8 Features to Look for in an IoT Solution

Here's what really matters.

Chinese symbol

The number eight has long been regarded as the luckiest number in Chinese culture. This is because of the way the pronunciation of the word sounds. Pronounced as “ba,” the number sounds a lot like “fa” – the word for prosper, wealth or fortune in Chinese.

While there is a whole host of other numbers that supposedly bring good fortune in equal measure, this makes sense to us because there are eight things that really matter if you want to prosper in leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) to drive innovation.

Below are the eight features to look out for when evaluating IoT solutions.

1. Modular and Future-proof

Ensure that your IoT platform can connect with any device, sensor or machine over any network and provides flexible deployment choices with SaaS, PaaS, on premises, hybrid or edge. It should also be low-code and future-ready with solutions for enterprise integration, API management, predictive analytics and machine learning, as well as business process and portfolio management. This flexibility allows you to start an IoT deployment quickly, while also allowing you to scale and grow.

2. Open and Independent

As the name suggests, IoT implies that anything can be connected and smarter. So why would you even consider working with an IoT platform vendor who might lock you in to a specific architecture, or force you to depend on a narrow set of enterprise applications, sensors, controllers, protocols or deployment configurations?

Your platform will need to be independent enough to avoid vendor lock-in, and open enough to work with what you have today – including IT, OT, protocols and infrastructure – and what you may have tomorrow.

3. Supports Rapid Start for Instant IoT

You should be able to register and connect your devices in minutes with an easy-to-use control panel to set up rules, connect to key apps and realize the benefits of IoT immediately. The IoT solution you select should also allow you to easily create a free trial account in the cloud at any time.

To realize the full value of IoT, you need a distributed architecture that is elastic enough to swell and shrink dynamically. Click To Tweet

4. Distributed Architecture

To realize the full value of IoT, you need a distributed architecture that is elastic enough to swell and shrink dynamically. Your platform should be able to run in data centers and on “thick” or “thin” edge devices, and should have intelligence for running advanced analytics and automating key responses at the edge.

Additionally, the platform should be able to manage and modify edge apps, models and analytics “on the fly.” This will allow you to build and test apps centrally and then push them out to where they are needed at the touch of a button.

5. Rebrandable

If you want to take a complete IoT offering to market for your customers, a platform that can quickly develop apps from pre-packaged solutions and easily roll out multi-tenant or separate private instances – either on premises or in the cloud – is important.

6. Free Methodology and Design-time Tooling

Access to process and portfolio management tools, including a resource library, that support work packages, processes and practices helps you to model, plan and manage your IT and OT assets.

7. Market-leading

You will want a platform that is not only recognized as a leader by top analysts, but also by a wide array of satisfied customers. This ensures that the components of the IoT platform are trusted and have achieved real results.

8. Strategic Partnerships

Your platform provider should have a huge ecosystem of strategic partners across SIs, VARs, hardware and technology providers who can help bridge gaps and build and refine any custom or specific vertical requirements you have for your platform. An ecosystem provides a pool of development resources that you can use to accelerate the deployment of your IoT solutions.

An IoT solution that includes all eight of these elements enables enterprises – no matter what their size – to accelerate their IoT adoption easily, quickly and at scale.

Bernd Gross
Bernd Gross is senior vice president of IoT & Cloud at Software AG. Bernd is a globally oriented executive with more than 25 years of work experience in Germany, Finland, UK, Asia and the United States. Prior to his time at Software AG, he was the CEO of Cumulosity, a leading IoT platform provider.