Couple the proliferation of new technologies that improve operations with the ever-expanding number of cloud and SaaS offerings, and it can be hard for any company to decide on the best way to spend its scarce resources. Organizations understand that to stay competitive they need to incorporate the latest technological solutions like IoT.

PTC ThingWorx and Microsoft Azure are two of the leading IoT platforms and both have a range of features and capabilities where most other IoT platforms pale in comparison. When you have to pick between ThingWorx vs Azure, the decision is even more difficult. To help with that decision, we have done a feature by feature comparison of the tools most industrial companies are most interested in having.

Industrial organizations must implement smart, connected operations using IoT solutions to stay competitive.

IoT Platform Comparison: Feature Breakdown

IoT Commitment: Advantage ThingWorx

Azure supports manufacturing companies, but manufacturing is just one of several industries Azure covers. As befits a general-purpose tool, most of the industry expertise in Azure comes from third-party partners and applications.

PTC has been concentrating on the manufacturing industry for more than 30 years, and they designed ThingWorx specifically to address the IoT needs of manufacturers in a connected world. The ongoing commitment to this industry has placed them as the leader of industrial IoT applications.

PTC has been focusing their product development efforts on the manufacturing industry for over 30 years.

Built-in Analytics: It’s a Draw

IoT and connected devices generate huge volumes of data that typical analytics and business intelligence would choke on. If you can’t turn that massive data store into actionable insight, why bother?

That’s why ThingWorx has built-in analytics designed specifically to manage these substantial volumes and turn the data into easy to understand charts, graphs or even workflow alerts.

Azure is no slouch when it comes to analytics either, with features like event hubs designed to grab millions of events per second and turn the stream of data into insight. Azure also includes more traditional analytics like a SQL data warehouse or Power BI.

When it comes to analytics with ThingWorx vs Azure – it’s a tie. Both provide the ability to turn IIoT data streams into valuable information and insight.

Security: It’s Another Draw!

Azure has all the security you expect from a cloud platform, including a key vault, a dedicated hardware security module, a VPN, and an application gateway, all managed from a central security center. It’s an IT application dream setup, but it relies on your applications or your IT team to use all that security to provide a tailored user experience and access.

ThingWorx has built-in role-based security that allows you to easily assign access based on user or role, and it delivers the actionable insight each user needs in real time to help keep your production operation moving.

Both platforms offer world-class security, but it’s security tailored to the platform’s purpose. Azure has security for more general-purpose use cases, while ThingWorx security is more user-specific and for IIoT applications.

Developer Tools: Advantage ThingWorx

Both platforms offer development tools, but as with security, Azure’s tools are more general purpose or if they’re industry-specific, they are often provided by a third party.

ThingWorx tools jumpstart IIoT projects with built-in templates your team can use as the starting point for your custom applications. They are all easy to use and easy to learn because they are focused on supporting IIoT operations. They don’t have to worry about addressing any other industry or other types of applications. Quite simply, they are the best at what they do, even though they don’t do everything.

VR and AR Expertise: Advantage ThingWorx

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have changed manufacturing for the better. These technologies make it easy to train employees on proper methods, to see how customers use a product without expensive prototypes and focus groups, and to fine-tune production lines to eliminate non-value-added steps and reduce unplanned downtime. Aside from gaming, manufacturing has done more with these technologies than any other.

Microsoft also has deep roots in mixed reality applications, although they grew out of the gaming world. Even so, like ThingWorx, Azure includes robust digital twin capabilities and other mixed reality capabilities. Once again, the difference comes down to ThingWorx providing purpose-built tools that provide faster ramp time than the more generalized tools in Azure, which may require a longer learning curve for developers.

ThingWorx VR and AR capabilities were developed with industrial applications in mind, instead of being modified from a gaming perspective like with Azure.

Support and Education: It’s a Draw

Both PTC and Microsoft are known for their world-class support. Both offer multiple support options and robust online user communities and knowledge centers. Once again, when it comes to ThingWorx vs Azure, it comes down to the advantage of a tool designed for your purpose compared to a general-purpose tool. The purpose-built tool will always be more efficient. The general-purpose tool may be able to solve more problems, but you may have to work harder to reach the solution.

IoT Platform Comparison Result: It’s a Tie

Both products are robust IoT platforms, but there are subtle nuances that differentiate them. Azure is a set of cloud services that let organizations build, manage, and deploy applications using your preferred tools and frameworks.

ThingWorx is a platform built specifically to support rapid application design and deployment for connected devices – and with industrial use cases in mind. It integrates seamlessly with many other frameworks, including Azure.

Both ThingWorx and Azure are great IoT platforms – which you pick depends on if you are looking for a more industry-specific or general-purpose platform.

ThingWorx vs Azure: Better Together

The truth is, it’s not a case of ThingWorx vs Azure. Both ThingWorx and Azure have their place in your IT toolbox. Even though there may appear to be overlapping capabilities, the platforms have very different purposes. If you are in the manufacturing industry and IIoT is important to your success, you can’t find a better tool than ThingWorx, but ThingWorx and Azure have complementary capabilities. Together, they give you the best of all possible worlds.

Interested in learning more about ThingWorx? Check out some of our other IoT platform comparison: ThingWorx vs AWS.

Or if you are interested in purchasing ThingWorx, want to explore other IoT solutions, or have specific questions fill out the form below.