18 most powerful internet of things companies 2017: AWS, Microsoft, IBM and more
The Internet of Things (IoT) has moved well beyond a buzzword that’s to arrive at some point in the future – with real-world examples that can now be found in factories, homes and businesses all over the world.
This alphabetised list is an unscientific preview of some of the biggest companies attempting to turn the IoT market into a reality. Research firm Gartner predicts IoT will generate $300 billion in revenue by 2020, with estimates of how many connected devices ranging from 25 billion to more than 200 billion.
With the internet of things already making big waves in the UK energy and manufacturing industries it's unsurprising that many of the most well-known technology giants have invested in IoT.
Here are the most powerful internet of things companies in 2017...
1. Most powerful Internet of Things companies: Amazon Web Services
AWS has a variety of platforms, including Amazon Kinesis, Amazon S3, Lambda, Amazon Machine Learning, and Amazon DynamoDB to build IoT applications.
The cloud plays a big part of the Internet of Things, and the biggest infrastructure cloud player out there is Amazon Web Services.
AWS also enables its users to create their own IoT applications that can control IoT sensors data remotely.
2. Most powerful Internet of Things companies: ARM
British chip designer ARM made a concerted effort in 2016 to push itself into the IoT space. The company’s low-power designs have been the mainstay of consumer items like smartphones and set top boxes for years now, making it well positioned to branch out into the IoT ecosystem with designs that can be used in low-powered connected sensors.
It’s worth noting that ARM doesn’t fabricate processors itself, but its expertise in the space was enough of a driver for Japanese conglomerate Softbank to buy the company in 2016, to expand its own IoT portfolio.
3. Most powerful Internet of Things companies: AT&T
AT&T is making big strides to position itself as the network for the IoT. AT&T has had many partnerships with other companies on this list, including Cisco, GE, IBM and Intel, and is attempting to be the de facto network provider to connect all of these devices. Other telcos like Vodafone, Telefonica and Verizon are looking to tap into this market as well.
AT&T is investing in fleet management, energy management, connected cars and a variety of other industries.
4. Most powerful Internet of Things companies: Bosch
Bosch has a well-established business in creating microelectromagnetic sensors – MEMS – and the company decided to put IoT at the centre of its strategy in 2015, when it launched its Internet of Things Suite.
You’ll now find Bosch sensors used in the home – thermostats, for example – but also in more unusual cases like maintaining the best temperature for growing asparagus, and for monitoring racing car data.
In March 2016, Bosch launched a cloud service to boost its IoT plans and keep up with competitors such as AWS.
At the ConnectedWorld conference at the time, Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner said: "As of today, we offer all the ace cards for the connected world from a single source. The Bosch IoT Cloud is the final piece of the puzzle that completes our software expertise. We are now a full-service provider for connectivity and the internet of things."
5. Most powerful Internet of Things companies: Cisco
American networking giant Cisco provides IoT infrastructure across a wide range of industries, including connected factories, utilities and smart grid, oil and gas, aviation, mass transit, maritime, rail and roadways.
The company also offers field network infrastructure for the monitoring and control of energy distribution, management and application enablement, embedded networks, and IoT-enabled cyber security products.
Cisco is also doing work in creating smart cities. In 2016, Cisco’s business development manager for EMEA and Russia, Mirko Bass, outlined Cisco’s vision to Computerworld UK for the city of Hamburg – including automated ports and sensors in every lamppost.
6. Most powerful Internet of Things companies: Dell
IoT is now a core business piece to Dell, once traditionally known for its affordable PCs in the consumer space and its servers in the enterprise. And Michael Dell dedicated significant time during his keynote speech at EMC World in 2016 – the last before Dell’s acquisition of the company was completed – to the concept of the ‘internet of everything’.
“By 2031 the number of connected devices will grow from roughly eight billion today to perhaps 200 billion or more,” he said. “About 25 times the number of people on the planet – all of these connected nodes and devices will create massive amounts of new information. And using that information, especially in real time, to build a better world, that is the challenge of our generation.
“We are at the very beginning of the internet of everything. An intelligent world pulsing with unprecedented processing power and productivity.”
7. Most powerful Internet of Things companies: Fujitsu
Fujitsu Global’s push into IoT covers the full gamut of the industrial internet, including smart utilities and energy, smart manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and retail. It also sells analytics services so businesses can make sense of all the data their sensors are generating.
The company covers the entire ecosystem and provides cloud and network infrastructure too. Fujitsu partners with other companies that are heavily invested in IoT, too, including Intel, Microsoft, and Cisco.
8. Most powerful Internet of Things companies: GE
American manufacturing company General Electric is the fourth largest company in the world – and it makes a lot of machines, from jet engines to turbines.
It created a parallel organisation called General Electric Digital that focuses on predictive maintenance and other aspects of IoT. Meanwhile, GE Digital’s platform as a service offering, Predix, is designed to make life easy for developing on the industrial internet of things.
Predix is a software platform that integrates machine-generated data with traditional and cloud databases. GE already has products for hospital operations management, airline fuel optimisation and Grid IQ solutions for utility companies. Other industrial suppliers like Schneider Electric are making a big IoT push, too.
