Goldman Sachs defines the Internet of Things (IoT) as the third wave of internet revolution: By connecting billions of devices to the internet, the IoT can open up a host of new business opportunities and challenges. According to McKinsey, the IoT has the potential to create up to $6 trillion economic value annually by 2025. According to Research and Markets, there are more than 2000 companies that are selling the IoT enabled products, playing a vital role in the IoT technology innovation, or act as an enabler to the IoT business development.
A business ecosystem is the community of business entities that is formed by the competitive and collaborative interactions among business entities for new innovations. A business ecosystem evolves to form a new value network, and thus, to create a new market. The IoT has various applications including, smart home, connected car, connected health, and business/industrial applications. Thus, many business players across diverse industries including semiconductor, consumer electronics, IT, telecom, healthcare, medical devices, retail, industrial & manufacturing and transportation are participated in the IoT business ecosystem.
The key IoT business ecosystem players based on their patenting activities are Samsung Electronics, Google, Toyota, Ford, GM, Philips, GE, IBM, Cisco, and Ericsson.
Samsung Electronics is a key IoT business ecosystem player in the smart home applications. In number of patent applications, Samsung Electronics dominates the patent applications (nearly 15% of the more than 400 total patent applications among more than 70 patent owners). Samsung Electronics patent applications are highly focused on the home automation and security to support its current Samsung SmartThings business. Samsung SmartThings is the first fully integrated smart home system for providing the home automation and safety services to make people’s daily lives easier, more comfortable and safe. Recently, Samsung filed several patent applications regarding home energy management and smart lighting for providing other value added services to make Samsung as the smart home market leader in 2016.
For example, US20150330652 illustrates the temperature control method and device of a heating/ventilation/air-conditioning (HVAC) system for efficiently saving energy. The method includes determining occupancy or non-occupancy of a user in a space subject to temperature control. When the user’s non-occupancy is determined, the temperature control device determines whether to start the temperature control based on probability distribution of a non-occupancy period that is predetermined. When it is determined to start the temperature control, the temperature control device determines the user’s target temperature based on previously collected data, calculates a setback temperature based on the target temperature, and performs temperature control according to the calculated setback temperature.
Google (including Nest Labs) is another key IoT business ecosystem player in the smart home applications. In number of patent applications, Google also dominates the patent applications (nearly 15% of the more than 400 total patent applications among more than 70 patent owners). Google patent applications are focused on the energy/utility management. There are also many recent patent applications regarding the safety monitoring (e.g., hazard detecting, elderly care) and home security. For example, US20150120598 illustrates the smart home system for protecting delivered packages from a thief. The system can receive and retain package in a secure location that is trusted by both deliverer and a system user.
Google also has significant number of patent applications regarding the health monitoring biomedical sensing devices. The health monitoring biomedical sensing devices can provide a real time monitoring of person’s health status such as concentration of glucose, heart rate and blood pressure, and thus, enable remote healthcare services.
For example, US20150164321 illustrates an eye-mountable device for measuring an intraocular pressure. The device includes a transparent polymeric material having a concave surface that is mounted over a corneal surface of an eye, an antenna, an expandable member, a sensor and control electronics that is embedded in the transparent polymeric material. The device can expand and apply a force to the corneal surface and the sensor can detect a resistance to deformation of the cornea in response to the applied force. The resistance to deformation of the cornea in response to the force applied by the expandable member is indicative of the intraocular pressure of the eye.
Toyota, Ford, and GM are three key IoT business ecosystem players in the connected car applications. Their patent applications regarding the IoT connected car applications cover the safety/collision avoidance, intelligence navigation, driver assistance for smart driving, infotainment, and vehicle operation automation. The IoT connected car applications exploit the vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication systems.
For example, Toyota patent application US20140005906 illustrates the system for assisting the driver of a host vehicle through predicting the future position and velocity trajectory of a preceding vehicle. The preceding vehicle is a vehicle immediately ahead of the host vehicle, and the dynamic state of the preceding vehicle was predicted based on data received from surrounding vehicles using the V2V communications. The system allows a more comfortable driving experience in dense traffic environment. US9031779 illustrates the navigation system with the hazard avoidance feature. The system navigation allows for vehicles and other entities to collaborate and share information via vehicular networks regarding hazards, defects, obstacles, flaws, and other abnormalities that exist in any environment. The system navigation automatically detects and catalog environmental hazards and/or obstacles for route planning. Routes can be planned that avoid these hazards reducing lost time or frustration.
As another example, Ford patent application US20150149088 illustrates the autonomous vehicle collision avoidance system. The system enables autonomous vehicle predicts objects lie in a planned path of the autonomous vehicle. Accordingly, the system determines when a collision between the vehicle and objects is possible and alters the vehicle path to avoid the potential collision.
