Forbes just published an interesting article this week on the top IoT companies to work for in 2018. Using the latest Computer Reseller News’ 2018 Internet of Things 50 list of companies with information from Glassdoor, they created a list of the best companies to work for in the space. Recognizing that none of these lists are perfect, it still provides some interesting insight and conclusions about the state of IoT today.
1. What is an IoT Company? Most of the names mentioned are not traditional IoT companies, and just a few of the companies (Ayla Networks) listed were purpose built to be an IoT company. Almost all of them have been successful in a business that is adjacent to IoT, and they are using this position to support some piece of an IoT solution. SAP is the leader in extracting value from corporate data, AWS has built a world class cloud business, and Nvidia is dominating the GPU business, but IoT is just the latest application of what they already do. Everyone is now an IoT company.
2. Industrial IoT Leads the Way. A disproportionate number of companies are focused on the industrial space (Siemens, Schneider Electric, Eaton, Honeywell, Johnson Controls). These companies have deep, trusted relationships with their customers and a strong understanding of the business challenges and requirements. It makes sense that the current industry solution leaders would help these customers make the transition to connected products and services. Implementing IoT is hard work, and industrial companies have environments that are even more complex than the average IoT engagement.
3. Where are the Systems Integrators? IoT solution creation, deployment and maintenance involve a delicate dance of many suppliers from every layer of the stack – hardware, connectivity, software, etc. IoT success is about clearly identifying the business problem and then assembling a solution ecosystem to work together towards the objective. This activity is the very definition of what systems integrators do every day. From large global integrators to smaller regional or vertically focused integrators, IoT simply will not happen without them. They are the glue of complex solutions and should be considered on future lists.
4. Hardware is an early winner. Investors prefer recurring revenue streams from software and services companies, but hardware companies serving IoT have simply been around longer and have had more time to grow. New hardware is often needed as part of connecting the analog world with the digital world, and larger scale projects are now starting to hit (Cox2M Connected Assets).
It is very difficult to create any kind of list that is comprehensive and fair, especially in an emerging sector like IoT where literally almost everyone can be a supplier and a customer. Measuring companies based on whether an employee would recommend the employer to a friend is just one measure of a company’s attractiveness. It does raise an interesting question around the competition for talent. When have we seen anything discussing the importance of human capital when attacking IoT? I suspect that as the industry continues to grow, the battle for talent will intensify.