Are you looking to gain a competitive advantage by leveraging the best Internet of Things (IoT) platforms for your business?
The Internet of Things is still a fairly new technology but is ripe for those who know how to leverage its power.
In this article, we’ll break down some of the best IoT platforms you can start using in your business today.
Here’s our list of the best IoT platforms for business:
- WebNMS Allows companies to quickly implement IoT in their business and make data-driven decisions through out-of-the-box insights and reports.
- ThingSpace Utilizes the Verizon network for broad global coverage.
- ThingWorx Encompasses a large community and many other technology solutions through its parent company.
- AWS IoT Provides custom solutions like Greengrass to allow for offline IoT coverage.
- Google Cloud IoT Puts one of the world’s largest cloud networks to work for global IoT coverage.
- IBM Watson IoT Excels in machine learning with the Watson AI platform.
- Particle A smaller company with a generous offering for non-profits.
- ADAMOS Ideal for factories and engineering plants who are looking to start using IoT.
The best IoT platforms for business
At the top of our list we have WebNMS, a tool that strives to bring simplicity to the IoT platform through easy integrations, smooth onboardings, and a dedicated team of professionals. Whether you’re in the healthcare, manufacturing, or agriculture space WebNMS can help deploy IoT solutions throughout your business.
WebNMS utilizes three initial steps to begin gathering data to fill your customized IoT platform. After planning on the resources you wish to track, WebNMS implements the data collection process to start tracking and monitoring your physical assets in the digital space. Data collection of all stats with a centralized server that can be installed on either Windows or Linux. You can deploy the WebNMS IoT server through either a GUI, command-line or silent mode for units already in a production environment.
As the sensors begin to check in with the server, data is continuously collected in real-time to be aggregated and sorted through the central IoT server platform. The centralized server is responsible for collecting all of this data and analyzing to provide both insights and automated remediation.
For instance, if an IoT enabled machine is low on oil it can automatically log a ticket with your maintenance department for service. This is called predictive maintenance and is just one of the many different types of ways businesses can utilize a powerful IoT platform.
Lastly, the data you collect will need to be interpreted and turned into actionable insights. As information fills your dashboard WebNMS provides asset tracking and insights so you can make better strategic decisions, and see patterns in live data to quickly react or pivot to challenges.
Features such as anomaly detection, root causes analysis, and process control automatically sort data into actionable information. Color-coded condition monitors set levels of severity based on how critical the asset is to the environment. This level of alerting looks at not just the single asset, but the entire system as a whole, accounting for metrics like fail-safes, downtime, and logistical dependencies.
This proactive approach with a simple onboarding process is what helps set WebNMS apart from other IoT platforms. You can explore using IoT in your business with WebNMS through a free trial.
Another leading IoT platform for businesses is ThingSpace, which utilizes the Verizon network to connect nodes and sensors across the world. ThingSpace offers solutions ranging from simple sensor integration all the way up to asset management and intelligent energy monitoring.
The sensor, referred to as the Critical Asset Tracker connects directly into the Verizon network through a low energy LTE M1 connection to measure and monitor your physical infrastructure. This device can measure tilt, pressure, temperature, location, voltage, acceleration, humidity, and even light through a small sleek box.
That single sensor can be used to extract multiple key insights like fleet management, usage analysis, or remote monitoring. ThingSpace has some key strategic partnerships with companies Amazon, Bittium, and NXP which significantly increase its offerings both in business and in accessibility. These partnerships help build value in everything from smart home projects, to business cloud server services.
From a security standpoint, ThingSpace says it uses Enterprise Mobility Management and a system called Things Security Credentialing to help keep your IoT platform safe. This encompasses strategies such as data encryption, and trusted user device authentication.
Even with this security in place, you still have to be aware of all of your third-party vendors and integrations. Not too long ago Verizon suffered a data breach after a contractor failed to secure an Amazon S3 bucket filled with customer information.
ThingWorx is an IoT platform owned by PTC, a leader in industrial business solutions. ThingWorx leverages this industry expertise with IoT technology to create solutions that are tailored to industrial and energy solutions.
IoT enabled devices can help improve quality on the factory floor by making products and service operations more secure and scalable. With ThingWorx you can use IoT sensors to monitor equipment in the supply chain, and ultimately reduce costs and predict maintenance requests based on sensor information.
