The Internet of Things, can mean, well…so many things. So can platform independence. For many people, a cloud platform, often provided as a service, is an essential part of an IoT offering. For others, flexibility is more important – the flexibility to run your solution on any cloud – or the flexibility to run it internally on your own network on your own servers, because you’re paranoid and believe your competitors are watching you (and you know they are), or even worse, maybe someone is going to try to hack your solution, bring it down and put a serious dent in your up-time track record. Regardless, when developing an IoT solution – the choice should be yours and you should be in charge of your own data.
I was previously involved in the development an IoT strategy for a company operating within the industrial automation space, where we initiated the same IoT project with a third party platform as a service provider (PaaS) – to be part of our offering to our end customers – twice. Yes, twice! Twice, because we were working with the wrong providers and because we came to the same conclusion both times. Twice, because the providers were offering their solution on their cloud and they wanted to rent it to us so we could re-rent it to our end customers. It didn’t sound right and they would never allow us to move the solution to other cloud platforms or host the solution in any other format. And we could forget about making drastic changes to the back-end system and if we were to make any minor change we had to use their consultants ($$$). In other words, it would have never been our solution – it would have been theirs and they would own the data and eventually most likely reap all the revenue potential once we were locked in. We wanted it to be our solution and our end customers wanted it to be theirs. Flexibility, ownership, cross-platform and cash money being the key words here.
We even tried to pitch the solution to our end customers, but they weren’t buying our story. When we reported the customer feedback to the IoT/PaaS vendor, they replied that our end customers “were being conservative” (no, they weren’t – they were just being smart). They wanted flexibility and control over their own solution and their own data. They valued security. They didn’t want to have some sort of closed software agent sending data from their devices where they couldn’t see what was being sent and to where it was being sent. One of our key customers, who we pitched the solution to, even went to the measure of making us sign a paper stating that no such “IoT software” existed on their equipment and that we would never, ever, EVER connect them to any cloud, which wasn’t their own choice and on which they could not see what data was being sent and where it was being sent to. Period! So we stopped the project. Twice. With the software we created with Qt we didn’t have this problem and you won’t either. With Qt it will be your solution, on your platform of choice and we are not forcing you onto any cloud. It is not that we don’t like the cloud. We do. We just think the choice of how you want to host your IoT solution should be yours and we have developed tools to make that simpler for you. Qt is also open, so you know what is going on and can make sure your data remains yours and you know where it is sent. There is also a bunch of other benefits you can achieve by using Qt in your IoT development. If you want to learn more about the software requirements and other important stuff you should be considering before choosing an IoT platform, read our whitepaper: “Building the Internet of Things and How Qt Can Help”.