How to buy IoT: Software and beyond

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Once your hardware is chosen, you’ll most likely be working with a solutions provider or systems integrator to complete your project. Whether you’re assembling an IoT device from the group up, running an IoT application on off-the-shelf hardware, or somewhere in between, your IoT system is going to require software running on the devices to capture data, give you the physical control that you need, and critically, encrypt and securely transmit data back and forth from your end application.

This list of IoT vendors can help you implement the firmware that you need. They’ll have one eye on your hardware platform, and another on the larger IoT solution application development.

Where to turn for software

System integrators

A systems integrator would likely take care of providing an off-the-shelf device and integrating it into a wider solution. If your company is planning on designing your own device, most likely you would be handling deployment internally (if you have the capabilities in house), otherwise you would look to get support from a systems integrator. These organizations are also called service providers, you can usually use service provider and systems integrator interchangeably.

Solution providers

In the IoT market, a solution provider generally sells their own device plus any associated software as part of a fully developed, wider solution. They aim to make their devices easy to pick up and deploy, and with the massive range of solutions offered by these businesses, you may find exactly the features and functions you’ve been looking for, without the overhead of developing a bespoke solution.

Solution providers offer a wide variety of tried and tested IoT solutions, from asset tracking devices to smart city infrastructure to predictive maintenance solutions. This might be the simplest option for anyone looking to integrate IoT into their business in an easy and effective way, with modular solutions that can be flexible enough to fit any requirement.

Developing your application

With devices built, connected, and communicating securely over the network, you’ll need an IoT application to translate your new data sources and device controls into actionable, valuable insights and options. It’s at this stage of your IoT solutions development that industry know-how and your key factors for success get integrated into the finished product.

Application provider

For your end users to access your IoT solution, you’ll also need an application based service available for them. The application service provider (ASP) offers design templates, coding, and network access services for your IoT application, either over mobile or computer. By leveraging the expertise of an application provider, you’ll avoid the usual high costs of designing specialized software as well as the typical complexities of distributing software to your end-users. In addition, the ASP also takes responsibility for maintaining up-to-date services as well as 24/7 technical support.

Don’t forget management

With the main system development completed, it’s tempting to tick the job of building your IoT solution as done. Before you close down your efforts, you’ll need to have the services in place that keep your solution or service up and running, so that you have reliable data and can offer a service that your customers can trust. Look for vendors that specialize in providing enterprise grade system admin and management services that will give your operations teams the tools they need to check device and system health, optimize efficiency and cost, and generate alerts if business critical events occur.

Connectivity management

So, your IoT device or solution is ready for use. Instead of shopping around for specific operators or getting locked into one specialized form of IoT connectivity, look for a connectivity provider which can help guide your path depending on your specific needs. Your provider should offer a comprehensive, fully-managed, and end-to-end service incorporating connectivity provisioning, network access, secure data delivery, and compliance – all delivered on a single contract.

Get the full scoop on connectivity management platforms in our “What is…” blog post!

Device management

Many organizations often overlook the potentially huge challenge of managing their custom-made, newly deployed IoT devices. Once deployed in the field, devices must be onboarded seamlessly, activated for the right services, managed with the proper credentials, and updated remotely as needed. Managing all these requirements manually can be a logistical nightmare for many businesses, which is where a device management provider steps in. By using device management software to automate many of these tasks, you’ll save time, money and resources.

Data management

Too often, the flow of data in an IoT system can be likened to the blast of a firehose, with massive amounts of insightful, business-critical information being created, sent and processed 24/7. By turning to a reliable provider for your data management needs, you can be assured that your data will be handled securely, thoroughly analyzed and key insights returned for your consideration and implementation.

Work with Pelion

The most important decision in gearing up for a Proof of Concept isn’t necessarily which hardware to use or which application designer to employ. Your main goal from the start should be to work with experts who know the IoT ecosystem inside and out, who can guide you on your path and ensure you make the right choices at the right time and arrive at the best possible outcome for your business.

Want to know more? Get in touch with us, we’ll help you get started.

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