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Big Consulting Cos and IoT Platforms

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Platforms dominate the conversation when it comes to the IoT.  Consulting companies, who thrive on providing their expertise and analysis on all things technology, have weighed in on the advantages & disadvantages of IoT platforms.

These companies have limited information available publicly. Here is an overview of what the three of the big consulting companies think about them:

Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

In a blog post titled “Who Will Win the IoT Platform Wars?”, BCG outlines key factors in selecting the IoT Platform:

Select a fully capable platform – According to BCG’s definition of an IoT platform, most IoT platforms are not really platforms – they are partial offerings. And hence the need for selecting a platform carefully.

Evaluate your risk appetite – given that majority of the platforms are provided by startups – BCG warns about stability and security of the platform provider.

Match the platform to your developers’ skills – BCG recommends that careful attention should be paid to the programming environment of an IoT platform and how it matches or not the software skills of your own development team.

Consider openness and ease of integration – whether the platforms supports modular and easy to use APIs, and easy-to-integrate framework to fit with existing IT architecture

Select the platform business model that fits your needs – BCG gets into the ability of platforms to provide more than horizontal services and addressing specific vertical use cases.

The blog post (even though it is dated June 2017, months after several important Edge related announcements) has a glaring omission around Edge Processing and Compute or Fog Computing.

McKinsey

McKinsey in a blog post titled “Making sense of Internet of Things platforms” outlines 10 questions to ask before choosing an IoT Platform. 3 of these questions are centered around Applications, 1 of them is on Infrastructure and 2 of them around Edge process/control.

Application environment – stresses on the importance of applications provided with the platform – in some respect this identifies with vertical use-case factor outlined by BCG – because applications are typically use-case specific. This factor includes integration capabilities with the Enterprise IT.

Data ingestion and wrangling – this factor stresses on ensuring that the data management and processing capabilities match the needs of the companies use cases.

Ownership of cloud infrastructure – in summary this factor delves into ensuring that the the company’s cloud strategy is aligned with that of the IoT platform.

Data sovereignty and security – this factor is somewhat related to the cloud infrastructure but is listed separately – this delves into where the IoT data is stored, and how does that relate to the data protection, privacy and security requirements of your company.

Edge processing and control – the importance of distributing the application code and data between the edge (closer to the devices and things) and the cloud.

Accenture

Accenture’s approach is different from McKinsey and BCG – they have built their own IoT platform. “IoT Platforms – The engines for agile innovation at scale” document published by Accenture outlines the following three important factors of an IoT platform:

Component library – a curated library of interoperable components that allows for rapid prototyping

Component capture – a semantics-based method for capturing new components or adapting existing ones so they are interoperable

Component configuration – a mechanism that simplifies the user’s ability to compose, configure and deploy components to create a new application.

Accenture has built several apps that are vertical specific on top of their platform. The PDF gets into how they built these apps on the platform.

Bottomline – each approach has a certain degree of overlap, however it is clear that all three of them have ensured that there strategy and recommendations on IoT platforms are unique & differentiated from other consulting companies.

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