How to Select the Right IoT Platform for Your Project
What elements you should consider to make sure you are choosing the right platform for your IoT project
This is 2022, we are just coming out of the pandemic of the century (hopefully) that had forced the whole humanity to shift to remote everything. The role of the Internet of Things is increasing in demand. The concept of using embedded systems and sensors has set the basis of major domestic and industrial projects. However, a simple enough task can turn out to be complicated if the right platform is not used.
An IoT platform, inherently, is just a set of components that simplifies the technology stack involved in IoT development by providing you with a ready-made, reusable technology stack. It helps developers securely connect devices to the internet, remotely collect their data or control them, manage a fleet of devices, update their software over the air (OTA), view and analyze the data coming from devices on easy-to-make dashboards, and so much more, without diving into the aching details of each of these distinct knowledge sets. For businesses, using ready-to-use software and tools enables them to show their business case early on and come to market rapidly. It helps them avoid false leads in areas like security, certifications, and compliance while still delivering functionality that may be required for your project and decreasing your risks and expenditures.
It may be challenging to pick the correct IoT platform, but it's not impossible. You need to ask the right questions and do some research to see which platform answers the most questions. Every IoT platform has its own set of features and procedures that make it stand out. Platforms are spread across the stack in different ways. Some systems are solely compatible with a single cloud provider (AWS, Google, Azure), while others provide clients with the option of hosting their backend software wherever they want. Some take out device connectivity completely from your plate while others help you monitor your devices on customizable dashboards. Some let you build drag-and-drop apps while others give you the flexibility to white-label your apps using APIs. So it's not easy to find a platform that has them all. You can start with the one that solves the most burning problems for you
You must assess the following before determining which solution is best for your requirements:
Connectivity Management and Geographical Location
When it comes to IoT, connectivity is critical. Each project and its connectivity requirements are unique, and this will have a direct impact on which IoT platform is the best fit. Through Wi-Fi and cellular technologies, these platforms provide low-power, low-cost connectivity management solutions. Choose a platform that can coordinate a variety of connectivity technologies such as LoRaWAN, Sigfox, Mulesoft, Hologram NBt. M1, 4G, 5G, and WIFI.
Geographical location also matters when choosing an IoT platform. The IoT platform must be capable of supporting IoT applications and devices in all the geographical regions where they are needed.
How do you know if a certain IoT platform provides support in your geographical area? If you have WiFi devices you keep a WiFi router near your devices, devices connect to WiFi and the platform via the internet. Some platforms provide you sims of their network, like Particle, but most don't. There are other platforms, like Twilio, which solve only this particular problem of providing sims for IoT devices, so IoT platforms don't have to solve this.
Flexibility to technical advances
When it comes to technology, constant change is unavoidable. For IoT systems, it's critical to be prepared for constant change. Hardware, networking, and software all need to be adaptive and change-resistant. Making it easy to swap out the components of your IoT solution at any time without affecting the overall end application is one way to assure change resistance.
The design of IoT systems must be flexible enough to support several wireless protocols, reduce power consumption, and integrate additional sensor connections. Introducing an interface that can be used for both internal and external connections is a logical method to increase flexibility. For example USB. It is widely used in computers, phones, televisions, and set-top boxes. Consumers may connect any device to a computer using USB and it will operate.
IoT is all about making your life easier. It should not increase the difficulty and complexity of your systems. The best IoT platforms are simple to use and simple to integrate into existing processes. The IoT platform should be as user-friendly with as little friction and difficulty as possible for its users.
Simple SDKs, decent data models, user-friendly dashboards are some examples of its simplicity. The SDKs allow you to complete routine tasks with just one function call and are available in a variety of languages, allowing you to select the one that best suits your workforce.
It’s important to make sure you choose an IoT platform that prioritizes security because IoT device hacking is on the rise, with 33% of devices being attacked.
End-to-end security, security update protocols and multi-factor authentication are some of the features you should keep in mind while selecting an IoT platform. Otherwise, you’re placing your IoT infrastructure in danger of cyberattacks which might result in disruption, the loss of critical data, and major reputational harm.
Secure Socket Layer and Transport Layer Security are popular examples of providing integrity, security, and resilience to unauthorized manipulation when data is flowing between devices and platforms.
Choose a platform that can easily scale as the project grows and is suitable for all IoT project stages starting with a small number of devices. Scaling up is another term for the ability to enhance the capacity of existing hardware or software by adding more resources. For example, we can enhance the processing power of a server to make it faster. In addition, we can scale a system vertically by adding more processors, main memory, storage, and network interfaces to a node to handle more requests per system. To make a device more efficient for both current and future use, it must be scalable. Scalability also helps students, for example, it supports projects from the college level, where quick prototyping and frequent modifications are required, to thousands of devices at the city level, where OTA software updates are required.
With IoT platforms, relying entirely on one type of data delivery may not be a good idea. In the field, you never know when a power outage, a connection error, a botched firmware update, or something else will occur. Ensure that the IoT platform you choose offers a variety of data delivery options, such as cloud, on-premises, and edge delivery. That way, if the primary cloud connection fails, your clients and end-users will always have a backup plan to fall back on.
Accessing and maintaining devices that perform activities and report data in operation applications requires connected device management.
To understand the importance of device management, you must be aware of some factors, such as the size of your network and whether the devices are physically accessible. Whatever the number or location of those devices, you'll need to keep an eye on them and update their capabilities and intelligence regularly with system updates or security patches to keep them updated and secure. For example, you have a large number of devices and require secure access to them from a distant or central location for firmware upgrades and information on their condition.
IoT device registration
IoT devices must need to be registered because these are data-sensitive devices and also it is necessary to register a device for it to function smoothly and safely. With the ever-increasing number of connected devices and networks around the globe, it's become essential for each device in an IoT ecosystem to have its own unique identity and this can only be possible through registration. For example, Parlacom's M2M/IoT portal enables registering billions of devices in your IoT platform much easier. A secure and authentic IoT ecosystem should include devices that are properly registered and have unique IDs.
Monitoring of IoT devices
The process of discovering, monitoring, and managing your connected devices is referred to as Internet of Things (IoT) monitoring. For all your connected devices, IoT monitoring analyses data provides insights, alerts you to any concerns affecting normal operations, and delivers immediate replies. IoT devices need to be managed and monitored for this purpose. Some tools like Datadog IoT Monitoring, Team viewer, AWS IoT Management and Skypark etc manage and monitor IoT devices.