There is a wide variety of options when choosing the management platform for our IoT system. The truth is that not all of them are useful for all projects, since each of them has different approaches and different objectives.
There are, for example, platforms that focus on communication and management of IoT devices, but do not have a user interface.
Structure of an IoT platform
In general, an IoT platform can be divided into several layers:
- Connectivity layer: responsible for the communication between the IoT nodes and the platform (MQTT service, HTTP, etc).
- Device management layer: its function is to monitor devices, save configurations, perform updates, etc.
- Data management layer: databases, data analytics.
- Application Interface Layer: This layer provides the necessary methods for applications to access data.
- Application Layer: These are the applications themselves, with their user interfaces.
IMPORTANT: It must be taken into account that security crosses all the layers of an IoT system, so it must be taken into account in each of them.
The market research company Beecham Research made a classification of IoT platforms based on their characteristics, which I describe below:
- Focused on communication: it focuses mainly on the management of communications with devices.
- Focused on device management: its main function is the management of IoT nodes.
- Focused on data management and analysis: offers advanced data management and specialized analytics.
- Focused on application development: facilitates the development of applications using different types of devices.
- Focused on a vertical market: specifically designed to offer solutions in certain vertical markets (health, industry, agriculture, etc.).
- Focused on IoT consumers: focused on IoT applications for consumers, such as home automation.
- Focused on IoT development: provides solutions for developers of IoT systems.
How to choose the right platform
Obviously platforms do not usually fall into just one of these categories, but several. It is logical to think, for example, that a platform focused on device management is also focused on communication.
In any case, the choice of the IoT platform should not be left to the end of the system design, but should be the starting point, based on the needs of the project. If, for example, the business includes deploying devices at customer sites, it is essential to have a management system for them, to monitor them or even update their firmware. If, on the other hand, the client needs to carry out intense data analysis and reports, the platform must have the necessary tools so that the development is easy to carry out.
Therefore, the initial proposal of the project already defines the type of platform to be used. It is useful then to make a list of all the characteristics of the project and then evaluate which platforms meet those requirements.
You have doubts?. I await your comments at the end of this article.