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Top 5 industrial IoT companies

Leading the industrial IoT

The industrial IoT and its billions of projected devices has set companies from every end of the technology spectrum on a race to become the go-to solution in connecting enterprises.

Here are the top five companies (excluding cloud providers) in the current industrial IoT landscape.

Top five leaders in IIoT 

Cisco

source: Cisco
source: Cisco

Cisco is the largest networking company in the world, already having the resources to deploy its products in an IoT environment and start connecting things. The company’s own prediction says IoT will consist of 50 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020, and Cisco will almost certainly have a large roll in doing so.

The Cisco IoT System and the many IoT infrastructure technologies are in place to help enterprises connect, manage and control previously unconnected devices as well as better secure physical and digital assets and data.

The system functions on six pillars Cisco has laid out:

  • Network Connectivity
  • IOx and Fog Applications
  • Security: Cyber and Physical
  • Data Analytics
  • Management and Automation
    Application Enablement

The company states its networks will work in industrial settings, such as manufacturing, oil and gas, utilities, transportation, mining, the public sector, and others.

And if GE coined the term “internet of things,” Cisco has done the same for fog computing, a new way of looking at data analysis and storage.

The company’s $1.4 billion purchase of Jasper Technologies, a cloud-based IoT software platform, further proves its investment in IoT.

AT&T

source: AT&T
source: AT&T

One of the world’s biggest telecom providers, AT&T has been vocal about its approach to provide a network for IoT.

AT&T recently rolled out a number of innovations for smart cities, including an internet of things smart city framework and a new set of IoT developer tools.

That framework will be brought to Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas. While the company already supports connected utility meters, street lights and water system solutions, the new framework adds:

  • Infrastructure services that allow cities to remotely monitor the conditions of the roads, bridges, buildings and parks so maintenance crews can easily detect areas in need of repairs or attention.
  • Mobile applications, with real-time information about city services and traffic issues.
  • Transportation services including digital street signs for commuters about public transportation arrivals. The company also plans to build rentable electric bike stations across the city.
  • Public safety solutions that address traffic patterns around stadiums, parks and busy intersections and that deploy gun fire detection technology to let law enforcement know where a shooting occurred.

AT&T has formed alliances with Cisco, Deloitte, Ericsson, GE, IBM, Intel, and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. to help support the new framework, building more connected communities.

And last year, Ericsson and AT&T teamed up with chipmaker Altair to address the IoT battery life issue, demonstrating their new LTE Power Saving Mode for commercial IoT, which could allow batteries to last up to 10 years.

General Electric

source: GE
source: GE

It should be no surprise that General Electric (GE) finds its name on this list. It is credited for coining the term “internet of things,” and has a number of hardware and software solutions aimed at the industry.

GE and Cisco teamed up to develop a set of best practices for deploying GE’s Brilliant Manufacturing Suite within a secure, Cisco IT environment. The two companies developed an IoT reference architecture for manufacturing networks. This provides a blueprint for combining GE’s digital industrial solutions with Cisco’s networking infrastructure to capture machine data on the factory floor. The combined GE manufacturing software with real-time dashboards, and Cisco’s networking technology uses big data, software, sensors, controllers and robotics to help optimize industrial asset performance and availability.

GE’s Brilliant Manufacturing Suite provides, according to the company:

  • overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) performance analyzer to transform real-time machine data into actionable production efficiency metrics
  • production execution supervisor to digitize orders, process steps, and instructions and documentation with information pulled directly from ERP and PLM systems
  • production quality analyzer for real-time identification of quality data boundaries that catch non-conforming events
  • product genealogy manager that builds a record of personnel, equipment, raw materials, sub-assemblies and tools used to produce finished goods

While GE is more experienced with industrial equipment and hardware than it is with software, the company’s chief executive Jeffrey R. Immelt wants to make the industrial firm “a top 10 software company” by 2020, according to the New York Times.

To do so, GE launched Predix, an operating system and platform for building applications that connect to industrial assets, collect and analyze data, and deliver real-time insights for optimizing industrial infrastructure and operations.

