Gartner Reveals 2015 Cool Vendors Are Delivering Digital Innovation

The Internet of Things (IoT) is driving a new era of innovation with sensors and controllers that support digitalization and digital business. Gartner said that “Cool Vendors” are delivering digital innovation for the way that people work and how businesses structure themselves. Gartner, Inc.’s 2015 Cool Vendors research looks at how the rise of “things” will become a part of all technology-based business. 

This year Gartner has published 105 reports profiling 460 Cool Vendors. Many of these providers are exploiting digitalization and now the IoT to build the next generation of innovation to give digital businesses a long-term future. Gartner’s definition of a Cool Vendor is a small company offering a technology or service that is: 

  • Innovative — It enables users to do things they couldn’t do before.
  • Impactful — It has or will have a business impact; it’s not just a matter of “technology for its own sake.”
  • Intriguing — It has caught analysts’ interest or curiosity during the past six months or so. 

“The trend toward digitalization continues unabated in 2015 and continues to offer up new challenges and opportunities for CIOs and end-user organizations,” said Daryl Plummer, vice president and Gartner Fellow. “One such opportunity is the IoT. Connected devices with sensors that can be controlled through the Internet or configured to act in concert with one another are popping up everywhere. While digital trends do not start and stop with IoT, Cool Vendors indicate several areas that benefit from IoT.” 

The digital business revolution is in large part about people, the growth of human experiences through new kinds of smart wearables and enhanced mobile devices that can connect people to business opportunities more effectively. And IoT platforms will make it easier for businesses to build and deploy IoT solutions that can be used for digital business without having to spend years developing IoT skills. 

“Much of the IoT movement is about transformation. And lest our preoccupations with “things” distract us too much, we must recognize that no new phenomenon will advance far without support from business processes,” said Michele Cantara, research vice president at Gartner. “Today, processes will use connected devices to sense context and even to measure the environment. This means that physical measurements can now become operational metrics in the business.” 

Beyond process, the advancement of data integration becomes paramount in a world of sensors and connecting things. Some 20 billion IoT connected devices by 2020 will generate massive amounts of data. Digital businesses will use this data to inform customers and to create informational assets. Data integration and data quality capabilities therefore, are of critical importance to the information infrastructure that enables digital business. Information leaders must explore new and emerging vendors in this space, which could offer them further opportunities to increase the value of their data. 

Since Gartner first introduced the Cool Vendors report in 2004, more than 2,200 Cool Vendors have been profiled. A few Cool Vendors have gone on to become IT megavendors in their own right, while others have been acquired by megavendors and other industry stalwarts; however, some have simply disappeared from the radar. While the 2015 collection of Cool Vendors is not exhaustive — not every company making waves is introduced — Gartner analysts have selected some companies to highlight based on their sense of how impactful they are today and can be in the near future. 

Additional information is available in the report “Cool Vendors 2015: Business and Things — The Next Innovation Frontier,” which is available on Gartner’s website at This special report looks at how many of this year’s Cool Vendors are exploiting digitalization and the Internet of Things to build the next generation of innovation. 

How to shape the path to digital success will be examined further in the webinar “Cool Vendors 2015: Business and Things — The Next Innovation Frontier.” The complimentary webinar will be hosted by Gartner on May 28 at 9 a.m. EDT and noon EDT. To register for the webinar, please visit

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