GE Digital counts companies like Pitney Bowes among its customers, providing visibility into the day-to-day operations of the machines and flagging issues to engineers before anything breaks down.
9. Most powerful Internet of Things companies: Google
Google made waves in the IoT market when it bought Nest for $3.2 billion, which sells thermostats and fire detectors that are “smart”, meaning they learn patterns and interact with their owners.
Nest was one of the first big-name brands to make it in the connected home space.
Google also provides capabilities for businesses to manage data via its Google Cloud Platform service.
10. Most powerful Internet of Things companies: HPE
In 2015, HPE acquired networking vendor Aruba Networks for $3 billion in an attempt to tap into the Internet of Things market, immediately broadening HPE’s portfolio of hardware like routers and switches. The company now offers IoT bundles through the Universal IoT Platform.
And in February 2017, HPE bought Niara – a behavioural analytics company that it hopes will complement the ClearPass network security portfolio it picked up from the Aruba buy.
GM of HPE Aruba, Keerti Melkote, said at the time: “With over 20 billion IoT devices expected to be connected to networks by 2020, security is the number one concern for our customers.” He said that Niara will allow HPE to “better protect our customers’ business and Internet of Things data”.
11. Most powerful Internet of Things companies: IBM
IBM has a variety of products in this area including a messaging platform for machine to machine (M2M) data named MessageSight, along with MobileFirst, which gives objects mobile capabilities, and BlueMix, a development platform for apps that can manage IoT data collection and analysis.
IBM isn’t alone in providing IT-centric IoT offerings though - service companies like Wipro and CGI are making a big push, too.
But IBM also has the 'cognitive computing' of its AI platform Watson to differentiate - and now offers an IoT platform that makes use of Watson's capabilities.
12. Most powerful Internet of Things companies: Intel
Intel has a range of options, from the highly energy efficient QuarkSoC X1000 for low capacity workloads to Xeons for heavy-duty processing.
What's more, Intel's DK300 Series Gateway allows users to securely analyse, share and filter encrypted data that passes between devices.
IoT is an enormous focus for the American chipmaker. The Intel IoT Platform is a scalable and interoperable reference model that connects devices with one another and delivers that data to the cloud. Intel’s IoT products can be found in buildings, smart cities and connected cars.
13. Most powerful Internet of Things companies: Microsoft
Microsoft says it wants to make the Internet of Things applicable to everyday business activities. It’s doing this through a variety of products, including customised Windows Embedded operating systems meant to collect and analyse data, as well as via products in its Azure cloud such as Intelligent Systems, an offering that offloads heavy data analysis to the cloud.
In May 2016, Microsoft acquired Italian IoT startup, Solair to 'help customers harness the power of the internet of things'. Solair promotes IoT projects across the manufacturing, retail, food and beverage and transportation sectors.
In a blog post, Microsoft's Azure IoT partner director, Sam George said: "The integration of Solair’s technology into the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite will continue to enhance our complete IoT offering for the enterprise. We’ll have more specifics to share about how Solair is helping us build the intelligent cloud in the future."
14. Most powerful Internet of Things companies: Oracle
The IoT movement is fundamentally about creating more data, and Oracle says all that data will need a place to be stored. The company has a suite of services, including a platform for enabling Java in embedded sensor devices, a middleware platform for creating applications to capture the data, and databases to store it all.
Oracle aims to provide real-time IoT solutions.
15. Most powerful Internet of Things companies: Qualcomm
Qualcomm helped create AllJoyn, an open source IoT framework for connecting devices that is now managed by the Linux Foundation. While there are many efforts to enable devices to connect to the Internet, Qualcomm says that having a common open source standard protocol, such as AllJoyn, for uniting those devices is important.
Qualcomm has focus on automotive, wearables, healthcare and education.
16. Most powerful Internet of Things companies: SAP
SAP has created S/4 HANA, a centralised, streamlined business suite that houses an advanced in-memory platform designed for the Internet of Things.
S/4 HANA is cloud platform that provides real-time insights from the data collected from connected sensors. The platform also allows third parties to develop IoT applications via open APIs.
17. Most powerful Internet of Things companies: Salesforce
Salesforce says that the IoT presents a new opportunity for marketers to glean deeper insights into their prospects and customers.
Connected devices allow chief marketing officers (CMOs) to learn how their products are being evaluated and used, what stage of the process the prospects are in and potentially what factors influence buying behaviour. Salesforce.com says IoT is not just about connected machines; it’s about connected products and marketing, too.
18. Most powerful Internet of Things companies: Samsung
South Korean powerhouse Samsung makes its own IoT infrastructure equipment like IoT gateways and Low Power Wide Area technologies that make use of unlicensed spectrum, but it also has a consumer IoT division that focuses on products for the connected home. The SmartThings Starter Kit, for instance, includes connected plugs and motion sensors that link back to a central hub, all of which is then available to view through an accompanying app on your phone.
19. Most powerful Internet of Things companies: Canonical
Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth wrote on his blog in 2015 that Ubuntu Linux was already “pervasive” on devices out in the wild – and when the Ubuntu Snappy Core platform came out it was touted as the operating system for IoT devices. In particular, Canonical positions security as a priority for the Ubuntu platform – something that’s been the elephant in the room since IoT adoption first picked up.
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