IoT platform collaborations and consolidation are coming

Matt Smith, CTO at Software AG

The Internet of Things (IoT) is hotter than ever and in 2018 there will be more collaboration between market leaders, even as the community of 300+ platforms begins inevitable consolidation. According to Matt Smith, CTO at Software AG, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will begin to infiltrate IoT platforms and devices and new business models will flourish.

  • If you can’t beat them, join them

Realisation dawns that IoT market leaders must embrace collaboration, even with competitors, to achieve innovation.

The trick to working with competitors, without compromising integrity and intellectual property, is standardisation. A set of common standards, developed by practitioners applying their domain knowledge, can benefit everyone. Joint ventures are the name of the new game.

  • The game is ON

IoT platforms won’t survive without leveraging AI and ML.

Platform vendors will evolve from device connectivity and data collection and push forward into data analysis using AI and machine learning. Data-driven analysis leads to process-driven actions as part of the maturity curve. Highly complex use cases such as predictive maintenance and self-driving cars lower the barriers to adoption.

  • Honey, I shrunk the community

Shake-out on IoT Platform community is imminent.

There are over 300 IoT platforms on the market, from B2B to B2C to industry-specific, specialising on data connectivity and/or management. Next year we will see the first real shake-out, as closures and takeovers – mainly by large software companies and the newly formed joint ventures from prediction No.1- take place.

  • Vertical is the new horizontal

Platforms will get more specialised as standards and protocols such as MQTT and OPC/UA gain common ground and simplify adoption.

Horizontal, agnostic IoT platforms are maturing and have gained market share. As standardisation continues, differentiation through specialisation is the way going forward. New and existing vendors will want to add value and distinguish themselves by offering tailored solutions to certain markets, or even certain industry verticals.

  • Are you Ready to Rumble?

New business models will influence and inspire new business opportunities such as assets-as-a-service.

As efficiency use cases such as predictive maintenance begin to lower costs and provide a deeper understanding of assets, organisations will be able to leverage new concepts. Offering things as a service, tighter SLAs, optimising spare parts inventories or improving service excellence and maintenance are all new models which will be implemented by manufacturers.

  • Smart Devices are sooo 2017

Never mind smart devices with analytics on the edge, analytical devices will be the next great trend.

Hardware vendors will come up with out-of-the-box solutions where IoT and advanced analysis capabilities are pre-installed on the devices and ready to use. For example, control capabilities will increase with the advances made in real-time Ethernet (TSN) and the emergence of 5G, allowing for virtualisation of the controller.

Analytical devices could be how we define robots going forward. Intelligence does not have to reside in a walking, talking human facsimile. Intelligence can live inside a pill that we swallow, which finds and kills a cancer and then keep an eye on whether it returns.

The author of this blog is Matt Smith, CTO at Software AG

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