HomeChannelsFundamentalsFrom Accenture to Software AG: the top 10 industrial IoT platforms

From Accenture to Software AG: the top 10 industrial IoT platforms

Analyst house Gartner has put the leading IIoT platforms through their paces, and named the best in the business. Here, Enterprise IoT Insights reviews the Gartner review, and orders the results, to summarise the best industrial IoT platforms available to enterprises in the energy and utilities, manufacturing, and transportation and logistics sectors.

1 | PTC

  • Platform name: ThingWorx
  • Product launch: January 2014 (acquired)
  • Industrial focus: energy and utilities, manufacturing, transportation and logistics
  • Application focus: asset monitoring, predictive maintenance, operational excellence
  • Cloud compatibility: private (on-premises), hybrid (IaaS), public (AWS / Google / Microsoft Azure)

PTC is an industrial specialist, with form in computer-aided design (CAD) and sundry product, service and application lifecycle management. Its Thingworx platform is well-suited to manufacturers invested in PTC’s applications in these disciplines. It is highly commended for its work to develop an ‘ecosystem’ of tech partners, solution providers and system integrators, as well as providing good community development and a range of training and certification course work / programmes.

At the same time, Gartner raises a note of caution as enterprise integration is not native to the ThingWorx platform, and its analytics are considered difficult to use and integrate. MQTT support requires add-ons, also, from market-place, licensed PTC modules, or third-party cloud services. PTC lacks an installed base of customers within the transportation and logistics, and utility sectors, it says.

2 | Hitachi

  • Platform name: Lumada
  • Product launch: May 2016
  • Industrial focus: energy and utilities, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, natural resources
  • Application focus: asset management, predictive maintenance, operational excellence
  • Cloud compatibility: private (on-premises), hybrid (IaaS), public (AWS / Google / Microsoft Azure)

Hitachi’s long history as a manufacturer of industrial equipment means its Lumada applications for rail, feet management and asset management have been deployed within many of its own businesses. This gives Hitachi experience and cutting edge, says Garter, which translates into faster deployments. But it cuts both ways. “Lumada is best for industrial environments involving Hitachi equipment,” it says.

Hitachi offers robust edge capabilities that are purpose-built for manufacturing, utility and transportation asset environments. Its analytical digital-twin functions are also highlighted by Gartner. But the analyst house advises Hitachi lacks “generally available” IoT marketplace for apps, extensions, connectors, and offers limited proof points where Lumada adds value to non-Hitachi equipment.

3 | SAP

  • Platform name: Leonardo
  • Product launch: January 2017
  • Industrial focus:energy and utilities, manufacturing, transportation and logistics
  • Use cases:asset monitoring, predictive maintenance, related analytics
  • Cloud compatibility: cloud and on-premise via SAP cloud platform

SAP is naturally aligned with the German government’s Industrie 4.0 initiative, in its home country. Its Leonardo platform is buoyed by decent heritage in manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and proven capabilities to supplement OT functions with IoT. But it is an involved process, it warns, requiring increases in skills, resources to integrate and manage hybrid deployments. It also relies on partners like Telit for on-premises deployments, and offers limited the appeal to industrial enterprises without a sizable SAP installed base.

4 | IBM

  • Platform name: Watson IoT
  • Product launch: October 2014
  • Industrial focus:energy and utilities, insurance, manufacturing, retail
  • Use cases: asset monitoring, predictive maintenance
  • Cloud compatibility: private cloud (on-premises; isolated and single tenant), public cloud (multitenant)

IBM’s Watson IoT platform offers device management, analytics, data management, software development and security, and robust integration, notes Gartner. Like most others, it is invariably best-suited when taken with complementary components from the IBM stack. The platform is easy to use, requiring less training than rival platforms.

IBM is commended for its consultative approach and global access, as well, and marked down for a lack of formal partnerships with OT vendors, unproven approach and investments for digital twins, and failure to meet commitments on future platform functionality.

5 | Software AG

  • Platform name: Cumulocity
  • Product launch: March 2017
  • Industrial focus:energy and utilities, manufacturing, transportation and logistics
  • Use cases: asset monitoring, predictive maintenance
  • Cloud compatibility: private, hybrid, public

Another Industrie 4.0 stalwart, German provider Software AG’s Cumulocity IoT platform provides capabilities for device management, data management and competitive capabilities relating to integration, analytics and security. It offers the widest protocol support of any platform, says Gartner, including communications, enterprise application, edge device protocols.

