Do all Internet of Things (IoT) platforms do the same thing? Of course not, but it’s difficult for customers to tell them apart when they all claim to do the same thing. This article offers enterprise leaders five criteria for how to choose an IoT platform and service provider that fits their needs.
How to Choose an IoT Platform
In a new market like IoT, it’s essential that a company can learn quickly, get something working, and start to get value fast. That holds regardless of whether your business is selling a connected consumer appliance or digitizing of key assets to reduce truck rolls and increase uptime.
1: Focus on Time-to-Value
Think about results in days or weeks instead of months and years. The best vendors provide the capability to digitize an asset in days or weeks with minimal effort and then connect the data to any application with equal speed.
Moreover, with the best platforms, what’s developed in those early rapid prototyping efforts isn’t throwaway code. It’s enterprise-grade, fully secure, and scalable. It’s ready to be leveraged in a production environment. Don’t choose one platform to do a proof of concept (PoC) if you have to change platforms when you go into production. Choose an end-to-end platform that can take you from PoC all the way to deployment.
2: Ensure the Platform is Reusable Across Products
Chief Information Officers (CIOs) need to make scalable and efficient investments in technology.
Companies don’t typically have multiple ERP systems. Similarly, they should choose IoT platforms that can be leveraged to scale across their entire business eventually—not just one or two specific products.
Large enterprise should be able to use a single platform to manage any asset or product, whether they are trucks, palettes, factory equipment, etc. And the platform needs to be able to normalize IoT data across all product sources and integrate it seamlessly into existing or new insight generation applications.
3: Select a Future-Proof IoT Platform
Here is a CIO nightmare: going to the CEO two years and $25 million into a project and saying that they need to change course to meet shifting company needs. New markets like IoT are constantly evolving, improving the way technologies solve problems. Decisions regarding technology implementations have to account for this tendency for rapid evolution.
Your IoT platform should be able to evolve with the market. It should remain continuously effective as new standards and protocols emerge, whether those shifts are based in the system, chip/module, cloud environment, network, security stack, or end-point applications.
4: Ensure Your IoT Data Will be Application Agnostic
IoT is about unlocking latent data to allow you to make better decisions and provide better products. There are literally trillions of dollars of assets that will become digitized over the next decade. Those assets are diverse and fragmented. The applications that will be leveraged to get value from the data will also be diverse and evolving.
A good IoT platform should be able to move data easily to the applications that are best suited to consume and produce value from the data, whether they are developed in-house, or provided by the platform provider or a third party.
5: Don’t Overcommit to One Compute Scenario
This one is really important. The cloud is a powerful force, but it doesn’t solve all needs. Some workloads need to happen at the edge for performance, latency, or cost considerations. In other scenarios, customers need to run the workload in specific cloud infrastructure mandated by their end customers or other considerations such as compliance.
The diversity of IoT demands that platforms leverage the most modern architecture to enable this sort of flexibility, managing workloads between edge, cloud, and on-premise, to reach maximum market potential.
There are so many other considerations when selecting IoT vendors, such as proven experience, repeat customers, cost-effectiveness, ecosystem partners, and trust.
CIOs and other technology leaders need to consider their technology decisions very carefully so they can leverage the power of the Internet for the long-term rather than have it disrupted in the short run.
Written by David Friedman, co-founder, executive chairman, and CSO at Ayla Networks.