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The IoT Ecosystem

Driving Success Through the Power of Collaboration

An IoT application is part of an ecosystem of hardware, software, and services that turn data into actionable information.

The challenge is that no single organization or technology can go it alone in providing all the essential building blocks that go into an IoT solution, forcing every customer to experience the risk, cost, and delays associated with substantial technology integration projects.


And that means a well-thought-out approach to integrating disparate elements and a high degree of collaboration are crucial: Integration between technologies and systems, and collaboration among the organizations that bring their expertise and solutions to bear on a successful IoT application.


To that end, we asked a panel of experts from different parts of the IoT ecosystem to share their insights and advice on how organizations can develop and deploy IoT applications and drive IoT strategy within their organization. We’ve captured their responses and invite you to watch videos from our virtual roundtable below.

In our recent virtual roundtable, experts shared their insights on the benefits of working with the IoT ecosystem, the steps companies can take to get started on their IoT initiatives, and how industry segments from manufacturing and healthcare to automotive are achieving successful results with their IoT ecosystem partners.

Roundtable Panelists

Adebayo Onigbanjo
Senior Director, Business Operations, Transport Intelligence, GE Transportation

Jason Mann
Vice President of IoT, SAS

Nadeem Asghar
Field CTO and Vice President, Global Head of Partner Engineering, Hortonworks

Robert Gimeno
Managing Director – IoT, Accenture

Vikas Butaney
Vice President IoT Connectivity, Cisco

Wayne Irwin
Director – Internet of Things Group, Intel Corporation

Watch the Roundtable

Check out the full discussion, Leveraging the IoT Ecosystem, with our expert panelists. You can also view highlights from the roundtable below.

The IoT Ecosystem

  • DIY Versus IoT Ecosystem?
    "Don't try and stitch an IoT implementation together yourself. When you work with an ecosystem, you benefit from the collective experience of the partners. For Intel, working through a partner ecosystem is enabling us to draw on our collective experience to develop market-ready solutions that are use-case focused. The benefit is that customers can quickly adapt these solutions for their particular application."

    Wayne Irwin
    Wayne Irwin Director - Internet of Things Group, Intel Corporation

IoT ecosystems are deliberate combinations of technologies and organizations created to generate valuable outcomes in support of IoT adpoters.


The ecosystem partners contribute to the data collection, networking, and analytics layers of an IoT platform, which is based on the software that connects the edge hardware, access points, and data networks to end-user applications.

The Three Layers of an IoT Ecosystem

  • Data Collection Layer:
    The data collection layer is the point at which the sensors and/or controllers gather information.
  • Networking and Security Layer:
    The networking and security layer is the physical network that the data collection devices connect to in order to aggregate and transmit data. To protect data, security is typically applied across the layer.
  • Analytics Layer:
    The analytics layer is the point at which the data is run through analytics engines to extract actionable information.

Industry experts stress that adopting an IoT ecosystem approach is critically important to success. That’s because as vendors take on projects in that environment, they are able to learn, develop, and share that information with a partner community, which ultimately leads to the ability to scale solutions.


Taking an ecosystem approach is becoming accepted practice for many organizations today. In a recent IoT survey conducted by IndustryWeek, 80% of respondents said they plan to leverage the ecosystem, rather than taking a “do-it-yourself” approach for their IoT initiatives. Moreover, nearly one-fourth of organizations said they will specifically partner with an IoT platform provider in order to leverage the full capabilities of that company’s ecosystem partners.

DIY Versus IoT Ecosystem?

Listen to Wayne Irwin (Director – Internet of Things Group, Intel Corporation) discuss why you shouldn’t try to stitch an IoT implementation together yourself. Working with an ecosystem, you benefit from the collective experience of the partners.

IoT Today

IoT: Gaining Momentum

 Early stages of adoption, 50%
 Still in its nascence, 31.8%
 Past early stage and gaining momentum, 13.6%
 Closing in on mainstream, 4.5%

Source: IndustryWeek, February 2018

As more and more organizations achieve success with their initiatives, the IoT is beginning to move past the early stages of adoption and gain momentum.

Many of the early adopters are larger organizations, that are working with the IoT ecosystem and beginning to develop best practices from their IoT initiatives. This foundation laid by early adopters will help to spur adoption in a broader constellation of organizations, which can realize many early benefits as a result of prior learnings captured by the ecosystem.


