IoT Outlook For 2018 In Industry

IoT Outlook For 2018 In Industry

I’m all about IoT and digitalization anymore. This is the next movement following the automation trend I championed some 15 years ago.

Last month, I started receiving emails about predictions for 2018. Not my favorite topic, but I started saving them. Really only received a couple good ones. Here they are—one from Cisco and one from FogHorn Systems.

Cisco Outlook

From Cisco blog written by Cisco’s SVP of Internet of Things (IoT) and Applications Division, Rowan Trollope, comes several looks at IoT from a variety of angles. There is more at the blog. I encourage you to visit for more details.

Until now, the Internet-of-Things revolution has been, with notable outlier examples, largely theoretical and experimental. In 2018, we expect that many existing projects will show measurable returns, and more projects get launched to capitalize on data produced by billions of new connected things.

With increased adoption there will be challenges: Our networks were not built to support the volumes and types of traffic that IoT generates. Security systems were not originally designed to protect connected infrastructure against IoT attacks. And managing industrial equipment that is connected to traditional IT requires new partnerships.

I asked the leaders of some of the IoT-focused teams at Cisco to describe their predictions for the coming year, to showcase some of these changes. Here they are.

IoT Data Becomes a Bankable Asset

In 2018, winning with IoT will mean taking control of the overwhelming flood of new data coming from the millions of things already connected, and the billions more to come. Simply consolidating that data isn’t the solution, neither is giving data away with the vague hope of achieving business benefits down the line. Data owners need to take control of their IoT data to drive towards business growth. The Economist this year said, “Data is the new oil,” and we agree.

This level of data control will help businesses deliver new services that drive top-line results.

– Jahangir Mohammed, VP & GM of IoT, Cisco

AI Revolutionizes Data Analytics

In 2018, we will see a growing convergence between the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence. AI+IoT will lead to a shift away from batch analytics based on static datasets, to dynamic analytics that leverages streaming data.

Typically, AI learns from patterns. It can predict future trends and recommend business-critical actions. AI plus IoT can recommend, say, when to service a part before it fails or how to route transit vehicles based on constantly-changing data.

– Maciej Kranz, VP, Strategic Innovation at Cisco, and author of New York Times bestseller, Building the Internet of Things

Interoperable IoT Becomes the Norm

The growth of devices and the business need for links between them has made for a wild west of communications in IoT. In 2018, a semblance of order will come to the space.

With the release of the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) 1.3 specification, consumer goods manufacturers can now choose a secure, standards-based approach to device-to-device interactions and device-to-cloud services in a common format, without having to rely on, or settle for, a proprietary device-to-cloud ecosystem.

Enterprise IoT providers will also begin to leverage OCF for device-to-device communications in workplace and warehouse applications, and Open Mobile Alliance’s Lightweight Machine-to-Machine (LwM2M) standard will take hold as the clear choice for remote management of IoT devices.

In Industrial IoT, Open Process Communication’s Unified Architecture (OPC-UA) has emerged as the clear standard for interoperability, seeing record growth in adoption with over 120 million installs expected as 2017 draws to an end. It will continue to grow into new industrial areas in 2018 driven by support for Time Sensitive Networking.

– Chris Steck, Head of Standardization, IoT & Industries, Cisco

IoT Enables Next-Gen Manufacturing

Manufacturing is buzzing about Industrie 4.0, the term for a collection of new capabilities for smart factories, that is driving what is literally the next industrial revolution. IoT technologies are connecting new devices, sensors, machines, and other assets together, while Lean Six Sigma and continuous improvement methodologies are harvesting value from new IoT data. Early adopters are already seeing big reductions in equipment downtime (from 15 to 95%), process waste and energy consumption in factories.

– Bryan Tantzen, Senior Director, Industry Products, Cisco

Connected Roadways Lay the Groundwork for Connected Cars

Intelligent roadways that sense conditions and traffic will adjust speed limits, synchronize street lights, and issue driver warnings, leading to faster and safer trips for drivers and pedestrians sharing the roadways. As these technologies are deployed, they become a bridge to the connected vehicles of tomorrow. The roadside data infrastructure gives connected cars a head start.

