The idea of connecting the physical world to the Internet has been around since the 90s. But the idea didn‘t accelerate until twenty – or even ten – years ago. It is accelerating now. The phenomenon of an interconnected world is called “Internet of Things” (IoT) and it will dramatically change our lives in the coming years.
The surge in the uptake of IoT in recent years is due to various factors-
- Hardware has become cheaper, smaller and more powerful in recent years.
- Cost of mobile devices, bandwidth and data processing has reduced exponentially.
- Wide spread availability of supporting tools and cloud-based infrastructure.
- Increased awareness about IoT and its innumerable benefits and applications.
Now that we’ve seen WHY IoT is on the rise, let us look at WHAT makes up an IoT system-
- Hardware- such as sensors or devices, to collect data and/or perform actions.
- Connectivity- i.e. a way to transmit and receive data from the cloud such as gateway or routers.
- Software- hosted in the cloud, to analyze the data received and make decisions based on it.
- User Interface- a way for the user to interact with the system e.g. a web app.
One of the most important parts of the IoT System is the “Platform”. This Platform exists in the software and the user interface of the system. IoT platforms are the support software that connects everything in an IoT system.
IoT platforms help:
- Connect hardware, such as sensors and devices.
- Handle different hardware and software communication protocols.
- Provide security and authentication for devices and users.
- Collect, visualize, and analyze data the sensors and devices gather.
- Integrate all of the above with existing business systems and other web services.
Thus an IoT platform facilitates communication, data flow, device management, and the functionality of applications. With all the varying kinds of hardware and the different connectivity options, there needs to be a way of making everything work together and that’s what IoT platforms do.