SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Internet of Things is so broad that it covers nearly every company whether they are in tech or not. Here’s my list of a few established and startup companies that I think are worth watching as barometers of IoT generally or some strategic part of it.
Formed in 1889 by Thomas Edison, GE is one of the largest companies in America, and I’m sure that it can be bureaucratic and slow-moving. But I have seen GE embrace IoT as a way to reinvent itself and stay relevant.
In early 2014, GE was one of the founding members of the Industrial Internet Consortium that writes guidelines for bringing IoT to the factory floor. It has reshaped many of its products from jet engines to programmable logic controllers to give them new life as smart, networked products that generate data flows that are seen as valuable as the products themselves.
Indeed, GE aims to be an arm’s supplier for industrial IoT with a suite of products launched in late 2016. At its core, GE’s Predix software aims to sift the big data stores that industrial IoT will generate with the latest neural network technologies, helping companies search for nuggets of insight.
Like GE, Schneider is an old tech company in the old business of electricity. And like GE, it is embracing IoT as a way to energize its business and the business of its customers. In May 2016, Schneider announced an IoT cloud service linking offerings across its portfolio of electrical switches, breakers, and distribution products.
The company has made IoT a priority for top execs who see it reshaping the products and business models that it offers. Likewise, its engineers are making hard choices about the technologies that it backs, such as Zigbee for factory floor mesh networking, evangelizing others to follow them.
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GE added web links and third-party apps to its traditional industrial controllers in 2016. Click to enlarge. (Image: GE)