Connected cities will begin using machine learning (ML) to strategically deploy emergency response and proactive maintenance vehicles like tow trucks, snow plows, and more.

– Bryan Tantzen, Senior Director, Industry Products, Cisco

Botnets Make More Trouble

Millions of new connected consumer devices make a nice attack surface for hackers, who will continue to probe the connections between low-power, somewhat dumb devices and critical infrastructure.

The biggest security challenge I see is the creation of Distributed Destruction of Service (DDeOS) attacks that employ swarms of poorly-protected consumer devices to attack public infrastructure through massively coordinated misuse of communication channels.

IoT botnets can direct enormous swarms of connected sensors like thermostats or sprinkler controllers to cause damaging and unpredictable spikes in infrastructure use, leading to things like power surges, destructive water hammer attacks, or reduced availability of critical infrastructure on a city or state-wide level.

– Shaun Cooley, VP and CTO, Cisco

Blockchain Adds Trust

Cities are uniquely complex connected systems that don’t work without one key shared resource: trust.

From governmental infrastructure to private resources, to financial networks, to residents and visitors, all of a city’s constituents have to trust, for example, that the roads are sound and that power systems and communication networks are reliable. Those working on city infrastructure itself can’t live up to this trust without knowing that they are getting accurate data. With the growth of IoT, the data from sensors, devices, people, and processes is getting increasingly decentralized—yet systems are more interdependent than ever.

As more cities adopt IoT technologies to become smart—thus relying more heavily on digital transactions to operate—we see blockchain technology being used more broadly to put trust into data exchanges of all kinds. A decentralized data structure that monitors and verifies digital transactions, blockchain technology can ensure that each transaction—whether a bit of data streaming from distributed air quality sensors, a transaction passing between customs agencies at an international port, or a connection to remote digital voting equipment—be intact and verifiable.

– Anil Menon, SVP & Global President, Smart+Connected Communities, Cisco

FogHorn Systems

Sastry Malladi, CTO of FogHorn Systems, has shared his top five predictions for the IIoT in 2018.

1. Momentum for edge analytics and edge intelligence in the IIoT will accelerate in 2018.

Almost every notable hardware vendor has a ruggedized line of products promoting edge processing. This indicates that the market is prime for Industrial IoT (IIoT) adoption. With technology giants announcing software stacks for the edge, there is little doubt that this momentum will only accelerate during 2018. Furthermore, traditional industries, like manufacturing, that have been struggling to showcase differentiated products, will now embrace edge analytics to drive new revenue streams and/or significant yield improvements for their customers.

2. Additionally, any industry with assets being digitized and making the leap toward connecting or instrumenting brownfield environments is well positioned to leverage the value of edge intelligence.

Usually, the goal of these initiatives is to have deep business impact. This can be delivered by tapping into previously unknown or unrealized efficiencies and optimizations. Often these surprising insights are uncovered only through analytics and machine learning. Industries with often limited access to bandwidth, such as oil and gas, mining, fleet and other verticals, truly benefit from edge intelligence.

3. Business cases and ROI are critical for IIoT pilots and adoption in 2018

The year 2017 was about exploring IIoT and led to the explosion of proof of concepts and pilot implementations. While this trend will continue into 2018, we expect increased awareness about the business value edge technologies bring to the table. Companies that have been burned by the “Big Data Hype” – where data was collected but little was leveraged – will assess IIoT engagements and deployments for definitive ROI. As edge technologies pick up speed in proving business value, the adoption rate will exponentially rise to meet the demands of ever-increasing IoT applications.

IIoT standards will be driven by customer successes and company partnerships

4. IT and OT teams will collaborate for successful IIoT deployments

IIoT deployments will start forcing closer engagement between IT and operations technology (OT) teams. Line of business leaders will get more serious around investing in digitization, and IT will become the cornerstone required for the success of these initiatives. What was considered a wide gap between the two sectors – IT and OT – will bridge thanks to the recognized collaboration needed to successfully deploy IIoT solutions and initiatives.

