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Choosing an IoT Platform Provider, Part I

How to Choose an IoT PlatformThe Aeris India team Shweta Berry, Director of Marketing; Tushir Malik, VP of Sales; Parag Phakatkar, Manager, Sales Engineering; and Prashant Bansal, Director of Sales has outlined the key features of an IoT platform that enable success in the IoT market. This two-part article will help guide you through the selection process.

Rapid digitization and Internet of Things (IoT) is propelling the dynamic interconnection of devices such as cameras, health equipment and wearables, cars, homes and appliances powered with sensors, interacting in real-time with people, multiple objects and different devices, information systems and service providers. This is leading to the evolution of the digital hub with unprecedented user experiences, significantly disrupting the way IT, end users and customers function and interact in real-time. This is making IoT a strategic technology for organizations, and such is the importance that major discussions in the boardroom now revolve around evaluating IoTs impact on organizations long-term plans, where to start investing and how much to invest, as well as how to mitigate the risk of being late to adopt and eliminate the fear of being left behind entirely.

The Role of IoT Platforms

Any organization adopting the IoT has to first work upon its IoT platform strategy. This brings up the question of feasibility of developing in-house capabilities for IoT technology or partnering with an IoT platform provider to jumpstart business. Such questions are haunting management given the high impact on outcomes related to time-to-market, revenue generation and reputation in market. The IoT platform is responsible for providing the basic set of capabilities for structuring, managing, controlling, interfacing, and securing elements in the IoT while providing architectural and a technology support to make IoT a reality.

Evaluating IoT Platform Providers

Given the critical role, it becomes necessary to understand how to evaluate IoT platform providers before investing in a technology partnership. A few essential parameters for evaluation include:

Architectural Robustness The IoT platform comprises of the service/connectivity management Platform (CMP) and the application enablement platform (AEP). These platforms can be evaluated on the basis of their:

  • Scalability: Increase total throughput. Support millions of concurrent devices. Cloud infrastructure.
  • Security: End-to-end security, i.e., from device to wireless, wireless to application, and application to user.
  • Performance: Throughput requirement of how much the system can accomplish within the specified time of 3 to 5 second response time.
  • System Uptime: Support 99.99% uptime.
  • Data Accuracy: 95% of accurate data for reports, alarms and Notification
  • Integration: Set of APIs available for integration with enterprise system such as CRM, MES, SFDC.
  • Identity and Access Management: Role-based access and authorization control.
  • Service Assurance: Support can be categorized in operational, product, and application level of support offered (L1, L2/L3).
  • Technology: Leveraging and supporting current and best-of-breed IT stack.

Service/Connectivity Management Platform (CMP) This is a dedicated IoT platform to handle connectivity management (SIM-activation, suspend, reactivate, configuration), subscription management (rate plan, pool creation, set thresholds), and OSS/BSS (customer onboarding, rating, billing) and allows for automation of the business processes between the operator and enterprises. It is essential to check on whether CMP is network agnostic or not and does it offer features such as:

  • Rate plan flexibility (freely define and assign tariff rules)
  • SIM configuration and troubleshooting
  • SIM provisioning/bulk upload
  • Customer onboarding
  • Billing

Application Enablement Platform (AEP) This platform enables development and deployment of IoT solutions at a faster rate than traditional methods. That is, it allows for the collection, management, and analysis of the sensor data for IoT applications. A thorough evaluation needs to be done on AEP capabilities, including:

  • Application Development: Available set of widgets and library.
  • Device Management: Device configuration, bulk upload firmware, device agnostics, protocols supported.
  • Rules Engine
  • Analytics Engine

The evaluation criteria may slightly vary depending on the business and functional requirements. Asking the right questions about each of these components is crucial and, depending on compliance or non-compliance, this can further provide ratings across each component after.

In the next post, well propose a scorecard for evaluating IoT platforms to help compare functionalities more directly.