Honeywell International (NYSE:HON) may be a little late to the party in recently introducing its integrated Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) analytics platform, Uniformance Suite. But the company should be OK. It's going to be a pretty big party -- about $14.2 trillion big. Accenture believes this to be the amount that the IIoT could contribute to the global economy by 2030.
Why the extra "I"?
Just when you thought you were wrapping your head around what the Internet of Things (IoT) is, here comes the industrial variety. The difference is fairly simple. The IoT is a sort of catch-all for machine-to-machine communication, although the term is usually used in consumer applications. Honeywell, on the other hand, succinctly sums up the IIoT as a system used to "enhance the operation and management of industrial production processes." Furthermore, the IIoT uses cloud-based storage to enhance planning, optimization, and engineering.
Top of the VIP list
It's not as if Honeywell is unfamiliar with the machine-to-machine connectivity landscape. But in dealing specifically with the Industrial Internet of Things, the company is playing a bit of catch-up with its longtime adversary, General Electric (NYSE:GE).
Committed to redefining itself as a company increasingly focused on managing big data, GE claims its Predix software is the world's first industrial operating system. Born out of a $1 billion investment in industrial software and analytics, Predix is a platform used in a variety of applications, ranging from automotive to food and beverage.
Further differentiating Predix as an industry-leading solution, GE recently announced a partnership with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) in which Predix will be available on the Microsoft Azure cloud for industrial businesses. According to Satya Nadella, Microsoft's CEO, "Working with companies like GE, we can reach a new set of customers to help them accelerate their transformation across every line of business -- from the factory floor to smart buildings." Predix on Azure is expected to be commercially available in the second quarter of 2017.
Siemens (NASDAQOTH:SIEGY) is another company you'll see at this party's punch bowl. Through its data-analytics platform, Sinalytics, Siemens provides its digital factory solution -- like GE -- to numerous industries as varied as power generation and healthcare.
The company is already recognizing substantial revenue from this fairly nascent industry. For example, Siemens reported that its digital services grew about 15% year over year and accounted for approximately $660 million in revenue in fiscal 2015. Siemens estimates that its technologies have already connected about 300,000 devices. Additionally, the company expects its digital services to show average annual market growth of 15%.
So what is Honeywell bringing?
The Uniformance Suite is the latest of Honeywell's IIoT offerings -- an area the company is devoting significant resources to. In April, the company announced that it had developed a business unity solely dedicated "to help manufacturers harness the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and more rapidly deploy technologies."
An offering of Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) -- a division of the performance materials and technologies segment (PMT) -- the Uniformance Suite brings together solutions that are already a strong driver of growth for the company.
Although the PMT segment reported a year-over-year 9% decline in sales for the first quarter, the HPS division was a bright spot; it reported a 10% increase in revenue. Honeywell suggests that Uniformance can help business reduce expenses in a number of ways:
- A 10% increase in asset utilization.
- A 10% increase in operating efficiency.
- A 10% reduction in maintenance costs.
- An increase in safety by ensuring normal and stable operations.
Ali Raza, vice president of HPS, characterizes the value of the Uniformance Suite in that it "provides powerful data-analytics capabilities to enable customers to capture the data they need, visualize trends, collaborate with other users, and act to make informed business decisions."
To say that there's ample opportunity to succeed in the IIoT market is a gross understatement. Although GE and Siemens already have a firm footing in the IIoT marketplace, Honeywell has ample opportunity to pick up market share. Though it will probably never catch neither GE nor Siemens, the company should still benefit from its Uniformance Suite and any other solutions it brings in the future.