From innovative startups to well-established incumbents, the enterprise is being reimagined from the ground up for the IOT era. Despite the unquestionable levels of innovation in the enterprise IOT space, the process of selecting an IOT platform remains a very complex endeavor for most enterprises. Factors such as lack of familiarity with IOT architectures, limited number of IOT engineers as well as the intrinsic complexities of IOT solutions make the evaluation of IOT platforms very challenging for most organizations.
The enterprise IOT space shares many of the common characteristics of fast growing enterprise software markets: it is incredibly crowded but only a small number of IOT platforms can demonstrate real traction in terms of customers, partnerships and revenue. From the large number of IOT platforms in the market, we can group the leaders in some of the following categories:
— IOT startups that have achieved meaningful market share and are well capitalized to compete with the incumbents.
— Industrial powerhouses that have built robust IOT platforms leveraging their unique domain expertise.
— Enterprise software and cloud platform providers that have expanded their offering with robust IOT services.
While the IOT platform market is incredibly crowded, there is a small group of companies that have achieved market leadership in the space. Here is an initial list:
-Watson IOT Platform
-Azure IOT Suite
Comparing these platforms could be an incredibly challenging exercise as they overlap in many capabilities. However, we think a starting point could be understanding the key strengths and weaknesses of each platform. Let’s take a look:
-Key Strenghts: Xively as developed a very impressive customer and partner base. Also, the experience of getting up and running and operating the Xively platform is relatively simple compared to its competitors.
-Key Weaknesses: Xively provides very limited extensibility models to incorporate new capabilities into the platform. Additionally, Xively’s cloud-only model could result limited in some industrial scenarios.
-Key Strenghts: thingWorx’s team bring very deep knowledge and expertise of the industrial enterprise solutions. ThingWorx has also achieved meaningful traction with partners and customers. Additionally, the ThingWorx platform provides unique capabilities such as model driven development and machine learning.
-Key Weaknesses: The complexity of the setup as well as the lack of extensibility are two of the main limitations of the ThingWorx platform.
Watson IOT Platform
-Key Strenghts: IBM’s Watson IOT platform offers several technical competitive advantages such as cognitive computing and stream analytics. IBM’s strong professional services arm and expertise across different industries is also a strong plus.
-Key Weaknesses: Watson IOT’s developer community is still relatively small. Also, the capabilities of the Watson IOT platform is very limited on on-premise environments.
-Key Strenghts: Predix is, arguably, the IOT platform that has achieved the biggest market traction reporting around $9 billion in revenue last year. The open source distribution model based on Cloud Foundry is also a strong plus.
-Key Weaknesses: The infrastructure setup and operational model of Predix results very complex for most organizations embarking in their IOT journey.
-Key Strenghts: AWS IOT is tightly integrated with other services in the AWS platform which facilitates the implementation of really sophisticated IOT solutions. AWS broad partner and developer communities are also a strong asset of its IOT offering.
-Key Weaknesses: AWS IOT is a cloud-only platform which results very limiting in some IOT scenarios.
Azure IOT Suite
-Key Strenghts: Azure IOT Suite is deeply integrated with other services in Microsoft’s Azure platform which facilitates the implementation of really sophisticated IOT solutions. Microsoft’s strong developer, partner and enterprise sales presence is also a strong plus.
-Key Weaknesses: Azure IOT Suite is still not equipped to operate in on-premise environments which results limiting in many IOT scenarios. Additionally, the current release of Azure IOT Suite is still missing several important building blocks of IOT solutions.