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Leading Analyst Firm Weighs In On IoT (and that’s a good thing)

May 17, 2018

If you’re reading this, you know that one of the industrial sector’s current Holy Grails is data analysis. Industrial IoT generates huge amounts of operations data and so, the thinking goes, companies should move quickly to analyze that data. This, in turn, should pave the way to enhanced operational efficiency, smarter use of equipment, smaller environmental impacts, better worker safety and, of course, higher profits. Simple, right? Amazon, Google and Facebook profit mightily from sophisticated data analysis – so why not oil and gas, manufacturing and utility companies?

But if you’re reading this, you also know that processing, managing and integrating data from sensors, engineering systems, and transactional systems is really hard. The job generally requires deploying a battalion of people armed with spreadsheets. In the current era of algorithms and automation, managing industrial data is embarrassingly last-century.

Knowing this, it’s fair to ask if reality will ever catch up to the hype of industrial data analysis. Specifically, will a method emerge to efficiently manage and integrate industrial data so that sophisticated analytics can be performed?

We feel that Gartner, the world’s leading IT analyst firm, is increasingly focused on this question. We think that fact alone should tell you that something is up.

The Gartner report, “Market Guide for Data Preparation,” published December 14, 2017 states that, “Data preparation – the most time-consuming task in analytics and BI – is evolving from a self-service activity to an enterprise imperative.” It further says that, “The market for data preparation has now evolved from tools supporting only self-service use cases into platforms that enable data and analytics teams to build agile and searchable datasets at an enterprise scale for distributed content authors.” Our point of view: there is a move to replace the manual clean-up, management and integration of data with more efficient, automated and scalable approaches. This is good news.

Gartner also published, “Five Approaches for Integrating IoT Digital Twins.” The report states, “Digital twins are proliferating quickly but are still so new that few IoT project implementers know which approaches are most viable – today – to address their digital twin integration challenges.” Our thought: Digital Twins are critical but, as with most emerging approaches, there are issues, particularly building, integrating and managing dozens, even thousands of separate data models of physical equipment and assets let alone the associated data. We believe that attention to best practices and advocating for industry standards are required.

And just this month Gartner issued a report, “Cool Vendors in IoT Analytics.”  Gartner doesn’t endorse companies, products or services, and we feel that the Cool Vendors report is no exception. The report did say, “IoT analytics is enhancing operational efficiencies, improving customer engagement and creating new revenue streams. Enterprise architecture and technology innovation leaders should take advantage of a new crop of innovative startups that have emerged to address this growing market segment.”

I think the full “Cool Vendors in IoT Analytics” report is worth a read.  If you're a Gartner subscriber, I encourage you to check it out. Element is one of the vendors mentioned.

From our perspective, when a firm like Gartner starts tracking a sector, we believe it often means there are opportunities, challenges and, at some point, a chance for companies to separate themselves from each other. Most important to us, it means industrial organizations can use new technologies and approaches to unlock measurable business value.

We at Element welcome the attention and scrutiny. We see it as an acknowledgement that there needs to be a more efficient way to process, integrate and manage industrial data. Without that, large scale data analysis in the industrial sector will remain just a promise. We are excited to be at the forefront of tackling this challenge.

Enterprise architecture and technology innovation leaders should take advantage of a new crop of innovative startups that have emerged to address this growing market segment

- Gartner, Cool Vendor for Industrial IOT Analytics

Gartner, “Cool Vendors in IoT Analytics,” Mark Hung, Jim Hare, Scot Kim, 4 May 2018.

Gartner, “Market Guide for Data Preparation,” Ehtisham Zaidi, Rita L. Sallam, Shubhangi Vashisth, 14 December 2017.

Gartner, “Five Approaches for Integrating IoT Digital Twins,” Benoit J. Lheureux, Alfonso Velosa, Peter Havart-Simkin, 27 April 2018.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.