AppDynamics: Complex software drives the IoT, but needs careful navigation

AppDynamics: Complex software drives the IoT

Internet of Business looks at AppDynamics’ strategy for IoT, which focuses on helping companies to manage the complexity of  software that might underpin a single business process. 

Acquired by Cisco in a deal that closed in March 2017, AppDynamics specializes in software tools that enable IT adminstrators to monitor, manage and maintain distributed software architectures.

As AppDynamics CEO David Wadhwani has discussed many times before before, every action by either a user or a machine can initiate many lines of code, running in many systems and often across multiple data centers.

Today, these connected systems increasingly underpin IoT device networks – but many companies still rely on outdated technology and brittle interconnects between them, according to Wadhwani.

But application complexity is growing, even as customers increasingly insist on simplicity and ease of use in their digital experiences. The challenge of the AppDynamics team is to show that the company’s technology can help organizations to bridge this gap.

Read more: Cisco swoops to purchase AppDynamics for $ 3.7 billion days before IPO

AppDynamics core tools

It is still early days for IoT. Many companies are still experimenting – but one of the biggest reasons that they run into problems is that they don’t address the complexity of systems-wide deployment. 

This is where AppDynamics positions its Business iQ product. It’s a line of application- and business-centric dashboards that can be used to track the performance and health of all the different ‘chunks’ of software, in different systems, that work together to underpin a single business process.

According to an AppDynamics strategy statement, “In a world where hardware is a delivery mechanism for software, optimizing for the user experience must be ‘Priority One’. Digital businesses must ensure that these complex, interconnected applications are performing at the highest level and the massive amount of data generated by these apps are being monitored, managed and analyzed in a way that will continuously optimize business decisions.”

This is not a plug-and-play technology; there is a certain amount of work involved in implementing them. In practice, analytics must be isolated and baselined for customer-critical issues and serve as a guide to prioritizing fixes before the customer service department hears about issues.

Monitoring the customer experience with real-time awareness is the goal here and that job has never been more difficult, or more critical, according to AppDynamic executives. 

Read more: Three signs deal with Cisco Jasper for IoT

Device impact

So what are the main IoT offerings in Business iQ? Here, it helps to look at what the company calls “device business impact”; in other words, it’s about ensuring that Business iQ proves visibility into how IoT devices are affecting business processes.

The company also points to what it calls “device application visibility”. Here, we see that AppDynamics’ new IoT visibility functions provide an aggregated view into device uptime, version status and performance. This is intended to help IT administrators drill down into data, in order to get a clearer view into the status, condition and performance of a device, in order to simplify troubleshooting.

“Every company measures success differently. With custom dashboards in IoT visibility, companies from any vertical can quickly build new visualizations to measure the business impact of IoT devices — from the revenue impact of a slow check out for a brick and mortar retailer to the customer impact of a software change in a connected car,” said the company, in an IoT briefing statement.

So what does AppDynamics feel the future of IoT will hold? Will the company’s role change going forward? For its part, AppDynamics insists that future use of IoT technologies will see customers thinking “more holistically” about total application performance, in a world where company survival may be largely impacted by the health of its core customer-facing organization. 

The bottom line here – arguably – is that application infrastructures need to become more intelligent, more performance-aware, more ‘autonomic’ in terms of their ability to self-heal and more inherently aware of how effectively (or not) they are delivering processing power and data access to the users and devices that they exist to serve.

It’s almost as if applications are becoming more dynamic and someone chose to name a tech company accordingly. 

Read more: Live from Las Vegas, Cisco Jasper announces Control Center 7.0

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Internet of Business

Siemens Strengthens its IoT Operating System through Technology Partnership whith Software AG

Siemens Strengthens its IoT Operating System through Technology Partnership whith Software AG

Siemens Strengthens its IoT Operating System through Technology Partnership whith Software AG

Software AG and Siemens AG today announced a partnership to strengthen the presence of the cloud-based open Internet of Things (IoT) operating system MindSphere across industries.

