Advantech eyes Industrial IoT, cloud solutions

Advantech Co (研華) previewed its vision for an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market, which it said would gradually take shape in the next five to 10 years and add value to the company’s hardware offerings. The world’s largest industrial computer supplier aims to sow the seeds for the IIoT market through a “cocreation” model, making early bets on developers of intelligent solutions that would be powered by its cloud computing platform.

IIoT applications would become widely implemented across a multitude of industries and Advantech is working closely with industry professionals to integrate their knowledge with the coming technology shift and create solution-ready packages (SRPs).

Eventually, the SRPs would become an important aspect of the IIoT supply chain, along with sensors, edge computing, communications, and platform as a service (PaaS) and other cloud-based services.

Edge computing is a method of optimizing cloud computing by having some computation performed at the device level, whereas PaaS involves providing companies with the cloud infrastructure necessary to build and maintain applications.

However, the IIoT space is fragmented, and the company is working hard to create standardized and easily duplicated SRPs based on a combination of software and hardware products that could be rolled out by system integrators, Liu said.

Advantech showcased nine SRP partners that are developing intelligent solutions for managing hospital wards, vehicle fleets, factory equipment and other facilities.

The company in March approved plans to acquire a 19 percent stake in Nippon RAD Inc to help it become a leading system integrator in the vast Japanese market, Liu added.

Advantech has been offering its WISE PaaS service, a new cloud-enabled platform, at a very accessible price for its development partners during the growth stage, he said.

The company has also scaled down its venture capital activities to focus on investing in its development partners and acquiring stakes of 20 to 30 percent in like-minded IIoT start-ups and partners, Liu said.

“We expect US$500 million in overall incremental revenue gains by 2023,” Liu said, adding that the smart factory, or Industry 4.0, and smart city solutions segments would see the fastest IIoT deployment.

Liu envisions that the IIoT market would be divided into two segments: Half of the potential revenues would be controlled by hardware and software platform providers such as Advantech, while the other half would represented by SRP providers, he said.

The scheme would add value to Advantech’s hardware offerings, similar to how iPhones garnered popularity through Apple’s software and services, he said.

“We supply the beef to supply the steakhouses that would be opened up by our SRP partners,” Liu added.

Meanwhile, the company said it would be ready to unveil 30 SRPs at its IoT Co-Creation Summit which is scheduled for November in Suzhou, China.


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