Seven Key Questions to Ask an IoT Platform Provider Before Embracing It
Thursday, August 10, 2017
Posted by: Darchevia Woods
Ripal Vyas, President, Softweb Solutions Inc.
Nowadays, the Internet of Things is looked upon by almost every industry to gather data from multiple sources and sensors to analyze and make better decisions about their business operations. The Internet of Things is no more an option but a necessity for enterprises to survive in the rapidly evolving business environment.
A majority of companies believe in the myth that the success of IoT depends on your application or device, but the fact is that choosing the right IoT platform determines the growth of your business. By the right platform, it means that you should have the flexibility to expand your IoT solution, customize, and connect virtually anything that your business needs.
What is an IoT platform?
An IoT platform enables communication, device management, data flow, and the functionality of applications. It links devices, applications, machines, and data to data centers and people. With the use of dashboards, APIs, algorithms, and data engines, a platform will orchestrate various essential aspects that are necessary to make an IoT solution work. In short, an IoT platform is a middleware layer that supports in collecting data from sensors and devices and derives meaningful insights to take effective actions based on the information.
For any organization who is building or buying an IoT platform must keep in mind that the IoT vendor they choose should have the ability to adapt and scale as per requirements.
Seven important points to consider while choosing Internet of Things platform for your enterprise
How scalable is your IoT platform?
Keep in mind that the IoT platform you select should be capable of supporting not just current needs, but also the ones that emerge shortly. Future-proof, because there can be new applications added to the company’s product suite or new devices might plug into the application additionally. If your enterprise is expected to augment then the Internet of Things platform you pick must be equally powerful and extensible to support future deployments. Moreover, scalability in IoT includes everything from software-application, security, data, cloud, reliability, user-experience, latency, and support levels too.
What are the data management strategies?
Data storage is one of the most critical aspects of managing data. A lot of companies buy more storage capacity, but it’s a temporary solution. A company will need to store a huge amount of data which is expensive. Also, the storage methods can quickly become unmanageable with the rise in data.
Hence, you should evaluate data channels and decide who will access them and when. This evaluation is essential if mobile applications are integrated into your business process the data volume will be high as devices produce massive unstructured data which should be routed to the private cloud, public cloud, hybrid cloud or traditional data center. Thus, it’s recommended to choose an IoT platform that can quickly ingest high-speed data streams bringing a high volume of data and enable real-time decision-making.
How does it influence business-customer interactivity?
The Internet of Things platform integrated with CRM software can improve real-time customer experience by offering online as well offline engagement. So, know about CRM platforms that can be connected to increase customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and grow revenue from the products using personalized content and offers.
How flexible is the IoT platform for legacy architecture?
It is important to understand how flexible the IoT platform is with the legacy architecture as a huge number of existing IoT connectivity is skeptical and designed to work within a set of infrastructure systems. You must conduct a thorough analysis of which legacy elements of your organization’s infrastructure are vital and which can be eliminated. Remember, the efficiency of the IoT platform you pick would depend on how latest technologies can be integrated with the traditional applications/software.
Does the IoT platform offer enterprise-grade security?
Undoubtedly, security would be the primary concern for every company who is looking forward to adopting an IoT platform. The platform you select must be capable enough to address security for all the data generated by an IoT Solution as it includes all the information about business and its customers. IoT platform services must incorporate security of various components such as:
- Network connectivity
- AAA security (Authentication, Authorization, Accounting)
- Identity management
- Data encryption
- Device security
- Device-to-cloud network security
- User app-to-wireless network security
- Cloud security and more
What is their disaster recovery strategy?
An IT infrastructure outage is uncertain and can occur due to human error or natural cause. Hence, you must be assured about the backup plan if the internet goes down.
Ask these questions to your IoT partner:
- Do you have a dedicated infrastructure to manage data?
- How many times is the data backup taken?
- Is there any failover cluster provisioned that will pitch in if anything goes wrong?
- Is the IoT platform you offer runs on the private cloud or shares the infrastructure with other customers?
The IoT platform you choose must have predefined SLA and KPI for monitoring uptime and availability to ensure that your business performance isn’t affected.
What expertise does the IoT solution provider possess?
The IoT platform vendor whom you partner should be able to update you with a lot of information about how new technology can develop and how to improve your business models. They should make it clear in advance how IoT will change your business practices. But it won’t change your industry on the whole. Reliable IoT vendors would make it clear to you that it’s only your team that understands your business well and new technologies should just be the catalyst supporting your business to grow.
The final say
Make a list of these questions and probe your vendor to know what best they can deliver regarding IoT platform capabilities. It is advisable to have an explicit discussion about device management, safety-privacy issues, and communication technology. If you choose weak solutions and practices, it will not survive for long and help your business outshine the fierce competition in the market.