Estimates suggest the number of connected “things” in use worldwide will increase 31% from 2016 to 2017, reaching 8.4 billion this year. Further, total spending on endpoints and IoT (Internet of Things) services could approach $2 trillion. These estimates come from research firm Gartner, www.gartner.com, which further predicts the number of connected things will exceed 20 billion by 2020.
Of these connected things, businesses are on pace to employ 3.1 billion enterprise devices, such as smart meters, commercial security cameras, and many others, in 2017 alone. Gartner expects enterprise IoT spending to represent 57% of the 2017 total. Within the enterprise segment, industrial businesses are important users of IoT devices. In fact, the IIoT (industrial IoT) could become the biggest driver of productivity and growth in the next decade, according to Accenture, www.accenture.com, which estimates the IIoT could add a whopping $14.2 trillion to the global economy by 2030. Accenture further suggests the IIoT will redefine key sectors that account for a majority of global output.
One way IIoT technology providers can continue to drive adoption and innovation is by partnering with other organizations to remove barriers to entry and make ROI (return on investment) as accessible as possible. Some providers choose to merge or acquire other businesses and their talent and/or technology in order to boost the acquiring company’s IoT portfolio. One of the latest examples is Cisco’s, www.cisco.com, announcement that it intends to acquire Jasper Technologies, www.jasper.com, for $1.4 billion in cash and equity.
At its recent users’ conference, OSIsoft, www.osisoft.com, unveiled its own efforts to further the space by building its own ecosystem. The operational intelligence provider unveiled Marketplace, an online collection of software and hardware solutions for accelerating digital transformation in the industrial world. OSIsoft says Marketplace is designed to link utilities, energy companies, manufacturers, food and beverage producers, and other industrial customers with more than 300 hardware, software, and integration partners in the OSIsoft Partner EcoSphere, as well as 2,600 third-party developers in the PI Developers Club. The PI System, OSIsoft’s flagship product, is a widely used technology for IIoT deployments.
With the goal of helping customers discover, compare, and connect with IoT technology and service providers that have deep experience in their respective fields, Marketplace is one industry tool that could help accelerate industrial companies’ journeys to IIoT adoption. John Genovesi, vice president of the information software and process business at Rockwell Automation, www.rockwellautomation.com, a Marketplace participant, says leading systems simply must work together for the Internet of Things to succeed; interoperability among vendors in a technology stack is necessary to create the seamless experience enterprises want and need.
Before the IIoT and, by extension, enterprise IoT can reach its potential and deliver the connected solutions capable of redefining industrial businesses, end user companies must be able to put one foot in front of the other and assemble interoperable solutions that deliver ROI. This isn’t always as straightforward as it should be, but partnerships between and among tech providers looking to grow the space—and their share of it—is a good place to start.