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In-Depth Analysis: Application Enablement Platforms vs. Traditional IoT Platforms

By October 16, 2023February 28th, 2024No Comments10 min read

Are you trying to navigate through the complex world of IoT platforms? Understanding the differences between application enablement and traditional IoT platforms can help you make the right choice for your business.     

This article will provide a breakdown of these two platform types and insights into their unique features and benefits. Whether you are a pioneered product or engineering professional in the OEM industry or a business leader looking to leverage the power of IoT, this in-depth analysis will help you make a data-backed decision.  

Application Enablement vs Traditional IoT Platforms  

An application enablement platform (AEP) empowers businesses to build and deploy IoT applications quickly and efficiently, reducing CapEx and Time-to-Market by many folds. It provides a comprehensive pre-built application architecture to mount the customized business logic via pro-code deployment and other resources to streamline the development cycle. On the other hand, traditional IoT platforms focus on connectivity and data management, offering limited capabilities for application development, MVP Scaling, and performance enhancements.    

By knowing the differences between these platforms, you can determine which aligns better with your business goals and requirements. So, let’s dive in and uncover the critical distinctions between application enablement platforms and traditional IoT platforms.  

Traditional IoT Platforms: Features and Capabilities  

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of hardware, vehicles, home appliances, and other objects embedded with electronics, sensors, applications, and network connectivity, enabling them (things) to connect and exchange data. The potential for IoT is enormous, with applications in healthcare, transportation, and manufacturing. However, managing IoT devices and data can be challenging, which is where IoT platforms come in.    

IoT platforms are software solutions that enable businesses to manage IoT devices, data, and applications. They provide tools and services that simplify IoT solutions’ development, deployment, and management. IoT platforms typically have three layers: device management, connectivity management, and application enablement.  

Application Enablement Platforms (AEPs): Features and Capabilities  

Traditional IoT platforms focus on device management and connectivity management. They provide tools and services to help businesses connect and manage their IoT devices, monitor device status, and collect and store device data. Traditional IoT platforms typically offer limited capabilities when it comes to application development.  

Device management features include device registration, onboarding, and software updates. Connectivity management features include protocols for device communication, such as MQTT and HTTP, and cloud-to-device messaging.  

Traditional IoT platforms are best suited for use cases where device connectivity and data management are the primary requirements. For example, a smart home automation system that controls lights, thermostats, and security cameras would be a good fit for a traditional IoT platform.  

Why Traditional IoT Landscape Fail to Meet the Expectations?  

Before we delve into the innovative domain of AEP Flex83, let’s first understand the conventional landscape of what IoT platforms lack in offerings. Traditional IoT platforms have certain inherent limitations that have spurred the need for a paradigm shift. These limitations can be classified as below:     

Limitations of Traditional IoT Platforms   

Rigidity and Inflexibility: Traditional IoT platforms often have predefined structures and fixed protocols. They are challenging to customize to meet the unique requirements of OEMs across diverse industries.  

Scalability Challenges: As businesses grow, traditional platforms can need help to keep up with the increasing volume of data and devices. Scaling up is often cumbersome and may result in high infrastructure costs.   

High Entry Barriers: Traditional IoT solutions can be cost-prohibitive for smaller businesses due to hefty upfront investments in hardware and software.   

Complex Deployment: The deployment process for traditional platforms is often time-consuming and requires specialized skills. It can delay time-to-market and increase project complexity.   

Limited Data Processing Capabilities: Many conventional platforms rely heavily on cloud-based data processing, leading to latency issues and potential data bottlenecks.  

How Flex83 as an AEP is Disrupting the IoT Landscape   

In contrast to traditional platforms, AEP is driving a significant shift in the Industrial IoT. Let’s examine how AEP overcomes the limitations of its predecessors with its innovative features and capabilities:     

Zero Vendor Dependency: An AEP provides Industrial OEMs with strategic autonomy, liberating them from vendor-specific constraints. By staying vendor-agnostic, businesses can choose the most suitable technologies and partners.  

