December 2015

I am still proud to say that after all these years of writing I still get pretty charged up when I engage in conversations with my readers who confide in me about what keeps them up at night. Perhaps it’s those personal and confidential relationships that have kept me going all these years in the business when I have witnessed the real art of journalism change.

Despite many market changes, my loyal readers still remain steadfast in the world of technology and turn to Connected World. But many of you have confessed you are still questioning—perhaps with good reason—braving the transition to the IoT as it is being pitched by some tech vendors. However, it’s your concerns to leave the nest that have opened the door for me to really do more than just write about the IoT space.

For the past couple of years, Connected World has been reporting that manufacturing is going to be the next big growth area for the IoT (Internet of Things). This past June, McKinsey and Co., www.mckinsey.com, has even reinforced Connected World’s position releasing a report stating the IoT will create as much as $11 trillion in economic value by 2025. That economic value will come from basically nine different physical settings, including the healthcare, agriculture, construction, worksites, etc. But the most interesting point to be noted from the report is the majority of the growth will come from what we have been saying all along and that is manufacturing-intensive  environments.

Perhaps one of the most compelling aspects about running a publication is not only reporting on the technology, but foreshadowing trends, and being able to articulate all this information so that companies can chart a course for the future. As a soothsayer, many of the market predictions I have foreshadowed have come true and several of you have commented on this very fact, and as a result, have turned to me for more detailed market confidence.

I guess you could say I have picked up a few things covering the technology space for as long as I have and that enables me to make long-term predictions and even consult with individuals and companies. It’s for this reason I have been invited me to spend countless hours in your offices, within your plant floors, and in your staff meetings, listening intently to your biggest concerns.

In the end, some of you struggle with the clock ticking closer to the big 2G shutdown; others are focused on monitoring and managing sensors and ERP (enterprise-resource planning) systems across multiple factories into one easy system; while others want to leverage the industrial IoT to be more predictive to exceed customer expectations.

Listening to all these concerns means I have logged a lot of miles meeting a cadre of companies from a host of industries including construction, transportation, healthcare, and of course, industrial and manufacturing.

Despite these different verticals what all these companies have in common is that none of these firms just implement the IoT simply for the purpose of controlling and monitoring their assets in this new world of connected devices and systems. Everyone understands the importance around all the talk of big data and predictive analytics in the enterprise.

Each company wants to hatch an impressive strategy that doesn’t make them passive players in the market. They understand they need to find the right companies that provide the best tools and technologies to get them to the next level to be disruptive in the market they serve.

More importantly, it’s not about just collecting a new stream of data, it’s about gaining more intelligence from “dumb” devices and leapfrogging the competition. This mean adopting, deploying, and supporting the most effective and efficient mobile solutions throughout the entire enterprise.

If these companies are not already, they will soon be transforming the industries they serve and they will be leading a new charge unlike anything their competitors could have imagined. I am thrilled they have taken me along for the ride.

They get the risks of cybersecurity. They get the idea of dedicating more time to BYPD (bring your own device) mobility solutions. They understand they have to work with the right partners and that’s the rub. Finding the right partner today can be a challenge. Everyone is saying they are an IoT company. Everyone can offer a public or private network? Everyone has the right solution for your company. This is where the real nightmare comes in.

There are a lot of vendors out there that are very self-serving. What appears on the surface may not be what it appears to be. End user companies are sharing data with each other. They realize that tomorrow’s most successful company is not keeping everything close to the vest anymore. As tech vendors espouse the stakes are high, it’s important to understand so are the rewards with the right implementation partner.

There is a lot of exciting news happening and we heard some key announcements at CTIA as some tech firms introduced products and services designed specifically for easily deploying and managing enterprise-IoT devices.

For instance, ORBCOMM, www.orbcomm.com, launched ORBCOMMconnect, a multi-network subscriber-management portal. With ORBCOMMconnect and its companion mobile apps, we’re talking single-click access to reporting and drill-down functionality, including analytics, customizable tables, and pre-defined or custom reports. It’s all about helping businesses transform “big data” into “smart data.”

Another announcement came from MultiTech Systems, www.multitech.com, which launched DeviceHQ. DeviceHQ is an application marketplace that opens the door for enterprises to manage, control, and monitor remote devices from anywhere. This is another great example of how the industry is moving toward reducing cost and complexity for businesses that want to deploy IoT, but may not have the expertise or experience.

Arrow Electronics, www.arrow.com, unveiled its Arrow Intelligent Services. This framework aims to simplify the way OEMs (original-equipment manufacturers), enterprises, and suppliers build, deploy, and manage connected systems. Arrow is telling the same story here. Cost and complexity are real hurdles for the IoT in enterprise, but with awareness about the potential value, tools designed to simplify deployment and management, and the passage of time, the IoT will dramatically change how businesses conduct business now and into the future.

Formerly, On-Ramp Wireless relaunched it existing RPMA (random phase multiple access) technology and nationwide public network dedicated to M2M and IoT connectivity and launched it under the new company Ingenu, www.ingenu.com. The network has already been successfully deployed in private networks, but this next step will make RPMA capabilities available at the public level.

And in late September a united GE, www.ge.com, and PTC, www.ptc.com, announced they were teaming to deliver a modular and robust solution for manufacturers looking for optimization through digitization. This new GE-branded manufacturing solution will combine GE’s manufacturing portfolio with PTC’s ThingWorx Industrial IoT application-enablement environment. PTC is a provider of technology platforms and enterprise applications for smart and connected products, operations, and systems. The company’s ThingWorx platform helps customers discover new value from their IoT deployments.

The GE-PTC solution will feature flexible dashboards that can be personalized by drag-and-drop capabilities, as well as data analytics. The solution will also offer role-based manufacturing dashboards with realtime KPIs (key performance indicators) and a standardized KPI model for all plants. It will further enhance collaboration and provide alerts, notifications, and access to actionable data. The ultimate goal is to help manufacturers make more informed business decisions.

The future is looking very bright for the enterprise and manufacturing with IoT adoption. The real key now is finding the right partners that will be there when and where you need them. The key now is separating the wheat from the chaff.

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