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PTC tops three separate polls of the leading industrial IoT platforms

Needham-based industrial software maker PTC has come top in a series of reviews of industrial IoT (IIoT) platform providers. Its ThingWorx proposition has been consistently identified by analysts in 2018 as a leading platform for digital transformation.

PTC also topped Gartner’s inaugural ‘magic quadrant’ for IIoT platforms in May, ahead of Hitachi, SAP, IBM, Software AG and Accenture . Research firm ABI is set to publish its own poll in the next weeks, with PTC to feature strongly again.

Consulting firm Quadrant said this week ThingWorx is the best of a varied bunch in a market that is still taking shape, with vendors offering various capabilities. It leads the pack from IBM, SAP and Software AG, according to the research. “Most have limited capabilities and are focusing on their specific market segments,” it said.

At the same time, vendors are aggressively expanding their offerings through both in-house developments and strategic acquisitions. Growth opportunities will drive acquisitions and collaborations as vendors seek to fill out their industrial IoT portfolios, notably with augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI), it said.

Quadrant evaluated IIoT platforms for their performance, capability, and impact. It considered offerings from Actility, Altair, Axiros, Ayla Networks, Cisco, Eurotech, Exosite, IBM, Microsoft, PTC, SAP, Sierra Wireless, Software AG, and Telit, among others.

ThingWorx provides the most comprehensive set of tools for developing IoT solutions for variety of industry applications, concluded Quadrant.

The platform combines application development from ThingWorx, communications connectivity to industrial equipment from Kepware, IoT connectivity and device management from Axeda, machine learning and predictive analytics from Coldlight, and augmented reality from Vuforia.

Meanwhile, ThingWorx has also been named the best industrial IoT platform by online platform IoT ONE and Swedish research house Berg Insight.

IoT ONE said it assessed over 2,000 IIoT solution providers to identify and showcase the top 500 companies in the market. PTC led from Cisco, Siemens and Intel on its list.
In a separate report, from June, Berg Insight highlighted the efforts of GE and PTC to “spearhead” IoT in industrial settings.

“While GE has shifted focus to mainly provide solutions rather than its Predix platform alone, PTC has emerged as the leader in the space,” it commented.

Software AG and Telit have also built strong positions in the industrial sector, according to Berg Insight, with Software AG’s platform selected by Siemens to complement its MindSphere operating system, and Telit holding a strategic partnership with Wind River.

Berg Insight also commends Bosch, IBM, SAP, Oracle, Exosite, Device Insight and Altair Engineering.

The global market for IoT device management and application enablement platforms reached $1.1 billion in 2017, calculates Berg Insight. The market will reach $4.9 billion in 2022, on the back of compound growth of 36.2 per cent per year.

But Amazon, Microsoft and Google will see the number of platforms shrink in the next years. The market has already entered a consolidation phase, it said, with recent merger and acquisition activity.

Fredrik Stålbrand, IoT analyst at Berg Insight, commented: “The involvement of the cloud infrastructure providers will over time lead to commoditisation of some services currently offered by vendors in the IoT platform market and result in further specialisation of IoT platform providers.

“Some level of fragmentation in the market is expected to remain due to lack of standards, but also due to specific requirements in industries characterised by mission critical applications such as automotive, healthcare and manufacturing, as well as in the critical infrastructure industries.”

Jim Heppelmann, president and chief executive at PTC, said of its good showing in recent analyst research: “PTC is enabling industrial companies to realise the promise of the IoT by reinventing their business models and improving their competitive stance.”

Rockwell Automation announced last month it is to take a $1 billion stake in PTC as part of a strategic partnership to drive growth for both firms, and enable customers to make good on the “promise of industrial IoT.” Rockwell Automation chairman and chief executive Blake Moret will join PTC’s board of directors.

PTC’s ThingWorx, Kepware, and Vuforia platforms will be integrated with Rockwell Automation’s own FactoryTalk suite of manufacturing execution system (MES), analytics and industrial automation platforms.

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