In just over three years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has rapidly evolved on a path to maturity. But it still has miles to go. When TBR started closely watching IoT, it was a nebulous set of technologies that promised to radically change a customer’s business. IoT was surrounded by tremendous hype, and just about every company claimed it had the winning solution but lacked substantiated proof. While much of the ambiguous messaging and ill-defined solutions remain, leading to customer uncertainty and hesitancy to adopt, the thought leaders among the IoT vendor community are starting to arrive at a new understanding. Shane O’Callaghan of TSM Control Systems, a PTC (Nasdaq: PTC) customer, explained it in the most straightforward manner: “IoT is not a technology project, it’s a business project.” TBR believes leading vendors are molding their IoT go-to-market strategies around solving tactical business problems with solutions proved by case studies and that those vendors are gaining traction because of it.
Many of the murmurs from industry watchers at LiveWorx 2018 suggested vendors are disappointed by IoT. The “technology” (a misnomer, TBR believes, as we consider IoT a technique for solving business problems using a combination of technology components and services rather than a technology in and of itself) has failed to meet forecasts, most likely made by analysts and line-of-business (LOB) managers who fell victim to the hype. PTC CEO Jim Heppelmann told analysts that he agrees that most vendors were victims of the hype cycle, leading to an oversaturated market, and that as a result, many will wash out or retreat slowly if they haven’t already (much like GE is now downsizing its IoT aspirations). He assured us that PTC won’t retreat, however, with that promise centered on PTC’s robust toolkit, use case-oriented go-to-market strategy and partner-friendly stance.