PLM IoT – promise and risk?

PLM IoT – promise and risk?


IoT is coming everywhere these days. The interest in technologies enabling to deliver connectivity between customers, products and product development is huge. You can see the interest of manufacturing companies and PLM vendors in IoT space.

PLM companies are claiming their leadership. Here is a very recent example – PTC Named Internet of Things (IoT) Leader by Two Industry Analyst Firms published by IoT Analytics, and the “Industry 4.0/Internet of Things Vendor Benchmark 2016,” report published by Experton Group. Here is an interesting passage:

Research and consulting firms recognize the effective and easy-to-use rapid application development capabilities of the ThingWorx® IoT platform, the strategic investments on the part of PTC to develop a robust IoT platform, and strong ecosystem partnerships. With 18% market share, PTC is the IoT platform provider market share leader, according to IoT Analytics. The report recognizes early market leadership and software experience as key strengths of PTC, which “has emerged as a strong delivery focused challenger.” Additionally, IoT Analytics cites the strategic partnerships PTC announced with GE and Bosch in 2015 as being essential for IoT platforms to prosper with multiple systems communicating throughout the IoT ecosystem.

Another interesting study was done Autodesk and Taxal – IoT trends within the manufacturing industry. Navigate to the following link to learn more

When it comes to significant benefits, 50% of the companies interviewed believe that IoT helps them to differentiate their offerings and 58% feel that it helps them better compete with others in their markets. 52% of those studied believe that IoT will allow them to develop new services for their customers, and 49% see it as a technology which helps them improve the uptime of their products.

While many companies are active in developing for the IoT, or soon will be, only 30% of those studied believe that they were ‘ready and enabled’ for what’s to come. 38% of companies felt they were making progress and 32% believed there was much to do. There are many reasons behind these statistics; highlighted among these is the need to invest in infrastructure and new technology, and develop and recruit the new skills needed for the IoT era.

Articles and researches are emphasizing lot of promise and interest in IoT. However, the reality is that according to Gartner hype cycle, we live at the time of over-inflated expectations from IoT. I found the following hype cycle chart from Gartner dated 2015. IoT sits exactly on the top.


What is my conclusion? IoT promise is huge. Some PLM vendors have invested tons of money into IoT product and platform development. You can see IoT messages in every single PLM marketing materials. Customers are excited about potential “connected” technologies can bring. At the same time I wonder how many of customers have a material agenda how to make connected technologies work in the context of PLM products. In other words, how to IoT technologies can improve design, engineering and manufacturing decisions. And more importantly, what will happen with all PLM IoT development when the hype cycle will move from a peak of inflated expectations to the through of disillusionment. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of openBoM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.


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