IoT platforms: a beginner’s guide

Enterprises in any industry are increasingly integrating a broad range of IoT endpoints to access and efficiently manage the physical assets relevant to their business.

The benefits that IoT technology can bring are many: 

  • enhanced asset management
  • immediate knowledge of the state of play for accurate and timely decision-making
  • new business opportunities
  • revenue models – such as offering subscription-based services instead of selling assets outright 

To enable easier management and orchestration of IoT devices, it is worth relying on an IoT platform. Whether it is an on-premises software suite or a cloud service (Platform as a Service, PaaS), an IoT platform is responsible for monitoring, managing, and controlling various types of IoT endpoints. Additionally, IoT platforms typically offer Web-scale infrastructure capabilities to support both basic and advanced IoT solutions and enable digital business operations.

IoT platforms, what to look for?

With so many competing providers on the market, choosing the right IoT platform can be daunting. Every company has its own needs and expectations, and no one solution that fits all. Whatever the use case, when considering a platform that would best fit the organization, attention should be paid to the following:

  1. Compatibility: An ideal IoT platform should seamlessly integrate and interoperate with various devices, communication protocols, cloud services, data analytics tools, and other third-party applications commonly used in IoT deployments.
  2. Scalability: An IoT platform should comfortably scale as your projects grow, accommodating an increasing number of connected devices and handling higher data flows. 
  3. Security: IoT platforms should have robust security measures to protect the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of the entire IoT ecosystem.
  4. Pricing:  A transparent pricing structure is preferred, including upfront costs and recurring expenses, with options for pay-as-you-go or staggered pricing that aligns with the device count and data volumes.

A quick review of the most popular platforms in the market

To facilitate the decision-making process, here is a brief overview of the main solutions currently available on the market.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) IoT Greengrass

AWS IoT Greengrass stands out as an open-source IoT edge runtime and cloud service that extends AWS functionality to edge devices. It allows real-time data processing and machine learning inference locally using cloud-trained models. With Greengrass, your devices can continue functioning even offline, ensuring uninterrupted performance despite intermittent connectivity. Offering comprehensive device management capabilities, Greengrass enables remote device configuration, software deployment, over-the-air updates, and device shadow synchronization. This platform seamlessly integrates with various AWS cloud services, enabling bidirectional communication between edge devices and the cloud. 

Microsoft Azure IoT Hub

Microsoft Azure IoT Hub, a cloud-based service, serves as the central hub for communication between your IoT application and managed devices. It supports multiple protocols for device connectivity and offers bi-directional communication, allowing devices to send telemetry data and receive commands and notifications from the cloud. Azure IoT Hub can scale to support complex IoT workloads, ensuring efficient management and control of your IoT deployments. It also boasts robust security mechanisms, including device authentication and access control. Azure IoT Hub seamlessly integrates with other Azure cloud services for advanced data processing and analytics.

Google IoT Core

Google IoT Core is designed to provide a scalable and secure cloud-based infrastructure for your IoT deployments. Supporting standard protocols like MQTT and HTTP, it enables secure data ingestion from devices to the cloud. Google IoT Core offers message routing, filtering, and transformation features. Its robust security includes device authentication and access control through IAM roles and policies. The platform integrates with other Google Cloud services, allowing you to leverage additional analytics, machine learning, and storage capabilities.


Clea is SECO’s IoT platform offering, designed to simplify fleet and data management with unparalleled flexibility. As an open-source, modular, and production-ready stack centred around data management, Clea caters to the needs of modern and scalable IoT infrastructures. And security, stability, and scalability are built-in, and battle-tested by countless deployments. Clea serves as the central hub for your digital services, from prototyping to mass production. With Clea, you can effortlessly build new applications and offer them to your customers through its marketplace framework and run AI models at scale to process device data efficiently. Entirely device and Cloud agnostic – which means freedom of choice between AWS, Azure, and Google cloud services – and with a fully Open-Source core, Clea is built to satisfy even the most challenging use cases and scenarios, from mission-critical, distributed infrastructures to local, on-premises deployments. Getting started with Clea is seamless, and its extensive set of SDKs and APIs empowers companies to build and extend their devices, applications, or integrations effortlessly. Whether in the Cloud or at the edge, Clea orchestrates data science workloads and applications dynamically, optimizing the potential of the physical infrastructure. Processing data where it matters means saving energy, bandwidth, and storage, and Clea provides all the tools to make the right choice and perhaps change over time.

How to make a choice?

As every technology, IoT platforms have their pros and cons, as well as their challenges. 

AWS IoT Greengrass and Microsoft Azure IoT Hub stand out with their seamless integration into their respective ecosystems. This is an advantage for businesses already using AWS or Microsoft services and tools, but at the same time, it sets limits on diversification. Both platforms also boast robust infrastructures capable of supporting large-scale deployments, efficiently managing a high volume of devices and messages concurrently. However, it's worth noting that AWS IoT Greengrass may present a slightly steeper learning curve and potentially higher costs, while Azure IoT Hub could prove complex for non-Microsoft ecosystems and may have higher pricing. Google Cloud IoT Core offers impressive compatibility with a wide range of devices and supports multiple protocols like MQTT and HTTP. Its user-friendly interface and straightforward setup make it incredibly easy to use. However, compared to other IoT platforms, it may have fewer advanced features and customization options. Clea’s architecture is excellent where scalability, privacy and reliability are essential. As a Cloud and hardware independent and open-source solution, Clea can run on the customer’s infrastructure and provide him with full control over security and customization. Its subscription-based pricing model ensures cost control, metered on consumption and deployment model. For businesses seeking flexibility and scalability, Clea proves to be a viable option, providing the freedom to integrate with various cloud providers, including on-premises options.

As a whole, providing universal recommendations for specific IoT platforms is impractical. Choosing the right IoT platform necessitates a thorough understanding of company-specific requirements and aligning them with the strengths of each solution. While several crucial factors deserve special attention, including connectivity and compatibility, scalability, and data security, the vendor selection process should be approached wisely. An IoT project extends beyond a one-time purchase of a particular solution. It is a journey that companies embark on together with their platform provider: collaboratively, they craft and refine their initial approach step by step. As a tech company with top-tier capabilities, SECO works in synergy with OEMs who wish to unlock the full potential of their devices. Our comprehensive, integrated, and modular offering suits the needs of Device Manufacturers who are looking for a partner to deliver their next-generation product lines. If you are ready to bring your IoT project to life, contact us today. Our team of experts is here to understand your unique requirements and shape your product. Together, we'll turn your ideas into action, making sure to meet all your business goals and expectations. Get in touch now and let's start building the IoT future of your company.