Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Intel, Arm and Microsoft partner Advantech to cure IoT fragmentation

Steve Rogerson
November 6, 2018

While not broken, the IoT is seriously fragmented and there is a need for companies to collaborate at all stages of product development to drive the market forward. That was the message from last week’s Advantech Co-Creation Summit in Suzhou, China.
“Phase one of the IoT was automation and embedded platforms,” said KC Liu (pictured below), CEO of Taiwan-based Advantech is his keynote address. “We are now in phase two where we see hardware and software integrated into platforms. In phase three, we will see integrated applications in the cloud.”
He said the IoT ecosystem would need several years to grow to a mature phase. “The IoT is becoming fragmented,” he said. “Co-creation will heal the fragmentation.”
Allan Yang (pictured below), Advantech’s CTO, added: “We are ready for the fragmentation age of the IoT.”
Yang said this problem could be illustrated in the way industrial services were often developed by defining the end objective and pushing downwards.
“This ends up in a silo, a specialised system for one purpose,” he said. “It is hard to move forwards. This is not the right way to do it. We want to start bottom up.”
This view was shared by the other keynote speakers, including Jonathan Ballon (pictured below), vice president of Intel’s IoT group. “Advantech’s vision is the same as ours,” he said. “A shared vision is the first step to a great partnership.”
He said this involved a level of trust when giving each other access to technologies.
“The trust factor lets us operate in a world that is not always perfect,” he said. “This can result in incredible inroads. Intel has been growing in the IoT space at twice the rate of our competitors.”
Specifically, Ballon looked at the increasing role of artificial intelligence (AI) in IoT applications.
“Everyone is talking about AI,” he said. “It is positioned to transform every industry. It is advancing at a pace that we have not seen before. AI is accelerating the adoption of the IoT because the value proposition is too high to ignore.”
Dipesh Patel (pictured below), president of chip designer Arm’s IoT service group, also backed the co-creation call.
“The IoT is complicated,” he said. “It is not something you can do by yourself. It will need partnerships. We need to get together and produce solutions together. Fragmentation will be a big problem because we have to scale the IoT to unlock the value. For the IoT to scale, we need security and partnerships. Security has to be built into the design; it cannot be an afterthought. And we need partnerships to bring the IoT to life. Together we are stronger.”
And Ken Sun (pictured below), general manager of Microsoft in Taiwan, said the IoT was not a technological revolution but a business revolution enabled by technology.
“We are exploring new partnerships,” he said. “We need really deep partnerships. Every industry is being digitally transformed, and more and more it is not about moving things but moving data.”