IoT Is on Its Way
Feb/Mar 2014
Mike Ueland

After enough time in the business of M2M, it's easy to see just how daunting the value chain can be for companies trying to take advantage of, or become a part of the Internet of Things. Adoption numbers keep growing and surpassing expectations but so do forecasts. Although we have seen tremendous growth to date, we still have a lot of work to do to achieve the massive numbers forecast for connected devices. In order to drive that growth, the entire industry needs to work together to simplify the effort on the part of our customers.

Good news: we're on our way. Industry leaders are taking note of both the need for and the opportunity presented by simplifying the process for our customers. It's driving meaningful consolidation—not just among competitors—but also across the value chain. This is particularly important to enabling innovators whose ideas are bringing about a true revolution in how Internet technology influences our work and our lives.

Of course, true consolidation requires tight integration across all parts of the value chain. Hardware must be developed to support network development, and be capable of integrating the software to enable both processing at the device level and seamless integration into the enterprise. And, most importantly, to truly enable innovation it must be simple right out of the box to speed time to market and reduce total cost of ownership. It should be easier to enable non-technical, business professionals to achieve their vision without a team of 30 engineering staff and years of manhours.

As M2M technology matures and this consolidation simplifies the equation for adopters, count on more and more entrepreneurs and inventors to come up with clever ways to leverage the data being generated by all these connected things and drive additional value from the same datasets. Imagine, for example, sharing data between your smart home, smart car, and smartwatch. The opportunities to deliver a better experience are nearly unlimited.

Unfortunately, too many service models require extra effort on the part of the customer. I believe success can only be achieved by simplification, from purchasing, to development, to operation, to expansion. In order to accomplish that, many current industry leaders will have to stop presenting themselves as experts who know it all, and start listening to their customers first. Understanding our clients' businesses comes first if we are to have any hope of meeting their expectations.

Service models that deliver M2M applications in a vacuum are becoming a thing of the past. While M2M applications are always purpose-driven, in today's competitive environment, they need to be completely integrated with existing business processes across the organization in order to drive better decision making in every aspect of the business.

To deliver on that promise, integration must extend beyond the hardware, network, and software to include tight integration in the provider's own–integrating all the building blocks within four walls, and across the globe to take the burden off the customer and deliver a complete solution. And, the building blocks themselves are evolving. The SOC (system on chip) movement that has taken the semiconductor industry by storm is having a philosophical impact on M2M too. Hardware platforms delivering complete functionality for application classes, which have been around for some time, are getting a facelift inside the one-stop shop.

Most importantly, organizations, which put their customers in the driver's seat, are certainly most likely to succeed. Strategy should be measured against a benchmark of customer input and results. From product development to strategic growth, M2M companies will have to put customer relationships and responsiveness first.

Analysts have been watching for the proverbial hockey stick for years—and as larger companies wake up to the possibilities afforded by M2M technology, the predictions become even more impressive. But I don't think we should waste time waiting for a magical inflection point. Rather, I expect steady, long-term growth. Frankly, despite the hype, achieving the full potential of the Internet of Things will still take years.

As for Telit, you can expect us to let our customers' needs drive our corporate strategy. Doing so has led us to growth for more than 10 years, and we have every reason to believe that will continue.


Mike Ueland, senior vice president and general manager, Telit Wireless Solutions, can be reached at NORTHAMERICA@telit.com

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