Eliminating the Confusion: MachNation Defines the Five Types of IoT Platforms

The IoT platform space has continued to grow into one of the most critical technology sectors of the Internet of Things (IoT). According to MachNation forecasts, the combined worldwide revenues of IoT platforms that are described in this blog will be USD 9.3 billion in 2016, growing to USD 214.0 billion by 2025 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 42% over the period. MachNation has written extensively about the importance of selecting proper IoT middleware – especially an IoT AEP – to ensure the secure and efficient collection, analysis and delivery of IoT data.

Today, there are five types of platforms in the IoT space that are used as building blocks when developing an end-to-end, holistic IoT solution. Because there are so many types of IoT platforms, MachNation has written this blog to dispel confusion and help IoT purchasers better understand the components of and uses for these five types of IoT platforms.



An Application Enablement Platform (AEP) is a technology-centric offering optimized to deliver a best-of-breed, industry-agnostic, extensible middleware core for building a set of interconnected or independent IoT solutions for customers. An AEP vendor relies on a flexible deployment model; a comprehensive set of device and enterprise-backend connector SDKs and APIs; and a set of well-documented developer resources. AEP vendors assemble a network of application development, system integrator and service provider partners that build custom IoT applications on the platform for customers. Enterprises realize that a well-built IoT application enablement platform (AEP) saves significant development time and money in the creation and operation of an IoT solution. Cumulocity, ClearBlade and Ayla Networks are examples of AEPs.

A Platform-Enabled Solution (PES) is a solution-centric offering optimized to reduce the time to deliver a fully-enabled, end-to-end, vertical IoT solution to customers. A PES vendor relies on a product-plus-services model; an application development lifecycle managed by in-house and partner resources; and either a rapid application builder or template-based framework. PES vendors use a direct or partner-led sales model and engage a core set of systems integrators to create validated, rapid and secure industry- or application-centric IoT solutions for customers. Philips CityTouch, vyzVoice and Davra Networks are examples of PESs.

A Connected Device Platform (CDP) is an offering optimized to provide complete carrier-grade lifecycle management of the connectivity element of an IoT device primarily for mobile network operators (MNOs) and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). A CDP vendor relies on custom carrier-managed implementations and a deep set of integration points with OSS/BSS for provisioning, billing, alerting and other operational purposes. CDP vendors use a direct sales model to engage with carriers. Cisco Jasper Control Center and Ericsson DCP is an example of a CDP.

A Device Management Platform (DMP) is an offering that provides device lifecycle management functionality associated with the deployment and management of IoT assets . Typical IoT assets include IoT gateways, retrofitted and new industrial equipment and Linux-based Arduino-like devices. Typical DMP functionality includes asset provisioning, firmware upgrades, security patching, alerting and reporting on specific metrics associated with IoT assets. Resin.io is an example of a DMP.

An Analytics Platform (AP) is an offering providing sophisticated data federation, statistical modeling and reporting tools to allow users to draw insights from ingested data. Usually, AP capabilities lay northbound of the data ingestion and processing functionality provided by other IoT platforms like AEPs and PESs. In essence, APs offer advanced analytics capabilities drawing using machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms. SAP HANA is an example of an AP.

Learn more about IoT AEPs

While the IoT platform ecosystem is complex, public and private sector organizations must choose the right, high-quality IoT platform to position themselves for long-term success in their IoT solution deployments. MachNation continues to believe in the importance of an AEP as one of the critically important platforms, because it provides a secure and efficient way for organizations to deploy IoT solutions while offering flexibility for future IoT needs and solution integrations. MachNation has recently published a perspective on the importance of AEPs and the key traits of best-in-class AEPs. To learn more, download MachNation’s complimentary whitepaper:

Stay tuned for our next blog on the value of using an AEP in your IoT solution.

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