In spite the Internet of Things term was coined by Kevin Ashton executive director of the Auto-ID Center as the title of a presentation he made at Procter & Gamble (P&G) in 1999, it was only when companies like Pachube (an early leader in the burgeoning “Internet of things” field) launched a web service that enabled to store, share & discover real time sensor, energy and environment data from objects & devices around the world, when most of us believed that the time to IoT was finally had arrived.
Since its founding in 2008, Pachube pretended to be the leading open development platform for the Internet of Things. In 2011 when the company was acquired by Woburn, Massachusetts-based LogMeIn in a deal that was worth "approximately $15 million in cash that re-branded the service as Cosm, but it was still a “beta” test version, to finally launch Xively that become a division of LogMeIn. LogMeIn did not want or did not know how to incorporate the potential of Xively into its business. And in 2017 again Xively lost its charm.
Google the White Knight of Xively
On February 15, we wake up with the new that Google will acquire IoT platform Xively from LogMeIn for $50 million, according to Bloomberg, to expand in market for connected devices. Google has been the White Knight of Xively.
Another White Knights
In February 2016, Cisco Acquired Jasper Technologies for $1.4 Billion in cash. How wonderful White Knight.
In 2016, Microsoft did not disclose the sum for Italian start-up Solair acquisition. Th startup expanded Azure capabilities.
In March 2015, Amazon was taking another step into the Internet of Things acquiring 2lemetry, a startup with a system for sending, receiving, and analyzing data from Internet-connected devices. 2lemetry had raised at least $9 million. Investors included Salesforce Ventures.
We all know that the IoT Platform market need a quick consolidation
The M2M/IOT Platform market has changed in the last 10 years. The fragmentation is unsustainable and I can say that I do not see a clear IoT platform market leader yet that works as a plug-and-play fix for all kind of connected-device creators. Besides, the rush of investors for IoT platform companies trigger rumors of new acquisitions increasing significantly their actual valuation and encourages thousands of entrepreneurs and startups to create new IoT platform copies of each other. Although there is still room for new innovative IoT platform startups, the decision to trust in a company able to simplify the complexities of the IoT, with a scalable and robust infrastructure and drive real results for your business, will reduce the choice among a short list. The bad news is that the hundreds of IoT platforms startups must compete now with the platforms offered by Tech and Industrial Giant vendors.
Given the confusion that exists about the IoT platforms, companies need to approach experts’ advisors that will recommend which platform(s) is most suitable for your current and future business and technical requirements.
There will not be White Knights for everyone
In “Be careful of the Walking Dead of IoT, I alerted that in spite that no one has the crystal ball, it is almost sure that many IoT platforms are not going to continue within 10 years, not even within 1, 2 or 3 years in this inflated market. As show in the picture below, some Tech Giants have been looking and found some of the best pieces. What will happen to the 700+ platforms out there? There will not be White Knights for everyone. At least for Xively it has been a happy end.
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The Internet of Things (IoT) enables vendors to create an entirely new line of “smart” solutions for its existing and new markets. While the decision to go “smart” is straightforward, the decision of how to do so is not. Vendors are faced with a “build, buy, partner” decision – build it themselves, buy or license it from someone, or partner with a complementary solution provider and go to market together. This article discusses some of the key considerations product managers and executives must study in order to make the most appropriate decision.
“Build, buy, partner” is a strategic decision
For many vendors, IoT means adding a technology layer to products that never had any before. Even for tech savvy vendors, IoT presents a whole new set of technologies that they are less familiar with. Equally important, IoT is not just technology, but includes data, security, user experience, and business/business model elements. Figure One shows an IoT product management framework developed by Daniel Elizalde of TechProductManagement. A company going “smart” has a lot of decisions to make, of which technology is just one component.
Figure One. IoT Product Management Stack.
The framework shows that the “build, buy, partner” decision is multi-dimensional. There are six decision areas, spread across components from the edge to the user applications. Each represents a different “build, buy, partner” decision point, and each takes the company down a different path. In today’s fragmented and dynamic IoT ecosystem, many companies will need to “build, buy, partner” simultaneously. For example, cybersecurity is a specialized field that many vendors cannot address on their own, and must buy or license for their solution. The actual proportion of “build, buy, partner” each vendor does varies based on their specific situations.
The company creates the solution themselves with the resources they own, control or contract to. Companies who choose this option, but have limited internal expertise may contract with Original Design Manufacturers (ODM). These ODMs provide a portfolio of services, from design, prototyping, test, certification, to manufacturing.
The “Build” option enables full management oversight of the development process, the solution functionality and the intellectual property. Conversely, this option may result in a longer time to market, and require additional capital and resources beyond what is scoped.