5. Edge computing will reduce security vulnerabilities for IIoT assets.

While industries do recognize the impact of an IIoT security breach there is surprisingly little implementation of specific solutions. This stems from two emerging trends:

a) Traditional IT security vendors are still repositioning their existing products to address IIoT security concerns.

b) A number of new entrants are developing targeted security solutions that are specific to a layer in the stack, or a particular vertical.

This creates the expectation that, if and when an event occurs, these two classes of security solutions are sufficient enough. Often IoT deployments are considered greenfield and emerging, so these security breaches still seem very futuristic, even though they are happening now. Consequently, there is little acceleration to deploy security solutions, and most leaders seem to employ a wait-and-watch approach. The good news is major security threats, like WannaCry, Petya/Goldeneye and BadRabbit, do resurface IIoT security concerns during the regular news cycle. However, until security solutions are more targeted, and evoke trust, they may not help move the needle.


The New Place For IT To Meet OT with IoT

I’m thinking about changing my tag line to “where IT meets OT” since that seems to be where things are (finally) going thanks to Internet of Things (IoT) discussions. Back for a third year, the hottest spot in this space right now is the Industry of Things World USA conference held in San Diego, this year from March 7-9.

WeConnect, a company based in Germany, puts this event on plus many other such events globally. I’ve always been impressed at the quality of speakers and attendees they can attract working from their Berlin offices.

This year’s key themes at Industry of Things World USA 2018 include:

  • From smart factories to sentient ecosystems: how to build-in intelligence from the smallest sensors to the global enterpris
  • Leadership and excellence in an uncertain world: should be talking about IoT standards and regulations or “trust”, and good corporate governance?
  • How to sell IIoT investments to senior management, boards, investors, and governments
  • Getting IT architectures future-proofed: MASA, Microservices, Web-app, Edge, UA, Open, and developments in MTConnect
  • Retrofitting legacy systems and dumb assets: quick hacks for a smart and connected factory
  • Product Life-cycle Analytics and closed-loop product and service models
  • Assets that talk, factories that communicate: virtualization, digital twins, and real-time monitoring
  • What are governments, policy makers and institutions doing to pave the way for Industry 4.0 market adoption
  • Securing Industry 4.0: security by design for an interconnected worldAdapting society, economic models, the workforce and education for teh future of smart manufacturing

Sponsors include Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Rockwell Automation, Accenture, OPC Foundation, Beckhoff, WindRiver, Microsoft, and several more.

I’ll be there again this year. Heck a trip to San Diego in March has its own rewards for someone from the north. See you there.

Internet of Things and Conference News To Start 2018

Internet of Things and Conference News To Start 2018

This year has opened more strangely than usual. Looks like I’ll be emphasizing a lot more IT/OT intersection plus digital transformation and Internet of Things. Part of the strangeness is that several of my good friends are on the lookout for new positions. The end of 2017 was harsh for many people. If you need a good sales and/or marketing professional, I can put you in touch with some top people. In fact, my business also sort of tapered off the last part of the year. I thought things were supposed to be good (well, my investment accounts are looking good).

There was no other way than to just string together a number of news items in the Internet of Things and Industrial software space.

• Conferences

• Honeywell Data

• Schneider Award

• Bluetooth at 20

• RFP for IoT Software Platform


I am a media sponsor for a couple of upcoming conferences. The strange thing is that I haven’t heard from either one for a while and neither has sent an ad png for me to display.

News also seems to be a little slow. But here are a number of things I’ve compiled over several days along with some upcoming conferences. Hope to see you at some of those.

The 22nd annual ARC Industry Forum in Orlando from February 12-15 on Digitizing and Securing Industry, Infrastructure, and Cities is a great industry meeting place.

I see ARC Advisory Group, like many of us, must branch out from control and automation in order to find a big enough market to survive. My own practice has shifted from market and industry research and analysis in that space to greater focus on IT/OT, IoT, and digital transformation.

