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An Analysis of IoT Service Enablers


September 22, 2016


The Internet of Things (IoT) is the next buzz word and its presence is being felt almost everywhere. IoT is basically inter-networking between physical devices (with different levels of intelligence), enabling them to communicate with each other in order to realize some business use-case.

IoT has evolved with the convergence of wired / wireless technologies, physical devices, micro-services and the Internet. This convergence has helped operational technology (OT) to link with information technology (IT), allowing (both structured and unstructured) data generated from the devices to be analyzed for a better consumer experience.

The spread of IoT is very wide and it is a challenge to decide an area to focus on, such as, devices, software platforms, analytics, development API, etc. In this article we are looking into the (IoT Infrastructure Node in the oneM2M terminology) and will try to cover the following aspects:

  • Key IoT platform components
  • What are various enablers available for IoT platforms?

Key IoT platform components

There are quite a few IoT platforms deployed in industry verticals such as Home Automation, Industrial Automation, Transportation, Health care, etc. Some of the early IoT platforms were specific for a given vertical and provided limited functions/ features. A generic IoT service platform should support a set of capabilities so that the service platform is usable across verticals. The figure below gives a high-level functional decomposition of such a service platform.

functional decomposition of IoT service platform

OneM2M is an industry consortium which is trying to bring in some standardization in this space. OneM2M has proposed an industry-agnostic architecture for IoT Infrastructure Node that could help reduce the fragmentation in the industry.  The figure below shows a reference architecture that is based on OneM2M proposal.

reference architecture IoT service platform

These features/ functions of the IoT service platform can be logically grouped into the following layers

Brief survey of available IoT service enablers

Quite a few IoT enablers are currently available (some of them open-sourced). The figure below tries to list of few of these enablers.


  • Network services: This facilitates data communications with the devices via available transport networks.
  • Common services: This includes the utility services which are commonly required in a service platform irrespective of the vertical.
  • Applications (& API): This includes use-case-specific processing and application enablers (such as rule engines, SDKs and visualization tools). Service APIs to facilitate interfacing with 3rd party applications are a key component.

HSC team has studied the features/ functions of some common IoT platforms. Some of the features/functions analyzed include device management, communication protocols, security, visualization and analysis support. The summary of the comparative analysis is given below.

comparitive analysis 1

Based on our evaluation, we believe the Kaa platform is quite mature and being open-source makes it a preferred choice for an IoT service platform. ThingWorx platform is very evolved and feature-rich among the licensed frameworks.

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