Companies consider this approach when:
- They have the requisite skill sets and resources to do it
- They can do it faster, cheaper and at lower risk
- This is a strategic competence they own or want to own
- There is strategic knowledge or critical intellectual property to protect
- They are fully committed throughout the company
The company procures all or part of the solution components from a 3rd party. This includes licensing technology and services. Companies may also acquire technology through mergers and acquisitions, as well as buying the rights to technology from companies willing to part with it. This option eliminates “reinventing the wheel”, enables faster time to market, maximizes resource efficiency with limited execution risk. One common variant of this approach is to buy technology platform from a vendor, and then build their specific solution components on top of that.
The downsides of the “Buy” option include a loss of control in the development process, and limited agility to respond in a timely manner to changes in the market and customer needs.
Companies consider this approach when:
- They don’t have the skills or resources to build, maintain and support it
- There is some or all of a solution in the marketplace and no need to “reinvent the wheel”
- Someone can do it faster, better and cheaper than they can
- They want to focus their limited resources in other areas that make more sense
- Time is critical and they want to get to market faster
- There is a solution in the market place that gives you mostly what you want.
The company allies itself with a complementary solution or service provider to integrate and offer a joint solution. This option enables both companies to enter a market neither can alone, access to specialized knowledge neither has, and a faster time to market. This option adds additional management and solution integration complexity. For some companies, reliance on partners for some aspects of the solution may be uncomfortable due to a limited loss of control.
Companies consider this approach when:
- Neither party has the full offering to get to market on their own.
- Each party brings specialized knowledge or capabilities, including technology, market access, and credibility.
- It lowers the cost, time and risk to pursue new opportunities
Management considerations for “build, buy, partner”
Before the company chooses a path to go “smart”, executives and managers must base their decision along three “build, buy, partner” dimensions – execution, strategy, and transformation.
The first dimension focuses on the company’s ability to execute successfully. Managers must audit and assess their capabilities and resources to answer the following questions:
- Do I have the necessary skills in-house to successfully develop, test, support and operate an IoT enabled “smart” solution and business (Figure One)?
- Do I have the right human, capital, financial, and management resources to do this? Is this the best use of my resources relative to other initiatives and projects?
- What am I willing to commit, sacrifice and re-prioritize to see this through? Am I willing to redeploy top management and company resources? How long am I willing to do this?
- How much budget and resources am I willing to commit?
- Is there anyone that can do it better than me? Does it make sense for me to do it? What am I willing to do and not do?
- What infrastructure (processes, policies, systems) do I have, or need to build, maintain, support and operate these new solutions?
The second dimension relates to the company’s current and future strategic needs. These are company specific as it relates to its current situation, its customer and channel, and its position within the industry. Key considerations to be addressed include:
- How does going “smart” align with the company’s vision and strategy? Which parts align and which doesn’t? Does the vision and strategy need to be updated to reflect the realities of going “smart”?
- How important is time to market? Do I need or want to be a first mover? How long will it take to execute with the resources that I have?
- Am I trying to reach existing or new markets with IoT? Do I understand their needs well enough that I can execute on meeting it?
- Do I have any critical proprietary technology, processes, and other intellectual property that I need to protect?
- What are the risks? How much risk am I willing to tolerate? What are the costs of those risks? How much risk can I mitigate with my current capabilities?
- How much control do I want or need to go “smart”? What areas do I want to control myself and how? Can I afford to control those areas?
- What is your real value to customers and your channel? Why do they buy from you, and why do they come back? What do you do well?
The third dimension is the company’s ability to manage transformation. Going “smart” doesn’t stop with the IoT technology. The entire organization, its operations, policies, systems and business models must transform to support and operate the “smart” business. Furthermore, resellers and service channels, and suppliers and partners, are also impacted.
- What is your corporate culture and how well does it support change? Do you have the right people to manage and sustain this change? Are you nimble and agile?
- What degree of disruption will there be to internal processes, channels, organization readiness, and business models? How agile are your current capabilities?
- How prepared are you to operate a “smart” business? Do you have the skills and infrastructure required? Can you support a recurring revenue business model? How willing are you to invest in order to develop and sustain these capabilities?
What should you do next?
Each company is unique, and its situation will dictate its response to these dimensions. There is no one “right” universal answer to the “build, buy, partner” decision. Equally important, what’s right today, may not be right tomorrow. Companies that want to go “smart” start by looking inward first and doing the following:
- Establish a current baseline. Audit and catalog current and planned offerings, strategy, human resources and skill sets, channel and suppliers, internal operations and policies, and culture.