Also on my calendar is the Industry of Things USA (I’m also a media sponsor of the September one in Berlin) from March 7-9 in San Diego. This will be its third year. The organizing group from Berlin (Germany) has been outstanding. This is becoming a place for IT to meet OT.

Hannover Fair this year is April 23-27. I’ll go there depending upon sponsorship. Always a great place to meet many influential people.

The Control Systems Integrators Association is meeting from April 24-27 in San Francisco. I have never been to a CSIA meeting. Maybe this year I can slip one in if I don’t go to Germany.

The MESA International USA conference held in conjunction with the Industry Week Manufacturing and Technology conference in Raleigh, NC will be from May 8-10.

Maybe I can make it to the Rockwell Automation annual software bash in San Diego from June 10-15.

Siemens Industry in the USA is holding its automation summit in Marco Island, FL from June 25-28.

If I can afford all the travel, this will be a busy 6 months.


In the realm of industrial software, Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) today launched its Honeywell Connected Plant Uniformance Cloud Historian. This software-as-a-service cloud hosting solution for enterprise-wide visualization and analysis, helps customers improve asset availability and increase plant uptime.

It claims an industry first by fusing real-time process data analysis of a traditional enterprise historian with a data lake, enabling the integration of production, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and other business data coupled with analytics tools to provide business intelligence. “This allows enterprise data to be analyzed instantly on a scale not previously possible using tools and functions already in use at sites and plants,” says the media release.

“Uniformance Cloud Historian brings the full power of cloud and big data to Honeywell’s traditional process historian for the first time, connecting even the most complex multi-site organizations effortlessly,” said Vimal Kapur, president of Honeywell Process Solutions. “The solution makes it possible to leverage insights found at one plant across all plants, allowing smarter, more strategic decisions to be made and action to be taken.”

Honeywell’s new offering collects, stores and enables replay of historical and continuous plant and production site process data and makes it visible in the cloud in near real time. The historian combines a time series data store, which empowers plant and enterprise staff to execute and make decisions, with a big data lake, which enables data scientists to uncover previously unknown correlations between process data and other business data in the enterprise.

Schneider Award

Last week I wrote about an interview I had with Cognizant, the Indian company that acquired Wonderware’s (Schneider Electric) R&D center. This week, an announcement about an award to Schneider Electric (not sure that these are the same it just reminded me of the Indian connection).

Schneider Electric announced its India-based Software Delivery Center (SDC) was appraised at Level 5 of the CMMI Institute’s Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI). With this designation, Schneider Electric’s SDC becomes part of a small group of companies with a CMMI Level 5 assessment in the industrial software industry.

An appraisal at maturity level 5 indicates that the organization is performing at an “optimizing” level. At this level, an organization continually improves its processes based on a quantitative understanding of its business objectives and performance needs. The organization uses a quantitative approach to understand the variation inherent in the process and the causes of process outcomes.

Select achievements include:

• Attaining a schedule variance of less than 1%

• Maintaining effort variances of less than 3%

• Delivering an industry-leading client satisfaction score

Bluetooth is 20

Are you listening to music on your wireless headset while working at the coffee house? Thanks to Bluetooth. Did you know that the technology just turned 20?

Today, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) kicks off its 20th anniversary year from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Formed in 1998, the Bluetooth SIG started with a handful of companies focused on wire replacement for mobile voice and data. Today over 33,000 member companies are part of an organization dedicated to perfecting and advancing a flexible, reliable, and secure wireless connection solution.

IoT RFP Platform

Here is one that I think merits a deeper dive:

Three of the biggest software vendors in IoT – HPE, PTC, and Wind River (Intel) – have agreed to join the IoT M2M Council’s (IMC) fledgling template RFP Program for IoT Software Platforms, which will be presented at the IMC’s conference at CES.

Using input from many vendors and more than 100 software buyers in an open-source process, the IMC developed a template reference document that will ease buying of IoT software, and later, hardware and connectivity solutions. HPE, PTC, and Wind River have agreed to have their platforms assessed by the IoT M2M Council which represents 25,000 enterprise users and OEMs that buy IoT solutions.

