Unlocking the promise of the Internet of Things in the off-vehicle ecosystem

Hardware and connectivity capabilities are evolving. The volume and value of data is gaining critical importance as a business driver. In short, ‘things’ are becoming more intelligent!

We need an Infrastructure of Things to make Automagic products

We need an Infrastructure of Things to make Automagic products

The IoT is gaining incredible momentum

There are already more connected devices on the planet than there are people. M2M connections are so widespread they are seen as part of something bigger, namely the ‘Internet of Things’, or IoT for short.

Analysts’ views vary on the size of the opportunity – typically anywhere from 24 to 50 billion devices by 2020. Regardless of the final number you side with, there is lots of evidence supporting this incredible momentum. However, there are differing views on how long it will take to reach the predicted volumes, due to the complexity of technologies and numbers of partners needed to form and supply the smart systems behind the IoT space of 2020.

One factor that cannot be disputed is that huge amounts of data are being created by the IoT today.

The proof is in the data

There has been more new data generated in 2013 alone than the previous 5,000 years. In fact, 90% of the world’s data was created in the past two years. By 2020, 40% of this growing data will come from connected sensors. The IoT is evolving with new technologies, creating new possibilities. It sounds a terrible cliché, but we really are limited only by our imagination in this space.

It’s about digital transformation!

If you take a step back from the amazing solutions, incredible technologies and truly epic volumes of data within the IoT, it really boils down to creating meaningful information to make better business decisions. This, in turn, creates more efficient, more compelling and more valuable product and service experiences.

The IoT is enabling information-centric products and services that are revolutionising both business and consumer channels – the IoT is essentially all about business transformation!

We need an Infrastructure of Things to make Automagic products

To realise the kinds of IoT volumes talked about, I share the view of Nick Hunn, we need an ‘Infrastructure of Things’ and Automagic products.

Whilst there are many key levers that are critical to the challenge behind the uptake of design and technology behind IoT, perhaps the greatest challenge with IoT growth is how to scale connectivity and business models.

Where products are developed using traditional connectivity-based models (GSM, WiFi etc.) and needing configuration in the field by trained personnel, they are, in reality, IoT in the loosest sense. They rely on personal or professional set-up. Both are time-consuming and barriers to breadth deployment. To achieve the real IoT, we need products that can connect autonomously as soon as they’re taken out of the box. Put simply, we need an Infrastructure of Things; a low-power, wide-area, end-to-end network, along with a new approach to data provisioning, for life.

Many of the eventual IoT products are likely to be low-cost sensors, where the cost of deployment will need to be minimal, and in some cases retrofitted to existing systems. They will need to attach to the appropriate surface, turn on, and start working with zero or minimal further user intervention.

When they turn on they will need to connect, no sim card, no set-up codes, not even pushing a button to connect – they just work ‘Automagically’! They must continue to connect for as long as they work. That is why they need to connect to a base station without any hub, router or smartphone obstructing.

The real power of the IoT network is empowering and giving a voice to once-inanimate objects and unlocking their promise. This will enable organisations to create new business models and partnerships to digitally transform and disrupt markets and services. This will be achieved through information-powered products that create seamless and contextually focused consumer and enterprise product experiences, from a new generation of digital business models and partnerships.