When it comes to the Internet of Things, users want it all: A platform that can support every step of their IoT development lifecycle.
And, it seems a platform like that offers the biggest benefits. According to a commissioned Forrester Consulting study on the Total Economic Impact of Software AG’s Cumulocity IoT platform, buyers seeking an IoT platform had very specific requirements in mind – seven of them to be exact.
The report, based on customer interviews, revealed that there are seven things IoT users want from their platforms. Below is a summary.
#1 Low technical barriers to entry
Interviewees said their organisations want a platform that is technically sophisticated yet easy to deploy, with the ability to test new ideas and stand-up proofs of concept. For smart equipment, the ability to offer lightweight service offerings for customers – without a dedicated software engineering practice – was an essential requirement.
Companies want an IoT platform partner that can grow alongside them.
#2 Ability to rebrand
Service providers and smart equipment manufacturers in particular use IoT platforms to deliver a variety of services to their customers. The ability to sell them under their own brand name was key to making the most of their existing brand equity.
#3 Costs that scale with usage
Companies want an IoT platform partner that can grow alongside them, one that lets them expand their offerings over time to better serve their customers. Since customer adoption of these services and products occur over time, it was important that costs scale with increased usage.
#4 Ease of adding new devices and protocols
Interviewees want a platform that makes it easy to add new types of hardware without a lot of effort. This was particularly important to companies that frequently integrate new devices as part of professional services engagements with their customers.
Since customer adoption occurs over time, it was important costs scale with increased usage
We are experiencing a lot of pull through hardware revenue because we are able to have conversations with our customers about digital capabilities, said the CEO of an industrial automation manufacturer when interviewed.
Users want a platform that makes it easy to add new types of hardware without a lot of effort
#5 Scalability and multitenancy
Respondents want a platform that can support multiple projects and programs. For IoT service providers the ability to support hundreds or thousands of individual customers, multitenancy was an especially important requirement. In a smart city project, for example, a multitenant architecture was necessary since each agency was working to develop focused solutions, all under a parent tenant.
#6 Portability and flexibility
Interviewees said they want a platform that can support a range of devices in distributed environments. Users want a range of options for deployment including a container-based architecture, across cloud environments, in customer data centers, and a range of edge hardware devices.
#7 Analytics and dashboards
Some companies want a platform with sophisticated, out-of-the-box dashboards for equipment monitoring. Others said it was important that dashboards be highly configurable since they often build custom views for their customers.
Vendors are under pressure to build digital platforms that can meet a wide range of OEM and partner expectations around the Internet of Things.