IoT middleware market
In 2021, the market for Internet of Things middleware experienced an annual growth rate of 19.72%, according to the GSM Association.
They also predict that by 2025, there will be 25.1 billion IoT devices worldwide, including connected automobiles, machines, meters, wearables, and consumer electronics. The main drivers of this expansion are thought to be Increased industry attention on creating a connected environment and the standardization of 3GPP cellular IoT technologies.
IoT middleware is a key area of interest for businesses due to an increase in the number of internet-connected devices and increased demand for smooth communication and collaboration across such devices. As the number of IoT devices and solutions grows, so does the need for various adjustments within a network overtime. And when a middleware solution gets implemented, future adjustments are much easier to perform.
It is also anticipated that government initiatives, such as smart city programs, would increase demand for IoT middleware. The idea of "smart cities" has created a lot of opportunities for IoT in the infrastructure, waste, and energy sectors. By 2025, it is estimated that there will be around 30 IoT-powered smart cities worldwide, with 50% of them being in North America and Europe.
What is IoT middleware?
IoT middleware is a type of software that acts as a bridge between various IoT components, enabling communication between those components that wouldn’t happen otherwise. Another feature of middleware is that it usually allows software developers to build input/output and communication patterns in a shorter time.
In turn, this allows developers to put more effort into the actual application, not its integration capabilities. At Cogniteq, we’ve benefited from that many times ourselves when providing IoT development services. And that’s why IoT middleware platforms are often referred to as "software glue”.
Middleware is typically one of the four components that shape an IoT network. The other three are the IoT devices themselves (hardware), enterprise applications (software), and means of connectivity (WiFi, Bluetooth, or others).
Areas of application
Middleware has many use cases, below are some of the most common ones:
- security purposes - middleware provides IoT devices with a range of security controls such as access control management and user authentication;
- cloud integration purposes - multiple cloud services are commonly used in IoT deployment, so middleware enables an IoT network to run on various cloud types;
- data collection purposes - IoT gadgets gather huge amounts of data with their sensors and middleware helps with between IoT and data servers;
- device detection purposes - to connect, devices must be visible and have their names and capabilities displayed; and middleware also enables that.
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IoT middleware examples
IoT and IoT middleware by extension are finding more and more popularity across numerous industries. They are most prominently used in healthcare, logistics, manufacturing, retail, and urban infrastructure.
Some prominent examples of IoT middleware are the following:
- Hydra - middleware for ubiquitous computing that features management components for security and resources. It optimizes energy consumption in IoT devices that don’t possess powerful batteries and supports dynamic self-reconfiguration.
- EMMA - IoT middleware platform based on Java Message Service. Its main purpose is to assist video communication systems to provide many types of messaging.
- SINA - enables applications to send queries, gather results, and monitor alterations in a wireless sensor network. It also provides features of resource management, data processing and event monitoring. It uses the technique of clustering sensor nodes so that its operations are not too energy-consuming.
- Ubiware - another Java-based middleware providing resource discovery, monitoring, and IoT development of various extensible apps.
- TinySOA - features app development for wireless sensor networks. It also enables management of IoT devices and communications and allows apps to get processed data from the linked sensors.
IoT middleware issues
The following are widely considered to be the three most common issues with IoT middleware design:
It’s not uncommon that the limited computing power of IoT devices makes security hard to implement. On top of that, potential IoT middleware security problems may arise due to network admin negligence. IoT devices often come with identical default logins and passwords, and if they’re not changed in due time, the entire network can be compromised.
Security weaknesses may affect even the biggest businesses - in 2021, a cybersecurity team discovered that Ring doorbells might potentially be hacked if the culprits managed to access the network the device uses.
Lack Of Standardization
It is almost impossible to adopt a single standard for middleware solutions in the IoT across a wide range of application domains. Thus, a lot of researchers nowadays are focusing on creating a standardized middleware solution for at least one particular area, such as semantic web applications, sensor networking environments, or smart offices. However, the complexity of this task shouldn’t be underestimated - it may take years or even decades.
Limited Storage Capacity
While developing an IoT middleware solution, it is important to take into account the storage capacity of the connected devices within the IoT network. It will be challenging to employ middleware with low-level storage devices if it’s too powerful. One example would be middleware providing strong data management features that the device cannot handle. So before selecting an appropriate middleware solution, one needs to identify the storage requirements for the various types of backend applications.
Supported by both private and public sectors, the Internet of Things middleware market is booming and will continue doing so. IoT middleware connects hardware and software in a wireless sensor network, providing data collection, device detection, cloud integration and security capabilities. Of course, there are some concerns around middleware, for instance, its lack of universal standards, potential security risks and storage capacity incompatibility. However, it doesn’t stop companies from across the world from exploring IoT technology and making a difference with its help. And if you want to join the IoT train, but feel overwhelmed by its challenges, don’t hesitate to contact a team of experts.