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What is an IoT platform?

The purpose of any IoT device is to connect with other IoT devices and applications to relay information using internet transfer protocols. The gap between the device sensors and data networks is filled by an IoT Platform. IoT platforms are sometimes called “middleware” because they handle everything in-between an end device and the application that’s built on top of it.

IoT platforms are emerging as the central backbone of the IoT deployments. By 2019, the IoT Platform market will reach $1 billion.

A modern IoT Platform architecture

An IoT platform is just about enabling connectivity between “things” or devices. A true end-to-end IoT platform consists of 8 important architectural building blocks:


1.Connectivity & normalization: brings different protocols and different data formats into one “software” interface ensuring accurate data streaming and interaction with all devices.
2.Device management: ensures the connected “things” are working properly, seamlessly running patches and updates for software and applications running on the device or edge gateways.
3.Database: scalable storage of device data brings the requirements for hybrid cloud-based databases to a new level in terms of data volume, variety, velocity and veracity.
4.Processing & action management: brings data to life with rule-based event-action-triggers enabling execution of “smart” actions based on specific sensor data.
5.Analytics: performs a range of complex analysis from basic data clustering and deep machine learning to predictive analytics extracting the most value out of the IoT data-stream.
6.Visualization: enables humans to see patterns and observe trends from visualization dashboards where data is vividly portrayed through line-, stacked-, or pie charts, 2D- or even 3D-models.
7.Additional tools: allow IoT developers prototype, test and market the IoT use case creating platform ecosystem apps for visualizing, managing and controlling connected devices.
8.External interfaces: integrate with 3rd-party systems and the rest of the wider IT-ecosystem via built-in application programming interfaces (API), software development kits (SDK), and gateways.

Platforms are helpful because they abstract a lot of common functions away from the specific application logic. A good platform dramatically reduces the cost of developing and maintaining applications. IoT platforms are all of those things because different platforms on the market solve different needs. For example, some:
  • Automate the management of connectivity.
  • Enable the rapid development of software applications. 
  • Collect, integrate and report on device data in real-time.
  • Enable direct device management into your backend IT systems
There are more than 200 IoT platforms on the market today and because of the market potential, that number will continue to grow. Some of the top IoT Platforms are listed below:

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