The RFP program will simplify sourcing of IoT platforms for buyers by providing reference documentation and demonstrating capabilities of established software platforms, and for participating vendors, it will ultimately shorten the sales cycle.

The IMC developed a template RFP document earlier this year in a wiki-based, open-source process with input from more than 100 IoT buyers, and has now retained a third-party consultancy to validate vendors against the RFP. The validation process, conducted by UK-based Beecham Research, includes surveying vendors for responses to the RFP, contacting their customers anonymously for references, and a hands-on analysis of the platforms for ease-of-use.

“No other industry group or major consultancy is talking to buyers at scale and looking at the actual IoT sales process. My staff spends a lot of time responding to RFPs. The IMC’s RFP program gives us a report from a credible third-party that allows us to respond to RFPs more quickly, as well as a place to send potential buyers where they can access a template RFP document and learn more. If this program reduces my sales cycle, even just incrementally, it will be well worth it,” says Volkhard Bregulla, VP of Global Industries, Manufacturing, & Distribution at HPE, with a seat on the IMC board.

IMC rank-and-file membership comes from 24 different vertical markets on every continent, and a plurality self-identify as “operations”, meaning that they are unlikely versed in communications technology. “The template RFP provides a non-technical reference, and can go a long way in establishing a common language for IoT technology among people actually doing the buying,” says Bregulla.

Thinking Through Rockwell Automation’s Edge Analytics Platform

Thinking Through Rockwell Automation’s Edge Analytics Platform

The product Rockwell Automation executives most wanted to talk to me about at the last Automation Fair event was its new analytics platform.

Immediately following the Rockwell event was Thanksgiving, then a trip to Madrid for a Hewlett Packard Enterprise event followed by catching up and Christmas. But I grabbed moments to contemplate the “Project Scio Edge Analytics Platform” (see image) and tried to place it in a context amongst all the platforms I saw this year. Which were many.

Executives including SVP and CTO Sujeet Chand and VP of Information Software John Genovesi were enthused over the new product. I wrote about it here.

I liked much of what I heard. There were many overtures to open connectivity that I have not heard at a Rockwell event—maybe ever. I even got an hour to discuss OPC UA and how Rockwell now intends to implement it. The demo during media days was also powerful.

I drew a mind map and exported an outline. Here is the list of positive things.


  • Developed analytics from acquihire
  • Good UX
  • Platforms
  • Open connectivity including OPC UA
  • Should provide customers with insights into control systems and machine performance

However, I’m left with some questions—some of the same ones I often feel about Rockwell Automation. Check out the architecture diagram. It stops with machine level. I always expect to see more, but Rockwell always stops at the machine. Perhaps GE and Siemens have overreached with Predix and Mindsphere (and Schneider Electric with EcoStruxure?), so Rockwell stays closer to its roots on the plant floor? Is it more profitable and manageable that way?

I don’t know the answers. But I’m left thinking that with the rise of platforms [see for example Platform Revolution by Geoffrey G. Parker, Marshall W. Van Alstyne, and Sangeet Paul Choudary] and open ecosystems, Rockwell seems to have a much smaller vision. It talks of “Connected Enterprise”, but in the end I don’t see a lot of “enterprise” in the offerings.


  • Is it platform or a piece of the Rockwell software stack that stops short of plantwide views?
  • Is it anything that others (SIs and users?) can add to?
  • Is there more coming?
  • Is there a way to integrate supply chain and customer chain?
  • Seems a natural to integrate with an asset management application–which Rockwell does not have.

I think they’ve done well for what they evidently set out to do. I also think there remains more to do to help customers leverage the Internet of Things and Digital Transformation. Interesting to see what next November brings.

Compute Power Meets IoT at HPE Discover 2017 in Madrid

Compute Power Meets IoT at HPE Discover 2017 in Madrid

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) held its European customer conference, Discover, in Madrid this week. Points of emphasis that impacted me included Internet of Things business, high power computing, a view of the changes going on at HPE, and a look at the future of IT and the plant.

