The Case for IoT Service Enrichment Platforms

 In Accelerite Blog

The bright promise of the IoT world — where everything’s connected, all the time — is getting closer.

Broad adoption of IoT protocols and the availability of IoT Platform as a Service (PaaS) clouds have certainly reduced the amount of time it takes to introduce shiny new IoT applications. Today, numerous service creation platforms offer either generalized IoT service enablement infrastructure or platforms that are specialized by vertical markets, such as energy, transportation, telehealth and others. Vertically-oriented platforms typically offer enriched APIs that provide access to useful business logic designed to further accelerate the development of applications for a particular vertical, beyond what would be possible using the more generalized IoT platforms, allowing developers to focus on differentiating aspects of their applications.

The enrichment of generalized IoT platforms’ APIs to create specialized IoT platforms is not just highly desired by developers. IoT component vendors, device/systems manufacturers and service providers would love to have their own platforms, tuned to enabling rapid creation of innovative new IoT apps for their market.  But, unfortunately, developing IoT platforms is still very hard work.

Some IoT PaaS vendors develop their own vertically-focused services (consumable business logic) and make those available to developers. Alternatively, some choose to partner with providers of best-of-breed services to add value for developers in a particular vertical. In the latter case, the platform vendors may seamlessly integrate access to an ecosystem of third-party services and establish mechanisms for compensating each party for the use of their service. Either way, even if you already have built a generalized IoT PaaS, it takes a lot of time and effort to create an enriched IoT service creation platform; far more time and effort than it takes to create an IoT application.

But, what if building a new, enriched-services IoT PaaS was as simple as building a new IoT application?

Consider an example. What if a vendor of OEM control boards and sensors for heavy industrial machinery could offer an IoT vehicle telematics platform, allowing equipment manufacturers who integrate those devices into their machinery to have simplified, programatic access to critical vehicle data? Those equipment manufacturers could then partner with a predictive maintenance analytics service and, using a mashup of APIs, build an end-user maintenance and monitoring application uniquely designed for their machinery.

Let’s take it one step further. Heavy machinery is often sold through a dealer or reseller who provides maintenance and support services. What if, instead of merely building an application, the equipment manufacturer also offered a platform, exposing the monitoring and maintenance functionality of their application via APIs? A dealer could use those APIs to build their own dealer-branded application, which could then tie into the dealer’s maintenance and support portal for scheduling of service. At each level, the underlying platform’s services are being enriched.

What if new ecosystem partners can be easily added into the mix, without significant development effort? What if the enhanced value created by those new partners can easily be monetized and shared among the partners, both horizontally and vertically? The possibilities are endless!

Ecosystem-building capability, as described in the example above, is the unique advantage of an IoT service enrichment platform, such as Accelerite’s Concert IoT platform, allowing brand new platforms to be stood up very quickly and rapidly extended.

In the above example, the industrial manufacturer offering IoT telematics services, manufacturers, machinery vendors, machinery owners, dealers and support services – essentially the whole supply chain — is enriched by bringing in more partners. Imagine how such a platform might be used to empower a telehealth vendor, a transportation logistics company, or even a smart city.

What do you think about the concept of building an IoT ecosystem using an IoT service enrichment platform? How will these new platforms transform the IoT landscape? I’m interested in your thoughts and what you view as the important features, so do share them using comments section below, thank you!

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