MindSphere supports industrial companies in their digital transformation and offers a development platform to a broad customer base where companies can integrate their own applications and services to promote IoT innovations. Software AG brings the highly scalable components of its Digital Business Platform to MindSphere, which help customers to flexibly manage networks of millions of end devices.

Dr. Jan Mrosik, CEO Digital Factory Division, Siemens AG, says:

“Working hand in hand with partners like Software AG, we are continuing to drive forward the expansion of our IoT operating system MindSphere, creating an ever more extensive global ecosystem. With MindSphere as a key component of our Digital Enterprise Suite we provide optimum support for manufacturing customers undergoing the digital transformation.”

Karl-Heinz Streibich, CEO of Software AG, adds:
“Our goal is to intelligently combine Siemens’ global industrial presence as an innovation leader with our software expertise in IoT to benefit our customers. Bringing our high-performance components of our Digital Business Platform to MindSphere, users will have new opportunities to exploit the full potential of their data to get a competitive edge. Thereby, we will strengthen the IoT operating system.”

MindSphere is Siemens’ cloud-based, open IoT operating system that connects real things to the digital world, and enables powerful industry applications and digital services to drive business success. MindSphere’s open Platform as a Service (PaaS) enables a rich partner ecosystem to develop and deliver new applications providing a basis for new business models, such as in the fields of preventive maintenance, energy data management or resource optimization.

The open access of the operating system is particularly important here, such as the use of open interfaces (APIs) to produce OEM and customer specific apps as well as open standards for connectivity such as OPC UA. MindSphere thus forms the basis for new business models, for example for machine manufacturers. Siemens MindApps provide the basic functions for machine manufacturers to enter the digital world. Machine manufacturers can use these basic functions to apply their specific and comprehensive machine and process knowledge to develop and market innovative customized applications, solutions and services for their customers. This allows them, for example, to monitor machines scattered throughout the world, or whole machine fleets, and to reduce their downtime.

Software AG and Siemens AG’s technology will provide comprehensive market-leading capabilities enabling users to acquire and comprehensively analyze raw data produced by plants, machines, systems and products even more easily. For this, Software AG application and device management technology enables both centralized networking of devices as well as cloud-based management, providing scalable and flexible management for a network of millions of end devices, also in the area of edge analytics in the future. Software AG application connectivity technology integrates a variety of different business applications (e.g., SaaS, Big Data, IoT, client-, partner- or shop-floor applications) along the entire value chain.

MindSphere is part of Siemens’ comprehensive Digital Enterprise Suite solution. Companies that are designing, developing, and manufacturing products using the Digital Enterprise Suite for Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) and Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) are building products, like laptops, computers, televisions, cars, trucks, planes, heavy equipment, fitness devices, white goods, etc. Siemens envisions these products being connected to MindSphere so their data can be collected and analyzed in MindSphere applications and connected back to the complete Digital Twin to drive innovation. With this platform, the company enables smooth collaboration for all stakeholders along the entire industrial value chain, from individual product design to the delivery of associated services.

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IoT Business News

Enabling new business models through the power of software

Industrial manufacturing is one of the core areas of the global economy. Manufacturing plants create employment and encourage development of expertise in high-value sectors, such as product and process design, sales, and marketing.

Development of high-quality services in the areas of engineering, consulting, IT, and research are directly associated with the existence of a robust and innovative manufacturing base. The continuous modernisation of the manufacturing sector therefore represents a major opportunity for economic development and improvements in the labour market in general.

This report aims to identify the main benefits for the companies in adopting smart manufacturing and to highlight monetisation opportunities. It will also briefly discuss the main technological components of smart manufacturing. The report also suggests practical means to overcome the challenges manufacturers face on their journeys to becoming smart. It will also highlight that that journey concerns also all the ecosystem around the manufacturers such as the supply chain and the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The study will then end with some conclusive remarks on the status quo and the future path towards smart manufacturing.

