The physical world of things and the digital world of the internet have merged together, creating a new ecosystem — the Internet of Things (IoT), which is an overwhelming trend across various industries today. In this article, we are going to talk about the top Internet of Things platforms that help effectively build and maintain IoT solutions.
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What Is an IoT Platform?
To dive into the topic, let’s start with the IoT platform definition. An IoT platform is the integration of software tools and services used to collect data from sensors, controllers and other devices, process this data, and transmit the outcomes to end-users. In other words, this is an intermediary between the hardware and network applications.
Any comprehensive Internet of Things platform contains hundreds of drivers and tools to perform five main functions:
- Data collection
- Data storage
- Data processing
- Data visualization
- Integration with end-user apps
The high level of information security should also be ensured as the core feature of the top IoT platforms.
Types of IoT Platforms
An ever-growing number of Internet of Things platforms can be divided into four categories, depending on the resources they provide:
End-to-end platforms — contain a full scope of resources you need to develop and maintain connected solutions, including the hardware, software, connectivity protocols, security management systems, development tools, updates, managed integration, APIs, etc.
- Connectivity platforms — focus on connectivity hardware and networking solutions to keep devices connected.
- Cloud platforms — offer the infrastructure and backend services; the main benefit of a cloud-based Internet of Things platform is its scalability so that your system can easily grow with your business.
- Data platforms — focus around tools for routing data flows, their analysis and visualization.
Top IoT Platform Providers
According to a survey conducted in September 2017, the market numbered more than 450 IoT platform offerings (as of today, that number has been increased). Though the leaders, based on their IoT platform market share, are the biggest IT players such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon, there are hundreds of smaller providers that offer quality and even unique services.
Platforms used to run connected devices in software projects, as of 2017
For your information, here is a list of the best Internet of Things platforms 2019 with short descriptions.
Microsoft Azure IoT Suite
Azure IoT Suite is a secure, open and scalable platform used in various industries: discrete manufacturing, energy, process manufacturing, transportation and logistics.
You can develop solutions yourself or get ready-to-use apps with a range of products it offers:
- Azure IoT Hub
- Azure IoT Edge
- Azure IoT Central (SaaS)
- Azure Sphere
- Digital twins
- Time Series Insights
Resources and services are available on-premises, at the edge or in the cloud. End-to-end security is ensured at all levels by means of multi-layer software defenses, device monitoring, encryption and certificate-based authentication, security-first infrastructure, privacy controls and compliance tools.
Google Cloud IoT
Google is among the most popular IoT platforms with its cloud infrastructure for connected devices and an integrated software stack for on-premises/edge computing.
Use cases include predictive maintenance, real-time asset tracking, logistics and supply chain management, smart cities and buildings. Machine learning and AI capabilities help businesses improve decision-making and operational efficiency. Google also integrates with a wide range of embedded operating systems.
- Cloud IoT Core — to connect and manage data from devices
- Cloud Pub/Sub — to ingest data on its way to processing, storage and analysis
- BigQuery — a scalable warehouse to analyze data
- Cloud Machine Learning Engine — to build and run ML models in production
- Google Data Studio — to visualize results with reports and dashboards
AWS IoT Core
Amazon takes the leading positions in the list of IoT platform providers with its cloud solution for connected devices. AWS IoT Core can connect billions of devices to the cloud and securely process trillions of messages.
Due to the support of industry-standard and custom protocols, it allows devices using different protocols to communicate with each other.
AWS Internet of things products fall into three groups: device software, control services, data services.
- Amazon FreeRTOS — an operating system for microcontrollers
- AWS IoT Greengrass — software for extending AWS to edge devices, so they can act locally
- Device Management — to organize, monitor and remotely manage devices at scale.
- Device Defender — to secure devices
- Things Graph — to visually connect different devices and web services to build apps
- 1-Click — to perform actions such as notifying technical support, tracking assets and replenishing goods or services
- Analytics — to run and activate sophisticated analytics
- Events — to detect and respond to events from sensors and applications
- SiteWise — to collect and organize data from industrial equipment
Cisco IoT Cloud Connect
This cloud-based software suite is a useful tool for mobile operators. It provides IoT solutions for networking, security and data management.
More than 40,000 companies rely on Cisco Internet of Things solutions across multiple industries such as energy, manufacturing, transportation, smart cities, retail, education.
- IoT networking
- IoT data management
- IoT management
- Built-in security
IBM Watson IoT
Cloud-based Watson by IBM collects data from devices, equipment and machines and processes it in real time to derive value and facilitate better business decisions. The platform provides analytics, artificial intelligence and blockchain services as add-ons.
You can also use a special product — IBM Connected Vehicle Insights — to capture big data from connected vehicles and improve the in-car experience.
This technology platform is designed to accelerate digital transformation in manufacturing. Its robust industrial IoT solutions connect devices, build and deploy apps, manage and analyze data and make it accessible from on-premise, cloud or hybrid environments.
ThingWorx can create apps of different scale and complexity due to a unique toolset that can function without third-party components and libraries.
The company’s specialization is renewable energy resources, their monitoring and optimization. They developed a platform for industries such as gas, water, electricity, Internet of Things and smart cities with the goal of creating a more resourceful world.
With Itron’s devices, cloud and network services, commercial organizations and ordinary consumers can control their resources usage in real time. This awareness helps save energy and money while increasing resource sustainability.
SAP Cloud Platform Internet of Things
SAP has been one of the best vendors of IoT cloud platforms for the last couple of years. They offer the most recent technologies including Big Data, machine learning and artificial intelligence to deliver scalable and intelligent solutions for various businesses.
Key capabilities include:
- IoT device and integration services
- Secure and scalable data ingestion
- Flexible and reliable message processing
- Compatibility with various communication protocols
- Live insights
An end-to-end IoT platform by Samsung is on the list of top IoT platforms 2019 due to complete security offered to every device it works with. Artik unifies hardware, software and cloud services in a single offering and enables communication between devices, apps and services.
Cloud connectors make it possible to integrate existing clouds with Artik services easily.
- Collects any type of data
- Provides built-in security and privacy management
- Monitors the connectivity of devices in the cloud
Artik is device-agnostic and can be implemented in individual homes, smart cities or as an industrial IoT.
Just Do IoT!
The IoT platforms comparison has given you a glimpse into the power and capabilities you may get from your assets if connect them to the network. The three main benefits from a connected infrastructure are:
- Improved decision-making
- Better customer experiences
- Higher revenues
If you want to join the game and transform your digital goals into action, embrace the Internet of Things with SaM Solutions. We have been developing end-to-end systems and embedded software for many years and are happy to offer the following services:
- Firmware development
- Middleware development for IoT systems
- Human-machine interfaces (HMI)
- End-user applications
Contact our specialists to get detailed information on our case studies and to discuss your requirements.