7 IoT Leaders to Watch in 2017

November 17, 2016 • Blog Post • BY MOLLY SOCHA, WIRED BRAND LAB


  • As the number of smart devices grows, IoT is projected to be a $661 billion market by 2021
  • Below are some of the “movers and shakers” who will shape the emerging IoT market in 2017 and beyond

Meet the rock stars working to make our world more connected through IoT

The conversation about the Internet of Things (IoT) has hit a crescendo this year.

Sure, the number of connected devices in the world surpassed the human population eight years ago, but 2016 may mark something more significant. Some reports suggest that there will be moreconnected things in the world than traditional computing devicessuch as laptops and smartphones.

As the digital web of smart devices expands and inspires new technology, the question arises: Who are the people conducting this growing IoT symphony?

Thanks certainly goesto early innovators likeKevin Ashton, but the current leaders shaping the future of IoT deserve a nod, too. And although these rock stars come from many different industries and have varying perspectives, they unite in their passion to advance IoT tothe projected $661 billion market it is expected to reach by 2021.

Below are a few of the industrial IoT movers and shakers from around the world. Keep an eye on their work in 2017 and beyond.

1.Jim Heppelmann – President and CEO, PTC

When your company is named 2016 Internet of Things Enablement Company of the Year, rock star status comes with the territory.

2016 has been a big year for Heppelmann. Not only did his software solutions company PTC gain national recognition, it announced the integration of its enterprise IoT platform ThingWorx into public domain clouds. Heppelmann believes ThingWorx solves a serious problem with the development of connected devices: lifecycle management. Through PTC’s data collection, software developers can now better understand how products work once they've left the factory.

2.Dr. Tom Bradicich – GM and VP, Servers and IoT Systems, HPE

Bradicich describes the promise of IoT using the three M’s: monitoring, maintaining and monetizing. The IoT savant showed how the M’s work in real time when he unveiled HPE’s new Edgeline Systems at HPE Discover in Las Vegas this summer. The new product category, Converged Edge Systems, boasts the ability to monitor things like machinery used in factories while rapidly capturing valuable data. Bradicich and team say this data collection and deep analysis at the edge will better help businesses understand areas for possible monetization. And the systems’ popular HPE management technologies promise to free up time for increased efficiency.

Bradicich’s priority for 2017? “Helping customers derive valuable insights from new sources of data within the ‘things,’ people and places that are relevant to their businesses.”

  • Gartner predicts at least 250 million vehicles will be connected by 2020.

3.Stefano Concezzi – VP, Global Automotive Initiative, National Instruments

In 2015, the number of individual connected components available in a car increased 67 percent, and Gartner predicts at least 250 million vehicles will be connected by 2020. Still, public safety concerns remain.

Enter Stefano Concezzi. This year, Concezzi and his team at National Instruments demonstrated Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), which allow for the flexibility and scalability of autonomous vehicles. Most importantly, ADAS can detect car system issues that would have otherwise gone undetected.

National Instruments also announced a partnership with HPE to realize data center-level compute in remote locations—increasing data processing speed by minimizing the need to transmit data to an off-premise data center or to the cloud. 

4.Volkmar Denner – CEO, Bosch

Under Denner's leadership, Bosch has contributed innovations such as an on-screen button you can actually feel. This year, Denner focused on cross-pollinating divisions within the corporation to break down boundaries and achieve IoT innovation. The company also announced its own IoT cloud, which will allow Bosch to accelerate its efforts to develop smart cars and smart homes, as well as intelligent manufacturing.

“We believe in open platforms, in open standards; we believe in open source, and we believe in strategic alliances,” Denner said during his presentation at Bosch Connected World 2016.

5.Nigel Upton – GM of IoT for Communications & Media Solutions/Communications Solutions Business, HPE

HPE’s Nigel Upton is responsible for the universal IoT platform that powers everything from connected cars to telecommunications to smart cities. This platform allows enterprises to get the full value of IoT, enabling them to extract data from many different devices and turn it into a common standards-based format so it can be analyzed, enriched from other data, and can create value through applications.

Upton’s priority for 2017? “Race to get as many devices connected and on the IoT platform as possible. We want 100 million devices within the next two years,” he said, noting that he is focused on large partnerships with telcos, device providers and application developers to help HPE tackle the vast enterprise IoT market. The use cases are seemingly unlimited—Upton said the platform is being used for many different use cases from wearables that track your pets, to sensors that measure how much water is in the soil of a Malaysia palm oil tree farm, to smart trash cans that optimize pickup routes.

6.Sébastien Boria – R&D Mechatronics Technology Leader, Airbus

Utilizing IoT to run an efficient assembly line is something Amazon and other logistics companies have down. But when it comes to airplane manufacturing, assembly lines just aren't there yet. A dwindling workforce in the industry has led to a backlog in production.

Boria aims to mitigate this backlog with his “factory of the future” at Airbus. And the production line at the French company isn't only robots at work fastening bolts, it's also made up of human workers equipped with hand tools containing sensors and smart headsets that can confirm whether or not work is done correctly.

7.Vinay Anand — VP and GM, ClearPass Security, Aruba (an HPE company)

Most IT organizations are still in early stages of understanding and deploying IoT within their networks. But as different groups within an organization embark on the IoT journey with varying priorities and timelines, this fragmented approach presents new security risks. While the overarching IT goal is to connect and protect all sorts of IoT devices on the network with minimal disruption to operations, one urgent and critical need is for visibility of IoT devices that are connecting in different parts of the network—similar to when bring your own device (BYOD) appeared in the enterprise several years ago.

To address this, Anand and his team have come up with a multi-phased approach to deliver visibility and monitor and protect IoT devices connecting to a network. In 2017, Anand says they will deliver phase one of their IoT security strategy focused on IoT device discovery and profiling. This will enable enterprises to discover all IoT devices connecting to the network and accurately fingerprint and profile them. Additionally, Anand will work with IoT gateways to get visibility into IoT devices that are not IP-enabled as well as offer customers the ability to selectively enforce authentication and access control on these devices.


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