I attended the IoT World 2016 conference a couple weeks ago in Santa Clara, California. What a fantastic event with over 10,000 attendees including a diverse array of exhibiting companies, and keynotes and breakout sessions covering a wide range of vertical market challenges and industry specific issues. I sat in on most of the keynote presentations and a good sampling of the breakout sessions. There were a few common themes that emerged from the sessions and from talking to many of the attendees.
Depending on whom you talk to, the IoT space is expected to hit the $7 trillion to $20 trillion mark by 2020. At the same time, it seems there still is a certain amount of hype in this space and it may take a few years before we see the IoT fully mature as a technology and become more mainstream. The main challenges I heard most included cost, lack of standards, security, and product knowledge as key barriers for some to move into the adoption phase.
The Connected Car sessions seemed to be the most popular and best attended with several of the breakouts overflowing with attendees. There are a lot of innovations happening in this vertical, from self-driving cars to a slew of new business models. One of the areas that I find to be particularly interesting is the concept of “mobility as a service”.
It is a common impression, and a subject of much debate, that companies like Uber are disrupting the taxi business model. Harvard Business Review recently ran an article in which the authors argue that the Uber model is not actually all that disruptive to the taxi industry. One of the authors of that article was Clay Christensen who is the architect of the theory of disruption and a leading authority in this area. It does appear however that even if ride sharing companies like Uber are not disruptive to the taxi industry, they just might be disruptive to the overall auto industry. With the combination of increased urbanization and the convenience of ride sharing services such as Uber, we could actually see subscription based service models where people sign up for a mobility service and pay based on usage.
Another interesting related trend is usage based leasing. With advanced telematics in cars, it is possible to not only monitor mileage, but also other parameters such as wear and tear. Rate plans can be put in place to charge based on these inputs with tiered overages. It should be very interesting to watch this space, given LogiSense’s strong play in rating and usage based billing for the IoT.
Privacy and security are proving to be considerable issues to resolve moving forward. As devices start to communicate with each other and send data to the cloud, it will be critical to ensure that trust zones are established and the appropriate governance is in place to protect confidential information. This is something that we take quite seriously at LogiSense and need to continue to focus on moving forward as we become a strategic partner in this fast growing space.
Lastly, with all of these smart devices generating volumes and volumes of data, analytics starts to gain in importance. Data is not valuable in itself unless you can find a way to analyze it in order to make good business decisions. Most analytics solutions available today focus on reports, dashboards and charts. In the future we will need to see more sophisticated solutions that focus on predictive analytics and eventually machine learning.
Overall the IoT World conference was a great event and I fully expect that the Internet of Things has the potential to change the world for the better. It should be fun to watch and see.