What is an IoT platform and what types are there? Learn what you can do with the IoT platform and what you should choose with caution.
We often hear the name IoT platform, but some of you may still have an ambiguous understanding of what it does and what it has. Let’s take a quick look at the role and capabilities of the IoT platform.
Various things smartened by the Internet of Things (IoT), such as cities, factories, home appliances and automobiles are becoming a reality. In IoT, the amount of information is huge because information is exchanged for all connected devices. Furthermore, the larger the scale, the more data is handled and the more diverse it becomes.
At this time, it is necessary to have a foundation for operating such big data. This underlying application and software is the IoT platform.
The operation of data includes collecting, processing, and utilizing data and providing it as a service. Tools for collecting data sent from equipment and sensors over a network, processing it at the edge or in a data center, and using it according to the purpose. All of this can be called an IoT platform.
From this, it can be seen that IoT platforms have various forms depending on how ioT is used, and their roles are also wide.
IoT Platform Agility
In a word, an IoT platform has a wide variety of features and different things that can be done for each vendor and its systems. Since it is the foundation for operating IoT with a wide range of possibilities, what can be done by the environment will also change greatly.
With this in mind, the capabilities of ioT platforms can be broadly divided into three main parts:
- The path to collect data (data traffic)
- Warehouses that accumulate data (data lakes)
- Factory for operating data (software development environment)
For example, consider data to be a raw material for plastic. Sensors can be likened to factories that make this plastic raw material.
Plastic raw materials are shipped from there and transported by a variety of transportation networks, including ships, freight trains, and trucks. There are suitable ways of carrying depending on the packing form, quantity, and transport distance, and it is necessary to choose at that time. Similarly, the quality of the data is unsuitable for communication systems. This is the role of the path to collecting the first piece of data.
Next, the transported plastic raw materials are stocked in the warehouse until necessary. There are many types of warehouses: large, small, automated, or room-controlled. There are also different types of data lakes for functional stocking. This is the second role of accumulating data.
If necessary, the plastic raw materials from the warehouse are transported to the factory where the plastic products are made. There are different types of plastics, each with a suitable product type. PET turns into a plastic bottle, polystyrene into styrofoam, nylon into fiber, and ABS is a car bumper. All are plastic products, but each has a completely different material, molding method, and usage. In this way, a factory that commercializes a wide variety of raw materials according to the purpose of use can be considered as the role of operating the third data.
Because data is heavily utilized by two-way interactions, it’s a bit unreasonable to like a one-way product, but it’s easier to understand.
Some IoT platforms combine one or all three of these three features.
Species of IoT platforms
In this way, the role of ioT platforms can be considered in three main parts, but its functions are very diverse. Each company offers various types of IoT platforms, and it is said that there are more than 700 companies.
Each has different functions and has different characteristics, but if you divide it from the viewpoint of “where to process the data”, you can divide it into three main parts again.
IoT Cloud Platform
The IoT cloud platform is a method of processing data through cloud computing.
It is suitable for big data handling because it can stock and process data in data lakes that exist in the cloud. In addition, it is an IoT platform adopted by many IoT operators because it can be accessed from anywhere.
It is cost-effective without having to make expensive investments in-house to build and operate servers. In addition, since the server is located in a different location, it is easy to ensure business continuity in the event of a disaster.
IoT Fog Platform
Even though the cloud is excellent in business continuity in the event of a disaster, it will be difficult to continue business activities if the function of the user is stopped even if the server where the data is stocked is safe. In addition, extreme concentration of data traffic can slow down transmission and reception or prevent connections.
Fog computing was born to reduce these risks, and ioT platforms using fog computing are IoT fog platforms.
It also provides storage between the device that sends the data and the cloud, distributing the location where the data is processed beyond the cloud. Distributed data is processed near where the data is generated, ensuring real-time performance. On the other hand, you may need to prepare your own storage, and you may need to build servers to do so.
It is named fog because it means that it is close to the cloud.
IoT Edge Platform
This IoT edge platform is the most noticed advanced IoT platform. Edge computing is applied to IoT edge platforms.
Edge computing is a computing technology that maximizes performance by sending data from sensors and equipment to the cloud or processing it at the forefront of the field, or by allowing users to distribute processing.
This alone doesn’t seem to be different from fog computing, but it’s actually different from where and how you’re processing your data. Fog computing provides a place to store data on the field and processes it by applications in the cloud or on its servers. Edge computing, on the other hand, basically has applications on each device. Each device can process it, so data is sent and received to and from a closer location. This further reduces the time lag.
In this way, edge computing is an even more advanced evolution of fog computing. In operating IoT, it can be said that the IoT edge platform can expect both speed and business continuity.
Three points to consider when choosing an IoT platform
Here are three things to consider based on the role and general types of IoT platforms.
IoT is a premise of connecting to the Internet as included in the word. As long as you have an Internet connection, security safety is paramount.
If ioT platforms are vulnerable and cyberattacked in large business models, information disclosure can occur. Considering this, it can be said that ioT edge platforms that process data on the field side have low security risks.
Connection stability and speeding
As long as a system consisting of sending and receiving data is in operation, the stability of the network connection is important. In addition, in order to improve the accuracy of equipment controlled by the processed data, it is also important to speed up and receive data and reduce time lag. In this regard, ioT edge platforms with edge computing are advantageous.
The other is whether ioT platforms can be scalable accordingly if ioT devices increase due to the expansion of production facilities or operation expansion.
In this regard, an IoT cloud platform that processes data in bulk in the cloud is advantageous. Addressing more than 1,000 device expansions at the edge is costly.
It’s a good idea to choose an IoT platform that can use the cloud and the edge separately even if you scale.
How to use IoT platforms in the manufacturing industry is important
We introduced the role and function of ioT platforms, and the points to choose from when choosing what classifications they are. IoT platforms must be carefully selected for “what to use” and “how to use it”. At that time, consider security, connectivity, and scalability before choosing.