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The big question everyone is asking is 'Where does IoT currently stand?'

Are We Nearly There Yet? Moving from Connected Things to Connected Marketplaces

This week, the team assembled in NYC for @Cloud Expo 2015 and @ThingsExpo 2015. For the past four years, this has been a must-attend event for MetraTech. We were happy to once again join industry visionaries, colleagues, customers and even competitors to share and explore the ways in which the Internet of Things (IoT) will impact our industry. Over the course of the show, we discussed the types of challenges we will collectively need to solve to capitalize on the opportunity IoT presents.

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The big question everyone is asking is "Where does IoT currently stand?" Certainly there has been tremendous hype. Analyst firm Gartner went so far as to place the IoT atop its 2014 Gartner Hype Cycle, displacing big data, the favorite from 2013. In my Cloud Expo session, "Moving from Connected Devices to Connected Marketplaces," we discussed where the industry is in realizing the potential of the IoT - a potential that IDC projects will be worth $1.7 trillion by 2020.

Some might argue that the IoT today is where computing was in the mid 1970s when Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were selling the Apple-I. Although everyone knew that the PC was the next big thing, they didn't know how to make that a reality. The same can be said for the IoT, which promises to be the most disruptive technological revolution since the advent of the World Wide Web. Projections indicate that up to 50 billion uniquely identifiable devices will be connected by 2020 and according to the Q1 2015 Ericsson Mobility Report, 108 million new mobile subscribers were added globally in Q1 2015. This translates to a highly competitive market where it is a race to the consumer (whether an individual or enterprise) for their business.

Uber is one example of a company taking advantage of the new services world and making it adoptable by the masses. Some might classify Uber as an IoT company because it uses sensors in the streets, in your phone and in a drivers' phone and provides a better customer experience and interface through an algorithm running in the cloud. But, in reality, Uber is an agency linking potential customers to service providers - car owners and drivers (who may only lease the vehicle) - more efficiently. Uber has taken an everyday service (transportation from point A to point B) and combined it with convenience, simplicity and a fantastic user experience.

Uber is not so much a service provider to end users, but an agent - a service provider to the service providers who serve the end customers. In this new services world, there will be many service providers - both small and large companies - that operate geographically, similar to taxi drivers in the Uber model. These service providers could lease the technology from other businesses, whose job is to invest in the infrastructure, build it and run it, selling space in the system to all-comers who can then repurpose the technology at will, according to changing end-customer demands.

As the Internet of Things evolves, service agents will continue to go the way of Uber and effectively be apps that make money by providing the service of connecting end users who have a need for a service with a service provider. Now imagine that scenario on the enterprise B2B level. It's a whole new world that we will look at in our next blog post.

We will discuss additional findings from Cloud Expo in our upcoming #IoTuesday Twitter chat on June 16 at 1pm. Mark your calendar and make sure you join us.

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.

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