There are now many solutions for players in the industrial sector who would like to digitize their production or activity management processes: among these we find IoT platforms. What are their characteristics ? How to understand their added value? Discover in this article the main information to know about this digital tool.
What is an IoT Platform?
An IoT ( Internet of Things ) platform is defined as a centralized system that controls a fleet of connected objects . It thus becomes a control tower, linking different items together: objects and sensors, networks, data, and software or applications (accessible via APIs, Application Programming Interface ). It also presents a user interface , most often on a web console, but also on a tablet or smartphone. This guarantees the human unlimited access to information, which is a valuable asset for him.
Its first added value lies in the fact that it must allow management on a single interface of the sensors and the connected objects which are disseminated on the workspaces, as well as the data flows . The set of services and tools that an IoT platform deploys therefore offers it the possibility of collecting, processing, storing, analyzing and exploiting all the data generated by connected objects and systems. Finally, it can redirect them to third-party applications if necessary.
Since it must manage a large amount of data from multiple sources, an IoT platform is usually hosted in the cloud.
What are the advantages of its use in the industrial setting?
First, opting for an IoT platform significantly reduces costs, since it already centralizes an entire system management process. Many attractively priced offers now exist in this growing market.
It also makes it possible to optimize processes and flows within industries : it is possible to react more quickly thanks to the information provided in real time. This leads to better visibility of the production chain and its value, and helps to reduce machine problems or anomalies.
The IoT platform also collects the data, before organizing and securing its transmission to the information system . It thus plays a role of interface, but also of protection and maintenance in the face of the sensitivity of connected objects: supervision of the communication status of items and their autonomy, encryption, detection of possible cyberattacks, automatic recording of new equipment… The possibilities it offers are numerous.
Its use therefore takes on its full meaning in an industrial environment, since it proves to be valuable for improving operational performance and improving product quality . The use of the data collected by the IoT platform is very interesting in the context of forecasts, strategies, reflections or decision-making, for example on the exploration of other production scenarios or on the maintenance of equipment.
Criteria for choosing the right IoT platform
It is not always easy to understand which IoT platform will be the most suitable for your situation. You can already base yourself on the maturity of the project, as well as on the different use cases available. It will then be a question of studying the possibilities available to you according to the following three criteria.
The effectiveness of an IoT platform is first measured by its ability to connect and manage a set of heterogeneous devices on a single interface . It must also take into account the growing need to constantly create new interactions between objects, based on the principle of interoperability. Finally, it is important that it can offer and support a wide selection of communication protocols.
Another important point for a good IoT platform is reflected in the quality of its visualization interfaces . Whether it's the finesse of the algorithms allowing in-depth data analysis, or the presence of customizable dashboards, this aspect is fundamental for the user experience. The value of this solution actually lies in its ability to capture raw data, sort it and transcribe it into intelligent information.
Finally, an IoT platform must provide data security and confidentiality guarantees at all stages of the process . Objects and environments, whether physical or virtual, must be protected in order to avoid any risk of hacking and the leakage of potentially sensitive data.
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Finally, we advise you to opt for an IoT platform with a high degree of agility . With technology moving ever faster, it's critical that your solution can scale while maintaining its power and value in use . If you hesitate between several IoT platforms for your company, you can contact our teams who can guide you in your choice.