Click here to close now.



Welcome!

@ThingsExpo Authors: Shelly Palmer, Tom Kelly, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Scott Allen

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Java IoT, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo, SDN Journal

@ThingsExpo: Blog Post

Internet of Things Is Not Another Subscription Service | @ThingsExpo [#IoT]

There is a view that with IoT becoming a reality, it’s rather simple

The Internet of Things Is Not Just Another Subscription Service | Part 1

Companies that until recently had never heard of the Internet of things (IoT) are now excited to find that they've been IoT players all along. Businesses involved in home automation, security services, vehicle tracking and health monitoring to name a few have been around for a while. They all provide services that involve devices (now known as "things") that communicate with each other, with their owners, and sometimes with control centers. Increasingly that channel of communication is via the Internet. Therefore, they all see themselves as IoT service providers now, and rightly so. But they are also specialists in the actual services they provide, and the fact that we have an increasingly popular expression to describe the infrastructure they use does not diminish the need for that expertise. While IoT brings additional challenges and opportunities, it doesn't remove the need to retain business methods and strategies that remain appropriate for the specialist area, even in a rapidly changing world.

At the same time, companies that have built and sold business support systems for years - billing, order management and CRM - are kind of excited to find that they are also in the IoT business. Their systems can work even in this new world of IoT, and they are proud to publish the fact, inviting the world to participate in seminars, webinars, etc., highlighting this marvel. These billing vendors are being rather vocal and shouting loudly from the rooftops that the Internet of Things economy is happily meeting the world of subscriptions, so jump on board the bandwagon. We shouldn't be surprised. After all, a billing system that is optimized generically for subscription services can bill for recurring revenue services such as subscriptions in an IoT environment too, provided, of course, that the service provider accepts the premise that IoT is just another subscription service.

An Overly Simplistic View of the Internet of Things
There is a view that with IoT becoming a reality, it's rather simple. Politicians and commentators are fond of telling us that IoT means a new exciting future in which the fridge decides when to order more food. That example has stood the test of time: it has been with us since the closing years of the 20th century. In the movie The 6th Day, released in 2000, Arnold Schwarzenegger had a smart Internet-connected fridge (which might be the most memorable thing about that movie). Internet-connected fridges were sold in 2002, but without much success, and just last week a British politician regurgitated the cliché. Maybe he'd just seen the movie.

Many descriptions of mainstream IoT services tend to emphasize sensors and monitoring, with a degree of autonomous actions (alarms for example) to help people out, but mostly these services feed information into data centers for storage and analysis. This is where concepts such as home automation, energy management, health monitoring, security monitoring and vehicle tracking all started. But already we can see the emergence of smarter and more sophisticated systems, such as those with the ability to identify a need for medication, and trigger an Internet-connected implant to deliver a dose. Systems don't just notice an intruder and raise an alarm, they also can lock paths of exit and attempt facial recognition of intruders. IoT services can track vehicle movements, assess anomalous behavior and call for help when needed. All of this happens in near-real time. It isn't directly controlled by humans, although humans set the rules of behavior. It is not driven directly by data analysis, but data analysis contributes to creating the semi-persistent rules for appropriate actions.

What I am describing here are "agents": the devices and systems that make rules-driven decisions and enact transactions on behalf of the device's owner. Agent systems have been with us for a long time, even pre-Internet. The least-cost routing algorithms that telecom carriers and some large enterprises use for determining the routing of voice telephony calls are agents. The automated trading systems now commonly used to supplement humans in the stock market are also agents. The automatic assignment and configuration of network capacity and network functionality in emerging programs such as software-defined networks (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) will, in effect, be conducted by agents working on behalf of carriers and infrastructure owners. Agents are becoming an essential part of the IoT nervous system, and any business that is aiming to make money from IoT needs to understand that.

Individuals and businesses will employ agents that interact with cloud orchestration systems to continually optimize the portfolio of services consumed by their human owners, based on owner-defined criteria of cost, functionality and performance. Some agents will be smart enough to subcontract some of the load to other, more specialized agents. The agents will be fed data by sensors and monitors, will receive analysis from aggregation centers to inform decisions, and will give instructions for action to other devices.

With agents in the system, we can see that the simple view of sensors monitoring and actuators performing chores, with a data center acting as broker, is just too simple. Agents will enable and manage complex processes, decision trees and relationships. Agents will bring to the wider world many of the management and control concepts that have been tried and tested within the walled gardens of factories, hospitals, power plants and data centers. Agents could even provide citizens with cross-checked and validated data about the world that will help them understand whether politicians are repeating authenticated facts or are just making them up.

Burgeoning sophistication can bring lots of benefits, provided we don't lose sight of what is really going on. But humans do like to over-simplify, even as the world naturally evolves into something more complicated.

Why One-Trick Billing Systems Don't Cut It with IoT
That brings us back to billing systems that need to monetize the IoT. There are lots of billing systems out there, and many of them are rather simple. These simple systems support only a narrow range of products or services, or they support only one type of pricing or charging model. These are one-trick billing systems, and they are good for one-trick service providers that don't plan to be anything else. Agents will certainly drive the generation of new and more nuanced business models as the concept of a service itself becomes more amorphous. IoT will inevitably bring a need for more, not less, sophistication and complexity, and we need systems, including billing systems, that can handle the complexity challenge.

I will share more thoughts on one-trick billing systems in my next blog, but in the meantime, read what more about the Internet of Things.

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud, BUSS. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda was CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. At MetraTech, Esmeralda was responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution for enterprise and SaaS products, 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. She was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of resource and service control software, now part of Extreme Networks.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including clou...
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless...
The IoT's basic concept of collecting data from as many sources possible to drive better decision making, create process innovation and realize additional revenue has been in use at large enterprises with deep pockets for decades. So what has changed? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Prasanna Sivaramakrishnan, Solutions Architect at Red Hat, discussed the impact commodity hardware, ubiquitous connectivity, and innovations in open source software are having on the connected universe of people, thi...
WebRTC: together these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Cary Bran, VP of Innovation and New Ventures at Plantronics and PLT Labs, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it may enable, complement or entirely transform.
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, showed how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants received the download information, scripts, and complete end-t...
For manufacturers, the Internet of Things (IoT) represents a jumping-off point for innovation, jobs, and revenue creation. But to adequately seize the opportunity, manufacturers must design devices that are interconnected, can continually sense their environment and process huge amounts of data. As a first step, manufacturers must embrace a new product development ecosystem in order to support these products.
Manufacturing connected IoT versions of traditional products requires more than multiple deep technology skills. It also requires a shift in mindset, to realize that connected, sensor-enabled “things” act more like services than what we usually think of as products. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks, discussed how when sensors start generating detailed real-world data about products and how they’re being used, smart manufacturers can use the dat...
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT’s direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Buildi...