What Makes Some IoT Platforms a Cut Above the Rest?

By Special Guest
Megan Ray Nichols, Special Correspondent, Science Writer
May 01, 2017

If we were to use a single word to describe optimal IoT platforms, it would be “seamless,” which infers a connected and smooth experience. An efficient and reliable IoT platform allows interconnectivity between devices, applications and people. Any common or electronic platform that can send and receive data via the internet, or interface with other devices, is part of the IoT world.

Not All IoT Platforms Are Equal
Each platform has its own capabilities, features, limitations and components, which means every platform is different, and, more often than not, they are tailored for a specific type of user or customer base. For instance, you might have one IoT platform that puts an emphasis on security while another puts emphasis on cloud storage and cloud computing instead.

More importantly, some systems are just better, more efficient and more reliable. But what is it that truly makes some IoT platforms a cut above the rest?

1. Reliable Security
Data breaches are costly and harmful, and they are extremely prevalent these days. That’s why security should be one of the first factors you consider when choosing a platform or provider for your business.

Forrester surveyed a total of 232 companies that are developing IoT products and found some remarkable things. It turns out, 38 percent of respondents anticipate security as the biggest challenge to IoT implementation over other issues, while 64% cite data and device security as most important for IoT products. 

Data — usually sensitive — is constantly changing hands, systems and devices over an IoT platform. You want to be sure that data transfer process is reliable and secure, and those accessing the data are the people that should be. Proper security calls for authentication measures for devices and users, with end-to-end security, encryption and administrative controls.

2. Real-Time Analytics
In the business and enterprise world, analytics or stats are ingrained in everything you do. It seems like you can’t ever make a decision without first studying relevant customer or product data, and it makes perfect sense why.

The most efficient IoT platforms come bundled with real-time and reliable analytics tools. They not only contextualize the data but help you visualize it. Visualization is important, as looking at patterns, trends and visual charts is much simpler than staring at a wall of numbers or text. These analytics platforms will help you manage system performance, user patterns, availability and monitor security.

3. Growth and Scalability Options
Every business must consider the scalability of any platform or system they adopt. If you’re a smaller business, you’ll want to be sure your platform can grow with you. If you’re a larger business, you’ll want to be sure it can scale up, but also down to curb ballooning costs when there’s a lull. In other words, the scalability of the system you choose must offer a good balance.

The last thing you need is to find out the system you adopted can’t handle heavier loads with more devices and users when your business starts to grow. Horizontal management factors into the equation here, which allows several agencies, municipalities and organizations to work together via the same platform.

4. Damage Prevention and Control
Security is a big part of damage prevention, but breaches do happen, and when they do all those preventative measures you’ve established won’t do a thing. That’s because you also need a damage control plan in place for after the fact.

How you handle things immediately after a breach is absolutely crucial. Among a survey of 220 security professionals, only 30 percent said they believe their organization is truly prepared for security threats from IoT platforms.

Not all IoT platforms are the same. Consider what sets some apart before investing in a system.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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