The Internet of Things is one of the biggest shifts in the technological landscape. The latest IoT platforms enable a world of intelligent and connected devices that businesses, people, schools, cities, hospitals, and other institutions can leverage to increase efficiency and ease operations.
The Internet of Things is an interconnected web of devices that can communicate with one another over a wireless network without human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. This machine-to-machine communication has been used to connect people to information, track items and to manage a large amount of dynamic data in real-time.
There are many software systems and platforms on the market to manage IoT data. Some come from large tech giants and others are more specialized, niche companies looking to target customers in specific industries or fields. Google, Amazon, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce are all established, technology companies with highly connected and flexible IoT platforms. Their platforms all help connect the company to their customers and better predict opportunities for sales, repairs, and communication.
Amazon is currently utilizing its powerful Amazon Web Services (AWS) technologies to provide a host of powerful capabilities across several proprietary IoT platforms, including: Amazon FreeRTOS, AWS Greengrass, AWS IoT Core, AWS IoT Device Management, AWS IoT Device Defender, AWS IoT Analytics, AWS IoT 1-Click, and AWS IoT Button. With a diverse array of IoT-based technologies, Amazon is seeking to provide capabilities to a broad spectrum of organizations with varying levels of IoT sophistication. At the center, AWS IoT Core serves as a hub for Amazon’s IoT technologies and data, able to manage communications, security, data, and devices with an edge- or cloud-based services. With an immense footprint in both B2B and B2C products and services, Amazon is poised for massive growth in IoT.
Google’s IoT platform service is called Cloud IoT and allows clients to connect their devices through the popular and user-friendly Google interface. The company’s platform is most popular with cloud-native companies as Google’s IoT infrastructure is also cloud-based and does not require any hardware. The company’s strategy for IoT business is to target smaller side projects at larger organizations, rather than becoming a strategic cloud partner. Google offers one of the largest partner ecosystems, a private fiber network, and excellent cybersecurity, which sets them apart from other competitors. In the coming years, the company will focus on machine learning and AI. In May of 2018, Google announced their new system, Android Things, was out of beta. This device lets you build smart, connected devices by giving developers the necessary SDKs (software development kits). Google says there were over 100,000 downloads during the preview.
SAP Leonardo’s IoT portfolio focuses on helping clients find a new way to visualize and use the data that they are collecting and work with them to find new data opportunities to further business ventures. SAP offers three products in their portfolio, the SAP Leonardo IoT Bridge, Foundation, and Edge. The Bridge is the main cloud solution that connects clients to products, assets, fleets, infrastructures, markets, and people. The Foundation holds business services that enable developers to rapidly build applications and technical services to process mass amounts of data. The Edge provides the data conversion for the client’s easily understood analytics. This IoT portfolio is great for companies and organizations that already have a sizable SAP-technology base because the Bridge, Foundation, and Edge work better in conjunction with other SAP middleware and apps. SAP is devoting $2.3 billion to IoT development over the next five years and has been acquiring small tech companies to help expand their IoT abilities and markets.
Microsoft has created a suite of tools, Azure IoT Suite, which includes many different services like remote machine monitoring, downtown predication, integration with existing systems, enhanced IoT security and business intelligence. Under the leadership of “cloud-first” CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has grown their cloud network tremendously. A unique feature that Microsoft offers is in Azure’s Machines Learning Studio, which allows developers to write, test and deploy algorithms and can be a marketplace for off-the-shelf APIs (application programming interfaces). Azure also has some of the lowest pricing options among IoT leaders with no upfront costs and pay for what you use model.
Salesforce is a leader in CRM software and has recently been trying to break into the industry of IoT platforms. The company’s IoT venture pairs easily with other Salesforce software and is powered by Thunder, an open source technology, and is focused on customer engagement and experience compared to other large platforms. The all-compassing software helps sales by creating orders and finding potential opportunities, services through automated service requests and notifications, atomically inspecting and inventory and marketing by directly contacting the consumer via the software. Salesforce is great for smaller organizations that have budget constraints, the urgency of need, and the issue of scalability. Salesforce also wants to focus less on getting devices to communicate with each other, but more focused on business applications, which is the backbone of IoT. Like SAP, this platform works best with customers that already have established software with Salesforce.
Co-author and contributions by Emily Brice.