10 Best IoT Platforms for 2021

Best-IoT-Platforms

Businesses have been adopting Internet of Things technologies more actively, so the need for high-quality IoT platforms is also increasing.

In this article, we discuss the most popular Internet of Things platforms for 2021.

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IoT Technology Overview

Let’s briefly look at what the Internet of Things actually is.

The Internet of Things concept implies the creation of a distributed network consisting of numerous physical objects equipped with embedded software, sensors and connectivity options that collect and share data with each other and with the central platform via the internet.

Architecture of IoT systems

IoT system architecture consists of four layers:

  1. Sensors and actuators collect data directly from physical objects (devices, equipment, machines, vehicles, home appliances, people, animals, etc.).
  2. Gateways and data acquisition systems convert gathered data from the analog to the digital format.
  3. Edge computing ensures there’s immediate preliminary data analytics right on devices.
  4. Data centers or cloud services provide deep data analysis, processing and storage.

Examples of IoT systems:

  • Smart home systems (security devices, intelligent lighting, conditioning, heating, connected home appliances)
  • Wearable health devices both for self-tracking of health conditions (pulse oximeters, glucometers) and for vital sign monitoring in clinics
  • Logistics tracking systems (GPS trackers, fuel level sensors, alert systems to monitor driver behavior)
  • Autonomous vehicles (farming equipment, warehouse autonomous robots, passenger buses)
  • Smart factory equipment (robotics, predictive maintenance solutions)

What Is an IoT Platform?

An IoT platform serves as a mediator between the world of physical objects and the world of actionable insights. Combining numerous tools and functionalities, Internet of Things platforms enable you to build unique hardware and software products for collecting, storing, analyzing and managing the plethora of data generated by your connected devices and assets.

Types of Internet of Things Platforms

IoT products consist of numerous components:

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Communication technologies
  • Central repository (cloud or local)
  • End-user applications

To cover each aspect while developing an IoT product, there are several types of IoT platforms.

  • Hardware development platforms provide physical development boards for creating IoT devices, including microcontrollers, microprocessors, Systems on Chip (SoC), Systems on Module (SoM).
  • App development platforms serve as an integrated development environment (IDE) with tools and features for coding applications.
  • Connectivity platforms provide communication technologies to connect physical objects with the data center (on-premise or cloud) and transmit information between them. Among popular connectivity protocols and standards for the Internet of Things are MQTT, DDS, AMQP, Bluetooth, ZigBee, WiFi, Cellular, LoRaWAN and more.
  • Analytics platforms use intelligent algorithms to analyze collected information and transform it into actionable insights for customers.
  • End-to-end IoT platforms cover all aspects of IoT products, from development and connectivity to data management and visualization.

The Importance of IoT Cloud Services

Cloud computing is the predominant technology of our time that empowers numerous businesses and tech segments. The junction of Internet of Things and cloud services unleashes the potential of IoT devices to the fullest, opening new horizons for companies and customers.

Firstly, the cloud provides unlimited scalability, which is crucial as the demand for handling and storing Big Data from thousands of devices is continuously growing. Secondly, the cloud enables remote development and management, which is extremely convenient when connected assets are scattered across cities and countries.

Three types of cloud services are available for the development of the Internet of Things: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

As a rule, IoT cloud platforms are end-to-end solutions that combine capabilities such as app development, device management, connectivity management, data acquisition and storage, and data analysis and visualization.

Most Popular IoT Platforms in 2021

To make it easier for you to decide which IoT platform to choose for your project, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular Internet of Things platforms for this year, with detailed descriptions of each one.

  1. Google Cloud IoT
  2. Cisco IoT Cloud Connect
  3. Salesforce IoT Cloud
  4. IRI Voracity
  5. Particle
  6. IBM Watson IoT
  7. ThingWorx
  8. Amazon AWS IoT Core
  9. Microsoft Azure IoT Hub
  10. Oracle IoT

1. Google Cloud IoT

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Google launched its platform for Internet of Things development on the basis of its end-to-end Google Cloud Platform. Currently, it’s one of the world’s top Internet of Things platforms. Google Cloud IoT is the integration of various services that add value to connected solutions.

  • Cloud IoT Core allows you to capture and handle device data. A device manager component is used to register devices with the service, and monitor and configure them. MQTT and HTTP protocol bridges are used for device connection and communication with the Google Cloud Platform.
  • Cloud Pub/Sub performs data ingestion and message routing for further data processing.
  • Google BigQuery enables secure real-time data analytics.
  • AI Platform applies machine learning features.
  • Google Data Studio visualizes data by making reports and dashboards.
  • Google Maps Platform helps visualize the location of connected assets.

The platform automatically integrates with Internet of Things hardware producers such as Intel and Microchip. It supports various operating systems, including Debian Linux OS.

Core features of Google Cloud IoT:

  • AI and machine learning capabilities
  • Real-time data analysis
  • Strong data visualization
  • Location tracking

Core use cases:

  • Predictive maintenance
  • Real-time asset tracking
  • Logistics and supply chain management
  • Smart cities and buildings

2. Cisco IoT Cloud Connect

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Cisco IoT Cloud Connect is originally an offering for mobile operators. This mobility cloud-based software suite for industrial and individual use cases is on the list of the best Internet of Things cloud platforms. Cisco also provides reliable IoT hardware, including switches, access points, routers, gateways and more.

