If you’ve been waiting for the buzz to settle around the Internet of Things before deciding how to invest in this new technology space, now’s the time to stop waiting. I’ve been working in the technology sector for a few decades, and the innovation and excitement I’m seeing around IoT is unlike anything else I’ve seen.

The nature of the market around IoT is in an exciting state of frenzy. There’s so much potential across so many industries – and so many players bringing truly innovative ideas to the market. And it was all on display at the recent IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona.

Randy Guard on stage at IoT World Congress
My presentation featured a discussion with Garret Fitzgerald of GE Transportation, who explained how his company is using the power of IoT analytics to completely reshape its business.

Attending the presentations and walking through the showcase floor (including the testbed displays), it’s clear that we’re not in a silly gadget phase of IoT anymore but well into a productive phase of practical ideas for commercial use. IoT use cases on display included:

  • Predictive maintenance for connected elevators.
  • Condition based monitoring for high value assets in the field, like locomotives, delivery trucks, and even the cargo/parcels being shipped.
  • Hacker detection and prevention for digital substations.
  • Early detection of crop-damaging weather events.
  • Augmented reality for maintenance and service of sensitive assets.
  • Smart city applications all around the world.

Who do you know in the IoT space?

I found it fascinating to witness the connections being made at the conference as the different players in the ecosystem converged to test out ideas, display working projects and talk about the possibilities of IoT.

SAS booth at IoT World Congress
The SAS booth included a connected vehicle demo with an IoT mini-truck. SAS® Event Stream Processing running on an Intel gateway analyzes vehicle data instantly and alerts are communicated to other systems for processing.

The connective nature of IoT brings a whole different mindset to this type of event. It’s not only attended by hardware and software vendors, but also by device managers, app developers, service providers – and a whole lot more, including interested customers across industries.  I met attendees from financial services, manufacturing, airlines, government and retail.

It kind of feels like the early days of the Internet, where technologists and business leaders came together for the first time with the potential to create entirely new capabilities to benefit every industry.  No one can go solo with IoT and come out a winner.  A strong ecosystem is a must. And that’s what’s causing the frenzy: Nobody really knows everyone or their new offerings, so everybody wants to get to know somebody.

SAS attended the event with our partners Intel and Brady Systems, and with our customer GE Transportation, so we do know somebody, but there were many other opportunities to discover.

I spent a lot of my time talking with customers, exploring the working prototypes on display, and understanding the potential for analyzing IoT data and automating decisions for IoT devices.

Even with drones and robots and smart elevators right there on the showroom floor, I felt like this was just the beginning. Once we further combine analytics and artificial intelligence at the device level for even more IoT applications, we’ll be moving closer and closer to an Intelligence of Things. 

Find out how GE and SAS are working together on an IoT ecosystem in the video below.

Or see what SAS and Intel are up to with IoT:

Finally, take a glimpse into the future of IoT at the edge.


About Author

Randy Guard

Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer

Randy Guard is responsible for the SAS brand, providing global, strategic direction and marketing vision for SAS® products and solutions. He oversees several operational business units, including global marketing, product marketing, go-to-market, sales enablement, customer experience management, corporate communications and creative services.


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  2. Nelson Grajales on

    Great Post! IOT is definitely is one of the bulls of technology. It will be exciting to see where the combination of Analytics and IOT takes companies, especially as more companies start to see the value in this technology. I have a feeling that large industrial plants, especially Oil gas, will begin adopting IOT+ Analytics in the coming years. Also the boom in security will take things to the next level as mentioned in this blog with Hacker detection. As industry begins to adopt, I believe it will still be a few years down the road before there is a large use with consumers, like me, but nonetheless very excited!

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