IoT provider ramps up device intelligence & pools resources

23rd January 2015
Barney Scott

B&B Electronics, rebranded as B+B SmartWorx, is aiming to increase the intelligence in its network connectivity offering, embedding intelligence throughout the network connectivity stack, from edge device to network backbone. The company is also introducing an ecosystem of complementary technologies, ideas and resources for its global IoT partners.

B+B’s latest technologies, including the Wzzard Intelligent Sensing Platform (pictured), for creating wireless sensor networks where customer applications and logic reside at the network edge, and the SWARM intelligence-based cellular edge gateway devices, have led the company to decide upon a name change. The aforementioned technologies combine to form the B+B SmartWorx IoT Edge Processing Architecture.

Engineered for environments where existing equipment and networks are too valuable to ignore or replace, B+B’s edge processing architecture adds layers of functionality, efficiency and scalability to existing M2M data networks, allowing integrators and VARS to evolve their customers’ existing networks into autonomous, decisive IoT systems.

The 2012 acquisition of Czech company Conel and its industrial cellular gateways sparked for the company’s intensive IoT development push. The focus on the intelligence in connectivity has also led B+B to quadruple the ratio of software to hardware engineers at all of its global locations.

B+B has also announced an acceleration for the IoT landscape with its Connected Intelligence Global Partner Ecosystem, enabling complementary partner companies to make intelligent connections with each other, combine expertise and build effective IoT applications for end customers in the non-consumer IoT space.

Initial partners include IoT providers such as Cumulocity, Davra Networks, ILS Technology, ParStream, PLAT.ONE, SeeControl, Skkynet, and ThingWorx, along with MVNO partners such as KORE and Mobius Networks, and a variety of international carriers.

According to Harbor Research, the non-consumer IoT space is around 50% of the total IoT market, comprised of managed services, such as analytics, system applications and mobile & cloud computing; enablement hardware (wired or wireless hardware attached to or embedded in each machine); and carrier and data network services. B+B SmartWorx products fall into enablement hardware while other Connected Intelligence Ecosystem partners fall into the managed and network services areas.

Mike Fahrion, Director of IoT and Edge Intelligence Product Development, B+B SmartWorx explained: “Finding the right partners to fit a specific application’s requirements enables our customers to achieve better results than a ‘one size fits all’ approach.”

From assets to analytics starting at the network edge, the ecosystem aims to create intelligent networks that can collect, manage and analyse the data generated by billions of sensors, transforming that data into actionable intelligence that allows companies to make predictions and prescribe actions to maximise profit and cut waste.

B+B SmartWorx provides the network connectivity “technical glue” - the hardware and connectivity stack of the ecosystem. B+B’s IoT Edge Processing Architecture, a combination of its Wzzard and SWARM systems, aggregates data from existing equipment, translates disparate machine protocols into a language IT can understand, transforms that data into useful information and delivers it to applications ready for analysis.

“IoT technologies have inserted more intelligence and complexity into the M2M conversation. While companies desire the improved data analytics the IoT brings, many stop short of adoption due to the complexity of existing asset integration. B+B has been engineering solutions to bring existing equipment into the IoT, and hence transitioning from connectivity to connected intelligence, so the old B&B Electronics image didn’t fit us anymore,” said Jerry O’Gorman, CEO, B+B SmartWorx. “We've aligned with companies who are credited with some of the most innovative technologies and solutions in their industries. Together, our focus is on extending the capabilities of our technologies to provide broad solutions for customers in areas of strategic importance to the global market.”

“Rather than trying to become a vertical service provider itself, which can turn partners into competitors, B+B is smart to focus on its pedigree and core connectivity competence and recognise that an ecosystem of partners, leveraging each other’s core expertise, brings the most value to the end user,” said Glen Allmendinger, Founder and President, Harbor Research. “B+B’s technology roadmap is impressive, positioning the company as an emerging leader in what Harbor Research calls the ‘enablement hardware’ slice of the industrial IoT pie, a category we project will grow from $16.2bn today to $43.8bn by 2020.”

“We are excited that ThingWorx technology will be a core aspect of the B+B SmartWorx Connected Intelligence Ecosystem,” commented Chris Kuntz, Vice President, Ecosystem Programmes, ThingWorx.  “The age of the IoT is upon us and working with forward thinking companies such as B+B SmartWorx enables us to deploy our technology so that customers can profit from complete, end-to-end solutions.”

“I applaud B+B SmartWorx' bold entry into the IoT Marketplace as a deviceWISE Ready partner. Our two companies share a common strategy of providing robust solutions with intelligence at the edge, as well as a proven track record with enterprise customers within the industrial market,” added Fred Yentz, CEO, ILS Technology. “Our strategic and technical alignment and our global reach will provide customers an enterprise ready, fast time to value IoT experience.”

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