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PTC ThingWorx Picks Microsoft's Azure as Preferred IIoT Cloud

Azure’s reach and understanding of the industrial market led to the company’s decision to choose it as its preferred IIoT cloud platform.

PTC will more deeply integrate its ThingWorx IoT and augmented reality software with the Microsoft Azure platform, naming Azure its preferred cloud platform for the industrial sector, and will likely start rolling out enhancements this year.

That includes a managed service of ThingWorx delivered on the Azure platform, and increased investments in integrating ThingWorx with Azure, according to PTC’s Rob Patterson, who is vice president, strategic marketing for ThingWorx. While Patterson said he couldn’t detail specific roadmap plans, strategy sessions would start in the next few weeks in Redmond, Wash.

“Later this year, you’ll start seeing more integrations with more Azure tools in the platform,” Patterson said.

Early fruits of the partnership include the ThingWorx Azure IoT Connector, which integrates devices using a Microsoft Azure IoT SDK with the ThingWorx platform, and the ability to author HoloLens experiences in ThingWorx Studio. In turn, developer content is now available to ease development of applications on the Azure platform.

In describing the choice of Azure as its preferred IIoT cloud platform over Amazon Web Services, Patterson pointed to Azure’s “reach and understanding of the industrial market” versus AWS, which is more technical.

While the pick is evidence of Microsoft Azure’s leadership in the Industrial IoT space, analysts interviewed agreed, don’t count AWS out.  

“LNS sees Microsoft as the leader in a number of areas: legacy on-premise plant IT, technology partnerships with industrial automation vendors, and now cloud partnerships for IIoT Platform providers,” Matthew Littlefield, president of LNS Research, said via email interview. “Amazon AWS does not have nearly the history in the industrial space as Azure; but in a few short years is proving to be a worthy competitor by winning some high profile preferred/exclusive partnerships, especially for SaaS vendors in the industrial space, most notably, 42Q, Infor, and C3IoT.”

Constellation Research’s Ray Wang, who is the founder and principal of the strategic analyst advisory firm, added that, “Microsoft Azure hasn’t won the space, but they are a major player, and customers are going to them for better security as well.”

Azure and ThingWorx could perhaps be viewed as competitors, but PTC is stressing their complementary and “better together” nature. Patterson pointed to the strengths of ThingWorx in providing no-code and low code environments for IIoT application development, digital twin technology, and data aggregation and contextualization.

“I think when you look at the gaps that Microsoft presents in their offering, ThingWorx fills them very nicely,” Patterson said.  “There’s still a perception of competition, but that is starting to go away.”


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