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IoT Tech Trends To Watch in 2018


Over the last 15 years or more, Smart Systems and IoT technology developers have largely focused their core development work and innovations on primarily serving original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and related service providers. Digital and IoT technologies are driving many new growth opportunities and efficiencies for OEMs based on new data collection, management and analytics tools that provide a deeper understanding of a connected product or machine’s performance and usage. Because of immediate returns on efficiencies and the new applied values these systems can generate, OEMs have been the dominant adopters of new Smart Systems and Services technologies and, like “Typhoid Mary” have carried these innovations into end customers where their presence, their spread pattern and impacts are expanding like a disease.

As users and customers have become more familiar with digital and IoT capabilities, they are realizing these technology innovations will push the boundaries of how products, systems and equipment are used and managed within their operations which, in turn, has increased pressure on machine builders and equipment manufacturers to embrace these capabilities. End customers in factories, hospitals, buildings and more are coming to see how these technologies work together in new and novel ways to solve operational and business problems.  As a result, specification and adoption of digital and IoT enabled equipment and systems is beginning to shift towards a “shared” set of roles between end customers and their OEMs.

How will this shift effect OEMs? How should leadership in these companies think about the impacts of evolving digital technologies on their strategy, operating models and customer value creation?


It is this last core enabling technology focused on new platforms that stands out for us. Next generation platforms will need to be organized around a data and information architecture where there are no artificial barriers between diverse data type and, that facilitates free flowing data discovery, data fusion and collaborative application development. Acceptance of this reality is essential to the effective design of platforms and the adoption and usage of these emerging core technologies.

We believe there are four critical requirements for platforms:

» A fully configurable software platform architecture that enables both peer-to-peer and client-server distribution of services;

» A platform that can simultaneously and asynchronously act on any type of information from any device, storage or streaming source;

» A platform that can enable real-time temporal, spatial and state-based contextual processing; and,

» A platform that provides tools for development of real-time, state-based applications.

Demand for these types of capabilities is hardly new, but as they do converge, these technologies need to be interwoven and mutually supportive.  We believe success will only go to players who effectively leverage their combined potential.

While all of the above list of required tools will contribute to OEM and end customer adoption of new Smart Systems and IoT technologies, our analysis also points to several broader market development trends and challenges in realizing the full value of new enabling technology:

» Challenges in OEMs with adopting new business, revenue and operating models;

» Complex services delivery ecosystems that require new and different relationships;

» Anticipation of smart services and systems innovation and new growth venture modes not widely adopted today;

» Fragmented digital and IoT vendor landscape – particularly the lack of understanding of how these new more “distributed” and “participatory” systems will work on the part of the IT and telecom technology development community; and,

» Requirements for more vertically-focused solutions developed from “horizontal” enablers.

The rigid and fragmented nature of software offerings available today make it extremely difficult to develop effective Smart Systems applications. Feedback from developers and adopters suggests we are reaching a critical point in market development where organizations will expect their investment in new data-centric applications that can be re-used again and again. Customers expect evolving software tools to be functional, ubiquitous, and easy-to-use. Within this construct, however, the first two expectations run counter to the third. To achieve all three, a new approach is required.

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