GE also has what it calls the “Digital Power Plant,” a software and hardware solution that creates a virtual ”Digital Twin” of an industrial power plant complex. Powered by Predix, “Digital Twin” is a collection of physics-based methods and digital technologies that can be used to model the present state of assets in a power plant or wind farm.

Bosch

source: Bosch
source: Bosch

Bosch has made the IoT a primary focus of the company. The German manufacturer, well known for its consumer home and auto products, has both a suite of software products and its own recently launched cloud.

The Bosch IoT Suite provides the foundation for the company’s IoT initiatives. It helps in connecting things to the internet – reliably, securely, cost effectively and at scale – and delivers the backing application logic for value-added services, according to Bosch. It is made up of a set of software services that provide all of key middleware capabilities needed to build an IoT application from top to bottom. Bosch says customers can use any combination of these IoT services as needed to rapidly implement the desired solution:

  • Bosch IoT Analytics
    • Our analytics services make analyzing field data much simpler. The anomaly detection service helps investigate problems that occur in connected devices. The usage profiling service can determine typical usage patterns within a group of devices.
  • Bosch IoT Hub
    • Messaging backbone for device related communication as attach point for various protocol connectors
  • Bosch IoT Integrations
    • Integration with third-party services and systems
  • Bosch IoT Permissions
    • User management, rolebased access control, and multitenancy for IoT applications.
  • Bosch IoT Remote Manager
    • Administration of device functions like network connection, configuration, monitoring, etc.
  • Bosch IoT Rollouts
    • Manages large-scale rollouts of device software or firmware updates, both wired and over the air.
  • Bosch IoT Things
    • Managing assets, reading data from assets, controlling assets, etc.

The Bosch IoT cloud was recently launched near the company’s headquarters in Stuttgart, and will initially be used for in-house purposes and then available as a service for other companies starting in 2017.

“The Bosch IoT Cloud is the final piece of the puzzle that completes our software expertise. We are now a full-service provider for connectivity and the Internet of Things,” Denner said when announcing the cloud in March. Already, about five million devices are linked to Bosch’s IoT software suite, according to Reuters. The company plans on connecting all of its devices with electronics to the Internet by 2020.

Bosch, perhaps unsurprisingly, has inserted itself into the self-driving car domain, with initiatives like a partnership with Tesla and BMW to make prototype autonomous cars that can go up to 80 mph.

Intel

 

source: Intel
source: Intel

Intel remains the largest chipmaker in the world, but its smartphone failures have put pressure on the company to find new avenues of revenue. In the past few years it has shown that it is determined to become a leading IoT manufacturer, and in 2013 it launched a dedicated IoT business unit.

Intel recently bought two IoT automobile companies— Arynga and Yogitech. It is also developing inexpensive single-board computers for the IoT such as the Quark Microcontroller Developer Kit D2000, which is designed for applications ranging from industrial equipment to wearables.

Intel offers a number of chipsets and software solutions to address four aspects of an IoT system:

Scalability

Intel architecture scales for the Internet of Things through a wide range of product offerings. Intel Quark, Intel Atom, Intel Core and Intel Xeon processors, which each support a wide range of performance points with a common set of code. Analytics, encryption and new application requirements in IoT are driving the need for high levels of performance and computing headroom. According to Intel, for every case, there exists an Intel processor.

Manageability and Analytics

Intel IoT Gateways offer companies the ingredients for enabling the connectivity of legacy industrial devices and other systems to the IoT.

Security

Organizations are under increasing pressure to protect sensitive data, and prevent device theft and malware attacks. Intel and McAfee helps mitigate risk by offering various security products that can be deployed on things.

Ecosystem

Collaboration across the Intel ecosystem brings together the range of expertise and abilities required to create the IoT value chain. The chain begins with components, starting with ingredients, such as processors, modules, operating systems, and security software. Original design manufacturers (ODMs) use these to build boards that end up in things delivered by original equipment manufacturers (OEMS).

The company laid off 12,000 workers earlier in 2016, and is hoping the rapid growth of the internet of things cancels out the rapid decline of laptops.

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