When it comes to aggregating and understanding your data, ThingWorx does a good job at making this data accessible and actionable, without the need for additional staff or help from data scientists. Metrics like optimization reports and downtime prevention can be created right from the IoT platform. This significantly lowers the barrier to entry and helps smaller enterprises harness the power of big data.
Much of the heavy lifting on the data end is done with AI through the analytics server. This is where sophisticated artificial intelligence programs create predictive models based on your real-time data, acting as a ‘magic eight ball’ into the nuance of your business. While not all IoT platforms provide their insights through an easy to use interface, ThingWorx includes this as a core part of its IoT platform offering.
Lastly, ThingWorx has a respectably sized community and resource database that allows continuous education and support, across the entire PTC technology platform. ThingWorx is definitely a company to watch in the IoT space, especially in the industrial and energy sectors.
4. AWS IoT
AWS IoT is an Amazon IoT platform that puts it’s existing network of cloud servers to use to help move data from physical sensors to servers across the world. With Amazon being such a large company, they have a massive advantage over other businesses when it comes to implementing a global IoT platform.
Artificial intelligence has been leveraged at Amazon for years, and that experience shines through to its IoT offerings. While some of the most time-intensive projects with IoT revolve around creating data models, AWS IoT does this notably faster when compared to other vendors. This speed is achieved by using its existing processing capabilities combined with its advancement in machine learning.
IoT device software such as FreeRTOS gives you or your developer freedom to experiment and innovate with IoT enabled microcontrollers. AWS IoT utilizes this software to program smaller complex devices while still maintaining low energy and data consumption.
IoT Platforms such as AWS IoT Greengrass help keep devices configured and communicating, even when direct access from the sensor to the cloud is not available. Greengrass is truly innovative when it comes to how you can control and manage multiple devices.
From a Greengrass core server you can push out updates, commands, or queries to a multitude of IoT enabled devices. This platform also allows you to simulate any configuration changes you might be planning before you deploy them in the real world.
From a security standpoint, AWS IoT uses a zero-trust model, which requires a proven identity before communication can begin. After authentication, all data is encrypted for both cloud and local transmission. Security can be taken a step further with the configuration of end to end encryption for messages sent between AWS IoT platforms.
When it comes to versatility, and large scale global IoT solutions, AWS IoT is definitely one of the best IoT platforms for business.
5. Google Cloud IoT
Another titan in the IoT business platform space is Google Cloud IoT. Much like Amazon, Google Cloud IoT leverages its vast network of distributed servers to provide its customers with a global reach.
Google Cloud IoT is a complete set of tools that are designed to give you a holistic view of your data and convert the raw information into plans of action to help you innovate and improve. This suite of tools includes sensor technology, fully managed cloud services, machine learning, and a full software stack for both cloud and on-premises devices.
At the center of all this data is Google’s Cloud IoT Core, which serves as a managed service to securely connect, monitor, and manage your IoT platform. Cloud IoT utilizes standard MQTT and HTTP protocols which makes IoT integrations and vertical scaling a smooth process, without the need for firmware updates or physical upgrades.
Where Google really shines is its ability to provide out-of-box insights without additional data processing or add on features. Data can be integrated directly into Cloud Dataflow, BigQuery, or a number of other popular business intelligence tools.
While sensors on the ground are collecting and sending data, Google Cloud IoT is constantly feeding that information into its machine learning platform. This feedback loop creates a pattern of continuous improvement and increased accuracy among predictive forecasting services.
Another major benefit Google has is its Google Maps integration. If your business heavily relies on fleet tracking or map data, integration with Google Cloud IoT might be worth looking into.
6. IBM Watson IoT
Our list couldn’t be complete without mentioning IBM Watson IoT. You may know the Watson system from stories about how it defeated two self-proclaimed experts in a game of Jeopardy in front of millions of television viewers. Watson IoT brings this same competitive nature to the IoT landscape by leveraging IBMs machine learning capabilities against its competitors. It’s this same machine learning technology that allows businesses to quickly transform data into strategy.
