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When Does Internet of Things Become Internet of Agents? | Part 2

The Internet of Agents and XaaS will lead us toward more complex services, more bundles and more options

In my last blog, I discussed how the Internet of Things is really developing into what can more accurately be called the Internet of Agents. These connections and multi-agent systems are resulting in an increasing number of highly applicable, value-added bundled and branded services. The latest Gartner forecast for Internet of Things predicts that by 2020 there will be $309 billion in incremental revenue opportunity for IoT suppliers, mostly in services.

The Internet brings us 21st century online versions of other traditional services: agents that can deliver cars as a service, clothes as a service and takeaway food as a service. The Internet of Agents tells you where you can catch a bus for wherever you want to go, and how long it will be before the bus arrives at your stop. It also tells you which local hardware store stocks the product you're looking for. If you choose, you can track "things" that belong to you. You can track your car or your laptop or your mobile device if it goes missing. Your children, your pets, your significant other (yes, people are now "things" too). You know where a package in transit is and when it's scheduled to be delivered to your doorstep. All of these agent-driven services bring together traditional people-based services, connectedness, location awareness and physical devices or tools.

You can control your home lighting and security system from your mobile device, and it will alert you at the same time as the security agency if there's an alarm. Your alarm agent sits happily at home while you are working and having fun, and it lets you know when you need to start worrying.

With SaaS, IaaS and PaaS, items that once were products (applications, operating systems, servers, computer rooms, power supplies, patch cables, etc.) are now used as the tools that enable a service provider to deliver those services. We pay for what the products, put together intelligently, can do; we don't buy the products themselves. Those XaaS services are also acting as agents, and with cloud services brokerage we have (potentially) another agent that talks to those XaaS agents to provide you with an integrated set of selected services that meet your needs.

We have always had services, of course, but now we have services with connectedness. Connectedness is fundamentally important to this discussion. Being online means that one day these services can potentially be decomposed, repositioned, resold or bundled with other services by another service provider that can do a deal with the service originator. They are all mashup material. Connectedness means that every agent that is created has the potential to work with every other agent to conceive and deliver services, and create combinations of services that have never been thought of previously. Agents collaborating with agents allow for services encapsulated within other services, service components extracted from one service and built into multiple others and so on.

The Internet of Agents and XaaS will lead us toward more complex services, more bundles and more options. Individual users will use agents whose sole job is to create functional services for that individual, out of everything that is available in the connected service universe.

Clearly, this move to dominance of services in a world previously dominated by products will have an impact on the kind of systems that businesses use to track and manage everything. What does "order management" mean in a world like this? What is the role of CRM in this environment? How will the traditional product catalog cope? How can we monetize a plethora of dynamically created transient services and keep track of all the players in these increasingly complex value chains? How do handle the transition from services associated with one-to-one (individual products) to higher-value branded bundled services of the future? Great questions, some of which I will answer in future blogs.

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is CMO of MetraTech. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda is responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution, product marketing, product management, business development and partner programs. Prior to MetraTech, Esmeralda was co-founder, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Lightwolf Technologies, a big data management startup. Esmeralda was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of OSS software, now part of Extreme Networks (Nasdaq:EXTR). At Avici Systems (Nasdaq:AVCI), Esmeralda was Vice President of Marketing for the networking pioneer from startup through its successful IPO. Early in her career, she was a Director at IDC, where she led the network consulting practice and worked with startup and leading software and hardware companies, and Wall Street clients on product and market strategies. Esmeralda holds a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Marketing and International Business from Northeastern University.

You can view her other blogs at www.metratech.com/blog.

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