Take a look at some examples of powerful Cisco Internet of Things products and solutions.

  • Cisco IoT Control Center ensures impeccable cellular connectivity management, allowing you to integrate all your IoT devices in one SaaS solution.
  • Extended Enterprise Solution allows for the development of IoT business applications at the edge and ensures rapid deployment and centralized network management.
  • Edge Intelligence simplifies data processing by allocating data flows either to local or multi-cloud environments.
  • Industrial Asset Vision utilizes sensors to monitor your assets continuously and deliver data for better decision-making.
  • Cisco IoT Threat Defense protects sensible data and devices against cyberattacks, providing secure remote access, segmentation, visibility and analysis, and other security services.

Core features of Cisco IoT Cloud Connect:

  • Powerful industrial solutions
  • High-level security
  • Edge computing
  • Centralized connectivity and data management

Core use cases:

  • Connected cars
  • Fleet management
  • Home security and automation
  • Payment and POS solutions
  • Predictive maintenance
  • Industrial networking
  • Smart meters
  • Healthcare

3. Salesforce IoT Cloud

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Salesforce specializes in customer relations management and masterfully enhances this segment with the help of IoT solutions.

The Salesforce IoT Cloud platform gathers valuable information from connected devices to deliver personalized experiences to and build stronger relationships with your customers. It works in tandem with Salesforce CRM: data from connected assets is delivered directly to the CRM system where context-based actions are initiated immediately.

For example, if sensors detect an error in windmill performance, it is instantly reflected in the CRM dashboard and the system can either adjust parameters automatically or create a service ticket.

Core features of Salesforce IoT Cloud:

  • Full integration of customers, products and CRM
  • No need for programming skills to create rules, conditions and events due to a simple point-and-click UI
  • Compatibility with third-party websites, services and other products
  • A proactive approach to customer issues and needs

Core use cases:

  • Government administration
  • Machinery
  • Financial services
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Chemicals

By using Salesforce IoT Cloud, businesses get a holistic view of customer data, improve customer experience and increase sales.

4. IRI Voracity

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If you need an all-in-one data management platform that enables IoT data control at every stage of your business processes, IRI Voracity is the perfect fit.

This platform uses two engines, IRI CoSort and Hadoop, to process Big Data. It can discover, govern, integrate, analyze, transform and migrate data from various sources and in various formats such as Unix, Linux or Windows file systems, ISAM, MongoDB, LDIF, HIVE, JSON, S3, PostgreSQL, MQTT, Kafka and more.

Core features of IRI Voracity:

  • A Data Governance Portal enables data search and classification in silos. It also provides encryption and anonymization to comply with data privacy regulations.
  • A Faster ETL and Analytic Alternative performs extraction and transformation of large-sized data much faster than legacy ETL tools.
  • A DB Ops Environment allows you to administer all your databases from one place.

Core use cases:

  • Big Data analytics
  • ETL modernization
  • Data governance

5. Particle

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Particle offers an IoT edge-to-cloud platform for global connectivity and device management, as well as hardware solutions, including development kits, production modules and asset tracking devices. With Particle’s team of IoT experts, who provide end-to-end professional services, you can develop your product from concept to production.

Core features of the Particle platform:

  • Integration with third-party services via REST API
  • Firewall-protected cloud
  • Capability to work with data from Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure
  • No need for technical expertise in order to use the platform

Core use cases:

  • Real-time asset monitoring
  • Live vehicle tracking
  • Predictive maintenance
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Compliance monitoring
  • Real-time order fulfillment

6. IBM Watson IoT

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An IoT platform built on IBM Cloud is a fully managed cloud service for device management, flexible and scalable connectivity options, secure communications and data lifecycle management. With IBM Watson IoT, you can collect insights from automobiles, buildings, equipment, assets and things.

Core features of IBM Watson IoT:

  • Data ingestion from any source with the help of MQTT
  • Direct access to the latest data in the Cloudant NoSQL DB solution
  • Built-in monitoring dashboards to control your assets
  • Analytics Service to process raw metrics
  • The Cloud Object Storage solution for long-term data archiving

Core use cases:

  • Supply chain management
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Building management
  • Energy consumption
  • Shipping and logistics

7. ThingWorx

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The specialized Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform ThingWorx is used in a variety of manufacturing, service and engineering scenarios. The platform addresses common challenges across industries, from remote monitoring and maintenance to workforce efficiency and asset optimization.

Core features of ThingWorx:

  • Access to multiple data sources due to the extension of traditional industrial communications
  • Powerful ready-to-use tools and applications to create and scale IIoT solutions quickly
  • Real-time insights from complex industrial IoT data to proactively optimize operations and prevent issues
  • Total control over network devices, processes and systems

Core Use Cases:

  • Remote asset monitoring
  • Remote maintenance/service
  • Predictive maintenance and asset management
  • Optimized equipment effectiveness

8. Amazon AWS IoT Core

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One of the leading players in the market, Amazon AWS IoT Core allows you to connect devices to AWS cloud services without the need to manage servers. The platform provides reliability and security for managing millions of devices.

