Application Platforms and the Internet of Things

By Greg Gorbach

ARC Report Abstract

Executive Overview
Platforms for applications and the Internet of Things (IoT) are appearing in the solution portfolio of many software and automation suppliers. Each company has its own rationale for offering a platform, but the underlying reason is that these companies need to move to an efficient, modern application development and deployment environment.

There is still quite a bit of confusion in the marketplace about these platforms. Part of the confusion arises because the term, “platform,” is frequently applied to a variety of technologies. Computing infrastructure, operating systems, chipsets, smartphones, and a variety of other platforms are commonly encountered in technical discussions.

Most of the confusion has to do with the simultaneous commercial emergence of both the Industrial IoT and these various platforms. IIoT starts with connected physical things or devices. In many cases, a second, different platform is involved in connecting these “things.” Unfortunately, it’s often difficult to distinguish between IoT device connectivity platforms and cloud application platforms with IoT functionality. This is largely due to the similar-sounding descriptions and attributes often used in marketing materials and on websites. Upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that the former is primarily an edge platform, and the latter primarily a cloud platform. We expect this confusion to continue, because suppliers of both edge and cloud functionality are gradually expanding their capabilities to include both.

This report focuses primarily on the latter; cloud application platforms with IoT functionality. We have identified two main types of these platforms and will examine the strategies behind each. We also examine the relationship of these platforms to edge systems and devices, and to IoT device connectivity platforms.

Among our findings, is the fact that in addition to the move to a modern development and runtime environment, a common driver is the idea that customers will benefit from a broad, interoperable ecosystem of application suppliers and applications. We will consider this as well.

We include continuous process, discrete manufacturing, infrastructure, and smart cities in our discussion.

Table of Contents

  • Executive Overview

  • Cloud Application Platform (PaaS)

  • The Platform and Edge Model

  • Why Ecosystems Matter

  • Strategies for Competing with Application Platforms

  • Other Important Platforms for Digital Transformation

  • Comments and Conclusions


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Keywords: Internet of Things (IoT), IoT Device, Cloud Application, Edge Platform, ARC Advisory Group.




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