Don't rush your company into an IoT app platform

It's a big decision because it's hard to back out of middleware, analyst says

Enterprises deploying Internet of Things devices and accompanying software don't have to go it alone, but choosing a platform for building your applications is a big decision that's hard to go back on.

IoT analyst Dima Tokar adds that caveat when giving tips on what a company should look for in an AEP (application enablement platform), a set of middleware components that can make IoT rollouts easier. On Monday, the MachNation analyst released a report on the changing AEP landscape.

IoT can involve thousands of sensors and controls in things like engines, factory equipment and medical gear. But where it really gets complex is in connecting those devices to systems that can collect and analyze the incoming data and manage the whole thing. An AEP helps enterprises implement all those functions and write applications that ride on top of them for goals like running a more efficient business.

A lot depends on the choice of an AEP, because it's at the heart of a complex system that may extend across the company and remain in place for years.

"Middleware like an AEP is notoriously difficult to replace once it is in place," Tokar said via e-mail.

Because of that, enterprises should lay out their criteria and thoroughly investigate platforms based on both current and future development needs, he said.

Here are some important criteria:

-- A flexible deployment model that allows for running the software on a shared or private cloud, in your own data center, or in a "fog computing" infrastructure on the edge of the network. A multi-tenant cloud hosted by the vendor is the most important option for most customers, Tokar said.

-- A developer-friendly environment that includes publicly available APIs and a barrier-free way to try out the software before buying.

-- A good network of system integrators and technology partners to turn to for help in implementing IoT. They can bring to bear best practices from earlier deployments, he said.

Tokar also cautioned that an AEP can't guarantee your whole IoT system is secure. The biggest danger is slipshod integration between components from different vendors, which can leave holes in the system that open it up to attack, he said.

Enterprises have a lot of AEP providers to choose from, including both specialist companies like Davra Networks and Cumulocity and some of the biggest companies in IT, such as IBM and General Electric.

As with any new technology, small vendors tend to do faster development and have flatter organizations so they're more approachable. Bigger ones offer more assurance they'll be around a while, Tokar said. "Since an AEP is a a choice of middleware, it's something you want to pick without worrying that you'll have to rip it out in several years."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?