HomeEnterpriseThe top industrial IoT platforms – and the only three worth considering?

The top industrial IoT platforms – and the only three worth considering?

Old familiars Hitachi, PTC, and Software AG ranked top again among industrial IoT (IIoT) platforms in Gartner’s latest ‘Magic Quadrant’ assessment of the sector. But Software AG swapped places with PTC at the summit, this time, and Hitachi followed behind this pair.

These three ranked as ‘visionaries’ in the assessment, for the completeness of their IIoT strategies, as well as their ability to execute on them. The rest of the pack appeared less stable, slotting in as ‘niche’ players, with SAP dropping out of the contest completely for stopping channel support of its co-branded IIoT platform.

Gartner said of German outfit Software AG, which provides the plumbing for a number of IIoT platforms from bigger brands (excluded from the Gartner review) with its Cumulocity IoT platform, that it was distinguished by the strength of its technical solution, its channel activity, and its record of results.

It highlighted its work with industrial customers including Nordex, Entrematic and SIAD, as well as with industrial IoT solutions providers and manufacturing groups, including Dürr and CERTUSS. “In all cases, improvements in either operational efficiency or management of customer assets were achieved with the implementation of the Cumulocity IoT solution.”

Similarly, PTC’s ThingWorx was praised for its “long experience” and “global ecosystem”, as well as its reputation and record of investment. “PTC maintains a global sales force and an indirect channel of resellers worldwide,” it said. Meanwhile, Hitachi’s Lumada platform is called a “complete end-to-end solution that satisfies on-premises and cloud installations to asset-intensive industries like manufacturing, transportation, energy, and utilities”.

The top 10, in order, are listed below. A full description of the top three IIoT platforms is quoted at the bottom of this article. A link to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Industrial IoT Platforms is here. Last year’s review can be found here.

1 | Software AG (Cumulocity IoT)
2 | PTC (LiveWorx)
3 | Hitachi (Lumada)
4 | Accenture (CPaaS)
=5 | Altizon (Datonis IIoT)
=5 | Exosite (Murano IIoT)
=5 | IBM (Watson IoT)
=8 | Litmus Automation (Loop IoT)
=8 | Oracle (Oracle IoT Cloud Service)
10 | Davra (Davra IoT Platform)

New entrants in the 2019 edition include Davra, Eurotech, Exosite, GE Digital, Litmus Automation, and ROOTCLOUD. Exosite ranks joint fifth, with Altizon and IBM. Litmus Automation appears in joint eighth, with Oracle. Davra ranks tenth.

GE Digital’s entry, for its Predix platform, is attended by a note of caution, as its owner continues to look for buyers for it, and its future strategy is unclear. “The future investment, development and innovation of the Predix platform remains in flux due to continued changes happening at GE. … It is unclear what the future roadmap will entail,” it said.

“However, at this time, GE Digital continues its focus on its IIoT platform and industrial applications to support asset-intensive monitoring and automation, predictive maintenance, operations optimisation, digital twin and other key industrial use cases.”

Significantly, SAP has been dropped, after ranking third last time out. SAP had been selling a co-branded product from Telit, called ‘SAP IoT Device Management by Telit.’ The company has since ended its reseller agreement, and no longer offers IoT Device Management as part of its product catalogue. SAP’s own IIoT platforms do not conform to the inclusion criteria.

Gartner said non-compliance does not preclude excellence in the IIoT space, necessarily, or consideration by enterprises. Other non-conforming notables from the IIoT market include ABB, Alibaba, AWS, Huawei, Microsoft, Schneider Electric, and Siemens.

Alibaba, AWS, Huawei. Microsoft are not available as on-premises deployment in addition to cloud deployment. ABB’s Ability IoT and EcoStruxure IoT offering are not considered a stand-alone, salable horizontal IIoT platform. Meanwhile, Siemens’ MindSphere IoT platform is excluded because it leverages services from multiple cloud providers and other partners in its offering.

1 | Software AG / Cumulocity IoT

“Software AG’s foundational IIoT application platform suite, Cumulocity IoT, consists of Cumulocity IoT Core and Cumulocity IoT Edge. Together, the software provides device management, smart rules, cockpit, and preconfigured IIoT applications, and optionally integrated components such as real-time analytics, enterprise and cloud integration, and data and API management.

“The platform is available as either an on-premises or a cloud deployment model (including hybrid edge-cloud) and can be used stand-alone or in conjunction with Software AG’s digital transformation portfolio. Data management, analytics and integration capabilities become available with such tools as webMethods, Trendminer, Zementis, Apama and Built.io….

“Software AG has sharpened its focus on the IIoT marketplace by establishing a separate Digital Business Platform Cloud and IoT reporting segment. This accelerates the growth of the IoT business overall, and an IoT Center of Excellence as an overlay to the global sales team. In 2019, Software AG also introduced a separate business unit dedicated to IoT and analytics. In addition to its direct channel efforts, through its reseller channel of over 55 resellers, Software AG generates 50% of its IIoT platform revenue from these partners.”

2 | PTC / ThingWorx

“PTC’s ThingWorx… is available as an on-premises deployment, and cloud and hybrid options, and it leverages, where required, existing cloud and IIoT investments in Microsoft Azure IoT Hub, AWS IoT and Rockwell Automation’s FactoryTalk….

“Its strength lies in its long experience with the assets across vertical markets and tends to focus on asset monitoring, predictive maintenance and asset utilisation solutions. To develop these solutions and industry knowledge, PTC has developed a global ecosystem of IIoT-focused technology partners, solution providers and global system integrators.

“Finally, ThingWorx is one of the best-known IoT platforms in the market and continues to invest…. Observed and verifiable industrial use cases include asset monitoring and predictive maintenance of multiple in-field assets, such as automotive fleets and connected industrial products, and manufacturing operations, such as consumer packaged goods and electronics.”

2 | Hitachi / Lumada

The Hitachi Lumada platform… can offer different types of IoT-enabled cloud managed services, particularly to key target markets like smart cities and heavy industrials. [It] offers a complete end-to-end solution that satisfies on-premises and cloud types of installation to asset-intensive industries like manufacturing, transportation, energy and utilities.

“Furthermore, Hitachi has developed its rendition of digital twins called “Asset Avatars.” Lumada Asset Avatars are considered low-fidelity digital twins as functionality is focused on asset monitoring and alerting features….

“One of Hitachi’s primary go-to-market strategies is to sell Lumada within its subsidiaries as a white-box solution embedded into the subsidiaries’ product offerings. An example would be Hitachi Visualization Suite powered by Lumada’s hybrid cloud and edge compute for smart city clients.”

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