Cloud has played a key role in IoT adoption

Saurabh Sharma/Ovum
14 Nov 2014

The emergence of cloud-based Internet of Things (IoT) platforms is an interesting trend that is fueling enterprise adoption. These platforms provide a range of capabilities, such as device and machine connectivity using different protocols, data and message processing, device management, system and performance monitoring tools, and APIs for application development and machine data integration. Cumulocity, Eurotech, PTC, Sierra Wireless, and Xively are the key vendors in this space.

Cloud-based IoT platforms have played a key role in the first wave of IoT adoption by enterprises. Some of these platforms can be classified as “cloud-based M2M integration platforms” that provide a middleware layer for communications between smart devices and enterprise applications and systems, which use data aggregated from smart devices. A key function of this middleware layer is to allow downstream applications to control and manage smart devices, enabling bi-directional communications.

Device and protocol-specific adapters are a key architectural component of cloud-based M2M integration platforms. These adapters enable the development of integration flows connecting downstream applications with distributed devices. The underlying middleware layer provides message/protocol transformation, routing, service virtualization, and orchestration capabilities, as well as enabling usage monitoring and management.

To reduce the complexity of integration and support scalability, cloud-based M2M integration platforms usually offer a M2M service gateway (or other suitable means) that consolidates data streams and subsequently delivers this data to the core middleware layer using a single communication standard. Key use cases of cloud-based M2M integration platforms include:

  • Smart cities: smart parking, smart street lighting, and smart traffic management
  • Logistics: supply chain management
  • Retail: shopping analytics, smart vending machines, digital signage, and fraud detection
  • Energy and utilities: smart metering and remote monitoring of grid elements
  • Banking, financial services, and insurance: integration between vending machines and mobile payment solutions, usage-based insurance, and fraud detection and asset recovery
  • Healthcare: remote patient monitoring.

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