​IoT platforms are an important part of the IoT ecosystem and are a fast-growing market expected to exceed $22 billion by 2023. IoT platforms offer tremendous value to businesses, enabling them to reduce development costs, speed up startup, and simplify processes. However, many are still unclear about what an IoT platform is, what they do and when businesses will use it.

But to understand in detail what an IoT platform is, you first need to understand what is included in the overall IoT system.

1) A complete IoT system requires hardware such as sensors or devices. These sensors and devices collect data from the environment (such as humidity sensors) or perform actions in the environment (such as watering crops).

2) A complete IoT system requires connectivity. The hardware needs a way to transmit all this data to the cloud (e.g. send humidity data), or a way to receive commands from the cloud (e.g. water the crops now). This can be achieved through established forms of connectivity such as cellular, satellite or WiFi, or newer, IoT-focused connectivity options such as LoRa may be required.

3) A complete IoT system requires software. Hosted in the cloud, the software is responsible for analyzing the data it collects from sensors and making decisions (for example, knowing from humidity data that it just rained, then telling the irrigation system not to turn on today).

4) Finally, a complete IoT system requires a user interface. For all these features to be useful, users need a way to interact with IoT systems (for example, a web-based application with a dashboard that displays moisture trends and allows users to manually turn the irrigation system on or off).

Additionally, the true value of IoT is unlocked when integrated with existing business systems and data streams. Therefore, it is crucial to tie all these disparate components together in an efficient and manageable manner.

At a high level, IoT platforms provide a head start on building IoT systems by providing built-in tools an.