HP Enterprise enters the “Internet of Things”; faces tough competition


Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. is joining a crowded race to help companies get a leg up on one of tech’s hottest trends, the Internet of Things. The company recently introduced what it calls the HPE Universal IoT Platform, software designed to help manage many kinds of network-connected devices and collect and analyze the data they generate. It isn’t exactly an original idea. Companies including Amazon.com Inc., General Electric Co, IBM, Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems and Salesforce.com Inc have their own offerings for the Internet of Things that they call platforms.

Where some vendors are focusing on smart hardware, devices as prosaic as door locks enhanced with sensors, computing and communications circuitry, many players in the computer industry hope to generate more profit selling software and cloud services that support the Internet of Things.

With its platform offering, HP Enterprise hopes to distinguish itself with the ability to take in data generated in many kinds of formats and convert it into consistent formats, so it can be placed in databases and analyzed, said Nigel Upton, HP Enterprise’s director and general manager for IoT. “We normalize the whole thing,” he said.

HP Enterprise said its new software can be run on servers operated by customers, or on machines operated by the company or by the public cloud services of Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Mr. Upton said his company was bidding for business from a car company that summed up the philosophy of many customers.

“They said, ‘We don’t want a killer application but a killer platform that allows us to integrate everything.’” Mr. Upton said. In other words, he said, companies such car makers, telecommunications providers and energy services are making products that churn out data that needs to be centrally collected and organized.

HP Enterprise inherited business software and hardware product lines that were part of Hewlett-Packard Co. before that company broke up in November. Mr. Upton said the company, besides being a major vendor of server and storage systems, is also a big supplier of boxes called gateways that help coordinate clusters of digital devices in settings such as factories and office buildings. The company’s announcement, made at a Silicon Valley event called Internet of Things World, is the latest sign that tech companies are investing heavily to get in on the trend.

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