Industry knowledge is a key area of expertise that many organizations look for in their IoT platform vendor. The global Ecosystm IoT Study determined the key IoT partner selection criteria for planned deployments of IoT. While technical expertise emerges as the key criterion (and bodes well for horizontal platform vendors), industry expertise comes in at number 3.
Some industries such as the Retail, Distribution & Consumer Packaged Goods, Health & Life Sciences, and Transportation assign a higher significance to industry experience.
Vertical vs. Horizontal IoT Platforms
It is not my intention to write in detail about building a vertical or horizontal IoT platform. Though I promise to address this in a detailed post later. Nevertheless, I give you two very useful links that are relevant even today. They provide different and interesting point of views.
A good example of where a horizontal platform would be beneficial is when an organization wants to leverage the portfolio of a particular vendor – let’s say connectivity to Google Cloud Platform, giving customers the benefits of using BigQuery, Google’s analytical service, using data collected from connected devices. On the other hand, a good example of a vertical platform use would be from Healthcare where the organisation chooses an integrated cloud-based, analytics-driven solution designed to deliver real-time, actionable insights on patient care across the entire patient experience.
There are always some special industry cases, as well, such as the companies that want to participate in the home automation market. In Who Will Build The ‘God Platform’ For The Internet Of Things? the author suggests that these companies will need to create products that work compellingly in isolation and alongside competitors’ products — and somewhere in all of this, the ‘God Platform’ might emerge.
The Singular Case of Smart City Platforms
Smart Cities need Intelligent Platforms to thrive. IoT will be central to this shift from a vertical to horizontal approach, based around a new generation of powerful, unified Smart City Platforms, capable of managing different technologies and devices and supporting a wide range of applications and services. A Smart City Platform is defined as a framework for sensing, communications, integration and intelligent decision-making, delivering the minutest information and services that citizens need.
Some Other Considerations
Platforms Vs. Products
We hear IoT vendors saying that the IoT is at an inflection point. In “The Internet Of Things Race – Platforms Vs. Products”, Adrian Bridgwater raises an interesting discussion. What matters most, the platforms or the products?
“What does matter is the degree to which we recognize just how much the Internet of Things (IoT) platform-level technologies matter. We need analytics tools capable of dealing with large quantities of fast-moving data, we need cloud Platform-as-a-Service functionality that is capable of handling the immense flow of data and provide anytime access for decision and we need security systems capable of helping organizations protect IoT data as rigorously as they do their own confidential financial, IP and strategy information”.
For Adrian, today, it’s the Internet of Things (IoT) but tomorrow it will be the Internet of Analytics-Enabled Secure Automated Wearable Things (IoA-EASWT).
Platforms Vs. Frameworks
Lots of IoT frameworks and/or platforms with different enterprise offerings and alliances have come up recently to increase the connectivity of devices into private and/or public networks/cloud. Key to a successful IoT implementation is the interoperability among various devices, robust IoT frameworks and platforms that enable the same with powerful analytics that enable applications to be built on top of it.