In this ESG Video Blog, ESG's Eugene Signorini discusses the characteristics- and examples - of IoT platforms.
Hi. I'm Gene Signorini, Senior Analyst at ESG. Today I'd like to talk a little bit about IoT platforms.
Now, you might ask, well, what is an IoT platform? And that would be a very good question because there really isn't a good definition. It seems that everyone and their brother has announced some sort of IoT platform recently, and as a result, the ecosystem is in danger of confusing the heck out of everyone. In fact, you could argue that the term "IoT platform" has become so broad and affected by marketing whitewashing that it's been rendered virtually meaningless.
However, the concept of an IoT platform is essentially that there are fundamental elements of an IoT architecture that can be delivered in a platform as a service model. So it really comes down to understanding what those fundamental IoT elements are and also which elements are addressed by the wide array of vendors in the market? In my experience from speaking to a number of different ecosystem players, IoT platforms can contain some or all of the following components. Network connectivity and management, data acquisition and processing, device and sensor management, security, including authentication, identity management and data encryption, analytics, both at the edge and in the cloud, data storage and management and app enablement, including app integration and API management.
The complicating thing is that there are a number of different types of vendors that claim to have platforms addressing a variety of these elements including cloud providers such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google. Industrial technology companies such as GE, Bosch, Hitachi and PTC. IoT-specific vendors, both what I would call legacy, who have existed under the radar for years and startups alike. And these would include companies such as KORE, Aeris, Xively, Electric Imp, Ayla Networks, Bug Labs and many others. And finally, traditional IT giants such as IBM, Cisco, which recently acquired an IoT platform company named Jasper, Salesforce, Oracle and others. Ultimately, what is needed here is much greater clarity in the market. There is value in providing core IoT functionality in a platform as a service model. It can ultimately help enterprises and connected product makers with scale, cost, security and management of IoT deployments.
Over the next coming weeks, ESG will be diving deeper into the IoT platform space with research aimed at creating an IoT platform taxonomy to help segment the market landscape.