Yet, despite many early successes, some professionals find that issues like interoperability, inconsistent standards, and challenges building a business case can slow the adoption of the IoT.

Factors Limiting Faster Adoption of the IoT

Fragmentation of IoT offerings
Interoperability between legacy and new systems
Inconsistent communication protocol standards
Lack of open standards
Interoperability between equipment and devices
Inability to build a business case for the IoT

Source: IndustryWeek, February 2018

  • Overcoming the Challenges
    "We believe that focusing on open standards and common horizontal architectures, while ensuring security and quality of service is designed in, is the right way to overcome some of the challenges industry faces around interoperability and inconsistency in standards."

    Vikas Butaney
    Vikas Butaney Vice President IoT Connectivity, Cisco

When it comes to justifying the business case, the experts acknowledge that there is a lot of competition for internal budgets to support these projects. They stress that advocates for an IoT initiative typically are able to secure funding when they can identify a top line growth opportunity, a new business opportunity, a new way to engage the customer, or efficiency gains.


Even under the best of planning and execution, IoT initiatives can fail or create additional challenges for organizations when they lack integration or security capabilities.

Four steps that experts recommend organizations take to address these challenges are:

Assemble a multifunctional team...
Assemble a multifunctional team...
Include representatives from all internal stakeholders in order to understand all of the challenges and requirements.
Make security<br />
a priority...
Make security
a priority...
Think about all the layers that require security, including the assets that are being connected, the data, the applications and the people managing the devices.
Work with a platform provider...
Work with a platform provider...
The provider should have ecosystem partners with market-ready solutions that are adaptable to your specific environment.
Start with individual use cases...
Start with individual use cases...
Test the process and find out what your capabilities are before extending it to other areas.

The IoT Requires an Ecosystem

Jump into the Roundtable to listen to Vikas Butaney (Vice President IoT Connectivity at Cisco) discuss how building an IoT ecosystem requires partnerships all the way from the sensor level and network security to the middleware and business application analytics above it.

Getting Started and Striving for Success

  • Understand the Business Problem First
    "Focus on the business problem; What are you trying to solve? Technology is very cool and you can do so many things with it, but at the end of the day, you need to map back to your business drivers. Is the project going to make you money? Is it going to save you money? Is it going to bring more innovation to the company? Those are some of the key questions to ask before you begin your IoT journey."

    Nadeem Asghar
    Nadeem Asghar Field CTO and Vice President, Global Head of Partner Engineering​ Hortonworks

While it might be tempting to jump immediately to the technology solution, experts say achieving success with an IoT initiative starts with a deep understanding of the operational problems being addressed.


With that understanding in hand, the organization can then map out the requirements for the IoT architecture, the layers connected to it, and the applications built on top.

Four Steps to IoT Success

  • Step One:
    Understand the issue(s) you need to address.
  • Step Two:
    Consider the type of architecture that will meet your requirements, including possible cloud connectivity and edge computing capabilities.
  • Step Three:
    Make sure the IoT platform you select encompasses all the layers of the IoT ecosystem, including the network, data collection and analytics layers.
  • Step Four:
    Consider how the platform supports new applications and how you will manage and integrate them into your existing IT operating environment.

Getting the right people within the organization involved is important, too. With some initiatives, bringing IT and other internal stakeholders in early to support the initiative may not always be the first thought, and that can undermine the effort with oversights and unnecessary friction points – so be sure to include them.

  • Get IT and Others Onboard Early
    "The challenge is that most operational teams are not IT experts, and so not surprisingly they have little visibility into things like what actual assets are online, how they are connected, or the specific versions of firmware they are running. That’s why it’s important for IT to have a seat at the table of an IoT implementation."

    Adebayo Onigbanjo
    Adebayo Onigbanjo Senior Director, Business Operations, Transport Intelligence, GE Transportation

Engaging with the Ecosystem

At which stage of an IoT initiative do you think leading organizations engage with ecosystem partners?

System Implementation
System Design
Setting Requirments

Source: IndustryWeek, February 2018

So, when is the ideal time to bring ecosystem partners into the project? In a recent IndustryWeek survey, 25% of the respondents said they think leading organizations should start engaging with the IoT ecosystem at the planning stage of an IoT initiative and then collaborate closely with them all the way through to implementation.


