A year ago, in every formal or informal meeting with customers, partners, family or friends, I had to explain “what is IoT”. I guess I will continue doing it, but henceforth I will not go to use definitions from analysts and experts, from now on I will use economic concepts (“IoT is the business of trillion of dollars”) or philosophical concepts like when we try to define the infinite or the nothingness (“IoT is a super Internet where just about any physical thing can be connected in an intelligent fashion”). Not sure if this will be enough to avoid a debate or to start it.
Do we need more IoT hype?
During 2014, the reason for the IoT hype was pretty simple: analysts are forecasting massive growth. Take a look at these ten Internet of Things facts and predictions courtesy of SAS Insights.
As, Kurt Shuler, VP Marketing, Arteris, wrote in this post: “There is a lot of stupidity that comes with the IoT hype, stemming from the lack of critical thinking and “me too” herd mentality. Much of the IoT today is all about pontificating, dreaming, surmising, and pie-in-sky thinking.”
IoT is still in the nascent stage. In my view, more Hype is not going to help ensure that the IoT’s full potential is unleashed.
Be with me, IoT doesn’t need any more hype.
The buyer appetite has reached the IoT
It’s clear that IoT had turned the attention of many mega-vendors. Internet of Things (IoT) deal-making activity rose sharply in 2014. Acquirers spent approximately $14.1bn to acquire 60 companies during the year. That spending sets a high watermark for the IoT industry and is nearly eight times the total spent by acquirers in all of the years prior to 2014. Many of these developments surprised industry executives with size and valuation multiples dwarfing previous M&A metrics in several cases. For more details I recommend read these 2 articles posted by Brian Partridge “Exclusive: Internet of Things-related deal-making passes $14bn mark in 2014, says 451 Research”, and by Ken Figueredo “2014 Corporate Initiatives; market rules are changing”.
Who is building the Internet of Things?
In the famous slide “IoT Landscape (version 3.0)”, Matt Turck, Managing Director at FirstMark Capital, show just a pinch of this fragmented market. Additionally, if we all assume that in the rapidly growing Internet of Things no single standards can adequately prevail and no single company will dominate, is it possible to build a “Unique IoT”?
I do not doubt about how to achieve the full potential of IoT. It is not enough that traditional hardware vendors actively promote their own IoT hardware ecosystems; or that device and modules vendors evolve from M2M to IoT or that Wireless Sensors Network vendors deliver powerful, modular, easy to program open source sensor platform for the Internet of Things. Nor is sufficient that IoT Platforms Vendors, Communication Service Providers and Communication Equipment vendors, mega Independent Software Vendors, IoT StartUps; and System Integrators work independently building IoT silos.
It is the time of Multi Mega Alliances and Consortiums. But only with a sense of collaboration among these Alliances, we will be able to build “The unique Internet of Things”.
The current Babel tower of Alliance & consortiums
Despite how big are companies that are looking in IoT a new source of revenue and more profits for the next ten years, none of them alone can embrace the complexity and the dimensions involved in creating a network of heterogeneous networks capable of connecting 50 billion objects worldwide.
None of these companies will be able to create a valid standard for all. Therefore, they have not been slow when creating groups of industry players forced to collaborate for creating consistent standards and broad interoperability to unite the Internet of Things. Only with strong alliances will be able to compete with the guarantee in this vast universe.
Here is a non-complete list of them.
Industrial Internet Consortium – The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) was founded in March 2014 to bring together the organizations and technologies necessary to accelerate the growth of the Industrial Internet of Things by identifying, assembling and promoting best practices. Membership includes small and large technology innovators, vertical market leaders, researchers, universities and governments.
Open Interconnect Consortium – “The Open Interconnect Consortium is focused on delivering a specification, an open source implementation, and a certification program for wirelessly connecting devices. Membership is currently over 50 members.”
AllSeen Alliance – “The AllSeen Alliance is a nonprofit consortium dedicated to enabling and driving the widespread adoption of products, systems, and services that support the Internet of Everything with an open, universal development framework supported by a vibrant ecosystem and thriving technical community. The AllSeen Alliance framework is initially based on the AllJoyn™ open source project, and will be expanded with contributions from member companies and the open source community.”
Thread Group – “Thread was designed with one goal in mind: To create the very best way to connect and control products in the home. It’s hard to get devices to talk to one another. And once they do, the connection is often spotty and power hungry. Thread changes all that. It’s a mesh network designed to securely and reliably connect hundreds of products around the home – without blowing through battery life.”
IPSO Alliance – “The Internet Protocol for Smart Objects Alliance is a global forum including many Fortune 500 high tech companies and noted industry leaders. IPSO serves as a thought leader across the board for communities seeking to establish the Internet Protocol (IP) as the network for the connection of Smart Objects.”
IoT Eclipse – “OASIS is a non-profit consortium that drives the development, convergence, and adoption of open standards for the global information society. OASIS promotes industry consensus and produces worldwide standards for security, Internet of Things, cloud computing, energy, content technologies, emergency management, and other areas.”
OneM2M – “The purpose and goal of oneM2M are to develop technical specifications which address the need for a common M2M Service Layer that can be readily embedded within various hardware and software, and relied upon to connect the myriad of devices in the field with M2M application servers worldwide.”
Bluetooth SIG – “The Bluetooth Special Interest Group is the body that oversees the development of Bluetooth standards and the licensing of the Bluetooth technologies and trademarks to manufacturers.”
Internet of Things Consortium – “Driving adoption of IoT products & services through consumer research and market education.”
LoRa Alliance – “Our mission to standardize Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) being deployed around the world to enable the Internet of Things (IoT), machine-to-machine (M2M), and smart city, and industrial applications. The Alliance members will collaborate to drive the global success of the LoRa protocol (LoRaWAN), by sharing knowledge and experience to guarantee interoperability between operators in one open global standard.”
For additional info about the importance of the partner ecosystem for Network Operators and M2M Service Providers I suggest take a look at my post.
The IoT industry does not need more “hype”. It is time to take the plunge to collaborate in creating a “Unique IoT”. It is the time for investing in the Internet of Things companies.
“Unique IoT” is today what internet was in the 1980s, it may take at least another 5-10 years before we see the commercial blooming of this and have real “Unique IoT” applications. But any firm with the strategic intention of being an IOT leader over the next 10 years does not have the option to ignore this market.