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Posts Tagged ‘Edge Processing

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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12 Thoughts on the Eclipse IoT Developer Survey

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The Eclipse IoT foundation published results of IoT developer survey – this is the third annual installment. Eclipse IoT, under its umbrella, has several significant open-source IoT projects. And if you have not looked at it – it is definitely worth checking out and to be considered for your IoT development strategy.

I would strongly recommending reviewing the survey and also signing up for a virtual meetup that they are hosting to discuss these results. It has very good insights into the state of IoT from a developer perspective. I must admit that I kept intending to fill in the survey myself but despite several reminders ultimately never filled it!.

I would certainly be leveraging the trends in this survey in formulating my strategy with the following thoughts/observations:

  1. Distributed Software: IoT applications are distributed across Sensor (Device / Thing etc.), Gateway (Edge/Fog/Hub) and Cloud. This year’s survey has the feedback split across the above three. And that’s the right way to look at it because each aspect requires different approach, perspective and strategy.
  2. Stats 101: Note that the percentages do NOT add up to 100, keep that in mind as you look at the look at them. This is, probably, because it reflects reality – there is no single correct answer. This also, probably, points to a trend that there are multiple projects going on or multiple products being worked on by the same set of developers.
  3. Javascript is #1 in Cloud: I came to a different conclusion than the survey. Javascript, NOT Java is the #1 language used for IoT for the Cloud. I expect that trend only to accelerate. The reason I claim that is that the survey results are split in Javascript AND Node.js. Node.js is a framework (for a lack of better word in the context of this article) – Javascript is the language. The only discrepancy I can think of is that Javascript may refer to pure User Interface or Web Interface development?  The numbers on Gateway are also split into JS and Node.js – and when you put them together – it is higher than C/Python/C++.  And by that token – Javascript is #2 as a choice of programming language on IoT Gateways.
  4. Linux dominates: Raspbian and Ubuntu are winners. Canonical would be very happy or probably already knows this since they are ditching the smartphone/tablet focus and switching over to IoT. I am pleasantly surprised that it dominates constrained devices as well. Reading between the lines – the popularity of Raspberry Pi as a prototyping devices drives Raspbian?
  5. IoT HW Architecture: The percentages do not represent device or gateway volumes. This is important to bear in mind especially when you look at the results for IoT Hardware architectures. For example 32.9% of developers use Intel x86_64 for Gateways – to state the obvious – these are not 32.9% of gateways but the number of developers.
  6. Cloud Programming: Ruby On Rails is missing? No mention of RoR in the IoT Cloud. (May be the option did not exist in the survey).
  7. Machine Learning (Slide #32): Interesting to note that 29.5% of developers claim that they are building machine learning.
  8. Cloud Services for IoT: No IoT platform other than GE Predix made this – e.g. no PTC. (this is a blog post in itself given the huge number of IoT platforms out there).
  9. Connectivity Protocols: This actually mixes both – transport or medium of connectivity and also the ‘data’ protocol. To give an example – Cellular, from a developer perspective, is IP (Internet Protocol). Same with Wifi & Ethernet yet TCP/IP is broken out separately. Zigbee & Thread are mapped to IEEE 802.15.4. This is important to keep in mind because you can’t easily split IoT into black and white categories. There is shades of grey all around.
  10. Messaging Protocols – yet another sign – there is absolutely no point in trying to get to one standard – the use case should drive if you want to use HTTP, MQTT, XMPP, CoAP etc.
  11. Industrial Protocols – this is a great slide. It would be interesting to dig into what “None” really implies – does it imply that it is proprietary?
  12. Leading Indicators – these results are leading indicators – of things that are to come. The survey is what the developers are working on (presently or in recent past). And that makes them more interesting because they are indicators of where IoT is heading.

 

 

Written by Ashu Joshi

April 21, 2017 at 3:46 pm