IBM specializes in providing Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and has just recently released Maximo Asset Manager. Maximo is a big part of Watson IoT as it acts as an entire application suite to help unify your IoT platform as well as streamline team collaboration and integrations.
IBM’s size and AI-enabled EAM system enhance business IoT systems and positions them to grow while maintaining continuity.
Similar to Google, Watson IoT uses lightweight MQTT and HTTP protocols to send data as efficiently as possible. Watson IoT also supports extensive integration with IBMs REST and real-time APIs to connect applications with data from other devices.
While most IoT platform providers have complicated pricing structures, Watson IoT has tried to simplify that by offering three tiers of pricing based on your goals and size.
In general, you’re charged a fee when data is exchanged, as well as when it’s analyzed. The three standard pricing models help businesses put themselves in a predictable pricing model while still having the freedom to scale down the road.
7. Particle IoT
While Particle isn’t as large as some of our choices on this list, it’s still a considerable contender for business IoT platforms. Particle IoT focuses on bringing simplicity to the IoT landscape by providing clean interfaces to decision-makers and offering an all-in-one solution for businesses. This includes providing IoT hardware, connectivity, device cloud support, and IoT app integration.
Particle takes advantage of webhooks and REST API integrations to tap into larger providers such as Azure, Google Cloud, and Microsoft. This strategy helps its customers use third-party integrations with larger platforms that they are likely already using.
More notably, Particle has a program called Particle For Good, which promotes non-profits and other companies that are striving to make a positive environmental or social impact in the world through their IoT platform. The benefits of being part of Particle For Good include 20% off IoT hardware, priority support, private community access, and collaboration opportunities.
Particle boasts an extensive amount of free and open documentation and tutorials for both professional developers and small businesses who are just looking to experiment with IoT for the first time. An open community forum allows users to exchange ideas, share open-source code, and answer questions regarding IoT issues.
Pricing for Particle IoT is simple and easy to understand. The starter tier allows for up to 100 Wi-Fi devices with free cloud service and then $1.29 (£0.99) per device after that. If you’re a non-profit or smaller organization focused on leveraging IoT for making a difference, Particle might be a good IoT platform to check out.
Focusing on the mechanical and plant engineering space, ADAMOS offers an IoT platform for industries that are looking to digitize their factories and warehouses. In conjunction with IoT, ADAMOS also offers planning and development of other digital applications and cloud solutions for industrial settings. It helps modernize old factories with technology or upgrade existing infrastructure.
The ADAMOS IoT platform is designed to work fast. After the installation of your sensors and edge devices, ADAMOS is ready to start providing actionable data within minutes. Prebuilt dashboards allow for quick data interpretation and rule-based policies let you specify conditions or thresholds that trigger certain automation.
At its core offering, ADAMOS provides flexible and quick integrations through the cloud, edge device, or on-premises. New features can quickly be deployed from a customizable microservice architecture, which makes expanding your IoT capabilities a lot simpler and cost-effective. Data visualizations, control platform administrator and real-time analytics all come standard.
ADMOS comes with a number of optional features including machine learning and API management. Features such as microservice hosting are completely optional and utilize Kubernetes and Docker to extend the lifecycle and functionality of your IoT sensors. DATAHUB is ADAMOS’s long term storage solution that is also available as an add on. This gives businesses the ability to store large amounts of data to analyze over a longer period of time.
Having an IoT platform that has options for compartmentalized services helps you choose exactly what you need, and ensures you’re not paying for technology you’re not directly benefiting from. This model also allows ADAMOS to serve small markets and industries while still maintaining the same level of quality. It’s clear that ADAMOS is working to become a leader in scalable industrial IoT solutions.
When you’re looking for IoT platforms for business, you’re going to want to look not just at the technology, but what experience that provider has in your market. While it’s easy to get lost in the small features and tech details companies will talk about, IoT is ultimately all about turning data into benefits for your business.
Our top pick for the best IoT platform is WebNMS. The WebNMS platform provides the right balance of features combined with a flexible plan that gives your business room to grow. While other providers may require you to hire an expert to ‘connect the dots’, WebNMS provides out of the box insights and solutions that will give you the power to make data-driven decisions right away. It’s this level of speed and ease of use that makes WebNMS our top pick.
Does your business use IoT technology? If so, what does it track? Let us know in the comments down below.