Future IoT PLM competition and unusual suspects

Future IoT PLM competition and unusual suspects

I remember CEO of one large  company saying that he is not afraid of competition from usual suspects – large companies. He continued – we know what usual suspects do and following every single step. But, he said, I’m afraid of the competition coming from some unknown garage and small team. We don’t know what they do.

IoT is a new space for manufacturing and some PLM vendors such as PTC are placing a huge bet on the success in IoT space. So, who is competing against whom? I put some thoughts about it here and I look forward to LiveWorx 2018 event next months in Boston.

However, what about unusual competition? My attention was caught by TechCrunch article- This company wants to put ‘brains’ in electric scooters and bikes to keep riders safer. The article speaks about Cambridge, Mass company – Superpedestrian. Until very recently I knew they are developing very interesting consumer product – Copenghagen Wheel. It is a bicycle wheel that replacing your traditional wheel by suggesting and improved way of pedaling.

Here is an interesting passage:

Riders love the wheel, but now, Superpedestrian is shifting gears. It isn’t abandoning its consumer base. Instead, it’s taking the wraps off an entirely new second business that plans to use the one million kilometers of data it has amassed from Copenhagen customers to improve the offerings of urban mobility companies. More specifically, it wants to sell them hardware and software that will keep their fleets up to snuff.

It doesn’t matter if these companies are renting out electric bikes, scooter, mopeds or all three. Superpedestrian is “micro vehicle” agnostic, suggests its founder, Assaf Biderman — who’d earlier spent 10 years working at MIT’s Senseable City Lab. In fact, he says Superpedestrian has been quietly modeling out this business-to-business diagnostics business since nearly the company’s launch five years ago but was waiting for small motorized vehicles to gain momentum.

Now, of course, scooter and e-bike sharing services are suddenly booming. Enter Superpedestrian, which says it’s time for the companies that are peppering city streets with their vehicles to improve their quality, and that Superpedestrian can help make them more reliable, easier to track, and more cost-effective over time.

I found very interesting to see how Superpedestiran is changing direction and focusing on connecting physical and virtual worlds. If you think, it is the same strategy PLM companies are claiming when investing in the future IoT PLM products. But companies like Superpedestrian might have suddenly an advantage because they collected data about product operation cycle and then turning it into IoT business.

What is my conclusion? Beavers do what beavers do. It was a rule for many years. Companies in engineering and manufacturing software were doing business and literally owning the industry space. Emerging spaces like IoT can offer an opportunity to change a status quo. What is remarkable is how even small manufacturing company can potentially create an opportunity from a data collected from devices. Interesting trend to think about. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Want to learn more about PLM? Check out my new PLM Book website.

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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