All Things CC:

All things Commuication & Computing….

Posts Tagged ‘IoT Platforms

Big Consulting Cos and IoT Platforms

leave a comment »

Platforms dominate the conversation when it comes to the IoT.  Consulting companies, who thrive on providing their expertise and analysis on all things technology, have weighed in on the advantages & disadvantages of IoT platforms.

These companies have limited information available publicly. Here is an overview of what the three of the big consulting companies think about them:

Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

In a blog post titled “Who Will Win the IoT Platform Wars?”, BCG outlines key factors in selecting the IoT Platform:

Select a fully capable platform – According to BCG’s definition of an IoT platform, most IoT platforms are not really platforms – they are partial offerings. And hence the need for selecting a platform carefully.

Evaluate your risk appetite – given that majority of the platforms are provided by startups – BCG warns about stability and security of the platform provider.

Match the platform to your developers’ skills – BCG recommends that careful attention should be paid to the programming environment of an IoT platform and how it matches or not the software skills of your own development team.

Consider openness and ease of integration – whether the platforms supports modular and easy to use APIs, and easy-to-integrate framework to fit with existing IT architecture

Select the platform business model that fits your needs – BCG gets into the ability of platforms to provide more than horizontal services and addressing specific vertical use cases.

The blog post (even though it is dated June 2017, months after several important Edge related announcements) has a glaring omission around Edge Processing and Compute or Fog Computing.

McKinsey

McKinsey in a blog post titled “Making sense of Internet of Things platforms” outlines 10 questions to ask before choosing an IoT Platform. 3 of these questions are centered around Applications, 1 of them is on Infrastructure and 2 of them around Edge process/control.

Application environment – stresses on the importance of applications provided with the platform – in some respect this identifies with vertical use-case factor outlined by BCG – because applications are typically use-case specific. This factor includes integration capabilities with the Enterprise IT.

Data ingestion and wrangling – this factor stresses on ensuring that the data management and processing capabilities match the needs of the companies use cases.

Ownership of cloud infrastructure – in summary this factor delves into ensuring that the the company’s cloud strategy is aligned with that of the IoT platform.

Data sovereignty and security – this factor is somewhat related to the cloud infrastructure but is listed separately – this delves into where the IoT data is stored, and how does that relate to the data protection, privacy and security requirements of your company.

Edge processing and control – the importance of distributing the application code and data between the edge (closer to the devices and things) and the cloud.

Accenture

Accenture’s approach is different from McKinsey and BCG – they have built their own IoT platform. “IoT Platforms – The engines for agile innovation at scale” document published by Accenture outlines the following three important factors of an IoT platform:

Component library – a curated library of interoperable components that allows for rapid prototyping

Component capture – a semantics-based method for capturing new components or adapting existing ones so they are interoperable

Component configuration – a mechanism that simplifies the user’s ability to compose, configure and deploy components to create a new application.

Accenture has built several apps that are vertical specific on top of their platform. The PDF gets into how they built these apps on the platform.

Bottomline – each approach has a certain degree of overlap, however it is clear that all three of them have ensured that there strategy and recommendations on IoT platforms are unique & differentiated from other consulting companies.

Advertisements

IoT drives strategic diversification, growth & differentiation

np_broken-light-bulb_207139_000000.png

The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to be a game changer for companies to transform their businesses. Here are two great examples:

Insurance

A 150-year old provider of speciality insurance company – Hartford Steam Boiler (HSB) has acquired Meshify last year. HSB is owned by the reinsurance company – Munich Re – which was ranked as the #1 reinsurer in 2015. HSB Ventures is an active investor in the IoT space with investments in Augury, Slice, Helium, Waygum etc.

CEO Greg Barats of HSB has said(just a month before the Meshify acquisition) that “insurers must be ready to embrace the disruption through IoT – or risk being made obsolete by hungrier technology companies”.

Meshify was founded in 2012, and had raised seed money, followed by debt financing (Crunchbase info). It is an interesting strategy. HSB has chosen to acquire and own an IoT platform that aids in critical issues of remote diagnostics, predictive maintenance and equipment monitoring. Meshify is part of HSB’s IoT business – yes an insurance company HSB has an IoT business.

Smart Water

Xylem is a water technology company, spun off originally from ITT in 2011. Their current CEO Patrick Decker (3rd since the spinoff) has been growing Xylem through a series of strategic acquisitions. Last year Xylem acquired Sensus and set the stage for an IoT-driven diversification and growth.

This is a bold move for a company that is not a software or a digital company. It proves the point that IoT can be a strategic differentiator for companies dealing with the ‘physical’ world.

Sensus brings a wide spectrum of “smart” solutions to the Xylem brands (Sensus sales are dominated today by Smart Metering for Electric, Gas & Water utilities). The Sensus division will now be the home for all things ‘analytics’ for all Xylem brands (see link to investor deck). Xylem has a bold vision on how to transform the company with IoT.Xylem also has acquired Visenti (a Smart Water analytics company based out of Singapore) following the Sensus acquisition in November 2016. Sensus in 2015 had acquired a Smart Grid analytics company called Verdeeco.

Bottom line IoT is going to disrupt industries, and visionary companies are getting ahead of the curve by making IoT a key part of their future strategy.

Further Reading

HSB/MunichRe/Meshify & Insurance:

6 Charts Breaking Down How Insurers Are Investing in Tech Startups

HSB Internet of Things (IoT) Vision

Why Hartford Steam Boiler is investing in IoT start-ups

The Startup & Accelerator Moves Of Reinsurance Giants Munich Re & Swiss Re

Xylem/Sensus & Smart Water Resources:

Xylem Transports Patrick Decker From Harsco To Be New President And CEO

Xylem Investor Day Presentation (April 4th 2017)

Written by Ashu Joshi

April 5, 2017 at 5:30 pm