Wednesday, March 2, 2016

It's The IoT Device, Stupid!

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a catchall headline for a seemingly unlimited number of use cases and applications. While human interaction with mobile devices has quickly become ubiquitous, the Internet of Things requires interaction with sensor devices.

No device access, no IoT.

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Participants in the IoT value chain who are downstream from these sensor providers - systems integrators, telcos, network providers, software companies - need to understand the respective device landscape to be able to capture significant value. To raise the stakes even more, device management requires provisioning, securing, managing, and updating these systems, and hence exclusive access to these devices will likely be the norm, similar to mobile phones. In the consumer IoT space, Nest and Fitbit are just a few examples of such vertically integrated ‘walled garden’ systems.

18 billion IoT devices were deployed by the end of 2015.
Significant capital expenditures have already been made, and can be leveraged to defer, reduce and even eliminate initial device expenditures. Yet, budding downstream players need to answer a number of questions to assess the feasibility and viability of their IoT business case:

How many devices have already been deployed? Who owns these devices? How can the devices be accessed? Is the device access exclusive? Are edge clients and gateways required to transport the data? Who will pay for the cost of the HW deployment?  Who owns the data? Who can grant permission to access the data?

Another 32 billion IoT devices will be deployed between 2015 and 2020.
Complex IoT devices are getting cheaper quickly. Low-cost single purpose sensors are already available and can be used as a beachhead to achieve lock in. If the IoT devices are not in place today, additional issues need to be addressed::

Who will bear the cost of deploying the devices? Who will own the devices? What is the economic incentive to deploy them? Whose permission is required to deploy the devices? Who are the visionary users and customers ? How quickly can the devices be deployed? How many will be installed and active in three years from now?

Locking up access to the end device is required and necessary, but is not sufficient to win. As Ben Evans from Andreessen Horowitz has said: ‘Anything that can be measured or connected or controlled, will be’. The race is on.

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