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What can we expect from the next generation of software business models?

The software industry is changing at a startling pace. From virtualisation to the cloud to the Internet of Things (IoT), what software buyers expect and demand from their software investment is drastically different than it was in years past.

On the other side of the table, says Eric Free, senior vice president of Strategic Growth at Flexera, software suppliers are eager to grasp monetisation opportunities and tackle new software business models. In a report released earlier this year, Disruption in Software Business Models Creates New Opportunities for Monetisation, Gartner analysts commented that “Technology strategic planners will find next-generation software monetisation is not about protection, limited to IP licensing, but about growth from enabling new models with repeatable revenue streams.”

I expect that in 2018 we’ll see software suppliers embrace this next generation of software business models, and the following shifts in the software industry take place:

Software buyers will demand increased transparency

No one wants to pay for shelfware. No one ever wanted to. But in the past software buyers were often left in the dark about what they used. They figured it out themselves. They leveraged Software Asset Management (SAM) tools, and they will continue to do so. But they’re also looking towards their suppliers and asking for more help, transparency and ease of use. Producers should show what buyers are allowed to use and what they’re actually using. This builds trust and strengthens the customer relationship. Suppliers should embrace this data as well and grow customers that aren’t yet using what they paid for.

SaaS will be managed in a smarter way

As more software suppliers move to SaaS, they’ll bring new offerings to market. The reality is that on-premises applications won’t go away immediately and hybrid models will exist for a long time. Don’t let the deployment model drive your customer’s experience. Make sure that customers are provided with self-service, ease of use and a seamless software experience for all of your products. Even if you are using different deployment models, your software products should be managed centrally and connect to the same back office, rather than being operated in silos.

Opex will rise as more people focus on subscription

The move to opex models is imminent. ISVs and device manufacturers alike are moving to recurring revenue models. Subscription models are widely adopted already. Suppliers should proactively increase the number of subscribers and automate subscription and renewal management processes. Manage the customer journey continuously and start thinking about the renewal when the subscription period starts. Make sure that customers get value from your software and the renewal will happen almost automatically.

Increased demand for individualised products and monetisation strategies

There’s no one-size-fits-all – for products and for monetisation. Software buyers expect individualised products and few are willing to pay for a feature set that’s not being used. Modular products and features that can be switched on and off meet these expectations. The same is true for monetisation and pricing. In the past you just defined the one model that worked best for your product and customer base.

Today, monetisation is more […]

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Edge analytics software FogHorn banks $30M Series B

FogHorn Systems, edge-intelligence software for commercial and industrial IoT applications raised a $ 30M Series B round this week at an unknown valuation.

Intel Capital and returning investor Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures led the latest round.

The latest investment comes in a quick succession to the previous rounds whereby FogHorn raised $ 12M in July last year followed by a $ 3M Series A round earlier this May. This brings the company’s total equity funding to $ 47.5M in four rounds from 13 investors.

CEO David King and Foghorn’s management are tight-lipped about the company’s current revenues, though they boast having customers such as Saudi Aramco, GE, HP, and Dell.

One of the key factors contributing to HogForn’s rapid and early success is the enterprise need to have IoT analytics and local data processing capability. This is where FogHorn helps by applying analytics close to the source of data instead of moving it to the cloud. An ‘edge’ might be physical sensor/s, control systems, or a machine.

The startup that was founded in 2014 has been well-received by the press as well. It has received awards and accolades from industry research firms including Gartner, Frost & Sullivan, and 451 Research.

The company also launched its upgraded software that includes machine learning capabilities at the edge of the network via its patent-pending tiny-footprint, complex event processing (CEP) analytics engine.

“The reason this is important is that the vast majority of data streaming from IoT sensors is useless within a very short period of time. The information that is valuable — the anomalies and hard-to-detect patterns — need to be acted upon while operators can take corrective action.”
FogHorn CEO David King.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things