January 16, 2020 Return to overview

How to Choose the Right IoT Platform

Choosing the Right IoT Platform to Fulfill Any Mission


IoT PLatform

If you’re picking business tools and care about the results, then it pays to be highly discerning. Many software suites, cloud apps and similar products might help you start realizing gains immediately after adopting them, but that doesn’t mean they can hang in the long term. Enterprises that want to sustain the positive benefits recognize the value of doing their homework before they wager their fortunes on unproven solutions.

How can you ensure that you’re considering fitting factors when choosing an Internet of Things, or IoT, platform? The flexibility and bespoke nature of connected applications means that it’s highly advisable to focus on the factors with the highest potential for gain and the lowest loss risk. Here are our favorite pointers on picking a flawless match for your operational standards and goal-oriented outlook.

What an IoT Platform Should Accomplish

IoT platforms are the cement that binds your software applications, hardware sensors and Big Data aspirations together into something greater than the sum of its parts. These frameworks run silently in the background to provide a consistent environment for data exchange between different elements of the IoT.

Imagine that you’ve remade your city as a smarter version by connecting its existing facilities. The street lights, traffic signals, garbage trucks, parking spots, water mains and other municipal assets all have their own sensors and controllers that theoretically make it simpler to monitor usage, program behaviors and minimize waste. In isolation, however, these elements aren’t truly smart because each one is only aware of its narrow slice of the cityscape. For instance, even though the flow-monitoring sewer valves are linked by physical piping, none of them knows what the data they generate means in a broader context.

IoT platforms bridge islands of isolated knowledge so that you can follow the path to more accurate conclusions. Although every system has its blind spots, a sturdy platform makes it easier to reconstruct what’s happening in the places you can’t see. IoT frameworks that can process data at scale while enhancing your ability to consume information also contribute to more illuminating analyses.

What Does It Take to Meet the Demand?

Now that you know your IoT platform needs to help you unify disparate information sources and sanitize data, an important question remains unsettled. Namely, how can you be sure that a given Internet of Things framework makes the grade? Even more confusingly, how can you filter through the many products out there that claim to get the job done using markedly different strategies?

Over the years, we’ve observed that enterprise consumers who focus on the following factors set themselves up for more productive IoT adventures:

Robustness

You can’t afford to place your bets and choose an IoT platform that might be unstable or prone to glitches. Although the wise always strengthen their applications with function-specific testing strategies, the underlying execution environment also needs to prove itself robust.

When evaluating the options, confirming that a given framework operates consistently under fire and varying usage constraints is just the beginning. Truly robust platforms also adhere to security best practices and provide high-visibility self-diagnostic features that keep you informed of precisely how healthy your system is at any moment.

Easy Integration

No, math geeks, we’re not talking about whether you can model your IoT network’s performance using your favorite Calculus methods. In this case, we mean that your framework needs to function seamlessly with other components.

Envision yourself as the proud owner of a hypothetical donut factory that wants to take its operations to the big stage. Although your IoT system provider offers a range of moisture sensors for industrial use, none include food-safe probes. To track whether the dough has the ideal water content, your company will have to combine independent sensor hardware with the framework, so the platform had better be able to operate seamlessly with a variety of components.

This situation — the mismatch, not confectionary business ownership — is surprisingly more common than you think. As your enterprise grows, the chances that you’ll want to extend your chosen IoT platform will rise in kind, so find a highly compatible option before committing.

Development Guidance

The IoT is meant to fix all of your problems and shower you with instant success, right? As we’ve mentioned before, this is a major misconception because you still have to tell the system what to do. For instance, your hypothetical donut facility might include a unique assembly line layout that can send individual pastry orders to specific processing locations. If your clients typically order a lot more of your popular pumpkin spice flavor around a certain time of year, then you might want the system to automatically divert an appropriate quantity of dough rings to the area that adds the pumpkin sprinkles in anticipation.

The IoT powers highly convoluted behaviors, and it often deals with serpentine production workflows in the process. Untangling the paths while the determining and limiting factors change is much simpler with software that knows what it’s doing, but Googling “donut factory application” or “smart city task runner” probably won’t do the trick. You have to build the necessary tools, so your platform should show you how.

Development guidance comes in various forms. Your cloud IoT software provider might provide code troubleshooting assistance. Or, they might offer complete technical planning and consulting aid to get you on the right course. The best systems combine these elements with other handy tools, such as sample projects, code snippets, source control versioning, debuggers and simplified dashboard layout instruments that let you construct new apps in minutes. As we briefly touched on earlier, the IoT platform you choose should also facilitate easy, continuous testing.

Governance Systems

Governance is a thorny issue because it’s so wrapped up in methodology. For instance, a smart city’s connected sewer management department might not need to monitor certain water quality data points if the state doesn’t mandate that it do so. In other cases, oversight demands and liability concerns can change without warning, such as when new regulations take effect or donut consumers start coming down with food allergies en masse.

Choose an IoT platform that grants you the power to sidestep these kinds of problems by including multiple governance options. Using options that support various forms of monitoring and a range of web frameworks is the best way to avoid getting trapped in a routine that no longer suits your evolving needs.

How to Choose the Best IoT Platform

These aren’t the only characteristics that distinguish legendary IoT platforms from their run-of-the-mill counterparts. Features like fine-grained automation tools, service-oriented architectures, machine learning capabilities, and rich visualizations can make the IoT a joy to interact with. Choosing your IoT platform requires identifying your needs and aligning them with the right platform.

Our purpose at Davra is to keep you moving steadily towards a superior state of enterprise mastery and data awareness. Just as an artisan depends on their tools to create their finest work, cities, healthcare providers and entire industries rely on our IoT platform to perfect their output. Get your enterprise on their level by demoing our Gartner-recognized framework today.

Author

Brian McGlynn, Davra, COO

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