The IoT ecosystem has come a long way in recent years with multiple big players coming into the field. We take a brief look at the top companies investing heavily in IoT including industrial giants, semiconductor manufacturers, cloud providers and key players in the consumer and retail sectors.
Samsung’s goal is to have 100 percent of their products IoT-ready by 2020. They are concentrating their IoT efforts on smart, compact, energy-sipping sensors and their embedded package on package technology known as ePOP. ePOP and their Bio-Processor are made to fit in the expanding market for wearable and other small portable devices. They support an open developer community that is growing their IoT influence across a wide variety of industries.
GE’s Predix platform has been designed specifically for IoT applications that integrate machine-generated data flows with cloud computing platforms. In other words, they are right in the thick of things when it comes to leveraging big data. Among the areas where they are helping leverage IoT technology are electric grid management, transportation fuel optimization and hospital operations.
Intel is a leader in supplying IoT components and platforms. Each year, they increase their commitment to IoT and already have an impressive portfolio of products such as intelligent network gateways and new low-power processors like Intel® Quark™ and a new Intel® Atom™ processor family. They have put together a complete IoT reference model to work with third-party IoT solutions also.
Cisco is positioning itself as the answer to one of IoT’s most vexing problems: security. They hope to be the leader in IoT security certifications. They are working on providing their own IoT analytics platform as evidenced by their recent acquisitions of Jasper, OpenDNS and Parstream. Overall, they are stimulating IoT growth via open standards, while moving the industry to an integrated end-to-end architecture that spans the space between devices and the cloud.
IBM has built a significant portfolio around IoT data analytics and cognitive computing platforms. Their Watson IoT platform brings cognitive computing into the IoT mix, which is their answer to the difficulties of using conventional programming methodologies across millions of connected sensors, devices and systems. They have chartered an entire workforce of nearly 1,500 employees running on$3 billion of investment over five years dedicated to IoT.
Microsoft has been criticized for coming to the IoT party late, but they recently announced new Azure Cloud services targeted specifically at processing data from embedded devices to support IoT big data analytics. Additionally, they have released a version of Windows that supports Intel’s Arduino-based, x86 development board named Intel® Galileo. They hope to insert Windows into IoT applications in the health care, retail, manufacturing and automotive sectors.
Google promotes the idea of a single language network of interoperable IoT devices. They offer the Google IoT Cloud Platform, which enables IoT device applications to take advantage of their fast global network and powerful data analytics tools. They are also backing the Thread Group’s project to enable disparate IoT devices to communicate with one another. Google’s cross-platform micro-OS, named Brillo, is aimed at IoT devices based on ARM, Intel x86 and MIPS hardware.
Aside from the many IoT products Amazon sells on its retail site, Amazon is developing a number of consumer level embedded microcontroller products such as a portable, intelligent button used for automatic restocking of household products. They recently acquired 2lemetry, which focuses on enterprise platforms to manage IP-addressable machines and devices. Like Google, their AWS division also offers specialized IoT-enabling cloud services.
San Francisco-based, cloud computing services company Salesforce is another entrant in the IoT-enabling cloud services market sector. Its IoT Cloud is powered by a real-time, scalable processing engine called Thunder. This is an open source platform built from four collaborating technologies including distributed, real-time processing aimed at big data analytics. The thrust of the technology is to gather and analyze data at IoT scale and condense it into meaningful interpretations at the Salesforce UI.
AT&T is partnering with several companies via its IoT business unit to supply network infrastructure and its own brand of IoT-scale data analytics. They have already chartered several AT&T Foundries to stimulate innovation with regard to IoT. These Foundries bring together VCs, developers and startup companies to propose new ideas to which AT&T could contribute. It is a fast-paced way to deliver pitches to decision makers. Via Foundries and their employee TIP program, they are funding IoT solutions in a wide variety of areas including Smart Cities, Connected Health, Connected Business and Connected Home.
A huge, virtual IoT community is quickly forming that is being fueled by some of the biggest technology companies on the planet. Already, IoT platforms, the networks to connect them, cloud-based analytics and hordes of innovative solutions are being born and coming together across multiple industries around the globe.