Atos: “We want to go big on IoT”

"We want to go big in IoT" explained Eric Grall, Senior EVP at Atos. And by the end of Atos’s annual analyst event, there was no mistaking the sincerity or the focus that Atos is placing on its IoT investments – the topic was front and centre through the various presentations through the day, as well as in smaller tracks and briefings.

Atos sees the rise of IoT as an unstoppable force, but a benign one – not least because adoption of IoT has the potential to drive so much incremental business their way. The company leans on a number of key partnerships to deliver its IoT initiatives:

Atos puts the partnership with Siemens’ MindSphere at the centre of its IoT strategy, proving an end-to-end IoT capability. The strongest asset in this partnership results from bringing together Simens’ software and Atos’ services capabilities, ensuring a secure environment for the clients, from both industrial and IT perspective. Siemens was also a key partner for Atos in the development of its IoT cognitive and analytics solutions which are delivered within the “Atos Codex” suite of services that was launched a year ago. This capability provides a comprehensive set of IoT functions spanning: connect, store, analyse, predict and activate. 

A second major partnership highlighted is with Dell EMC, which covers a jopint service delivery framework (using existing capabilities of both Atos and Dell EMC – for example for edge servers). In addition the partnership with Dell provides a joint approach to the market, making use of both companies’ existing account access.

Atos sees opportunity across the following spheres of business transformation:

Operational excellence:

  • Smart Grids and Energy Distribution
  • Remote Service and Service Enabling Technologies
  • Operational Efficiency and Predictive Maintenance

Customer experience:

-      Connected Experiences

-      Contextual Marketing

Business Reinvention:

  • Ecosystems Multi-sided Markets
  • Service Transformation

Trust and Compliance:

  • Device life cycle management
  • Security by design

Atos claims to have used Codex as the connectivity platform for  more than 150 agile business transformation projects, and presented several case studies, from optimizing warehouse monitoring for pest infestation, to managing an estate of soft drinks coolers.  In the warehouse case study, the project had a dramatic impact on the time and effort required to track and manage rat infestations. Through IoT technology, the company was able to transform the task of checking 300 “dumb” traps per warehouse into the much more manageable task of checking only those “connected” traps that had generated an alert – usually only 10 per warehouse. This delivered a significant improvement in staff productivity, reduced the amount of poison needed, and enabled cost reduction.  

In the drinks cooler case study, Atos is working with one of the biggest global brands to connect over 300,000 drinks coolers by the end of the year. While the initial proof of concept focused on only four countries, it has already delivered customer value by enabling the coolers to be placed in the optimal locations, helping to eliminate out-of-stock incidents through remote monitoring / reporting of inventory levels.

Atos shared a broader ambition to become a leading global IoT player, leveraging its capabilities and expertise as an orchestrator and integrator of digital and legacy systems and infrastructure.  Its medium term vision is to create what it calls a “web of IoT platforms” (i.e. platform of platforms), which aligns with the company’s historic competencies.

Atos’ ambitions seem highly achievable, as it already has most or all of the capabilities required . It is better placed than many of its competitors in terms of industrial IoT expertise, through the heritage of Siemens IT Solutions and Services (acquired by Atos back in 2011) and the established and very close partnership that Atos enjoys with Siemens.  Atos also has strong competencies in management of large IT infrastructures, which in PAC’s view will be a clear differentiator compared to most other competitors, even including many well-known names in IoT e.g. Bosch. 

On the other hand, it could be said that for maximum growth Atos still lacks a strong vertical orientation, with vertically oriented (pre-sales) consulting units supported by vertical marketing. This would be the logical next step for Atos to take in IoT, to secure its strong position and growth prospects in the increasingly mature IoT services market.