Best IoT Platform

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By: Julia Nasy
1 Sep. 2023
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Every day, IoT devices generate an enormous volume of data. It’s estimated that by 2025, they will produce over 79.4 zettabytes of data annually. These numbers help to recognize the true potential of the Internet of Things on the market. This is a transformative force that is reshaping processes, enhancing efficiency, and unlocking new opportunities across many industries. Today, if companies want to stay competitive and be successful in their sector, they need to become a part of this explosive growth, implementing IoT solutions into their processes.

However, the development of custom IoT applications could be challenging. Well, IoT cloud platforms can significantly ease it. They provide connectivity, security, scalability, ease of integration, and management of connected devices, covering all IoT software needs. This is a comprehensive suite of tools and services that streamline development, accelerate time-to-market, and ensure seamless device management, ultimately maximizing the potential of your IoT solution.

As you might have guessed, IoT platform selection is one of the most essential decisions at the beginning of custom software development. This guide will acquaint you with market trends and help you make the right decision to address your business needs.

IoT Architecture

But before we get into the most popular IoT platforms, let’s talk about IoT architecture, which serves as a crucial processing hub. IoT architecture refers to the framework that defines how devices, apps, and networks interact. It plays a central role in processing and managing the vast data connected devices generate. A strong, flexible, and scalable architecture is the key to enhancing business processes and improving outcomes.

Simple IoT system architecture consists of four layers. First, sensors and actuators collect data from various physical objects – smart devices, equipment, machines, vehicles, home appliances, etc. The network layer also called the Transport or Connectivity layer, comprises online networks that help transfer data. After that, there are data storage, analysis, and processing operations. Data which requires more processing will be passed on to the data center or cloud-based systems. Once the data is processed in the cloud, it’s ready for consumer use via various applications.

Related reading: IoT Architecture

10 Best IoT Platforms

Amazon AWS IoT Core

AWS IoT Core is a managed cloud service facilitating seamless and easy device-to-cloud interaction. Leveraging protocols such as HTTP, MQTT, and WebSockets it offers a reliable and secure framework for communication. With compatibility for both MQTT 3 and MQTT 5 standards, AWS IoT Core provides versatile deployment options. It ensures security through diverse authentication methods and access policies supported by AWS IoT Core Device Advisor’s pre-built test suites.

The platform is compatible with popular programming languages (Python, C, Java, JavaScript) and software development kits for iOS, Android, and Arduino. It provides seamless integration with other AWS services, such as AWS Lambda, Amazon Kinesis, and Amazon QuickSight. The cloud service enables automatically scale connected solutions to process trillions of messages, avoiding infrastructure costs, licensing fees, and other operational expenses. AWS IoT Core users can start in three simple steps: sign up, learn from tutorials and start building. But compared to other services, this one is pricey.

Blynk IoT

Blynk operates as a robust Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and assists businesses in progressing from prototypes to successful product launches. It is based on a pioneering no-code approach to IoT app development. It handles essential features like provisioning, data visualization, remote control, secure cloud infrastructure, and over-the-air firmware updates. Blynk’s broad hardware compatibility spans over 400 modules, offering connectivity methods such as WiFi, Ethernet, Cellular, Serial, USB, and Bluetooth.

The platform encompasses a robust web console and an intuitive interface for efficient device management and visualization. It offers a private server for business users, seamless integration into IT infrastructure, and comprehensive hosting and data storage solutions. However, according to user reviews, Blynk lacks some features required in IoT software, has a limited number of devices per account, and its documentation needs improvement.

Particle

Particle emerges as a robust enterprise-level IoT platform focusing on rapid prototyping and scalability. It equips developers with integrated hardware, software, and connectivity tools to accelerate building IoT solutions. The platform enables businesses to seamlessly connect, manage, and deploy applications across a diverse range of devices.

With Particle, users can connect their projects to Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud and “backhaul” device data to the cloud. The platform offers complete programmability and reconfigurability, enabling developers to build tailored applications aligned with specific use cases. Its inclusive ecosystem with APIs, SDKs, and comprehensive documentation accelerates IoT solution launches and empowers innovations. As disadvantages, users note the quality of customer service, certain technical issues, and slow operation.

ThingWorx IIoT Solutions Platform

ThingWorx is considered one of the best IoT platforms for industrial enterprises. It empowers businesses to innovate, accelerate time-to-market, and navigate the evolving landscape of the industrial Internet of Things. This encompassing solution enables companies to rapidly develop and deploy robust applications, supporting both cloud and on-premise deployment models. With its end-to-end architecture development, ThingWorx ensures fast and scalable data processing for specific business requirements.