- Evaluate the IoT product management stack (Figure One) against your baseline using the three “smart” dimensions. The list of questions listed are starter questions, but answering those will lead to more questions to be addressed.
- Evaluate and assess your company’s future state capabilities against the baseline using the three “smart” dimensions. Understand where the gaps are, and the extent of those gaps.
- Identify your risk tolerance level. Going “smart” is not without risk, especially if you have never done it before. The key is to identify what and how much risk you are willing to take. Once you do so, you can develop a risk management plan and incorporate the appropriate tactics to manage it.
- Update your business vision and strategy as applicable.
- Develop your “build, buy, partner” decision and strategy. This strategy must align to the broader business vision and strategy.
Benson Chan is an innovation catalyst at Strategy of Things, helping companies transform the Internet of Things into the Innovation of Things through its innovation laboratory, research analyst, consulting and acceleration (execution) services. He has over 25 years of scaling innovative businesses and bringing innovations to market for Fortune 500 and start-up companies. Benson shares his deep experiences in strategy, business development, marketing, product management, engineering and operations management to help IoTCentral readers address strategic and practical IoT issues.
Tibbo announced the release 5.4 of AggreGate IoT Integration Platform.
We've achieved great results in optimizing AggreGate server performance, especially event and value update storage performance. From now on, a single server can process and persistently store up to a hundred thousand events/updates per second, which is almost equal to 10 billion events per day. Such performance figures don't even require any high-end server hardware.
A new chapter has been opened by this release, presenting AggreGate's graphical and textual programming languages inspired by IEC 61131-3 standard, also known as "SoftPLC". Millions of engineers are now able to use AggreGate as a process control logic development environment.
One innovative feature of AggreGate's automation languages is tight integration of runtime with the Tibbo Project System hardware. Your programmed logic can access and control all Tibbit modules of a Linux-based TPS board/box. Currently available languages are: Function Block Diagram (graphical), Structured Text (graphical), Sequential Function Chart (textual).
Widget capabilities are no longer limited by the standard set of components. Now it can be easily extended. New Widget Component SDK allows to implement custom visual components in Java and use them in AggreGate widgets. Extend AggreGate's wide component palette with UI controls best suited to your needs!
We continue making our UI interface clearer and more user-friendly. The next step is lightweight icons. We redesigned them to be up-to-date with modern flat paradigm. New color coding assists users to navigate over various available toolbar actions.
Other major improvements include:
- Built-in timestamps and quality for data tables.
- Component connectors that allow to visually link UI components with each other.
- Secure and reliable Agent communications. Agent-Server communications now can be SSL-protected. When transferred data amount is critical, data compression can be enabled in parallel to encryption.
- Granulation, a brand-new highly customizable data aggregation and consolidation tool. The granulation engine allows to combine datasets into compact representation that contains all important aspects of original information in virtually any form suitable for later processing. This allows to reduce memory and storage consumption along with boosting data processing performance.
- Server remote upgrading. To reduce company's expenses, a remote AggreGate server upgrade operation is now supported. You can use our Unified Console application to connect to a remote server, upload a server upgrade bundle file and wait while the upgrade process is finished. That's it! All operations, including database backup, stopping server, upgrading and restarting will be performed at the server side automatically.
We are bringing our IT & Network Management solution (AggreGate Network Manager) to a new level by turning it into a full-fledged IT Service Management System. In this release, we introduce several essential instruments for that: Configuration Management Database (CMDB), metrics engine and topology-based root-cause analysis tools. Another ITSM functionality - IP address management module - is now available and you can use it out-of-the-box.
AggreGate 5.4 includes new device drivers: CoAP, MQTT, IEC 104, DLMS/COSEM, SMI-S.
You can get detailed information on the new 5.4 release, download and try the updated AggreGate IoT Platform on our website: http://aggregate.tibbo.com/news/release-54.html.
A few years ago, the idea of a “Telco in a Box” was very usual among the Telecommunication industry. Basically, it was a pre-integrated, turnkey real-time billing and customer care solution that enabled communications service providers (CSPs) to accelerate their growth strategies and increase profitability.
Companies like Accenture, Oracle, Redknee or Tech Mahindra used this concept addressed to Mobile Virtual Network Operators or MVNOs, Tier 3 Operators and Tier 1 sub brands. The benefits of this solution were clear:
- A low-risk, quick to launch turnkey solution
- Go to market faster than competitors
It was a matter of time that this marketing slogan reached the Internet of Things (IoT). And so it has been, at the moment with little noise, but it is certain that we will see much more "IoT in a Box" in the next months.
What is IoT in a Box and What's in the box
Today we could say that IoT in a Box is:
- A pre-configured, fully integrated, enterprise-enabled IoT bundle optimized for IoT processing (Telco view)
- All the required building blocks to develop a wireless IoT system (IoT Vendor view)
In the first case, the IoT in a Box must include some of the following components depending of the application:
- · Hardware / Hardware as a Service
- · 1 o more battery powered modules with sensors for monitoring for instance temperature, humidity, geo-location, movement, vibration, battery level or signal strength
- · 1 or more Relay switch or actuators
- · 1 GSM chip (SIM) per module with a data plan
- · IoT gateway
- · Software / Software as a Service
- · Device management
- · Enterprise database with storage plan
- · Security Connectivity
- · Pre-configured dashboards
- · Pre-configured thresholds and alerts
- · Mobile app
- · Services / Services as a Service
- · Professional Services (optional)
- · Support (basic included, premium optional)
When you receive your IoT in a Box. All you must do is:
- charge your modules
- place them on (or in) things,
- login to your own org to name your modules, and then
- turn on your modules. As soon as you activate a module, it starts to send sensor data, and you can start monitoring your things in near-time - online or using the mobile app.
“The concept behind a basic “IoT in a box” is that It takes you less than 1 hour to set up your own IoT system.”
In the second case, the IoT in a Box must include a Development Kit and all required building blocks to develop a wireless IoT system. We will see some examples later.
What if I want to expand the capabilities of my IoT application?
Although IoT in a Box is aimed at solving a simple business need, in certain scenarios or industries it may be necessary to extend the capabilities included in the Box. In this regard, vendors must provide accessories, expansion modules, I/Os and peripherals, Multi-standard connectivity options and additional Pre-configured dashboards and alerts depending of the industry and application.
Selling IoT in a Box
When I wrote Welcome to the first “Selling IoT” Master Class!, I did not emphasize in selling IoT to Small and Medium Business (SMB) and Consumer market. Precisely, the main objective that vendors pursue with the “IoT in a box” is increase sales in SMB market. This is a huge market and vendors need a way to escalate by channel partners, but as I do not consider myself an expert selling to SMB, so I look forward for your advices.
Is IoT in a Box already in the market?
Due to confidentiality agreements, I cannot include info from different vendors that will be selling IoT in a Box very soon. But we can find already some examples of IoT in a Box in the market. See below some of them based on public information.
T- Mobile IoT in a Box - With the T-Mobile IoT Box, you can realize your individual M2M application without great effort. Connect your devices and sensors and transfer the obtained data to a cloud system via mobile radio. A data interface provides processing and integration information to other systems, websites, or apps. The T-Mobile IoT Box consists of a developer board with an integrated M2M SIM card, several inputs / outputs and Bluetooth smart interface, an online portal and a RESTful API.
T-Mobile US – IoT promotion for device makers - Building on its movement into the internet of things (IoT) market, T-Mobile US announced a new IoT-specific pricing model as part of a promotion that includes a free Cat1 LTE module along with data services.
T-Mobile US, SVP Doug Chartier said: “The wireless industry needs simpler options for IoT to take off, and that’s exactly what we’re delivering.”
Telia M2M in a Box - M2M technology easy and affordable for any business. Telia M2M in a Box gives you a set of hardware with sensors providing you with real time information about position, movement and climate, which you can monitor directly in the web portal. A versatile and user-friendly measurement tool to observe, monitor and protect your business remotely.
Capgemini IoT-in-a-Box is a rapid, low-cost, low-risk, method to pilot IoT strategy to test and define business cases and provides a pre-configured, enterprise-ready IoT system for monitoring up to 25 devices. It simplifies the task of aligning integrating and configuring all IoT components to provide rapid time to value.
IBM - The Intelligent Building – IoT Starter Kit (Enterprise Edition) is an out–of-the-box IoT solution for Intelligent Buildings. The kit provides seamless integration of the EnOcean Smart Gateway with the Watson IoT Platform.
Relayr- Relayr -Industrial Grade Starter Kit for IoT Acceleration powered by relayr, Intel, Dell and Bosch.
Microsoft – Solair IoT in a Box was an IoT plug&play kit to connect things, sensors, machines to a gateway and then, in a few clicks, instantly visualize data on the Solair application. After acquisition of Solair probably Microsoft had discontinued this offer.
Bosch - Bosch IoT Starter kits that come with pre-configured XDK devices + cloud connectivity. It is as out of the box as it could be!
HPE - HPE Uncorks IoT In A Box - Called (at least by Hewlett Packard Enterprise) the ‘industry’s first converged systems for the IoT’, the Edgeline EL1000 and Edgeline EL4000 systems ‘integrate data capture, control, compute and storage to deliver heavy-duty analytics and insights at the edge to enable real-time decision making.’
Electric Imp - IoT QuickStart by Electric Imp - Electric Imp’s IoT QuickStart Family is designed to help you cut the time to build, test and prototype complex IoT solutions all while maintaining industrial-strength security, scalability and control. Based on reference designs that Electric Imp experts have developed over the past five years, the IoT QuickStart Family appliances represent the most frequently requested secure connectivity and device prototype solutions, each delivered in a fraction of the time and cost required by custom-built solutions.
Creator Ci40 IoT Developer Kit - The Creator Ci40 board is a high-performance, low-power microcomputer that packs a cXT200 chip based on a subsystem optimized by us specifically for IoT applications. The cXT200 SoC includes a dual-core, dual-threaded MIPS CPU clocked at 550 MHz and an Ensigma connectivity engine that covers super-fast 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi and low-power Bluetooth/Bluetooth low energy (Classic and Smart). See also: Imagination Launches ‘IoT In A Box’ Kickstarter - and Build a home IoT irrigation system with 'IoT-in-a-box' kit .
Nextcloud Box – a private cloud and IoT solution for home users – from Nextcloud, Canonical and WDLabs. Nextcloud Box makes hosting a personal cloud simple and cost effective whilst maintaining a secure private environment that can be expanded with additional features via apps. The Nextcloud Box consists of a hard drive and a case, complemented by a Raspberry Pi 2 or a similar credit-card sized computer. The pre-configured, easy-to-use platform handles file storage and syncing, communication and more, requires no maintenance and enables users to install more functionality through apps like Spreed, OpenHab and Collabora Online. The box offers 1TB of storage at the price point of Eur 70. For information on where to buy please visit nextcloud.com/box.
WIKON – My M2M BOX – Our special expertise lies in the compliance with industrial standards for our product developments and the development of powerful embedded hardware and software. Special developments for explosion zones, adverse environmental conditions, IP-68 standards and extended temperature ranges are frequently in demand.
Mobica collaborates with Advantech to develop a complete IoT Solution - Mobica, a Silver member of Oracle Partner Network (OPN) and global provider of a leading-edge software engineering, testing and consultancy services, developed a solution which aggregates data from a variety of sensors and sends it to the Oracle Internet of Things Cloud Service for analysis and integration. Mobica used an Advantech UTX-3115 IoT gateway and a M2.COM based WISE-1520 Low-Power Wi-Fi IoT node for sensor input.
The ThingBox Project - Use Internet of Things technologies without any technical knowledge and for free.
Eight best IoT starter kits: The best internet of things developer kits –
Imagination Meluncurkan kit IoT –“IoT http://misteriotcom/2015/11/24/imagination-meluncurkan-kit-iot-iot-in-a-box/
There are many IoT Vendors who offer Devices, IoT platform, Apps and Services bundled with the same purpose of IoT in a Box, democratize the IoT.
IoT in a Box and IoT Marketplaces
As we know “IoT is not only about connecting things, neither controlling things”, it is about the Things become more intelligent and therefore companies could offer new services under new business models. I believe that IoT marketplaces will play a key role in the evolution of IoT in a box. We have already some examples:
Libelium, the IoT Marketplace is a one stop click-and-buy online store. The company is helping frustrated companies with pre-integrated solutions from choosing the right hardware, cloud components to application.
Telus IoT Marketplace – Connect the things that matter to your business by leveraging connected devices provided by their partner network.
ThingWorks Marketplace – gives easy access to everything you need to build and run your ThingWorx based IoT application. All components listed on the ThingWorx Marketplace are customized, tested and guaranteed to work with the ThingWorx platform.
Intel IoT marketplace – Coming soon.
“IoT in a Box solutions that encompass infrastructure, networking, analytics, service enablement and monetization to connect devices, expose data, services and processes to applications, consumers and machines will be the foundation for IoT marketplaces”.
IoT Service in a Box, the logical evolution of IoT in a Box
I believe that the logical evolution of IoT in a Box will be IoT Service in a Box sold through IoT marketplaces. It is a matter of time that we will see:
- · Predictive Maintenance in a Box as a Service
- · Loss Prevention in a Box as a Service
- · Asset Location in a Box as a Service
- · Predictive Intrusion in a Box as a Service
- · Vending Machine Product Recommendation in a Box as a Service
- · Real time micro-Inventory in a Box as a Service
- · Customer Emotion in a Box as a Service
- · …… Your imagination is the limit
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