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How to choose an IoT platform?

IoT technology and IoT platforms are two closely related concepts, which together contribute to the proper functioning of a large number of smart devices.
In order to take full advantage of all the benefits that these technological solutions have to offer, it is necessary to understand which platforms are the most appropriate.
In this article, we will take an in-depth look at the characteristics of IoT platforms, trying to identify the criteria to be taken into consideration in order to make a targeted choice.

Cosa sono le piattaforme IoT e quali sono gli elementi IoT

IoT platforms are complex technological systems made up of sensors, clouds, connectivity solutions and software that have to interact and be connected at all times, and the platform manages these continuous flows of data and information.

An IoT platform, in fact, is responsible for connecting elements that are often very different and offered by different providers. These include:

  • I sensori che si occupano di acquisire dati in una specifica area di operatività
  • I gateway che si occupano di raccogliere i dati da sensori eterogenei e di elaborarli per inviarli in ambiente Cloud
  • The connettività di rete, cablata o wireless, fondamentale affinché possa avvenire la comunicazione dei dispositivi che compongono l’intera piattaforma
  • The software (sempre più spesso in Cloud), che elabora e analizza i dati raccolti, trasformandoli in informazioni disponibili all’utente e facilmente comprensibili. 
  • The interfacce, ossia il front-end di una piattaforma IoT sulla quale è possibile visualizzare effettivamente i dati raccolti. Tale interfaccia è sempre più composta da una Web App responsive, facilmente accessibile da browser e con servizi personalizzati (tra cui gestione dei privilegi utente, gestione della reportistica dei dati, grafici in tempo reale, regole, eventi e notifiche e molto altro).

How to choose an IoT platform

A platform is the fundamental tool for achieving all the benefits of IoT technology. But in order to really enjoy these benefits, it is important to know and consciously choose the most appropriate platform!

In order to understand which IoT platform to choose, it is first necessary to have a clear idea of what goals one intends to achieve, and how this platform could support them.

First of all, it is necessary to examine the usage scenario and the most important functionalities for the future application, and to choose the most appropriate platform accordingly. This is a complex process of analysis, monitoring and control, which must be carefully studied!

A good IoT platform should be simple, clear and offer an interactive and intuitive user experience. These systems generally need to be able to offer statistics, reports, trouble-shooting, predict critical issues in advance, and offer solutions and support for their resolution.

The main selection criteria include:

  • Security: an IoT platform must have an advanced and reliable level of end-to-end cyber security
  • Efficiency: a good IoT platform must consist of a solid Big Data infrastructure, capable of processing and returning information quickly and efficiently.
  • Flexibility and control: the platform must be able to detect and control data in a constant and timely manner, reporting in time any problems or malfunctions.
  • Integration: the platform must be able to adapt and integrate with other systems.

Some market trends

According to the latest data from the Internet of Things Observatory 2021, the national Internet of Things market has shown a slight decline this year (-3%), in line with the general trend in the West.

Compared to the overall trend, services related to smart, connected objects continue to grow steadily, with +4% compared to the previous year. The fastest growing IoT segments are Smart Metering and Smart Asset Management. These data are linked to the large number of electronic gas meters installed in 2020, accounting for more than 50% of total electronic meters. A growth trend is also recorded in the smart car, smart building and home automation sectors, with video surveillance and facility management services at the top.
There is also a positive trend in smart agriculture, where equipment monitoring and control systems are driving the market.

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