ThingWorx simplifies IoT implementation, eliminating complexities associated with connectivity and programming. The integration of machine learning (ML) enhances data analytics, optimizing and automating processes. With its capability to manage the complete development lifecycle of IoT applications, ThingWorx facilitates access to data across various environments – on-premise, off-premise, or hybrid setups. This leads to increased uptime, reduced costs, and improved compliance. Among the cons of this end-to-end industrial IoT platform are possible difficulties in managing complicated systems.

Azure IoT

Microsoft Azure IoT Suite is a collection of managed cloud services and products for connecting, monitoring, and controlling IoT assets at scale. The platform includes Azure IoT Hub, Azure IoT Edge, Azure IoT Central, Azure Digital Twins, and other solutions that help businesses build, deploy, and manage IoT apps. Tailored to different sectors such as manufacturing, energy, and healthcare, Azure IoT solutions address needs like remote monitoring, data management, predictive maintenance, device telemetry, and secure communication. They support a wide variety of devices, protocols (HTTP, MQTT, AMQP), and programming languages (C, C#, Node js, Python, Java).

The suite offers the scalability needed to accommodate growing numbers of devices and increasing data volumes. Its powerful analytics tools allow users to gain insights from IoT data, facilitating data-driven decision-making. The platform also provides robust security features to protect IoT data in the cloud, hardware devices, and software. Azure offers flexible pricing models, allowing users to pay only for the resources and services they use and manage costs effectively.

Oracle IoT

Oracle Internet of Things Cloud Service is a robust PaaS that enables businesses to connect devices to the cloud, analyze data in real time, and seamlessly integrate it with various enterprise applications, web services, and other Oracle IoT products. It offers remote monitoring, device visualization features, high-speed messaging, and endpoint data management. The platform facilitates reliable bidirectional communication between IoT devices and the cloud. Assets can connect to the cloud directly or indirectly via a gateway. Service security features include device registration, authentication, and secure data transfer with MQTT and HTTPS protocols.

The data processing tools within the platform transform raw IoT data into actionable insights, enabling informed decision-making. Oracle applications use ML algorithms to analyze sensor data and detect patterns, anomalies, or trends. Using them, businesses can increase the value of assets, enhance operational efficiency and productivity, ensure workplace safety, and improve customer service. The platform is easy to use, but users may have problems with limited third-party integrations.

Related reading: IoT Ecosystem – What Is It & What Are Its Key Elements

IBM Watson IoT Platform

Salesforce IoT Cloud is a specialized CRM solution to enhance customer relations management. The platform helps to collect massive amounts of data from customers, partners, devices, and sensors and transform it into actionable insights for better decision-making. It empowers users to test business ideas without programming, providing real-time data on product usage and collaborating seamlessly with various devices. As a market CRM leader, the solution allows businesses to develop smart customer profiles and input data regardless of time, location, device, and network.

Core features of Salesforce IoT Cloud include data ingestion, third-party integration, output connections, reporting, and data analytics. The platform is widespread across multiple industries, including manufacturing, retail, healthcare, transport, and logistics. However, there are some challenges that users might face while implementing the solution. Salesforce IoT Cloud has flexibility imitations, security, and customer data privacy issues.

Google Cloud IoT Core

Although this product from Google Cloud was one of the most popular platforms, we put it in the end for a reason. The service was retired on August 16, 2023, and is no longer available. So, we will not dwell on the details of the solution and just mention its features.

This fully-managed Google Cloud Platform (GCP) service was in demand due to its streamlined secure connection, management, and data ingestion from globally dispersed devices. It provided native integration with analytic service, out-of-the-box data insights for businesses to make data-driven decisions, support of multiple communication protocols, and the capability to update device configurations remotely. All these features were formed in a completely managed GCP service, with no infrastructure for users to deploy, scale or manage.

How to Choose the Right IoT Platform

Making the right choice among the various IoT app development platforms is a critical decision that can impact the success of your business, and it depends on the company’s requirements. First, you need to define your IoT project’s objectives and desired outcomes. Assess the platform’s compatibility with the devices and protocols you plan to use. Prioritize scalability, ensuring the platform can handle future growth. Evaluate its data management capabilities and analytics tools for extracting insights from collected data. Finally, check security measures and integration options to ensure a seamless and successful IoT app development experience.

By: Julia Nasy
1 Sep. 2023
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