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IoT platforms: Building a foundation for the future

Because IoT projects tend to start small and scale fast once a use case is proven, the ability to seamlessly scale in size and geographic reach is critical — especially for global deployment.

With 85% of global organizations considering an IoT strategy, businesses need to build on a foundation that supports long-term growth. This starts by choosing the right IoT platform to deliver business value today — and in the future.

You can think of an IoT platform like the heart of the IoT solution. The IoT technology stack consists of multiple layers, including device hardware, connectivity, data management, applications, analytics and security. IoT platforms facilitate and orchestrate key interactions between each of these layers as well as with other back-end systems in a business. This provides the most efficient and scalable way for customers to realize business value from IoT solutions.

So how do you choose the right IoT platform? I recommend conducting a thorough technology review against your needs today, while thinking ahead to anticipate future growth and opportunities. Here are six potential needs to consider in your IoT platform selection:

Support multinetwork connectivity. Today, there are many network technology options to connect IoT devices. Your best network choice will depend on how and where it will be used, as well as the type of service level required. For this reason, a comprehensive IoT platform should provide connectivity support across all major IoT network types — from satellite to LTE-M — to offer the greatest flexibility for current and future projects.

Include convenient tools to manage IoT devices and connections. IoT platforms should provide you with access to user-controlled software tools to manage the devices and connections that are part of an IoT solution. Convenient, on-demand hosted service management functionality enables you to take control of your IoT network — allowing you to add, move, remove or change your IoT device reporting functions.

Enhance, transform and augment a high volume of data. Most IoT solutions use a variety of sensors that can generate a high volume of data over time. In many cases, this data may need to be combined with existing data or data from other sources to create business insights. An IoT platform provides the ability to enhance, transform and augment data from this diverse mix of IoT endpoints. It can receive streams of data coming in from multiple sources and break them down, so that the data can be easily processed, used or reacted to.

Provide a full suite of data analytics capabilities. The ultimate goal of data gathering is to fuel better business outcomes through increased visibility and insight. An IoT platform should facilitate data analytics capabilities that can extract value and keep businesses from drowning in information. This will include analytics built into the IoT platform as well as the ability to utilize specialized third-party analytics software as securely as possible via APIs and services.

Account for security at every level. Security is a major concern for any business in IoT. Each individual device may not represent a major threat on its own, but when you put millions of them together, it can become a more significant issue. Also, security has to be comprehensive across all layers of the stack. Following core security principles and practices will help reduce the risks and maximize the benefits of incorporating new types of connected devices into the ecosystem.

Offer flexibility for the future. Flexibility allows businesses to experiment and scale their solutions using multiple devices, network types, applications, APIs and cloud environments without redesigning the core IoT platform or updating device firmware every time a change occurs or as technology evolves. It also means accounting for technology trends that will continue for many years to come, including the rise of edge computing.

As IoT connected devices and sensors proliferate within an enterprise, managing, sifting through and analyzing so much data can be a massive challenge. In an edge computing model, sensors and connected devices transmit data to a nearby edge computing device that processes or analyzes the data, instead of sending it back to the cloud or to a remote data center. An IoT platform that includes tools to push data processing and independent applications to run at the edge of a solution is important to planning ahead.

The internet of things is revolutionizing businesses and life as we know it. And it’s not slowing down. Prepare your business to keep pace by investing in a foundation that’s fit for the future. Make your business a success story by building it on the right platform.

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