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Clash of industry cultures: how a data mindset will transform Industrial IoT

Stijn Schuermans · July 22, 2015

The industrial world is undergoing a fundamental metamorphosis. Every industrial company has become a software and data company, overnight. In our latest report, the Industrial IoT Landscape 2015, we bring data on the 1M+ Industrial IoT developers in the world today, and we show that the winning Industrial IoT developer ecosystems are already emerging.

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“If you went to bed last night as an industrial company, you’re going to wake up this morning as a software and analytics company.” – Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric, Minds+Machines summit, 2014

The industrial world is undergoing a fundamental metamorphosis. To paraphrase GE’s Jeff Immelt: every industrial company has become a software and data company, overnight. Two very different engineering cultures are clashing and converging. On the one hand, the traditional industry that knows how to build reliable mechanical and electrical machinery that lasts for decades. On the other, the fast-moving software and data science industry, incubated in consumer markets like e-commerce, digital advertising and social media. Industrial companies will have to be imbued with a software and data mindset if they are to stay competitive. A formidable challenge, to say the least.

The transformation of industry is not just about adopting new technology for incremental improvement. When data is put at the center of how industry operates, it will affect the entire business: not just engineers, but also production workers and product designers, marketers and salespeople. There is a dire need for people skilled in handling data with software across all these groups.

At the same time, software and data technology are rapidly becoming more accessible. This opens up opportunities not just for large-scale companies – the Bosch’s, GE’s and IBM’s of this world – but also for smaller manufacturers and technology providers. Small fish can become big fish quickly in this new pond.

In our new research report, the Industrial IoT Landscape 2015, we tell the story of this metamorphosis from the perspective of those who have the necessary skills – software developers – and those who work to democratize Internet of Things technology – platform vendors.

Over 1 million Industrial IoT developers crave better platforms

The advent of software developers working in an industrial context is no longer theory. We estimate that [tweetable]there are already over 1 million Industrial IoT developers in the world today[/tweetable].

61% of Industrial IoT developers are professionals, creating IoT products, selling their services as contractors, or employing their skills to improve their company’s products or processes. The Industrial IoT sector counts significantly more highly-experienced developers (with 6+ years experience) than other areas of the Internet of Things, across software, web, mobile and IoT technologies. This said, [tweetable]the bulk of Industrial IoT development is not performed by veterans[/tweetable] who have been connecting machines for decades. Just like in the broader IoT space, we see a large influx of new blood, starting about 2 years ago. Almost 2 in 3 Industrial IoT developers (63%) has less than 2 years experience in the Internet of Things.

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The top challenge for 48% of Industrial IoT developer is immature platforms, tools and standards. Developers crave modern software platforms that empower them to build careers and businesses. Our analysis shows that a specific class of platform vendors – companies from Amazon to SAP – have already started providing developers with top-of-the-line tools.

The Industrial IoT Landscape 2015 report contains a full profile of Industrial IoT developer demographics, psychographic segmentation, challenges and platform selection criteria. We have evaluated 30+ platforms on their ability to build vibrant developer ecosystems. Find out more here.