The industrial internet of things (IIoT) has exploded in potential over the past five years. Today, new innovations are giving rise to smarter factory technology that’s enabling everything from predictive maintenance to data-driven operational shifts. But the tech landscape is still murky, with both established giants and new startups vying for manufacturers’ attention.
Getting to know the players — both established and up-and-coming — in the IIoT space is important for every manufacturer.
The established players
The forerunners of the IIoT are generally giant conglomerates that have the proven track record of factory experience, plenty of capital to invest in new tech, and established talent to create products that work as intended. They also enjoy one major leverage point: legacy systems. Companies that already have legacy software have been quick to build out support technologies around that software.
Some of the early market leaders and established players in the IIoT space include names manufacturers are already keenly familiar with:
- General Electric (GE) — GE’s Predix and its general Digital division are one of the earliest IIoT ecosystems to emerge. The Digital division does about $4 billion in revenue each year and, while the company may be struggling overall, GE’s future looks bright as an early mover in the IIoT space.
- Siemens — Another tenured factory name, Siemens was actually the first to launch an IIoT ecosystem. Its MindSphere platform has made inroads with some of the biggest names in industrial manufacturing.
- Honeywell — With a background in petrochemicals, Honeywell is familiar with operating large plants with minimal workforce. That experience has translated to one of the fastest-growing IIoT ecosystems on the market today.
Other established leaders in the IIoT market include the likes of Cisco Systems, ABB, FANUC, Bosch, and SAP, among others.
Established manufacturing support giants aren’t the only players in the IIoT space. New up-and-comers are bringing small company agility, new-age solutions, and innovative UX/UI designs to this in-demand space. Without legacy software to constrain them, these modern startups have virtually unlimited freedom to meet customer demand. Some of the different areas of focus, with just a few players in each space, include:
- Sensors and beacons — Sigfox, Ingenu, Cubic Telecom, Helium Systems, 3DSignals, Konux GmbH, Particle, Fleet Space Technologies, SatixFy Group, Kepler
- Edge and connected devices — Skycatch, Airware, Kespry, PrecisionHawk, Carbon, Digital Alloys, Xjet, Scope AR, Atheer, DAQRI, Fieldbit, ProGlove, Maven Machines, CloudMinds, Rethink Robotics, Seegrid, Sarcos
- Platforms — azeti GmbH, C3 IoT, Altizon, Cirro, Mnubo, Prodea (formerly Arrayent), FogHorn Systems, OSIsoft, MachineShop, ClearBlade
- Networks — KeepTruckin, Veniam, Tachyus, Sky Futures, oseberg, Blue River Technology, Arable Labs, Trilliant Holdings, Tendril Networks, AutoGrid Systems, Exosite, RtTech Software, Locus Technologies, Simbe, Fetch Automation, FourKites
- Analytics — MAANA, Falkonry, Presenso, Alluvium, Bastille Networks Internet Security, Argus Cyber Security, ForeScout Technologies, NexDefense, PatternEX
Clearly, droves of new companies are vying for space within the IIoT arena. As more factories begin to make the leap, this enormous pack of competitors will gradually thin over time. Coupled with merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions, many of these companies will become part of the next generation of factory standards.
On the horizon
Lastly, there are several key companies that haven’t made an outright play into IIoT but are expected to. Big names such as Hitachi, Comcast, T-Mobile, and a slew of others will likely have a hand in shaping the future of IIoT standards.
Many manufacturers have already jumped into IIoT. Even more are holding out until the fragmentation within this sector settles and stabilizes. Regardless of when you’re entering the IIoT market, however, there’s no shortage of options to consider from reputable leaders and modern innovators.