Bloggers and influencers

I was here as part of a blogger program separate from press and analysts. Bloggers are a livelier group than press. I think that I am the only independent blogger in manufacturing in the US (everyone else works for a magazine or analyst firm). There were 25 bloggers at Discover from countries as diverse as Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Canada, and the USA. Rather than attending press conferences our program included “coffee talks” that were live-streamed on the Web. These were informal presentations plus question-and-answer sessions.

There was one press conference I attended—the announcement of the partnership with ABB on the mini-data center product. Instead of conversation and give-and-take, one or two journalists asked questions in a challenging manner that were seldom designed to elicit more information. Note: I wrote about the partnership earlier this week.

Retiring CEO Meg Whitman used a quote from Gartner in her remarks. “The Edge will eat the cloud.” HPE has developed edge computing devices called Edgeline that I discussed in August after my first meeting with the company. These are powerful computing devices based on PXI platform technology from National Instruments. The blogger group devoted some time discussing how valid that comment was.

We concluded that you will need both. I have an example from a conversation I had with Rod Anilker, a technologist in the OEM group. Imagine taking the computing power and openness of the HPE platform to replace proprietary controllers such as CNC, PLC, DCS. These devices at the edge would solve many control and other edge applications with the additional capability of sending data to the cloud.

Now, imagine the storage and computing power HPE has accumulating vast amounts of data—maybe from a power generation fleet or a company’s many refineries—achieving scale sufficient to do some pretty cool pattern recognition. The predictive, prescriptive, and planning possibilities would be awesome.

Pieces of HPE Corporate Puzzle

Antonio Neri, President and COO and next year’s CEO, let general session with these main points.
• Intelligent Edge (where the action is->acquisition of Aruba so important)
• Secure platforms from edge to core to cloud
• Memory-driven computing (acquisition of Silicon Graphics another important piece)
• Artificial Intelligence (inside everything)
• Software-defined and multi-cloud platforms
• Partner ecosystem
• Flexible consumption (scale up, scale back)
• Advise and transform HPE PointNext
• Outcome-as-a-Service, future of enterprise computing


PointNext is the services arm introducing the concept of Edge-as-a-Service. In face, HPE features “as-a-service” in many guises.

This concept seems to be modeled on ideas emanating from GE’s consumption of services mode. Capturing and processing data at source where action needs to happen as the foundation of the model. Then you provide IT in a way that scales, pay-as-you-go concept, subscription-based. Therefore, the customer has flexibility and reduced risk.

Take the expertise from a data center that runs 24/7 and put it at edge. Then it’s all about extracting data. Take this into machine learning. This starts to morph into the concept from the OEM group.

The model architecture takes HPE’s new GreenLake plus EaaS. GreenLake edge compute includes design services, information services, operational & support services, and pay-as-you-go. Upfront consulting to help evaluate the client’s requirements and business process and recommends solution packages.

Technology overview

David Chalmers, research and development executive, briefed us with a business and technology overview.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is one of the two business left standing after Meg Whitman (and the board) split the company following some bad years of plans and leadership. Following the split, several businesses were divested.

Chalmers related HPE has been changing fast into an infrastructure/solutions company (he said, the world’s largest). “The strength of our portfolio is the best in 10 years, much from organic development. The SGI acquisition yielded more compute options (SGI acquisition), including low power, high performance computing. By 2022 60% of data will never get to data center, it’ll reside at the edge. Therefore intelligent edge is important. SGI brought high performance analytics.”

Another couple of tidbits. At the new HPE people bring business cases first, then talk about the technology solution. The OT world order of magnitude larger than IT world. (Hmmm)

Oh, and there were many new products. They don’t all apply to my areas of coverage. But the engineers have been busy.


I just realized I made it through the entire discussion without mentioning the technology that brought me to HPE Discover—Internet of Things. Much of that relates to the Edge and devices such as Edgeline. Obviously important IoT garnered significant floor space in the exhibition area.

There will be more in another post.


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