Top 9 Questions to Ask an IoT Platform Provider

What exactly is the IoT?

Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming increasingly popular day by day. Many companies are now including IoT based system while designing their products.

Though IoT has become so popular worldwide that it is house to no introduction, it can be referred to as a system that enables products to communicate by connecting them using the network that uses sensors. IoT can also be stated as a system which is an amalgamation of different systems. It connects your products with other products with the help of the cloud and sensor-enabled communication.

The very definition of IoT may make you assume that it is a simple system that connects two products or devices with the help of network and related technologies. In reality, that is not the case and understanding what would work for your company requires a thorough analysis of different systems.

No particular single IoT software or system is perfect for all the companies. Instead, you need to identify your needs and then compile the systems for effective utilization of IoT. Hence, you need to understand and be clear about what you want while choosing your IoT provider.

You need to ask the right questions to your IoT platform provider before you buy them. These questions are listed below.

1. What makes you stand apart from the other IoT platform providers?

You must ask for the unique Selling proposition (USP) of your IoT provider to chalk out how the IoT system provided by them is different from others.

Techniques like ‘no-coding’ and ‘drag-and-drop’ are provided in almost all the IoT platform providers and hence, they cannot be considered as your provider’s unique features.

IoT platform’s unique feature comprises of PTC ThingWorx’s augmented reality which provides a solution that can automatically see, recognize and interact with real-time information.

2. What are the types of Data Analytics available?

The use of IoT enables collecting big data from across the different connected devices and retrieve the workflows as well as businesses. The use of this data will help in devising future designs and help in setting up future decisions for the business. You can instill analytic abilities in your IoT system using Netvibes. It is a simple data analytics for IoT that is easy to use even for the non-programmers where they can easily create a new Potion using specific triggers and actions.

You should also consider IoT platforms that help in conducting Complex Data Analytics like ThingWorx Analytics which is powered by the Neuron Engine. It helps in detecting the significant challenges that would affect the success of your business in the future by detecting failure patterns from the data that it collects.

3. How does the IoT Data Collection Work?

Collecting data from several devices is the core functionality of an IoT platform and is an extensive task which all IoT platforms do not perform rightly. Data collection for the IoT is not that easy due to the software disparity and certain IoT related protocols in the industry. Ensure you know about the data collection process of your IoT platform provider. Most of the IoT platforms use bi-directional communication for collecting data.

4. How do you create customized IoT Dashboards?

IoT Dashboard would enable you to combine and analyze data that is relevant to your business. You need to choose such an IoT Dashboard that automatically acts as per the data insights and also controls the devices in the IoT.

You should go for the IoT platform which provides you with an extra guided workflow and helps you get a non-coding customized dashboard. It should have an added functionality of exporting it to the HTML code that will enable you to use it in all the browsers. You need to select an IoT platform having a set of pre-programmed functions which you can utilize in the final design of your dashboard.

5. How will your IoT platform handle IoT Security?

Security across IoT involves ensuring high security at every part of the system. You should go for the IoT platform providers that are certified in providing appropriate security to your business. To ensure the security of your cloud and devices, there are many security options available like data packet encryption, network encryption, and SSL.

6. Which are the IoT protocols that your platform supports?

Protocol compatibility is one of the most important questions that you need to ask your IoT Platform Provider. IoT is under constant pressure to move towards a single communication protocol. Standard Ethernet communications help in bringing convergence to the IoT industry. You need to know the protocols that your IoT platform can and cannot use. For example, Microsoft Azure supports AMQP, MQTT, and HTTPS. 

7. Which type of IoT devices can be controlled?

The compatibility of the connected devices helps in determining whether the IoT platform specializes in Consumer IoT or the Industrial IoT.

To become successful amongst the industrial users, your IoT platform needs to have powerful and robust functionality. To create a product for the consumer market, your consumer IoT needs to have better usability.

8. Which are the cloud storage options available for your IoT Data?

Three options that are available for storing large data are vendor-operated, in-house and open-sourced. Your IoT platform would have added functionalities if it would be compatible with the cloud storage. Some of the IoT platform providers can transfer their data to any of the cloud options while some of the IoT platform providers customize their cloud storage options. Such customized cloud options consist of AWS, Microsoft Azure, Autodesk and Dassault Systemes. When you are looking for a cloud storage option for your IoT Platform you should also consider the availability of disaster recovery or security, non-disclosure of information and whether the data presented is following the government restrictions for ensuring security.

9. How does the IoT platform monitor and control connected devices?

Rules engine helps in controlling the individual devices by framing a series of logical instructions that are written by the users in the IoT platform. Some of the globally recognized Rules Engines are  Microsoft Azure IoT Hub, Dassault Systemes Netvibes’ Potions, Cisco’s Jasper Control Center Rules Engine and AWS IoT Rules Engine. To ensure the security of your cloud and devices, there are many security options available like data packet encryption, network encryption, and SSL.

In a nutshell:

The questions given above are not the only questions that you have to ask while selecting an IoT Platform Provider, but, it enables you to have an outline of the things that are important for a smooth and efficient IoT system for your business.

You need to obtain as much detailed information as possible to ensure that you select a good IoT app development company for your business.


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