The 10 Hottest Industrial IoT Platforms Of 2020

These industrial IoT platforms come from vendors of different sizes, and they offer differing approaches on device management, analytics and application integration.

From Software Vendors, Large And Small

It’s been a year of give-and-take for the industrial IoT market, with some businesses slowing down or halting spending on such initiatives while others have plan to continue making investments.

Case in point: IoT spending for discrete manufacturing, resource-intensive industries and transportation slowed down in 2020, according to research firm IDC. And yet, according to a Gartner survey, some 47 percent of companies said they plan to increase their investments in IoT, despite the impact caused by COVID-19. And those investments are expected to bring discrete manufacturing, resource industries like oil and gas and transportation back to double-digit growth by 2024, IDC added in its report.

[Related: The 10 Coolest Industrial IoT Startups Of 2020]

That means while IoT spending slowed to a 8.2 percent growth rate in 2020, it’s expected to pick up again and reach an annual growth rate of 11.3 percent over the next few years, according to IDC.

“Although the current pandemic forced many organizations to pause some innovative IoT deployments, IoT will be a key ‘return to growth’ accelerator with selected use cases being safe bets for end users to focus on in order to reach a new level of automation, remote everywhere experience, and hyper-connectivity,“ said Andrea Siviero, associate research director with IDC’s Customer Insights & Analysis group, in a statement.

This means there are plenty of opportunities for vendors who provide software platforms that can connect IoT devices and provide IOT applications and solutions to solve any number of problems, whether it’s lowering downtime in factories or improving the throughput of production lines.

What follows are the 10 hottest industrial IoT platforms of 2020, based on Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Industrial IoT Platforms, which judges platforms based on completeness of vision and ability to execute.

Get more of CRN’s 2020 tech year in review.

Altizon Datonis

Altizon provides an industrial IoT platform that includes device management, real-time analytics and machine learning capabilities. The platform can be installed on any cloud infrastructure or on-premise, and it can be hosted on the cloud as a multi-tenant platform-as-a-service. The platform is complemented by Datonis Manufacturing Intelligence, a data lake manager that comes with modules for productivity analytics and digital twins, among other things. Altizon also provides Datonis Edge for industrial connectivity and edge analytics as well as Datonis Business Intelligence for self-service analytics and visualization of manufacturing metrics.

Amazon Web Services IoT

Amazon Web Services provides a variety of IoT services that cover everything from device connectivity and management to computing and analytics. On the compute side, AWS supports the FreeRTOS real-time operating system for microcontroller devices while also providing its own device software, AWS IoT Greengrass, which brings AWS capabilities for compute, management, analytics and storage to edge devices for local processing in near real-time. The cloud service provider’s IoT offerings also include AWS IoT Core for cloud-to-device connectivity, AWS IoT Device Defender for monitoring IoT configurations and AWS IoT Device Management. For analytics, services include AWS IoT Analytics for big data analytics, AWS IoT SiteWise for collecting and analyzing industrial data, AWS IoT Events for responding to events detected through sensors and AWS IoT Things Graph for building IoT applications.

Flutura Cerebra

Flutura differentiates its Cerebra platform with “nano apps,” which provide artificial intelligence solutions for specific use cases and certain kinds of machinery. The platform is built around two objectives — asset uptime and operational efficiency — with a focus on oil and gas, specialty chemicals and heavy machinery industries for connected asset and connected operations applications. Flutura’s platform features include a digital twin workbench, a pre-diagnostics workbench, a diagnostics workbench, a prognostics library, state assessment and a visualization studio. For connected assets, the platform can perform condition-based monitoring, asset diagnostics and asset prognostics. For connected processes, the platform can provide benchmarking, diagnostics and prognostics for quality monitoring. The platform also supports Cerebra Vision, a video analytics solution.

Hitachi Vantara Lumada

Hitachi Vantara’s Lumada platform is focused on asset-intensive industries such as energy and utilities, transportation and manufacturing. The platform’s core features include security connectivity for OT gateways, historians, IT systems and business applications; cloud-agnostic composable platform services; automated data management from the edge to the cloud; digital twin modeling that integrates IT and OT data; advanced analytics and AI capabilities for specific use cases; and support for any industrial system or cloud environment. The platform is complemented by Lumada Maintenance Insights, which focuses on improving equipment availability and predictive maintenance; Lumada Manufacturing Insights, which focuses on improving throughput and reducing downtime; and Lumada Video Insights, which focuses on video analytics and real-time alerts, among other capabilities. The vendor also provides Lumada Edge Intelligence for generating real-time insights at the edge.

