IoT 101: What is the Internet of Things platform?
The Internet of Things, smart products and IoT platform are no more technobabble to the business world as aggressive development of the IoT has already made a profound impact on our everyday lives. But for the enterprises wishing to break into the IoT field things are not getting simpler, quite the opposite. To have a share in the tech-intensive IoT market and build their own IoT-powered connected products, companies are required to establish an entirely new technology infrastructure.
This IoT technology stack typically consists of multiple layers, including new product hardware, connectivity components, embedded software and OS, a gateway for devices consolidation or integration with external data sources, an IoT platform or a product cloud consisting of software running on remote servers, security mechanisms, and integration with data processing systems and enterprise business systems.
It is fair to say that an IoT platform is at the heart of this stack. An IoT platform is a suite of software components that enable remote data collection and control over connected devices, independent secure communication and interaction between devices themselves, over-the-air configuration or firmware updates for the devices, device management, user notifications, and convenient collateral functions regarding user & device policy management.
An IoT platform is also often referred to as IoT middleware, which underlines its functional role as that of a mediator between the hardware and application layers. The best IoT platforms are capable of being integrated with almost any connected device and blend in with the applications used by the device. This independence from underlying hardware and overhanging software allows a single IoT platform to implement IoT features into any kind of connected device in the same straightforward way.
There are some other important criteria which differentiate IoT platforms between each other, such as scalability, integration with 3rd party software, deployment options, code control, and the data security level. But probably the biggest divide has been established between the proprietary and open-source IoT platforms – two strikingly different paradigms, which are yet to be put to the test of time.
Find out more about our view on the key differences between proprietary PaaS systems and open-source IoT platforms like Kaa in our article.