Recent Partnerships in the IoT CBM Market Showcase How Vendors Must Merge Specialisms to Create More Value for Adopters

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By Tancred Taylor | 4Q 2022 | IN-6694

More than many other Internet of Things (IoT) markets, the Condition-Based Monitoring (CBM) market consists of a very large number of vendor types with very different specialisms. As the IoT CBM market matures, joining together these specialisms becomes increasingly important to create value and to bundle together end-to-end solutions.

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ABB Looks to Expand Services by Partnering with Equipment Machine Learning Specialist Samotics


ABB and Samotics have announced a partnership that will enable the companies to go to market with a better Condition-Based Monitoring (CBM) service solution. Samotics provides plug-and-play sensors directly inside the motor control cabinet, which allows it to provide advanced machine monitoring solutions through Machine Learning (ML) and electrical signature analysis. ABB, a global supplier of electrical equipment and automation products, will expand its capability to offer retrofit monitoring capabilities for maintenance and servicing to its customers, both on existing industrial machines it has shipped to customers and on newly-deployed machinery. Samotics SAM4 HEALTH technologies will complement the CBM services that ABB currently provides with its products and deliver more valuable insights about the machine’s health and energy efficiency.

Partnerships Driving More Advanced End-to-End CBM Solutions


Companies of all kinds that are providing CBM solutions are looking around the industry for strategic partnerships that will allow them to provide a more holistic CBM solution to their customers. The ABB and Samotics partnership represents one type of partnership where a hardware provider is attempting to significantly advance the insights provided to their customers beyond just the data collection provided by their sensors. The partnership highlights the important role of Internet of Things (IoT) CBM companies with specialist software knowledge for deciphering signals coming from machinery.

Partnerships are key in this market because of the specialist knowledge at multiple levels of the stack, including industrial machinery or equipment, IoT hardware, ‘administrative’ software for making sense of incoming signals, and ‘executive’ software for using data to generate outcomes valuable for the enterprise. In addition to partnerships between industrial machinery/equipment providers and IoT specialists, there are a number of additional partnerships worth noting, as the Wide Area Network (WAN) CBM ecosystem starts to grow in maturity. One example is represented by the partnership between Fluke Reliability and Everactive. This strategic partnership is between a company that provides machine condition monitoring devices and a company that sells battery-less IoT solutions. Everactive’s technology allows Fluke’s wireless monitoring devices to draw the necessary energy from sources around it, whether that be the machines’ heat or light in the room. This significantly enhances the solutions provided by Fluke’s wireless sensors and they can last significantly longer than on normal battery power, increasing the fix-and-forget capabilities in the industrial vibration monitoring market, where device life spans are currently limited to a few years at most.

Another partnership example is the collaboration between SKF and Amazon Web Services (AWS), which led to the launch of SKF Axios at the end of May 2022. SKF Axios provides its customers with full CBM solutions for industrial machinery. As a top global ball bearing supplier, SKF has a large footprint in the industrial space and the collaboration with AWS greatly enhances its condition monitoring systems. There will continue to be new strategic partnerships between companies in the CBM space as device Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) attempt to offer enhanced monitoring solutions with their devices.

End-to-End CBM Solutions


There are numerous strategies that companies in the CBM space can choose from when deciding how to implement monitoring solutions. Device OEMs attempting to offer monitoring solutions with their products can try to offer the solution in-house or look outside through partnerships or acquisitions. Device OEMs have a unique challenge in this market because they also have to consider their customers who have bought their products before they offered any monitoring solutions. The market for device OEMs offering monitoring solutions with their products is still relatively young, so the majority of retrofit solutions are being covered by separate companies specialized in offering CBM solutions. As demand for retrofit solutions continues to grow, device OEMs will be more intrigued by partnerships with third-party companies with expertise in CBM solutions. ABI Research recommends that device OEMs review their customer base and gauge the interest of the customers who currently have their products without monitoring. Properly sizing up their customer base in terms of who would like to add monitoring to their devices will help determine if they should put resources into offering retrofit solutions or leave that to third-party companies if demand is limited.

The last part of the value chain for CBM solutions is the software and analytics companies. These companies are imperative to the expansion of CBM into predictive maintenance. The companies that provide the sensors for monitoring the devices will also offer a platform that displays the data being collected by all of the sensors deployed by that enterprise. There have been many problems when companies either don’t review the data often enough or don’t know what the data are supposed to be telling them. These third-party analytics companies are providing ML solutions with algorithms that continuously monitor the data being collected and send alerts to the operators when the device is malfunctioning.

A major barrier to adopting CBM solutions is that enterprises must go to multiple different companies to obtain an entire CBM solution. The first companies to offer end-to-end monitoring solutions in their specific market will have a significant competitive advantage over the other companies in the market.


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