Some organizations make the mistake of trying to cast too wide a net over their first IoT initiative. They try to boil the ocean instead of focusing on a single use case, whether that be condition-monitoring data or customer buying patterns.

“My recommendation for executing on an IoT initiative is to follow an agile methodology, which means putting together a multi-functional team and working in sprints. Focus on one use case and iterate from there.”

– Robert Gimeno, Managing Director — IoT, Accenture


Getting Started With the Internet of Things

From developing your IoT strategy to measuring success, these resources can help you start your journey.

  • Bring Decision-Making Closer to the Edge "Being able to transition analytics from a batch model to the edge is key to reducing the latency of decision-making, as well as reducing the footprint and costs associated with the vast amounts of data that the sensors are collecting. That’s why it’s important to have a robust, enterprise-sustaining infrastructure to continue generating value over the long term."

    Jason Mann
    Jason Mann Vice President of IoT, SAS

Starting small doesn’t mean organizations shouldn’t have a greater vision for the future. Each individual use case will reveal new insights that can be built upon for the next phase of the IoT initiative. It’s also important that organizations understand the value of market-ready IoT platforms that can quickly be adapted to the specific environment.


Experts also recommend picking solutions that have intelligent filtering capabilities, which will help to identify only the data that is relevant. A platform should also be able to analyze data and detect patterns of interest as events occur. Integration, visualization and edge analytics capabilities are important elements, as well.


Computing power at the edge allows companies to extract the business insights they need wherever it exists, and reduce the time to decision as a result. In some cases, the cloud may be too far away to process critical data quickly. A validated partner ecosystem can help organizations build a platform that delivers the right data to the most appropriate location in the timeframe needed.


In the end, the experts say that partnering with an ecosystem allows organizations to leverage the best-in-class solutions available. And when a validated, verified ecosystem “has your back” with an IoT implementation, you stand the best chances of achieving a solution that meets or even exceeds your goals.

Manage IoT Project Scope

Listen to Jason Mann (Vice President of IoT, SAS) discuss his thoughts on keeping the scope small. The key thing is to get started, create defined measures of success, and have a vision past the POC.

Case Studies

Case Study One

GE and SAS:
An IoT Ecosystem Powered by Analytics

“The beauty of what is happening is the capability to get real-time, or near real-time information, analyze that and actually make a decision.”

– Adebayo Onigbanjo, Senior Director, Business Operations, Transport Intelligence, GE Transportation

IoT EcoSystem Helps GE Transportation Keep Trains on Track

Transportation is an asset-intensive industry that relies on efficient operations to achieve maximum profitability. To help customers manage these important assets, GE Transportation is equipping its locomotives with edge devices that manage hundreds of data elements per second. The initial rollout will be 1,000 North American units.


GE will integrate SAS® Event Stream Processing (powered by the SAS Platform and its in-memory analytics engine SAS® Viya™) with GE Digital’s IoT platform Predix Machine and Predix Edge Manager, which is deployed on equipment and in back offices.  SAS solutions will decipher locomotive data and uncover use patterns that keep trains on track. The combined solution will help customers gain real-time insights and drive improved outcomes by harnessing the power of streaming edge analytics running onboard connected locomotives.

Case Study Two

Lockheed Martin Takes Analytics to New Heights with Ecosystem Partnership

The F-35 is the most “connected fighter aircraft ever built,” according to Lockheed Martin Corp., maker of the F-35. The aircraft’s ability to collect, analyze and share data in the battlespace helps military personnel complete their missions safely and effectively.


Lockheed Martin plans to enhance IoT capabilities across its F-35, C-130J and LM-100J programs with insights derived from advanced machine learning, deep learning and natural language processing. Lockheed Martin is collaborating with SAS to deploy a broad portfolio of SAS products throughout its global technology platform. Powered by SAS® Viya, the cloud-enabled, in-memory analytics engine, the new capabilities are already helping Lockheed Martin’s data scientists and engineers to quickly develop self-service applications that deliver predictive maintenance, fleet-performance management, intelligent diagnostics and supply chain optimization analytics.


“These new capabilities will help the F-35 program deliver a total performance-based logistics sustainment solution that meets warfighter needs and significantly reduces total ownership cost,” says Tim Matthews, VP of F-35 Sustainment Operations, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.


Source: Lockheed Martin Marine KC-130J aircraft and two F-35s. (Photograph used under license from Lockheed Martin Corporation)

Featured Resources


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