Choosing Open Source for Your IoT Platform is Smart Strategy

  • By Jonathan Marsh
  • 6 Sep, 2017

Open source is an important consideration when selecting an IoT platform. IoT choice should be considered in light of many strategic concerns:

  • Think long term: IoT projects are likely to have lifecycles much longer than today’s software projects - many IoT-enabled appliances, automobiles and infrastructure have support lifespans measured in decades. Open source offers protection from lock-in by allowing self-support of the legacy system yourself or seeking out alternative vendors for support.
  • Think retaining control: Your digital assets — software, systems and data — will increasingly represent the core competitive advantage of your business. With open source you have many of the same rights that an owner does — you can use, adapt, evolve, make derivatives, develop intellectual property around, redistribute, commercialize, relicense and support the platform. Open source protects you from technical, commercial, or strategic divergence from your platform provider.
  • Think cost: Commercial open source and cloud offer cost-effective options. Which one is most cost-effective may change during the lifespan of an IoT project. By choosing an open source product with commercial cloud-hosting services, and easy migration features, you retain the ability to adapt as needed to the best deployment model (and associated price) as conditions change.
  • Think security: Open source allows many eyes on code to help detect and address security vulnerabilities promptly. Open source vendors can be engaged to maintain vigilance on security threats and mitigations.
  • Think contribution: The option to contribute back to the platform can have valuable benefits for your business. It ensures you can obtain specific features of importance to you, on your own timeline, under a sweat equity model, while doing your part to protect the vibrancy of the platform with a strategic commitment to participation. Contributing to open source is viewed as a form of corporate social responsibility, increasing stocks of goodwill among employees, customers and the industry.

I discuss these points in more detail in Choosing Open Source for Your IoT Platform is Smart Strategy. For business and technical leaders exploring IoT platforms, this article can help establish a sound future-looking strategy.

About Author

  • Jonathan Marsh
  • Vice President - IoT
  • WSO2