First came ThingWorx, then came Kinex, and the parallels are similar to IBM’s MobileFirst for iOS application development platform (though serving a different enterprise function). PTC is the next Industrial IoT behemoth to recognize that successful IIoT deployments require supporting applications that bring together a range of product and operations data in a single source.
On April 6, PTC announced the launch of Kinex, a suite of role-based, Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications built on the ThingWorx platform. By offering both branded and business-specific applications, the platform is similar to IBM’s MobileFirst for iOS (the success of which bodes well for PTC). PTC now provides both the IoT connectivity layer, with ThingWorx, and the application layer, with Kinex, and its expertise in Industrial IoT can aid companies in more quickly bringing application-supported IIoT innovations to market.
Kinex applications are designed to bring together data from enterprise systems and physical sensors to draw insight from and change the process of how IIoT products are designed, manufactured, serviced, and used by companies. PTC’s first branded Kinex application is Kinex Navigate, which has seen relatively quick adoption with over 125,000 seats sold. Kinex Navigate allows anyone within an organization to access up-to-date product lifecycle data pulled from multiple systems of record. Along with PTC’s Windchill system for product lifecycle management (PLM), the application enables universal data access and timely product data to drive better product decisions. PTC plans to release additional Kinex apps in the future that will allow enterprises to build on ThingWorx development capabilities to add business-specific, custom functionality.
By introducing the Kinex suite to develop Industrial IoT applications built on the ThingWorx platform, PTC aids enterprise customers in going to market quickly with new IIoT solutions and services. Customers can choose either branded apps such as Kinex Navigate, or create custom business functionality by building on top of the ThingWorx platform and Kinex applications.
How Does Kinex Hark Back to IBM MobileFirst for iOS?
This move is similar to IBM’s success in partnering with Apple to create a family of applications through the MobileFirst for iOS app development and mobile management platform. MobileFirst for iOS offers a suite of industry use case applications, including pre-built apps based on industry templates or fully customized apps. The goal of IBM and Apple’s MobileFirst for iOS partnership was to change the way employees work by integrating mobile-based process changes on the front end with IBM’s cognitive analytics on the back end.
MobileFirst for iOS is a highly successful partnership that leveraged IBM’s core capabilities in cognitive analytics. This success should bode well for PTC given its expertise in IIoT. While IBM chose to partner for the application development portion, PTC achieves greater control over Kinex applications by building them on top of the ThingWorx platform. MobileFirst for iOS expanded IBM’s presence in the enterprise by supporting custom enterprise apps with business-specific functionality. PTC aims to do the same in Industrial IoT by offering both branded and custom applications that leverage PTC’s strengths: IoT equipment and connectivity, as well as product lifecycle management (PLM) and data management systems.
Kinex is a smart move for PTC. By controlling both the IoT platform and the application, PTC gains a broader footprint in IIoT, something a number of large, global IoT players are racing to accomplish. Nearly a year out from writing about MobileFirst for iOS, I can see that the step was strategic for IBM in combining cloud, mobile, and analytics into enterprise-grade iOS apps, and thus expanding IBM’s (and its cognitive solutions’) reach in the enterprise. I expect I’ll see a similar result from PTC’s investments in IIoT with the Kinex application suite.