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Choosing an IoT Platform Provider, Part II

How to Choose an IoT Platform ProviderThe 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.

In the first part of this series, we discussed the role of Internet of Things (IoT) platforms in development and deployment of IoT solutions, as well as essential parameters for evaluating an IoT platform provider.

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.

For overall ease in the evaluation process, we propose a Platform Evaluation Scorecard with sample evaluation for AEP. For example:

IoT Platform Platform Evaluation Scorecard

IoT Platform Ratings Definition

Once the IoT platform capability is established, the next evaluation comes on the strengths and experience of the platform provider in terms of:

End-to-End IoT Suite Covering the Entire IoT Value Chain The IoT value chain consist of devices and sensors, connectivity management, device and application management, gateways, IoT enablement platform, analytics, and security of the data exchanged, topped with industry specific IoT applications and solutions and managed services. Organizations need to look for an agile partner whose offerings cover the complete IoT value chain as it eases the vendor management and overall management of the IoT solutions and services.

Interoperability With System, Network, and Device Agnostic Support Most IoT devices operate with either MQTT, Rest API, or the customers own APIs exposed by some big OEMs. For achieving a higher adoption rate by the customers, it is desirable that the platform has the capability to talk to any of the APIs.

Flexibility Through Ease of Integration With Existing Backend Systems Most of the end-users prefer a single bill for all the service subscriptions from an organization. For this, the IoT platforms must be seamlessly integrated into the existing back-end systems like CRM, business intelligence, and complete business support system stack.

Innovative Business Models With IoT becoming a game-changer, there is a lot at stake for organizations when it comes to both risks and rewards. Organizations should openly look for platform providers who are willing to share the risks and become part of an IoT strategy and journey through strategic investments, knowledge sharing, or joint go-to-market initiatives. Here, revenue share model is most acceptable where both parties plan, win, and make good ROI on their investments.

CapEx vs. OpEx The emerging technologies like Cloud are enabling organizations to opt for leaner CapEx models and incremental OpEx with pay-as-you-grow models from platform providers. The business cases that depend more on the volume of transactions/exchanges done among devices/objects/things than the value of such transactions, are more revenue generating in IoT. Hence, a thorough analysis of commercial models offered must be done before entering into the contract.

Value to the End-User In the end, everything boils down to the value generated by the partnership to the organization and its final customers. Real value comes from initiatives that ensure faster time-to-market through:

  • In-country deployment
  • Reduced time for IT integration and solution deployment
  • Elaborate suite of IoT solution offerings covering strategic verticals
  • Ease of porting third party applications
  • Enablement programs for key marketing and operational stakeholders
  • Strong and long term relations in IoT ecosystem, especially with device manufacturers/OEMs
  • Operational support with end-to-end managed services
  • Joint go-to-market for an equal share in risks and rewards

Jumping into the IoT bandwagon is not easy, either alone or with a partner. The ultimate vision, goals, and risk tolerance need to be clearly defined by an organization for the success of its investments in the IoT business. This is also critical as the business objectives defined will have a direct impact on the parameters of evaluation of IoT platforms and service providers with considerable amount of time spend in the whole exercise of choosing the right technology partner.