IBM Watson IoT

IBM’s Watson IoT platform is a fully managed, cloud-hosted service that includes capabilities for registering, connecting and controlling devices and for rapid visualization and data storage. The platform features analytics and APIs that can enable real-time analysis of data from machines and systems alike, whether it’s in the form of speech, text, video or social sentiment. Management and security features include the ability to govern applications and devices based on usage and performance patterns as well as anomaly detection. The platform can analyze structured and unstructured data and perform historian functions while also archiving select data for analytics on other platforms and integration with IoT applications.

Litmus Edge

Litmus Edge is an industrial edge platform for the collection, analysis, management and integration of industrial data from a variety of sources. The vendor, Litmus, said Edge is the only platform that can connect to “all industrial assets,” whether they be PLC, SCADA, MES, historians, ERP systems or sensors. This connectivity is provided out of the box, with no programming needed, thanks to pre-built and pre-loaded device drivers. The platform’s data capabilities include data processing, normalization and storage as well as the ability to easily share data between the edge and the cloud or with any enterprise system. The platform comes with several pre-built key performance indicators for things like asset utilization, asset uptime and downtime and capacity utilization, and it also supports real-time alerts based on pre-defined events. The platform includes an app marketplace that makes it easy to deploy and manage apps, whether they’re provided by Litmus or other parties.

Microsoft Azure IoT

Microsoft’s Azure IoT platform is a set of managed services and platform services that includes capabilities for connecting, monitoring and controlling IoT assets. The platform also features security capabilities and operating systems for devices as well as methods for building, deploying and managing IoT applications. Platform services include Azure IoT Hub and Azure Digital Twins, which organizations can use to build customized IoT solutions between Azure IoT Hub’s device-to-communication capabilities and Azure Digital Twins’ ability to create simulations of assets using IoT data. With Azure IoT Central, Microsoft offers a fully managed IoT service that provides the scale, security and management organizations need to quickly build applications. As part of Azure IOT Central, Microsoft provides a variety of application templates for things like connected logistics, continuous patient monitoring and solar panel monitoring.

Oracle IoT Cloud Service

Oracle IoT Cloud Service is a managed Platform-as-a-Service cloud-based offering that includes capabilities for connecting devices, analyzing device data in real time and integrating that data with enterprise applications, web services or other Oracle Cloud Services. The vendor also offers IoT applications for smart manufacturing, predictive maintenance, connected logistics, workplace safety and service monitoring.

PTC ThingWorx

PTC’s ThingWorx platform comes with capabilities for connecting disparate devices and applications, building complete IoT and augmented reality solutions, analyzing IoT data for real-time insights as well as managing the performance of connected devices, processes and systems. The platform also comes with pre-built building blocks for applications and pre-defined configurations for things like connectors, UI elements and business logic for solutions that require more customized solutions. ThingWorx can analyze large amounts of data using AI and machine learning techniques to deliver insights on things like whether a machine will fail in the future or why a system is not operating correctly. Other platform features include ThingWorx Flow, a visual interface that makes it easy to draw connections between systems and create new data flows; ThingWorx Solutions Central, which simplifies the act of deploying and managing ThingWorx applications; and ThingWorx Software Content Management, which streamlines mass software distribution to remote assets.

Software AG Cumulocity

Software AG’s Cumulocity IoT platform comes with capabilities for connectivity, device management, analytics, visualization, application integration, edge processing and product development. For connectivity, the platform provides different ways to connect to devices and assets. This includes Cloud Fieldbus, which is used for connecting and managing industrial assets with protocols like Modbus and OPC UA as well as monitoring the status of such assets and collecting historical data. The platform comes with self-service analytics includes predefined condition monitoring models and with self-service tooling for search, diagnostic and predictive analytics. The platform can also visualize processes and systems, with the ability to create process diagrams, floor plans and other visuals that are populated with real-time data from industrial assets. Cumulocity provides integration support for various kinds of applications and comes with more than 170 pre-built connectors and “recipes” for integrations with applications and services like SAP, AWS S3 and Salesforce.