Is your #IoT cup half empty or half full?

Is your #IoT cup half empty or half full?
by Diya Soubra on 11-25-2016 at 7:00 am

 While the optimist and the pessimist argued about whether the cup was half empty or half full, I drank it !

I had seen the above statement a while ago and it jumped to mind while I was considering the state of #IoT today. That funny statement describes exactly the mindset of the players in the market. While the majority argue back and forth about privacy, security, data formats and alliances, others are busy deploying solutions and capturing revenue.

Yes, there are many items that we would prefer to be in a different stable state but there is nothing really blocking deployment, proof being the variety of success stories out there. Here is my take on the items at the centre of the debate.

Security

We all agree that the system needs to be secure end-to-end. While the argument continues about the level of required security, the cryptography algorithms and secure protocols to use, others are deploying nodes with today’s state of the art security and learning from field experience what is enough and what isn’t. The key is not just how to secure the solution but how to recover it once it is hacked since it is by now clear that all known security of today will for sure be hacked in the near future. Make sure the node can be updated with new firmware.

Privacy

This is my favourite item. People still want to believe that they have some privacy. Well, guess what, If you carry a smart phone then you have already given up all your privacy. But let us avoid that discussion. What about the thousands of #IoT applications that are not about reporting people related information. Why not start capturing revenue with those and once a privacy decree is handed down then go after people related #IoT markets. Sell the products that you have today.

Data Format

It does not matter what format the data is in when it arrives from the node since it has to be reformatted any way to fit the analytics system it is destined for. The conversion will be done in the cloud using web technology where we have infinite affordable compute. Why wait for that magic universal data base that will have all formats predefined for all types of possible sensors. Conversion is simple and affordable.

Radios

What is all the fuss about the radio standard to be used. Yes, there are many different radio standards in use today and each is better suited for a specific product market. Eventually, mobile operators will figure out a reasonable business model and NB-IoT will win over everything else but there is no need to wait since that day may never come. The radio is just the means to transport the data. As technology improves we will see new variations. Go with the flow.

Protocols
IP to the edge, CoAP, mesh, Thread, or any other discovery and transport protocol, the list of acronyms is very long. Does it really matter that everyone should agree with your choice? It would be good if everyone agreed to use the same set but they will not for a while. Meanwhile, whoever is shipping is lowly becoming the de-facto standard. So do not wait, populate.

Cost

The serious revenue is in the analytics and predictive services. The end points are just the means to generate the data that fuels the analytics engine. There is no reason to waste any effort or resource in a cost reduction exercise for endpoints since the economies of scale will kick in as volume picks up. Besides, whatever the cost of the endpoint maybe it is for sure tiny compared with the revenue generated from the analytics. Would any one think twice about investing $10 when it will produce $1000 or more?

I prefer to continue down the road while watching for the pot holes instead of staying in my spot waiting for someone to pave the road for me and everyone else. Lead, don’t follow.

That’s what I think. What do you think?


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