Myth 1: My product is unique
IoT platforms are basically generic in nature and so there are gaps between your ideal solution and feature set. The main thing is to evaluate the size of the gap and properly determine if you can get around it. think once is the missing features are very important. Is another software vendor or platform that will help in covering the gap. Then you have to check if the functionality can wait or not. The best thing about jumping onto an IoT platform is that you can piggy-back on their growth. The top companies come up with a lot of developers who are mainly working on the enhancement and new functionality. With the next release, the gap can be covered up. There is no need to mention the new functionality. The gap that you are seen can even be solved by the next release. No need to mention the new functionality, tools, partners, and some of the tools that are being provided for years.
Myth 2: IoT platform is expensive
The platform does cost money but this is nothing if you compare it with the future. These are some of the minimum expenses that will help in building your own. If you are planning to build a working IoT platform then it will take a lot of time and money. After all of this, you have to spend money on the support and maintenance costs forever. If in the end, you have pulled up all the technical challenges then this is not just the end you need something at the core of your strategy.
Myth 3: the investors will give lower valuation to your company
There are so many product leaders who think that investors will see less value in the product if they are leveraging the third-party components or the IoT platforms. There is nothing that is far from the truth. Some so many investors only care about the ROI and the USP. There is no meaning in saying that the product loses value if you build it on a platform.
Building IoT is complex but if the non-core areas are outsourced then the product to an IoT platform will reduce the risk, improves the quality, minimize the cost, and accelerate your time in the market. If you are planning on not selecting this IoT platform then you will leave it behind. In the end, you will think about how your competitors are doing well and coming up with the best features. IoT platform helps in saving money and time more, in the long run, this mainly depends on how it is priced.
Choosing iphone app development services is one of the best decisions if you are planning to build an iphone app. IoT platforms can even wear different hats depending on what you look at. This is mainly referred to a middleware when talked about how it helps in connecting the remote devices to the user applications.