It's a tricky time for channel partners evaluating the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market for business opportunities. Unlike the age of PCs and servers, the IIoT sector has yet to grow and consolidate down to a few dominant platforms. In fact, it may never fully consolidate because of the very nature of vertical markets.
Think of it this way: Channel partners in the 1990s made their money building and supporting solutions that ran atop a few dominant platforms -- i.e., first Novell NetWare then Microsoft Windows NT Server and various business software platforms like Oracle or SAP.
Fast forward to the present day and the IIoT market is huge -- growing more than 7 percent annually to $91.4 billion by 2023, according to Markets and Markets
. The problem -- and opportunity -- for channel partners involves market segmentation, fragmentation and specialization.
Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): Vertical Markets and Technology Specialties
Unlike the PC or server markets, which were horizontal and open to all partners in all verticals, the IIoT platform market involves far more specialization -- focusing on specific applications within specific verticals. The shortlist of variables includes:
- Vertical market focus areas like manufacturing, healthcare, retail and ICT.
- Technology specialties such as:
- industrial robotics
- 3D printing
- distributed control system
- condition monitoring
- smart meter
- autonomous haulage system
- yield monitors
- guidance & steering
- flow and application control devices; and
- networking technology.
That's a lengthy list, and many traditional channel partners don't have much expertise beyond networking.
Top 15 Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Platforms -- And Partner Opportunities
Still, there are some obvious places for partners to start. Among the first potential steps: Look at the IIoT vendor community and associated channel partner programs. A recent Forrester Wave, for instance, identifies the Top 15 IIoT platforms.
We gave the list a look, and added ChannelE2E's perspectives on each vendor's partner program, conferences, and more. Here's the lineup in alphabetical order
1. Amazon Web Services AWS IoT:
Key Amazon tools include...
2. Atos Codex IoT:
- Amazon FreeRTOS, an operating system for microcontrollers that makes small, low-power edge devices easy to program, deploy, secure, connect, and manage.
- AWS Greengrass is software that lets customers run local compute, messaging & data caching for connected devices in a secure way.
- AWS IoT Core is a managed cloud platform that lets connected devices interact with cloud applications and other devices.
- AWS IoT Device Management is a service that allows partners to onboard, organize, monitor, and remotely manage IoT devices at scale.
- AWS IoT Device Defender is a managed service that helps customers secure their fleet of IoT devices.
- AWS IoT Analytics is a managed service that allows customers to run analytics on massive volumes of IoT data.
- AWS IoT 1-Click is a service that makes it easy for simple devices to trigger AWS Lambda functions that execute a specific action.
- AWS IoT Button is a programmable button based on the Amazon Dash Button hardware.
- Amazon AWS IoT Partner Program: Details are here.
- AWS re:Invent Conference Information: Details are here.
The company's areas of expertise include smart business enablement, IoT systems integration and IoT security. On the one hand, Atos is a massive consulting firm and outsourcing specialist -- a potential rival to VARs and MSPs. But on the other hand, partner-to-partner work within the IIoT ecosystem appears strong.
3. Bosch IoT Suite:
The company develops services for device management; reliable and secure software updates over the air; and IoT analytics capabilities that are now directly available via via AWS Marketplace.
4. C3 IoT Platform and Applications:
C3 IoT delivers a platform as a service (PaaS) for developing and operating big data, predictive analytics, AI / machine learning, and IoT software as a service (SaaS) applications. C3 IoT also offers a family of configurable and extensible SaaS products developed with and operating on its PaaS.
5. Cisco Kinetic and Cisco Jasper:
- C3 Partner Program: It's more of an alliance play with companies like Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and Intel.
One of the most partner-friendly companies on this list. Cisco Kinetic allows partners to connect distributed devices (“things”) to the network, and then extract, normalize, and securely move data from those devices to key applications. Cisco Jasper is an IoT connectivity management platform that allows partners to manage Internet of Things connected devices.
6. GE Digital (Predix):
Predix remains among the most promising IIoT cloud platforms in the world. But GE's overall business -- both traditional and digital -- has hit multiple potholes in recent years. The company as of mid-2018 is selling off some assets -- and Predix could be impacted. Still, there are signs of progress -- including a growing partnership with Microsoft Azure
7. Hitachi Lumada:
Hitachi’s Lumada IoT platform uses artificial intelligence, analytics and asset virtualization – called asset avatars – to 'illuminate' customer data to drive better outcomes.
8. IBM Watson IoT Platform:
- Hitachi Partner Program: Details are here but we don't know if there's a specific IIoT track.
The platforms allow partners to connect, manage and secure IoT systems and associated data. IBM Watson offers Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, and image and text analytics to enrich IoT apps.
9. Microsoft Azure IoT:
It's hard to bet against Microsoft's partner strategy these days. The company in mid-2018 launched an Azure MSP Expert partner program
, and IIoT-centric wrinkles are surely on the way.
10. Oracle IoT Cloud and Oracle IoT Applications
: The technology giant's IoT portfolio includes a PaaS service, IoT asset monitoring, IoT apps and more.
Continue to page two of two for IIoT companies sorted 11 through 15, and their associated partner programs.
Here are companies 11 through 15.
11. PTC ThingWorx:
- Oacle IoT Partner Program: The company's key IoT partners are listed here. But we're not sure if the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) Specialized program has an IoT track.
- Oracle Partner Conference: A partner day is typically part of Oracle OpenWorld.
One of the best-known companies in the IIoT market, ThingWorx allows partners to build and extract value from smart, connected operations. The company offers rapid development tools and support for on-premise or cloud deployments.
12. SAP Leonardo IoT:
SAP Leonardo Bridge brings together data from the Internet of Things (IoT) and business operations in a collaborative, role-based work environment. The cloud-based solution offers real-time data from multiple sources – including SAP and third-party applications.
13. Schneider Electric EcoStruxure:
This is an IoT-enabled, plug-and-play, open, interoperable architecture and platform, in homes, buildings, data centers and infrastructure. The ecosystem includes 20,000 system integrators and partners, the company claims.
14. Siemens MindSphere:
MindSphere is the cloud-based, IoT operating system fromSiemens that connects customer products, plants, systems, and machines. It utilizes Siemens Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) capabilities along with access to AWS cloud services and Microsoft Azure.
15. Software AG Cumulocity IoT: Positioned as a
telco-grade secure IoT platform that allows customers to connect millions of devices via SaaS, PaaS and on-premises deployment. It includes pre-configured solution accelerators, including Tracking, Telematics and Industrial IoT capabilities.