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IoT Big Swings

Last week Tom Davenport, a Distinguished Professor at Babson College, wrote about “GE’s Digital Big Swing” in the Wall Street Journal. As he cites in his latest piece, there are many others taking big swings in digital and IoT overall. (BTW - If you’re not following Tom, you really should do so now. His thoughts are a perfect mix of research and practice covering big data, analytics and changes in the digital landscape.)

During my time at Pivotal, I was witness to the digital big swing that GE took and saw the energy, effort and resources they were committing to make sure that whatever they made that could be connected to the Internet - jet engines, power plants, surgical image machines - would capture all data to improve products and the customer experience. I don’t think GE watchers - investors, competitors, partners - fully understand yet the enormity of this bet.

They keep making moves. This week the company announced the creation of GE Digital, a transformative move that brings together all of the digital capabilities from across the company into one organization.

Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO of GE, said, “As GE transforms itself to become the world’s premier digital industrial company, this will provide GE’s customers with the best industrial solutions and the software needed to solve real world problems. It will make GE a digital show site and grow our software and analytics enterprise from $6B in 2015 to a top 10 software company by 2020.”

GE, the industrial giant, a Top 10 software company? That’s taking GE’s slogan “Imagination at Work” and making it real.

Much like the cloud trend before it, the IoT trend is something where all major vendors are investing.

Yesterday at Salesforce’s behemoth customer conference Dreamforce, the company announced the Salesforce Internet of Things Cloud. Based on a home-grown data processing technology called Thunder, Salesforce touts their IoT Cloud as empowering businesses to connect data from the Internet of Things, as well as any digital content, with customer information, giving context to data and making it actionable—all in real-time.

With perhaps a nod of guilt to marketing hype, other notable big swings include:

  • IBM - The company has created an Internet of Things business unit and plans to spend $3 billion to grow its analytics capabilities so that organizations can benefit from the intelligence that connected devices can provide. According to IBM, as much as 90 percent of data that is generated by connected devices is never acted on or analyzed.

  • Cisco - Its approach focuses on six pillars for an IoT System - network connectivity, fog computing, security, data analytics, management and automation and an application enablement platform. You can buy all the pieces of the system from Cisco, of course.

  • Samsung - They are betting on openness and industry collaboration. By 2017, all Samsung televisions will be IoT devices, and in five years all Samsung hardware will be IoT-ready. They also recently open sourced IoT.js, a platform for IoT applications written in JavaScript, and JerryScript, a JavaScript engine for small, embedded devices.

  • Monsanto - Their near billion dollar purchase of The Climate Corporation is combining The Climate Corporation’s expertise in agriculture analytics and risk-management with Monsanto’s R&D capabilities, and will provide farmers access to more information about the many factors that affect the success of their crops.

In the wake of these giant big swings will be new and exciting startups - sensor companies, chip players, software, analytics and device makers. If you know of a compelling start-up in the industrial IOT space, drop me a line at [email protected]. We would love to hear from you.




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