Software AG also boasts comprehensive IoT device life cycle management capability and rapid creation of digital twins for asset visibility. At the same time , it lacks meaningful partnerships with OT vendors, and Gartner suggests application enablement / management is difficult to integrate.

6 | Accenture

  • Platform name: CPaaS
  • Product launch: 2015
  • Industrial focus: energy and utilities, manufacturing, transportation and logistics
  • Use cases: asset monitoring and predictive maintenance
  • Cloud compatibility: private (on-premises), hybrid (IaaS), public (AWS / Microsoft Azure)

Gartner says Accenture’s connected platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) – available on a subscription basis, priced according to deployment – spans the full range of IIoT platform components. “The platform is extensible and configurable for specific customer needs,” it says. But it is something of a jack-of-all-trades platform, relevant to consumer and commercial use cases, as much as to industrial ones.

As a consequence, it falls short of outright mastery of industrial settings, it seems, with little doing in the field of digital twins, and no customers making use of its OPC UA support. “Accenture lacks deep experience deploying in mission-critical and regulated industrial settings,” says Gartner.

7 | Oracle

  • Platform name: Oracle Internet of Things (IoT) Cloud Service
  • Product launch: December 2015
  • Industrial focus:energy and utilities, manufacturing, transportation and logistics
  • Application focus:asset monitoring, production monitoring, fleet monitoring
  • Cloud compatibility: private (Oracle Cloud; available on-premise)

Oracle’s application-centric approach to IoT offers easier implementation, management and connectivity to middleware and enterprise applications, says Gartner. Its IoT Cloud Service hinges on Oracle’s own analytics, development and management products, as well as its partnerships with the likes of Cisco for connectivity management, and Accenture, Deloitte and Hitachi for system integration.

The platform provides some device management capabilities but mostly relies on OEM solutions, says Gartner. “Although Oracle maintains a significant installed base for its other non-IoT technologies in the utility sector, the company offered no references for Oracle IoT Cloud Service deployments in that industry,” it says.

8 | Altizon

  • Platform name: Datonis
  • Product launch: n/a
  • Industrial focus:energy and utilities, manufacturing, transportation and logistics
  • Application focus: real-time monitoring of assets for predictive failure and spares management
  • Cloud compatibility: private (on-premises), hybrid (IaaS), public (AWS / Microsoft Azure)

Altizon has pedigree in the industrial space, notably with asset monitoring and analytics in the automotive and chemical manufacturing market in India. Gartner notes its track record of bridging industrial IT and OT environments. It typically focuses on manufacturers with less than $10 billion in revenue, and is only just finding its feet on the global stage.

Its Datonis platform lacks a “productive indirect channel to market”, says Gartner. OT partners include A&E Engineering, AWC, Bachelor Controls, Cotmac Electronics, Hargrove and Siemens.

9 | Atos

  • Platform name: Codex IoT
  • Product launch: June 2016
  • Industrial focus: energy and utilities, manufacturing, transportation and logistics
  • Application focus: include asset monitoring, quality and predictive maintenance
  • Cloud compatibility: private (on-premises), public (AWS / Microsoft Azure)

Atos’ supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) business means its Codex IoT platform is picked up by utilities, mostly in Europe and North America. “Atos is best when focused on adding value to Siemens’ assets within the manufacturing plant,” reflects Gartner. “Atos is able to support diverse manufacturers’ products for the monitoring and management of assets in the field.”

In general, however, Atos has limited penetration into industrial environments, says Gartner, and is considered to be lacking in terms of channel sales and support for developers. The Codex IoT platform is only offered as a managed service, in which all change management is controlled by Atos.

10 | QiO

  • Platform name: Foresight
  • Product launch: June 2016
  • Industrial focus:energy and utilities, manufacturing, transportation and logistics
  • Application focus: asset monitoring and predictive maintenance
  • Cloud compatibility: private (Foresight cloud; available on premise)

Although QiO’s Foresight platform spans the full range of components for the industrial market, the company’s strengths are its advanced analytics, and notably its digital twin for industrial assets. The platform can integrate into, and span, IT and OT technologies; however, the Foresight Platform’s capabilities in device management and OT technologies are still maturing to a level needed to compete with, or augment, legacy control systems, says Gartner. Its go-to-market partners include Rolls-Royce, Lloyd’s Register and BT.

The full Gartner ‘magic quadrant’ review of IIoT platforms can be found here.

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