Enterprise-Grade Scale: AEPs offer enterprise-grade scalability, supporting millions of devices and handling massive data transaction volumes. As per industry data, OEMs leveraging an IoT AEP experience more streamlined scaling processes, ensuring they can efficiently meet the demands of global operations.  

Fastest Time to Market (TTM): An AEP empowers Industrial OEMs to reduce time-to-market for their IoT solutions significantly. This enhanced agility enables them to respond to market dynamics and outperform competitors swiftly.   

Lowest Cost of Ownership: AEP helps you excel in streamlining operations, ultimately reducing the total cost of ownership. According to industry reports, AEP implementations demonstrate consistent cost efficiencies for IoT initiatives, which is particularly advantageous for budget-conscious Industrial OEMs.  

Lowest Change Management Cost: An Application Enablement Platform is recognized for its cost-effective change management processes. It is found that AEP-based IoT Solutions minimize the expenses associated with adapting to evolving operational needs.  

Intellectual Property Protection: An AEP ensures complete ownership and control of a business’s intellectual property, aligning with industry best practices for safeguarding innovation and proprietary technology.  

Interoperability and Compatibility: Industry benchmarks highlight the flexibility of an AEP in seamlessly integrating with diverse systems, ensuring minimal disruptions during deployment. This capability significantly contributes to deployment efficiency.    

Zero Technology Lock-In: AEP allows businesses to make technology decisions independently, preventing vendor lock-in. OEMs utilizing custom IoT solutions advocate for this freedom as it encourages innovation and enables companies to choose the best technologies.  

Higher Competitive Advantage: AEP-backed IoT solutions offer Industrial OEMs a distinct competitive edge. They can differentiate their IoT offerings, innovate faster, and lead in a competitive landscape.  

Transitioning to Flex83 as your PaaS: Real-World Case Studies    

To further illustrate the transformative power of Flex83 as an AEP, let’s examine real-world case studies of businesses that shifted from traditional IoT platforms to AEP.   

Case Study 1: Transformation in Smart Commercial Refrigeration  

This case study showcases the impressive success story of a leading manufacturer of commercial refrigeration products in the United States. Through a partnership with IoT83, they embarked on a remarkable transformation journey by leveraging AEP and its cloud-agnostic features. The Industrial OEM revolutionized remote access and asset management for their refrigeration units.  

Before AEP, they had employed Smart Refrigeration units equipped with a ‘Cellular Connectivity IoT Device Modem’ and sensors to transmit and record asset data on the Cloud platform. While they had access to the data, specific remote tasks, such as asset management, alarm configuration, and warranty diagnosis, remained out of reach. It became evident that a user-friendly application enablement platform was needed, and Flex83 emerged as the solution.  

The Application Enablement Platform (AEP), equipped with various API services and modules, significantly accelerated the development process. This empowered the OEM to create a centralized admin portal tailored for monitoring and managing their Refrigeration units.  

Case Study 2: Scaling Data Ingestion  

A Fortune 500 corporation with a vast global presence and a workforce exceeding 130,000 employees confronted a significant challenge. Their application, focusing on processing geospatial network signal data to enhance cellular networks, demanded scalability. The application collected and processed extensive data packets at a granular millisecond level, resulting in a large (500MB-1GB) file size. This hindered the application’s processing capabilities and underutilized its hardware resources, increasing operational costs.  

Seeking a solution, the company turned to IoT83, aiming to scale and optimize their existing spark-based file processing system. IoT83’s team took on the challenge of making in-house code modifications, adjusting spark configurations, and optimizing infrastructure. They devised a strategy to process data through smaller, independent spark applications for the complex Stage 3 Job. This was critical because Stage 3 Job involved many sequential and parallel operations, taxing the CPU’s capacity in the spark cluster. Horizontal and linear scaling proved inadequate after a certain threshold.  

After implementing IoT83’s customized solution via an AEP, the telecommunications giant experienced substantial cost reductions and a remarkable increase in daily file transfers. The solution empowered the company to scale from processing a few thousand to millions of devices.  

