5 Things to know before Choosing an IoT Service Provider

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IoT service providers are taking the market by a storm. This naturally calls for being well equipped with knowledge and information that can lead you towards a sensible business decision.

Choosing a cloud platform for internet of things (IoT) implementation is one of the biggest decisions any enterprise may make. With multiple cloud service companies all vouching for their fair share of business offering IoT support functionality, selection of an apt cloud platform requires some due diligence. Here are some things to know that can help you initiate better talks with any proposals received from IoT solutions providers.

1: Data security and recovery plans

A unique identity based authentication method with separate authentication for mobile applications and connected devices can be a very strong line of defense against cyber-attacks.

If there is one aspect that is the talk of the technology world today, it is IoT security and its associated aspects. The recent cyber-attack incidents of WannaCry and Fireball malware have put higher emphasis on data security.

Since IoT solutions involve huge volume of data, any small data breach can lead to massive data leak and security issues. Although the use of standard-based encryption from device to mobile apps is arguably one of the best deterrents of data theft, many services encrypt data only once it gets to their datacenter.

Cloud based IoT solution providers have started to implement enterprise class security offering best practices to thwart any such data breach attempt in the future. The use of end to end encryption and end to end security mechanism are strengthening the security related concerns.

If an IoT service provider offers unique identity-based authentication methods with separate authentication for Mobile apps and connected IoT devices, the security aspects get enhanced substantially. For example, in such a secured scenario for any hacking attempt to take place, the device, the mobile app and the authentication password all should be compromised leading to a three layer security for IoT.

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2: Protocol support on offer

Different types of protocol support give enterprises a great deal of flexibility. It may come at an added expense at the beginning, but in the long run it has higher chances of turning into a profitable decision.

Protocol compatibility is a paramount deciding factor when choosing the right IoT service provider. Checking on the protocol support on offer can help you decide compatibility with your devices.

While majority of IoT platforms are adapting standard Ethernet approach, protocol support remains variable. For example, Microsoft Azure is compatible with HTTPS, MQTT and AMQP protocols while PTC Thing Worx is compatible with more number of protocols inducing the likes of REST, MQTT, JDBC drivers, ADO drivers, XML, JSON file, CSV file etc.

 

The higher number of protocol support offered by IoT service provider may come at an additional cost. Enterprises need to make a call on cost versus performance as many protocols can be value for money investment. For example, if the IoT service provider supports the use of MQ Telemetry Transport (MQTT), which is a messaging protocol for small sensors and mobile devices, it can add a value over multiple smaller handheld device connectivity. Likewise if IoT service provider offers Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) or Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) protocol support, it may lead to better number of device connectivity options for the enterprise.

3: Customization option of dashboard controls

Service providers that offer a customizable dashboard should be preferred considering the personalization that your enterprise can benefit from.

Different IoT service providers offer varied dashboards for various enterprises. While some IoT services offer customizable dashboards, others offer a common dashboard for all its clients. Since each enterprise has its own unique product line and tracking quotients, sometimes having a fully customized dashboard offers more analytical insights for the business.

Having the freedom to design your own dashboard using drag and drop tools and the convenience of exporting dashboard information to be used in various browsers should be an ideal setting. Preference therefore should be given to IoT solutions offering customizable dashboards.

4: Types of data analytics on offer

Robust data analytics as a feature should definitely be part of the IoT suite being considered given the widespread need of trend forecasts coming from big data.

IoT means more connected devices and high data, but checking the types of data analytics on offer should be a yardstick to choose IoT solutions enterprise. IoT with its huge data with multiple connected devices offers a constant challenge to collect and analyze important data trends.

IoT service provider must be able to deliver on IoT analytic abilities. Hence the more complex data analytics on offer by IoT solutions provider, the better it is for the business enterprise.

 

Many businesses often worry on what data analytics to focus on and which ones to avoid. To help business enterprise choose an analytics platform based on artificial intelligence can solve this dilemma. AI based IoT platforms automatically select the best and appropriate data analytics algorithm that can add value to enterprises business goals by offering hidden trends.

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5:  Understanding connected device control

As basic as that may sound, it certainly is as important a parameter as any of the above.

Monitoring and control of all connected devices should be another yardstick to choose your IoT solutions provider. For example, if a device is segmented on a non connected network, it may mean adding another layer of protocols and APIs over the network.

A control over invidious network or devices is based on the rules engine of an IoT platform. For example, Cisco’s Jasper Control Center Rules Engine and Microsoft Azure IoT Hub are commonly known IoT rules engine determining monitoring and control of all connected and non-connected IoT devices.

Conclusion: Choosing an IoT service provider requires checking the service provider on various parameters to pick the most valuable and cost effective solution. 

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