The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of things (physical devices, vehicles, home appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators) connected through internet which enables these things to exchange data. This creates opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, resulting in efficiency improvements, economic benefits, and reduced human exertions.

In simple terms we can say IoT is a system of things integrated with sensors, softwares, electronics which are connected to each other & can exchange data or Information with other connected devices.

The main pillars of IoT projects or IoT solutions are
Sensors/DevicesConnectivityData ProcessingIoT platforms are the support software that connects everything in an IoT system. An IoT platform facilitates communication, data flow, device management, and the functionality of applications.

we can say IoT platform is a multilayered technology, that connects the sensors/devices, provision them, manage them & can automate the connection of the devices in the Internet of Things. With IoT platform its easy to connect to the devices to the cloud & data processing. It connects remote devices to user applications and manages all the interactions between the hardware and the application layers.

Some of the main common features of IoT platforms are,

Registry for recognizing devices
Software Development Kit for devices
Device Shadows
Secure Device Gateway
Rules engine for inbound message evaluation
IoT stack architecture consist of 4 layers as below.
Sensors/Devices - Sensors and devices are placed in field and capture the information.

Gateway - Gateway provides the bridge between IoT devices in the field, the cloud, and user equipment such as smartphones. The IoT gateway provides a communication link between the field and the cloud and can provide offline services and real-time control over the devices in the field. Simple IoT gateway definition we can say IoT gateway aggregates sensor data, translates between sensor protocols, processes sensor data before sending it.

Communication/Protocols - Internet Protocol is the principal communications protocol in the Internet protocol suite for relaying datagrams across network boundaries. Its routing function enables internetworking, and essentially establishes the Internet.The interconnected devices communicate by using lightweight IoT gateway protocols like bus-based (DDS, REST, XMPP) and broker based (AMPQ, CoAP, MQTT, JMI) that don't require extensive CPU resources.

Cloud and Analytics - IoT collect data from multiple sources and store it in their cloud network for further processing, analyzed using data analytics.

The IoT platform itself can be decomposed to multiple layers
Core features ( Data collection, Device management, Configuration management, messaging, Software updates etc.)
Advantages of IoT platform:
scalable ( Easily able to add more end points or devices)
customizable (Easily modify to the business need & add more features)
secured ( Encryption & data security)
User friendly ( GUI or good user interfaces)
These are opensource IoT platforms & most of these platforms provide API to support the Linux hacker board such as Raspberry Pi, Arduino.

Author's Bio: 

I am a freelance blogger on IoT and Project management

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