Your business strategy and your customers should dictate how you define what is in your IoT platform.
Your business needs should dictate what your IoT platform is. Not vendor definitions.
They come in all shapes and sizes. Hoards of them. They are called IoT Platforms. They are hard to differentiate. They combine two words that we wax eloquent trying to describe. IoT and Platform.
IoT sits at the intersection of IT and OT. Any IT-centric definition fails to capture OT significance and vice-versa. Hence, rather than provide an academic definition, let me share the practical view of how customers in different industries build and use technology platforms that leverage pervasive connectivity and pervasive computing.
Types of IoT Platforms
I have come across IoT platforms that span this gamut:
- Platform for Industries: These platforms deliver functionality that enables vertical-industry specific capabilities. For example, asset performance and utilization management of industrial equipment, healthcare services platform that enables patient monitoring, etc.
- Platform for Business Operations: These are business function specific. Most common is a platform that enables support and maintenance or managed services.
- Platform for Cities: Cities in general look to optimize city operations or citizen services. For them, the services include parking, lighting, garbage collection and so on. So, city services platform (or city digital platform) IT-enable city’s OT assets.
- Software-only Platforms or Data Platforms: These platforms are most typically referred to as “IoT Platforms”. These help with data flow from “things” to business systems and people. Performs analytics and workflow integration.
- Software and Hardware Platform: If you are using ICT hardware and software (e.g. networking and telecommunications equipment in addition to the above software), your platform is a combo. You could add OT hardware (industrial equipment, medical systems) to this and deem it part of your master IoT platform.
The Universal Platform
If I were to draw a picture that encompassed all those variations, it would look like this: