I was hesitating to write on this topic as I thought I was not a subject matter expert on IoT. Nevertheless, I understood that if you’ve a penchant to understand what’s happening around you and stretch a bit to peek into the future then you can comfortably predict what’s going to be the emergent technology that’s going to dominate in the coming years.
Recently there’s a lot of buzz around IoT in the technology media and it’s not easy to dismiss it as over-hyped fad. As per one of the Cisco Studies, it is estimated that there will be 50 billion objects inter-connected by 2020 and Gartner in a different study estimates IoT will produce close to $2 trillion of economic benefit globally. We can’t turn a blind eye to the astonishing results of these researches.
There are several ways to categorize IoT services and products. One way is to break them into following core sectors
- Home, &
Enterprise Internet of Things (EIoT) being the largest of the three. By 2019, the EIoT sector is estimated to account for nearly 40% or 9.1 billion devices
The other way to look at it is to divide them into Application domains as follows.
Or perhaps the fields where IoT can be explored as below
- Retail Intelligence
- Environmental Sensing and Urban Planning
- Energy management
- Cruise-assisting transportation systems
- Home security solutions & home automation
Apart from all the above segmentation, IoT can still can be classified into IoT2C (IoT to Consumer) and IoT2B (IoT to Business).
- The IoT market potential for business-facingapplications is larger than for consumer-facingapplications
- Manufacturingand Healthcareare the largest IoT market segments within business-facingapplications
- Specifically Oil&Gasas a sub-segment of manufacturing is currently leading the IoT adoption along with the energysector as well as applications in mobility and transportation.
- Within consumer-facingapplications, Home automationwill dominate the market in the next years (smart thermostats, security systems, and refrigerators). The wearable hype seems to be over.
IoT Investment Flow
Gartner recently completed a survey that noted Manufacturing and Retail are two sectors with particularly high expectations of the IoT. Utilities, Industrial sectors, Connected cars, Healthcare and Consumers are other verticals at the forefront of IoT investment. So, it makes sense for the IoT startups or mid-size organizations in the IoT space to focus on the above-mentioned verticals.
Managing IoT Programs
IoT is complex with each device talking to multiple devices and vice-versa and it definitely requires infrastructure support for seamless connectivity & free flow of communications. Also it needs to be adopted for the changing technologies. For instance, IPV4 with 4.3 billion addresses is not sufficient for IoT kind of applications where we expect 50 billion uniquely identifiable devices by 2020. So, upgrading to IPv6 is a smart move.
Even a simple IoT device involves multiple layers of technologies, for instance, device drivers (typically written in low level C) to communicate to the hardware, Communications layer to support the connectivity of the devices (ex., protocols like http, CoAP, etc…), Event processing layer to analyze the data shared by the devices (hadoop, etc…) and pass the results to the Application layer to be displayed or further action to be taken (dashboard, web portals, M2M APIs,…).
To accomplish the intended IoT service or product, we need a team of engineers with a mix of expertise working together towards a common goal. To complicate it further most of the times the team is distributed geographically with a varied cultural background. My suggestion is to have a seasoned program manager who has succeeded in handling globally distributed multi-cultural team earlier and ask him/her to handle the program in Agile way (using distributed scrum).
Internet of Things or Internet of Everything is going to be a reality and trillions of dollars are at stake.
There are a few companies that provides the sensors with small form factors (ex., ams AG) and a few organizations that provide IoT software services (ex., Brillio) and this sustainable supply chain ecosystem is key for the success in the IoT space. Finally, the organizations that wake up early and have the right set of team & leadership will ultimately succeed in getting away with the lion’s share of trillion dollar market of IoT.
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