With the fourth industrial revolution well and truly upon us, this is a massively exciting time for all of those involved in the Smart Industry, or Industry 4.0 as the German government first coined it.
Cyber-physical systems are becoming more present throughout several industries including Digital Plant and, with the advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data and predictive analytics, who knows how far we can take things in the future.
With the prediction that the market value of Industry 4.0 will reach a staggering 185 billion by 2022, which companies will be leading the way and which start-ups will be making a big difference?
Uptake – The SaaS Startup
The SaaS startup ‘Uptake’ seems to be in almost every conversation I am currently having. Now valued at over $2.3 billion, their last round of funding saw them take on $117 million from 3 main investors. The company is now working across six continents and it has been a real privilege to join this journey with them.
Co-founded in 2014 by Groupon co-founder Brad Keywell, Uptake makes software that monitors and analyzes real-time data generated by industrial equipment and uses it to improve the performance and maintenance of the machinery.
This type of software is also produced by much larger companies such as GE, ABB and Siemens, however I feel Uptake can really take the Digital Plant market by storm despite tough competition.
SkyX – Autonomous Systems
SkyX’s autonomous systems capture complex high-resolution data and deliver easy-to-understand, actionable results to global clients. The company’s first-of-a-kind drones, using a variety of sensors, can gather a vast array of customized data, enabling clients to take charge of what has previously been an expensive and complex task ─ monitoring long-range assets like oil and gas pipelines.
Having recently secured series B funding of $9.5 million SkyX now has approximately $15.8 million in funding. Founded in 2015 they have built a reputation in the oil & gas industry and many people are excited about what is to come.
Their outstanding technology, as well as their product innovation, backed by their strong engineering and executive team, leads me to predict that they will be a force to reckoned with.
FogHorn – Edge Intelligence
FogHorn is a leading developer of “edge intelligence” software for industrial and commercial IoT application solutions. Their software focuses on bringing advanced analytics and machine learning to diagnostics, maintenance and optimization to customers within manufacturing, oil and gas, power and energy as well as Smart Cities.
Founded in 2014 they currently have around $47.5 million in funding, making them one of the best funded startups in the IoT world. Their edge-intelligence software makes utilizing data in areas with poor or no connectivity possible, allowing data that would otherwise be wasted to be utilized.
Their leadership team is one of the strongest of the startups, with the CEO (King) and the CTO (Malladi) having vast experience in the successful development of other startups, for example AirTight. This, combined with their funding and their excellent market positioning, leads me to believe that they’re certainly one-to-watch.
TrendMiner – Visual Data Analytics
One business that has really stood out to me this past year has been TrendMiner. With an excellent offering they were acquired in the summer by Software AG.
TrendMiner specialises in visual data analytics for the manufacturing and process industry and will complement Software AG’s Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 portfolio. I predict the value added to Software AG will be massive and it is great to see a company that FMC have worked with so closely go from success to success.
Aspen Technology – Acquisition Central
Okay, so not a startup. But, Aspen Technology has made several acquisitions recently which includes several disruptive startup companies. This has strengthened their software portfolio and will be massively influential in the company’s future.
Prescriptive maintenance company ‘Mtell’, asset reliability software company ‘Fidelis’ and the inventors of GDOT software Apex Optimisation have all been amongst this list and the technology behind some of the up and coming Aspen products.
As my role focuses purely on the Digital Plant sector, I find it interesting when it comes to looking at the current market situation. Which companies have succeeded with their growth plans for the year and which companies have not fared quite so well?
Gaining insight from experts in the field is really refreshing for me and allows me to grasp an in depth look at many leaders in the Digital Plant market. It will be great to see where the companies I have mentioned end up in 1 year and even in 5 years’ time.