Watson IOT Keeps Going Faster and More Vertical than Competitors

Months ago, I published an analysis of the IBM Watson IOT platform in which I mentioned that IBM seemed committed to leverage its industry expertise to accelerate the adoption of the platform across different verticals. Well, a few days ago, big blue unveiled new IOT headquarters in Munich, Germany and announced a series of new developments that confirm IBM’s strategic direction in the IOT space. Here is a quick summary of the announcements:

— VISA will be using Watson IOT to turn wearable’s devices into point of sale systems by 2020.

— Bosch is partnering with IBM to explore industrial solutions using Watson IOT.

— Several world class companies such as BNP Paribas are moving into Watson IOT new headquarters to collaborate closely with IBM engineering new IOT solutions.

— IBM announced free an unlimited availability of the Watson IOT platform for startups working with Indiegogo and Arrow Electronics crowdfounding-to-production service.

This series of announcements have relevant implications for the enterprise IOT platform market that I believe are worth discussing.

1 — Enterprise IOT is a Third Wave Problem:

IBM’s IOT strategy is another signal that enterprise IOT platforms such as Watson IOT belong in Steve Case’s Third Wave technology category. From that perspective, aspects such as partnerships, regulation and industry specific capabilities are going to be essential on the commercialization of IOT solutions.

2 — IBM & GE vs. Microsoft & Amazon

From a strategic standpoint ,we can safely divide the IOT platform market into two main groups: companies such as IBM( Watson IOT), GE( Predix) or PTC( ThingWorx) are clearly driving towards a vertical-first strategy while companies such as Microsoft( Azure IOT), Amazon( AWS IOT) or LogmeIn( Xively) remain focused on horizontal capabilities.

3 — Watson IOT is a Clear Leader in the Enterprise IOT Space

If we factor in aspects such as revenue, technical capabilities and partner ecosystem ,we can place Watson IOT as a clear leader in the enterprise IOT platform market. GE and IBM seem to be ahead of the rest of the leaders when comes to revenue and Watson IOT technical capabilities are second to none.

4 — Enteprise IOT Requires Long Development Cycles

Some of the initiative announced by IBM confirm that enterprise industrial IOT solutions require multi-year long development, deployment cycles. This characteristics favors incumbents with long term commitments to the space.

5 — The Market for Enterprise IOT Platform Startups is Shrinking

IBM’s announcements confirm that the enterprise IOT platform market is dominated by large enterprise software incumbents and remains quire challenging for startup with limited resources.

5 Cool Ideas for Watson IOT Roadmap

Watson IOT has made a tremendous amount of progress in the last few years. I believe that some of the following capabilities could be a great addition to its short term roadmap.

1 — In-Device Computing: Local, in-device computation capabilities similar to AWS Greengrass could be a great addition to the Watson IOT platform.

2 — Simulation and Testing: Tools for testing and simulating IOT topologies are desperately needed.

3 — In-Device Security: Capabilities that prevent cyber-security attacks on IOT devices should be a key component of the Watson IOT platform.

4 — IOT-first Cognitive Services: We should expect IBM to extend Watson cognitive APIs with IOT specific SDKs and services.

5 — IOT Middleware: The is room for extending technologies such as Node-Red into full blown IOT middleware.

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