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Internet of Business Things – IOT Business Models

Author: Vinay Solanki

IOT is trending these days, everyone is talking about it and everyone wants to talk about it, gradually the concept of Internet of Things is getting replaced byInternet of Everything. Smart cities, smart homes, industrial internet, smart cars, etc. all are discussed in different forums, conferences, roadshows, and it is discussed by governments, large private players, startups and students. I am also following it and trying to understand it for last 1.2 year or so. In this article I will not focus on defining or talking about technologies related to this concept but more on what are possible business models or revenue streams.

Device Makers & Suppliers

With increasing adoption of IOT products, processes and services there will be ever increasing demand for sensors, actuators, RFID tags, bar code scanners, embedded devices, sim cards, controllers, and peripheral instruments to make the complete package work. Building sensors that can sense temperature, moisture, sound, motion will be a self sufficient business in itself. Gyroscope, GPS, and Computer hardware are other important products needed for some or many of the IOT use cases such as logistics, supply chain, smart child tracking/safety, etc.

Connectivity Providers

Telecom companies offering a platform to provide seamless connectivity either through broadband or 4G sim cards have a large role to play. Remember without connectivity to other devices and to the internet there is no IOT. Of course some of the devices may just connect to the intranet or to a central router or proxy server.
Tata Communication has already tested low power wide area network model using LoRa technology. Zigbee, bluetooth, wifi are all being tried and tested but the one that comes up low energy requirement and provide long range wide area connectivity holds stronger promise to survive.

Bharti Airtel is already into the area of M2M where they sell SIM cards which are embedded into the machines such as smart meters and allow the device to connect to internet and communicate.

Platform Providers/Researchers

Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS , Google Brillo, IBM Bluemix and such large players are researching, building and offering platforms for IOT solution makers and application makers to leverage instead of starting from the scratch. I see lot of room for many small and medium players to offer similar platforms or to build.

Smart Aggregators/Advisers

Once the hardware is available, connectivity is in place, platforms have helped to design the solution using this two then comes the role of consultants and service providers. IOT will need lot of experts and specialists type of consultants who can advice industries, developers and home owners on various options available for them. Consultants would play crucial role to customize the solution for you, I see that once large player rolls out standard solution, it may not be ONE size fits all. Consultants who understand the consumer need and as well the IOT solution will be needed to bridge the gap and bring technology to larger market.

Service providers who can help maintain, run, support and upgrade first phase of IOT solutions will definitely be needed, as the product developers, researchers and inventors would want to keep inventing while milking their current designs with the use of service providers.

Analytic / Big Data / Cloud / Storage

Once the solution is in use and data is generated, the most key area of IOT would be how to analyze such a large data set, make sense out of it, feedback that data to the customer and owners. Everyone thinks that the real value of IOT is in the data that it will generate and the value add that data will provide to the industries, consumer and governments. 

Huge area of opportunities lie for people who can build analytic’s solutions, support big data complexities, provide cloud and offer SaaS solutions. Data storage and data processing both together is the key for this technology to self sustain.

Security & Privacy

Last but not the least, a major concern around IOT solution is how to protect and keep the data secure as the data can reveal a lot about the customer and can be highly private. To secure and maintain this privacy, the data collector need to maintain anonymity. This is the very strong point that can hold back the penetration of IOT as gaining the trust and confidence of the customer is the very basic fundamental for the success of any technology.

Vinay SolankiVinay Solanki has done PGPX from IIM Ahmedabad and Masters in Computer Science from SUNY. Vinay has over a decade of experience in telecom, finance and technology with companies such as Bharti Airtel, Goldman Sachs, IBM and TCS. He is an IOT enthusiast and avid blogger on mobile money.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of The Indian Iris and The Indian Iris does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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