Final Analysis: A Leading Research Firm’s take on the Future of IIoT with ABI Research’s Pierce Owen

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This week on First Things First, I have an insightful chat with ABI Research’s Pierce Owen, a Principal Analyst at the leading analyst firm specializing in transformative technologies across multiple end markets. With no topic untouched, we talk more about his specialty of smart manufacturing – from Industrial IoT, to AR, to robotics, and everything in between!

The Story:
Some Transformative Technologies are set to transform factory in the short term, and others in the long term.

Providing valuable insight straight from the great minds at ABI, Pierce walks us through the IIoT implementation process of Honda North America, who switched from an OPC-UA based solution to deviceWISE after experiencing problems with organizational agility. In the end, major productivity increases, IT staff productivity, and reduction in scrap are achieved.

Doing more with less: it’s one of the main value propositions of IoT!

The Lesson:
Don’t Let all the Possibilities of IoT Distract from the Problem at Hand

Pierce’s story teaches us to focus on the open flow and exchange of data between system, applications, equipment, and devices. IIoT is not just about connecting things, but everything working together in more efficient ways. When building a system, end points talk to edge intelligence systems, talking to platforms talking to clouds and other legacy systems.

  • Choose your vendor wisely. Many want only to solve your problems by throwing a new piece of hardware or software at it, replacing your older ones. This is not necessarily the way things have to be.
  • You need an Openness of Technology to keep pace with an Openness of Mind. We always discuss ‘being open to opportunities’ – but it’s key to note that if your IoT technology isn’t as open as your ambitions, your organizations innovations will be stuck in the mud!
  • Seek insights from thought-leaders. Analysts release useful information – some of it made available without a fee — that are tailor made for any phase of IoT deployment – from proof-of-concept, to full-scale deployment, and everything in between. Good job listening the podcast, by the way… you’re halfway there!

About Our Guest: Pierce Owen

As a Principal Analyst at ABI Research, Pierce Owen is responsible for research and analysis surrounding Smart Manufacturing. His research focus includes: Edge and Cloud computing, IIoT platforms, IT/OT integration, digital twins, and additive manufacturing.

Pierce has vast experience in forecasting the growth of Internet of Things (IoT) applications and has published many reports analyzing best practices, trends, drivers and barriers to IoT applications.

Pierce has an international education; he received his Master’s in Management from

ESCP Europe in Paris, France and a Master’s of International Business and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina in the USA.

To learn more about ABI Research, visit

Show Notes

Don’t miss some of this episode’s memorable moments:

0:33 – Chris introduces his guest, Pierce Owen from ABI Research.

4:51 – Pierce dives right into a story about Honda North America who wanted to get their systems to talk to one another without custom code.

10:05 – Pierce discusses the importance of being able to get rid of custom coding for developing apps and configuring logic.

12:04 – Pierce talks more about the use of AR technology in the factory space such as smart glasses.

17:44 – Chris and Pierce discuss the importance of the free flow of information when developing IIoT applications.

20:27 – Pierce touches on the value of complex event processing for getting more value out of the data you gather from your connected IoT devices.

24:05 – Pierce offers his insights on how robotic arms called co-bots are going to affect the manufacturing space.

32:02 – Discover Pierce’s key takeaway for those implementing IoT applications – focusing on the open flow and exchange of data between systems, applications, equipment, and devices.

33:42 – Learn where to find Pierce online as Chris closes the show.


“It’s so important to have intelligence at the edge because these sensor readings and everything are useless unless they can be normalized, filtered, ingested in a way that makes sense.”

“You have these really complicated, complex event processing engines bringing in all the data and building in a way that makes sense. But then it has to be integrated in an easy to use, low custom code environment where your OT professionals on the floor or your IT professionals in the back office can work with it and make sense of it without wasting a ton of time.”

“My big thing right now is the focus on that open flow and exchange of data between systems, applications, equipment, and devices. That’s what it’s all really about. It’s not just connecting things to the Internet. It’s about working together in a more efficient way.”

“A lot of vendors are tempted to lock in clients and make sure they only use their products, but that’s not the way this industry is going to grow as a whole. And it’s not the best way to serve the end users.”

“The key to pushing smart manufacturing forward is the open flow and exchange of data.”

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