It’s NOT enough with MQTT

Robert Lann sales manager Sensative

Robert Lann
Sales manager
@ Sensative

”It’s enough with MQTT.”

I’m meeting a lot of different actors in the IoT-scene. Small, larger, private, non-gov, public. Lately, I have been in quite deep dialogues with three larger public organizations in Sweden. The people I’ve been talking to have been within the central IT/Dig department, serving several lines of business or departments with central IT-services. Since decades. Quite skilled persons, obviously, beeing where they are at.

Embarking on the IoT-journey might not be all that easy. You have to be on top of your game as a purchaser of IoT-solutions, not to have guys like me roam free. You would like to define your central IoT-capability, and then explain it to your different end users/departments so that they can understand what to expect from central IT (hopefully and at what cost). To do this, you must define what you deliver and how.

IoT is about cost-efficient sensors and actuators, enabling a systematic insight into the actual state of the real world and change it. This is done using multiple technologies. Lot’s of different protocols. A plethora of devices.

To my surprise, the mentioned public organizations are actually thinking of delimiting their IoT-endeavor to ”just MQTT.”

MQTT – Message Queuing Telemetry Transport – is a protocol that sits on top of TCP/IP, designed for ’small code footprint’ or somewhat constrained network characteristics. However, it’s TCP/IP based, and if compared to much more lightweight protocols, it requires a hefty amount of CPU and network resources.

How come these organizations are actually considering ’just MQTT’? They give some alternative reasoning behind these thoughts.

  1. They want the platform and central capability to focus and not to do just anything.
  2. They see that many platforms require an MQTT stream and nothing else.
  3. They do not know what other standards and protocols to choose if adding something else.
  4. They assume that other protocols can be converted to MQTT.


Well, from my experience, IoT is about LoRa, Narrow-Band IoT, Z-wave, SigFox, ZigBee, BLE. It’s about mesh networks. About using the right protocol stack for the use-case at hand. You have a bag of money to invest, often not so heavy. And you want to accomplish a specific business-oriented goal. And balance the risk/security into it. Also – you can be sure the department or business representatives will have a lot of use cases and a lot of already existing devices that need to be integrated. Now we are talking BACnet, Modbus, CAN, Wireless M-bus, etc. We need to re-use already existing devices.

If you agree with the above paragraph, then your central IoT capability needs to have the functionality to address any type of protocol and technology. If it is ’just MQTT’ – it’s just another integration platform. Not an IoT-integration platform.

Let’s get with the program, folks. IoT is more than MQTT.

– Robert

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