Key Differences between AEPs and Traditional IoT Platforms-Use Cases  

An AEP empowers industrial OEMs to build and deploy IoT applications quickly and efficiently. It provides comprehensive tools and resources to streamline development, such as quick-to-mount dashboard interfaces, pre-built modules, and API Services for third-party integrations. AEPs also offer data analytics and visualization tools to enable businesses to gain insights from IoT data.  

AEPs are best suited for use cases where application development is a primary requirement, such as creating a predictive maintenance solution for industrial equipment or a real-time inventory or device management system for a retail store.  

Use Cases for AEPs  

The primary difference between an AEP and a traditional IoT platform is the focus on application development. An AEP provides tools and resources to simplify development, whereas traditional IoT platforms focus on connectivity and data management.  

Another difference is the level of customization. AEPs offer a high degree of flexibility, allowing Industrial OEMs to create custom applications that meet their needs. In contrast, traditional IoT platforms offer limited customization and are typically more rigid.  

AEPs also offer better support for third-party integrations. They provide APIs and SDKs for integrating with other systems and services, such as ERP, CRM, and big data platforms. Traditional IoT platforms may also offer integrations, but they are typically more limited in scope.  

Use Cases for Traditional IoT Platforms  

AEPs are ideal for businesses that want to develop custom IoT solutions that meet their needs. For example, an AEP could create a real-time asset tracking system for a logistics company or an intelligent irrigation system for a farm.  

AEPs are also well-suited for businesses that want to gain insights from IoT data. They offer advanced analytics and visualization tools that enable OEMs to identify trends and patterns in their data. It can improve industrial operations and help organizations make informed decisions.  

Picking the Right Platform for Your IoT Project  

When it comes to integrating IoT into your industrial operations, the choice of the right platform is critical. An Application Enablement Platform (AEP) like Flex83 offers a tailored and efficient IoT Solution for Industrial OEMs aiming to embrace digital transformation.  

AEP is particularly well-suited for Industrial OEMs seeking to enhance operations and drive more significant RoI. It provides the flexibility and customization needed to adapt to unique industry requirements. For instance, manufacturers requiring real-time monitoring and managing diverse assets can rely on AEP to build a custom application that efficiently delivers connectivity and data management.  

An AEP like Flex83 empowers Industrial OEMs to remotely monitor, control, and optimize their IoT devices. Whether tracking machine performance, managing assets in various locations, or ensuring predictive maintenance, AEP streamlines these processes, reducing complexity and time-to-market.  

Conclusion: The Future of IoT Platforms  

Implementing an AEP or traditional IoT platform can be challenging, especially for businesses new to IoT. Some of the key challenges include device compatibility, data management, and security.  

To overcome these challenges, businesses should work with experienced technology partners that can help them design, develop, and deploy their IoT solutions. They should also prioritize security and data privacy to protect their IoT solutions against cyber threats.  

As we’ve explored, an AEP’s flexibility, scalability, performance, cost-effectiveness, and customization capabilities make it the platform of choice for Industrial OEMs seeking to harness the full potential of IoT. Through real-world case studies and insights from industry experts, it’s evident that AEP is leading the way towards a more adaptable and efficient IoT landscape. As the IoT Technology evolves, AEP remains at the forefront of innovation, empowering businesses to stay competitive and agile in an increasingly connected world. 

Join us for an in-depth exploration of the ascent of IoT AEP and its influence on the trajectory of operational technology for Industrial OEMs. Discover how enterprises can harness these groundbreaking technologies to maintain a competitive edge in a dynamic environment.

Nishant Puri, CISO at IoT83

Nishant carries professional expertise in team collaboration and network security solutions. He excels at aligning the needs of key business stakeholders, including Sales, Marketing, and Product Engineering, with pragmatic and efficient approaches that meet both short-term and long-term strategic goals.

Before joining IoT83, Nishant held a leadership position at Cisco America Partners, where he led sales and technology solutions. He was also a frequent speaker for Cisco APO, showcasing his knowledge and experience in the field. Being a Cisco-certified Inter-Networking Expert in Security and Collaboration, Nishant brings a wealth of technical expertise to his role. He is also inclined to identify digital discontinuities and is adept at mapping out effective digital transformations.

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