IoT has a massive scope and too many requirements that can leave even the best of telecom operators clueless. With exalted predictions in the near future (some estimate that IoT devices will cross the 40 billion mark by 2025), the pressure on IoT service providers is immense. There is a need to automate the management of connected devices and sensors, which is why a comprehensive IoT platform has become the need of the hour.
Classification of IoT Platforms
IoT platforms can be divided into the following categories:
- End to end platform
- Connectivity platform
- Cloud platform
- Data platform
Every single one of these platforms plays a huge role in the overall functioning of sensors and devices that form the entire IoT universe.
An IoT platform serves as a middleware that connects devices/sensors. It contains an assortment of functions such as controllers and sensors, a communication network, a gateway device, translating and data analysis software along with end application services. IoT platforms are equipped to handle vast quantities of data, applications, subscribers, websites, sensors and devices, and at the same time triggers actions according to the input, in real-time.
Major Requirements of an IoT Platform
For selecting the right platform, it’s vital that you scrupulously identify the requirements of a business operation. Some of the major requirements that an IoT platform should analyze are:
- Hardware requirements
- Real-time access requirements
- Reporting needs
- Financial wherewithal
- Model of business operation
IoT Platform Through the Eyes of an MVNO
Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) are vital players in the telecom industry. As MVNOs rely heavily on MNOs and MVNEs for delivering their services to the subscribers, they have to be more selective when it comes to choosing an IoT platform. But, it’s not possible to access an IoT platform in isolation, which is why the entire MVNO platform should be chosen wisely. Have a look at some of the critical features of such a platform:
Flexibility in the Type of Connectivity Offered
The type of connectivity offered by an IoT platform goes a long way in ensuring success for different use cases. Fast connectivity solutions are needed, in cases where large amounts of data need to be transferred between devices. But, there are cases where sensor discharge is a primary concern and low-powered/low-speed connectivity solutions like LoRa and Sigfox are better suited.
Security of the Network
IoT as a technology is very vulnerable, at least in its initial stages. Thus, it’s vital that every IoT signal is secured with robust encryption to prevent it from hackers’ infringement. High-end security like AES needs to be implemented by the IoT platform for achieving maximum security of the network.
Delivery of IoT services comes with the great responsibility of tracking a vast amount of subscriber usage. The MVNO needs to have complete information about the behavior of their subscribers, their usage pattern, preferred IoT devices, etc. Hence, the selection of an IoT platform should be done after considering its reporting capabilities. Always remember that accurate reporting is important for understanding subscribers and strategizing future marketing moves.
For an MVNO, IoT will be one of the many services it would have to monetize and deliver in exciting packages. Therefore, a convergent charging platform becomes all the more important. A centralized charging system like the Online Charging System (OCS) charges all services including IoT at the same place, thus allowing for the creation of a single invoice that reflects all service charges in a single bill. Also, because OCS is real-time, it prevents customers from exceeding their allotted quota as it enforces credit limits without fail.