Enterprise IoT Platforms Evolve with New Edge and Analytics Enhancements

Summary Bullets:

Kathryn Weldon – Research Director, Business Network and IT Services – Americas

• Microsoft and AWS were named “Very Strong” in GlobalData’s most recent Enterprise IoT Platform report published in September 2021. In the last six months, both vendors announced several key platform enhancements.

• New tools for access control, edge computing, visualization, and digital twins improved these vendors’ IoT portfolios. Microsoft’s new role as a board member in the LoRa Alliance was also a significant ecosystem addition.

Enterprise IoT platforms transform data collected from devices and machines to help customers build applications that automate processes, improve products, and help business leaders make decisions. Once data is collected, the platform provides data storage, processing, management, and manipulation along with filtering and visualization options. The platform may send data to an edge computing device, public or private cloud, or remote data center for further processing and analytics. An enterprise IoT platform also provides tools for application enablement; elements may include visual application modelling, design tools, processing rules using business logic, security and access management, reporting, and real-time or historical analytics.

Over the last six months, the enterprise IoT platform market benefited from new capabilities that were added by leading vendors as well as new partnerships. Most of the vendors GlobalData analyzed in its report (which include AWS, Google, IBM, Microsoft, SAP, and PTC) added to their portfolios in Q2 and Q3. Of these vendors, we rated AWS and Microsoft as “very strong” providers in this period. Across our key buying criteria, they demonstrated a clear mastery of major requirements, particularly data collection, manipulation, management, and analysis – all capabilities that allow IoT to be transformative. They also announced platform enhancements that provide clear benefits to enterprises leveraging IoT for business process improvements and developers seeking to propel new use cases.

Of particular note were the following AWS and Microsoft enhancements. AWS added Amazon Managed Grafana, a data visualization service that enables customers to query, correlate, and visualize operational metrics, logs, and traces, as well as IoT data. Earlier in 2021, it announced commercial availability for IoT SiteWise Edge, for processing industrial equipment data on-premise.

Meanwhile, during the past six months, Microsoft joined the board of the LoRa Alliance, adding to its ecosystem opportunities in the key LPWAN technology segment. The vendor also launched Azure Active Directory access control for IoT Hub service APIs, which enables companies to grant specific API access permissions to users, and manage identities with role-based access control. Microsoft also recently launched Azure Digital Twins, a service that allows customers to create digital representations of real-world things, places, processes, and people. This is positioned as a key element in Microsoft’s push to support connected environments.

Other vendors also made announcements that reflect their positioning and go-to-market capabilities. Google Cloud struck an alliance with Litmus which provides its platform with an integrated edge cloud capability for smart factories. IBM and Verizon are working together to expand IBM’s Industry Solution Lab in Texas, by setting up a testbed for developing and testing 5G-enabled use cases for Industry 4.0 applications. PTC noted that in its latest quarter, IoT revenue growth was in the high teens YoY, and stated that Rockwell Automation continues as its largest IoT reseller. SAP announced earlier in 2021 that IoT is now part of the larger SAP Business Technology Platform. It further announced a pay-as-you-go licensing option for partners of the Business Technology Platform (BTP) and is providing partners with access to a free tier of BTP services.

While AWS and Microsoft were especially active during the last six months, GlobalData reiterates that in the enterprise IoT platform market, leaders vary by the segment where they focus: SAP and IBM lead in the enterprise software segment; Amazon and Microsoft continue to lead the hyperscale cloud services segment while Google is adding to its list of multi-year deals with large enterprises; and PTC continues as a leader in the manufacturing segment. Hitachi, Software AG, and Siemens are also strong in the industrial/manufacturing segment. No matter the market segment, each vendor GlobalData evaluates can support an entire IoT stack, each with an emphasis appropriate to its market and customer base.

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