Enterprise IoT Platforms Continue to Advance

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • GlobalData completed its latest examination of the enterprise IoT platform market on August 26, which described, analyzed, and rated the top platforms in the market. This report focused on AWS, IBM, SAP, PTC, Microsoft, and Google.
  • These vendors added functionality over the last six months that included enhanced security, more automated processes for data ingestion, new analytics capabilities, integration with the vendor’s own or third-party software, vertical solutions, scalability and availability, and improved edge enablement.

IoT is a key growth market for a wide swath of technology solution providers and their business customers. As a result, the market for platforms that make IoT projects easier to deploy and manage, and more impactful to the companies deploying them, has grown significantly in size and scope over the past five years. There are hundreds of purported platforms on the market, but only a dozen or so stand out in the enterprise segment. These IoT platforms leverage data collected from devices and transform the data into meaningful, actionable information through filtering, visualization, and analytics. They also aid customers in building applications which use the data to help them automate processes and make decisions that transform their products, services, and business models, therefore enhancing their position in the market.

GlobalData has just completed its bi-annual review of the top vendors in this space. This time, the report focused on Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM, SAP, PTC, Microsoft, and Google. All of the vendors we analyzed have been busily adding to their portfolios. AWS has risen in our rankings due to capabilities that significantly improved its visualization and analytics tools and edge processing abilities, as well as a slew of improvements to its SiteWise and Greengrass tools to add no-code development and containerization enhancements. IBM remains a very strong provider, offering IoT integration with its own considerable software offerings (e.g., Maximo, Cognos, and TRIRIGA) for asset monitoring and business intelligence, as well as new edge offerings from Red Hat. Microsoft has added new edge support, security, and managed analytics tools, while Google has made a USD 450 million investment in security firm ADT to increase adoption of IoT security devices and disclosed a number of major multi-year deals with enterprises for IoT. PTC continues its excellence in the industrial sector, and it has added significant capabilities for scaling and availability in its latest release, while advancing the cause of AR in the enterprise. Huawei continues to deliver advanced connectivity technology in support of large-scale IoT and private network implementations and supports over 100 million NB-IoT connections.

A sampling of key announcements over the last six months includes the following:

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

  • AWS announced general availability of AWS IoT SiteWise, a managed monitoring service for industrial customers which automates data ingestion and structures and helps generate real-time metrics to inform managerial decisions.
  • AWS launched the Connected Factory Solution for manufacturing companies, designed to make it easy for customers to modernize operations using industrial IoT with a connectivity kit to help customers easily get data from their assets into the AWS Cloud.
  • AWS announced 29 new IoT partner solutions for the AWS IoT Solution Repository. The solutions span automotive, healthcare, manufacturing, and connected home industry use cases and address device connectivity, track-and-trace sensors, connected factory, and workplace safety monitoring.

Microsoft

  • Microsoft announced the general availability of Azure Sphere, which provides security for IoT devices and accelerates secure IoT solutions for both new and existing equipment.
  • Microsoft Azure IoT and Cisco IoT announced a collaboration to provide integrated Azure IoT solutions which offer global connectivity, advanced analytics, and cognitive services for analyzing data.
  • Microsoft announced the availability of Azure Time Series Gen2, a fully managed IoT analytics platform.

IBM

  • IBM and Siemens announced a service lifecycle management solution that combines Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio and IBM Maximo to improve product performance, lower maintenance costs, reduce risks, and improve asset resiliency.
  • IBM and Red Hat launched new edge computing solutions to help enterprises and telecommunications companies speed their transition to edge computing in the 5G era.

PTC

  • PTC announced the launch of ThingWorx 9.0, which offers enhanced features for active clustering along with high availability and scalability.
  • PTC released the Vuforia Spatial Toolbox platform, created by PTC Reality Lab, a new open-source platform that accelerates spatial AR development of machines and robots.

Google

  • Google announced a USD 450 million investment in security firm ADT to increase the adoption of IoT security devices. As part of the investment, Google’s Nest smart home devices – such as cameras and displays – will be sold and installed by ADT.
  • AT&T and Google announced a collaboration to use 5G edge computing technologies to improve speed and increase security by running applications at edge devices.

The question remains as to whether these additions to functionality fundamentally change the market landscape, or the ability of each of these vendors to compete effectively. No matter the market segment, every vendor evaluated is fully capable of successfully supporting an entire solution IoT stack, each with an emphasis appropriate to its market and customer base. Customers seeking an emphasis on device management, for example, will favor an infrastructure vendor such as Huawei. Conversely, customers in need of an IoT solution tied closely with line-of-business software will favor SAP, IBM, or Oracle. And customers seeking to partner with a public cloud service provider will favor Microsoft, AWS, or Google. It’s not a question of finding an outright ‘best’ IoT partner, but rather finding the best match for the needs at hand.

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