Core features of Amazon AWS IoT Core:

  • A wide choice of connection protocols, including MQTT, MQTT over WSS, HTT and LoRaWAN
  • Ability to use with other AWS services such as AWS Lambda, Amazon Kinesis, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon CloudWatch, Alexa Voice Service and more to build IoT applications
  • A high level of security provided by end-to-end encryption throughout all points of connection, automated configuration and authentication
  • Machine learning capabilities
  • A variety of services for edge computing

Core use cases:

  • Connected vehicles
  • Connected homes
  • Asset tracking
  • Smart building
  • Industrial IoT

9. Microsoft Azure IoT Hub

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With the open-source Azure IoT platform from Microsoft, you can quickly build scalable and secure edge-to-cloud solutions. Utilizing ready-to-use tools, templates and services, you can develop flexible applications according to your company’s needs.

Core features of Azure IoT Hub:

  • Data protection all the way from the edge to the cloud
  • The ability to operate even in offline mode with Azure IoT Edge
  • Seamless integration with other Azure services
  • Enhanced AI solutions
  • Continuous cloud-scale analytics
  • Fully managed databases
  • Azure Industrial IoT solution

Core use cases:

  • Automotive industry
  • Discrete manufacturing
  • Energy sector
  • Healthcare
  • Transportation
  • Retail

10. Oracle IoT

best-iot-platforms

The Internet of Things Cloud Service by Oracle is a managed Platform as a Service (PaaS) for connecting your devices to the cloud.

Core features of Oracle IoT:

  • The ability to create applications and connect them to devices with JavaScript, Java, Android, iOS, C POSIX and REST APIs
  • Integration with enterprise applications, web services and other Oracle Cloud Services
  • Real-time analysis tools to aggregate and filter incoming data streams
  • Automatic synchronization of data streams with Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service
  • Unique digital identity for each device to establish trust relationships among devices and applications

Core use cases:

  • Connected logistics
  • Predictive maintenance
  • Smart manufacturing
  • Workplace safety

How to Choose the Best IoT Platform

There’s no definite answer to this question since there’s no one best platform suitable for any digital project. The choice will always depend on the specific requirements of your business.

Large enterprises are more likely to turn to giants such as Amazon or Microsoft. Their offerings are the best established, but also the most expensive. Smaller companies may find more cost-efficient options that will nevertheless perfectly meet their requirements.

When choosing a provider, you should consider the technical capabilities of a platform, its partner ecosystem, industry-specific features and, in general, the provider’s reputation. All these parameters should comply with your company strategy and budget.

If you need help selecting a platform, contact SaM Solutions’ specialists. Our development teams have experience in building IoT applications and devices and can advise you on all related issues. We know the pros and cons of various platforms, and will easily be able to recommend the right option for your digital strategy.

We develop world-class IoT solutions for SMBs and enterprises

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What Are the Top IoT App Development Platforms?

Currently, there are more than 600 publicly known Internet of Things platforms globally. However, the leaders — Amazon AWS IoT Core, Microsoft Azure IoT Hub and IBM Watson — still hold their positions as the top three Internet of Things app development platforms.

Why do I need an IoT platform?

An IoT platform is a unique tool that will provide continuous monitoring of all your assets, be it vehicles, manufacturing equipment, livestock, or anything else. It will help you as the owner of a business gain a comprehensive view of all processes seasoned with intelligent analytics of collected data. The result — quicker decisions, reduced issues and increased revenues.

What Is the Difference between IoT and Cloud Computing?

IoT is about gathering data from physical devices and transferring it to digital space for further analysis. Cloud computing is purely about data processing, delivery and storage. These are two different technologies that complement each other, resulting in efficient solutions.


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About the author

Natallia Sakovich
Natallia Sakovich

A copywriter at SaM Solutions, Natallia is devoted to her motto — to write simply and clearly about complicated things. Backed up with a 5-year experience in copywriting, she creates informative but exciting articles on high technologies.

9 Comments

Leave a comment
  • Good іnformatiⲟn. Lucky me I found your blog by chance.
    I’ve ѕaved as a favorite for later!

  • What does User Experience do in the IoT?
    Deliverable of UX in IoT?
    What are the best process for the UX, when hump to IoT?

  • Actually it should be in the order 9 ,8 , 7 ,6 , not sure how you derived your own order.

  • Hi to every one, the contents present at this site are really amazing for people knowledge, well, keep up the nice work fellows.

  • Great read! Simply explained and most of the actual iot platforms have been included. I agree with your list, but I am missing one great IoT platform – autopi. It is an advanced IoT device management platform for fleet management.

  • Hi! Someone in my group shared this website with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
    Fantastic blog and great design.

  • I really enjoyed reading this blog. Every point discussed here in detail. I would love to read more content.

    Thanks for sharing

  • thank you for sharing with us, I believe this website genuinely stands out : D.

  • All listed IoT platforms are OK but there is no one best platform suitable for any IoT project. This choice will always depend on the specific project requirements of your business.

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