Philips is a key IoT business ecosystem player in the connected health applications. Philips announced a partnership with Amazon to provide a new platform for the IoT connected healthcare applications. Philips connected healthcare platform is based on its cloud-based HealthSuite platform and Amazon AWS IoT platform. Philips patent applications regarding the IoT connected health applications cover the healthcare IT System, Tele health/medicine, body sensor network, and preventative and predictive healthcare. For example, US8884754 illustrates the method of monitoring the vital parameters of a patient using the body sensor network. The method improves the data transmission between on-body sensors of the body sensor network with the off-body monitoring device. Philips also has significant number of patent applications regarding the smart lighting system for the smart home/building applications.
GE is another key IoT business ecosystem player in the connected health applications. GE is also a key IoT business ecosystem player in the industrial applications. According to Industrial Internet Insights Research Report from GE and Accenture, the Industrial Internet—the combination of Big Data analytics with the Internet of Things (IoT)—will produce huge opportunities for companies in Aviation, Oil and Gas, Transportation, Power Generation and Distribution (e.g., smart grids), Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Mining industries. For example, US20150040051 illustrates the industrial monitoring system that provides monitoring capabilities for various types of mechanical devices and systems. US20150032464 illustrates the system to analyze patient information obtained from the biosensors and recommend the personalized medicine therapy approach based on the patient information exploiting the predictive analytics. GE also has significant number of patent applications regarding the smart lighting system for the smart home/building applications and the smart home automation.
IBM is a key IoT business ecosystem player in the data analytics for the IoT applications. IBM announced a plan to invest more than $3 billion over the next four years to build the IoT business. Predictive analytics analyzes current and historical data to make predictions about future events and trends. Predictive analytics can apply to many IoT applications such as real-time asset management and predictive maintenance of industrial equipment. For example, US20140236650 illustrates the cost effective end-to-end analytics driven asset management by managing maintenance operations (e.g., scheduling, preventive maintenance, operating parameter control). IoT big data analytics are becoming important to process unimaginably large amounts of information and data that are obtained by the sensor embedded interconnected IoT devices. For example, US20150134704 illustrates the system for processing large scale unstructured data in real time.
Cisco is a key IoT business ecosystem player in the IoT connectivity/networks. Recently Cisco and Ericsson announced a strategic partnership to create the networks of the future. Cisco filed more than 100 patent applications regarding the IoT connectivity/networks. Cisco patent applications cover the intelligent autonomous IoT networks exploiting the machine learning (ML), predictive analytics for the IoT networks, deterministic networking for smart grids, and fog computing. For example, US20150195216 illustrates the use of the ML in order to estimate the behavior of the communication channels based on prediction, and then, to select the appropriate transmission strategy in the multi-hopping networks. US20150333992 illustrates the application of predictive analytics for managing the IoT Networks.
Billions of interconnected devices that are connected to the internet in the IoT will produce astronomical amount of data to process. The amount of data can easily overload the cloud computing resources at the back-end IT systems. With Fog (or Edge) computing, the problem can be eased by allowing smart devices (e.g., smartphones, PCs, set-top boxes) at the edge of the IoT networks. US20150261876 illustrates the network environment includes multiple fog computing devices each connected with a communication network.
Ericsson is another key IoT business ecosystem player in the IoT connectivity/networks. Machine to Machine (M2M) communications involve the communication (using wired or wireless means, or a combination of both) between two machines without human intervention. Ericsson is developing the seamless M2M networks with high mobility and reduced latency. For example, US20150319771 illustrates the M2M networking of the IoT device at low cost that complies with modern cellular communication standards while having low power consumption. US20150078327 illustrates the mobility-based radio resource assignment methods. US20150305054 illustrates the method for power optimized transmission scheduling in an energy harvesting M2M device. US20150249901 illustrates the M2M services enablement architecture using a cellular access networks.
Ericsson is also developing 6LoWPAN. 6LoWPAN is an acronym of IPv6 over Low power Wireless Personal Area Networks. 6LoWPAN is a set of standards defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), which enables the efficient use of IPv6 over low-power, low-rate wireless networks on simple embedded devices through an adaptation layer and the optimization of related protocols. Its main goal is to send/receive IPv6 packets over 802.15.4 links. IoT connectivity standard Thread uses 6LoWPAN for connecting smart home devices. 6LoWPAN radio devices are typically constrained with respect to memory/processing resources, power consumption, and radio transmission range. Integration of the network of 6LoWPAN-compliant low-power devices is the challenge and continues to present a significant obstacle to implementing advanced IPv6-based IoT services. Ericsson patent application US20150245332 illustrates the system for providing access with respect to 6LoWPAN format in a number of IoT networking implementations exploiting 6LoWPAN-compliant low-power devices.