Editor’s note: As the Internet of Things world continues to expand, analysts at Technology Business Research take an inside look at the latest IoT efforts at Google, Cisco and SAP.

  • Google upgrades its core value by filling in a gap

In May 2017 Google announced its new Google Cloud IoT Core service. The new pay-as-you-go managed service, situated between devices and the company’s Cloud Pub/Sub service, allows Google Cloud Platform users to connect, manage and generate insight from devices with elevated ease. TBR believes that many customers, prior to Google’s Cloud IoT Core, relied on Google partner solutions to connect devices to Google Cloud. Google’s Cloud IoT Core features include:

  • Simplified connection of external devices to Google Cloud
  • Fast and easy setup and management
  • Automatic Android Things-based device updates
  • Security out of the box
  • Auto-managed infrastructure

Importantly, Google’s Cloud IoT Core is natively integrated with Google Cloud’s holistic platform, allowing users to easily direct ingested data to the correct database, machine learning, analytics and business intelligence tools, as well as seamlessly return instructions from these tools back to the devices.

Complexity remains a core reason for customer hesitation in deploying IoT, as do the costs of supporting IoT, including securing adequate IT staff to manage devices and sort through data. Also, there is a general lack of expertise in the existing workforce. Google’s Cloud IoT Core attempts to remove these challenges by positioning the platform to carry out most of the underlying work, allowing data to scale without IT selling, general and administrative (SG&A) costs ballooning. The more complexity companies can remove from IoT, moving toward the eventual codeless environments where business decision makers can generate insight on demand, the more uptake IoT will gain.

Google’s Cloud IoT Core service isn’t the first of its kind. Google’s competitors were a little quicker to the punch, as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and IBM all have a similar service. In addition, AWS, Microsoft and many other vendors have begun to trend closer to edge computing for industrial and nondistributed IoT use cases such as on-premises data centers in a factory. These vendors align edge computing to serve as a first stop for data sorting and analytics, rather than promoting a direct-to-cloud environment, as Google is doing with Cloud IoT Core. However, Google’s Cloud IoT Core is still an important feature that Google needs to remain competitive, and will be critical for use cases such as logistics, connected car and many consumer IoT applications.

  • Cisco builds a backbone for IoT

TBR Director of Devices & IoT John Spooner visited Cisco’s IoT World Forum in London in May 2017 and returned with an updated perspective in his Cisco paves the way for massive IoT with distributed computing, simple programming and intelligent automation event perspective.

TBR believes that instead of being a do-it-all vendor, Cisco has lassoed its ambitions around providing the networking, hardware, and near-the-box software and services for IoT deployments. This new strategy allows the company to narrow its focus by providing best-in-class on-premises gear and leaving the platform competition to the deeply invested cloud giants Amazon, Microsoft and IBM and regional counterparts. In the end, this also fills Cisco’s core desires: to become a well-known IoT necessity and to sell more high-margin hardware. It also clarifies Cisco’s role and capabilities to customers. The company has been notorious for a laundry list of capabilities and products, often leaving customers early in their journey overwhelmed. Could Cisco lose out on business by de-emphasizing its wide capability set? Spooner writes:

Cisco’s software stack overlaps with many of the offerings from Azure, Watson IoT and Predix. However, Cisco executives said they see more overall joint opportunity that can be addressed with partners than the company may address alone.

  • SAP stepped up its IoT game

In late March 2017 TBR Principal Analyst Ezra Gottheil met with SAP executives and had the chance to learn how SAP is positioning its go-to-market strategy for IoT as well as the obstacles the company is facing and its potential for success. In With Leonardo, SAP steps up in IoT, Gottheil contends:

TBR believes the trend toward increased adoption of IoT solutions creates opportunities for SAP to increase its footprint in its large install base while strengthening the entire SAP portfolio, making it more attractive to new customers. The position of SAP in customer organizations, being involved in existing business processes, gives the company an advantage in IoT over infrastructure and connectivity providers. The Leonardo suite and the company’s messaging around it further buttress SAP’s position.

We believe the company will successfully drive sales in its install base, driving revenue and profit and giving SAP time and expertise to expand its portfolio. The company will be competing with virtually all IoT vendors to make IoT easier and less expensive for smaller companies. For the next three years, however, TBR expects SAP’s IoT business to grow ahead of those of most of its competition.