Who Cares?

By Randy Field

Director of Consulting and Chief IoT Architect, James Brehm & Associates

During the keynote panel discussion at last week’s IoT Evolution Expo, the Moderator asked what was a reasonable prediction for the size of the IoT market by 2020? The general answers ranged from 26 to 50 billion devices – and, one, “WHO CARES?” by James Brehm, Founder and Chief Technology Evangelist, James Brehm & Associates. He went on to say that the industry should shift from counting devices to delivering value through the effective use of data and by creating more end-to-end ecosystems. These ecosystems require devices, connectivity, data, a user application – and, security. Device count does not necessarily equal active use or appropriate use.

Later in the conference, I moderated a panel titled: Managing Disparate Technologies. The session description included: There are a lot of technologies that go into a full-fledged, IoT solution but managing them all can be a nightmare. How do cloud solutions address the problem and WHO makes it simple for the non-technologist line of business managers?

So, the real market acceptance of IoT relies on simple, non-technical, full-fledged solutions. We cannot rely solely on Geoffrey Moore’s Innovators and Early Adopters to reach 26 to 50 billion devices. These groups are generally technologist who represent less than 20% of the market.

Then, WHO delivers these solutions? The device company, the network operator, the backend application developer, the distributor, the systems integrator, or the customer? The general answer is a combination of the above. End-to-end solutions are built on use cases that have a market application. The reality is that many of the industry participants do not know enough about the ecosystem to create a complete set of requirements.

For most, the supply chain starts with the business processes which drive requirements. Just like in any relationship, prior baggage is part of the deal.  As the conference title suggested, the IoT world is evolving quickly. If you are supplying one or more of the solution segments and do not know WHO will supply the remaining parts, find partners that can fill in the blanks or an advisor that can connect the dots. For the market to achieve its promise, we must deliver simple solutions. The end user is WHO cares.