While there is little definition to the internet of anything (IoX) yet, companies are trying, more and more, to leverage it — perhaps in hopes that what they are offering will catch on. Much of this isn’t anything more than advanced M2M (now being called the “industrial IoT”) but it’s good for visibility. In that vein, a company called Berg Insight expects global IoT platform revenues to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30.8 percent between 2015 and 2021 to reach $3.3 billion by 2021.
I am unsure of what defines “global IoT” platforms. “The report discusses that “Most IoT platforms currently available are either connectivity management platforms (CMPs), device management platforms (DMPs), or application enablement platforms (AEPs).”
Take AEPs for example. The report states that “The market for AEPs provides functionalities such as data collection, data storage and analytics.” Is that big data? Is that cloud data? Is that sensor data? Does it come from mobile devices, autonomous appliances, autonomous vehicles? They don’t seem to elaborate.
I see a lot of such reports that throw around a plethora of acronyms and definitions under the broad, yet undefined umbrella of the Internet of whatever.
In an earlier missive I alluded to a similar situation with 5G – calling incremental improvements in technology “near 5G” (https://www.aglmediagroup.com/almost-5g-is-happening-now/) because they seem to fall within the haze of what 5G might be. It seems that a similar situation is occurring with the IoX.
A lot of what is in this report is already existing. For example, the report says, “With IoT, organizations can also mash up data from multiple sources.” Hmmm…I saw the same thing in a recent Big Data report.
Until we have a solid IoX platform, I think it is bad practice to start labeling everything and anything as IoX-able. But then, since there are no real repercussions at this stage of the game, why not throw it up against the wall and see what sticks once the IoX gets real traction?
So, What IS a Solid IoX Platform?
There are a few things that have a strong IoX leaning already. Two of those are connected cars and smart cities. Smart cities are being heavily pushed as IoX elements, but so far, very few platforms within any city have been “smarted.” Just having an infrastructure or two (water, street lighting, traffic lights, etc. being uber-sensored and collecting massive amounts of data, then feeding it to a Titan-class supercomputer to optimize the operation of these few entities isn’t really a smart city. It takes an all-element integrated platform that can interconnect and dynamically cross-control, in real time, all of the elements – not just two or three. That is what a smart city is all about.
The same can be said for autonomous vehicles. Both smart cities and autonomous vehicles conjure up visions of the Jetsons. As new ecosystems, they are more on the bleeding edge and therefore are easier seen as IoX protégés, as opposed to water or electricity which are well established.
But there is a bit more meat in the autonomous vehicle arena. For example, one wireless industry analyst noted that for the first time ever, wireless carrier net customer additions stemming from IoT services like connected cars exceeded the number of net additions they received from both smartphones and tablets combined. That is a measurable metric. And, AT&T notes that its connected car onboarding pace is twice that of its connected tablets pace. They are expected to reach 10 million connected car subscriptions in roughly half the time it took for tablets (12 quarters vs. the 25 quarters it took for the tablets).
Verizon is paying attention to this as well. It recently acquired Telogis, a player in the telematics space so it can offer Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology and services in the connected vehicle and mobile enterprise management sectors. Verizon is also saying it will acquire Ireland’s Fleetmatics, a company that provides a software platform for handling GPS vehicle management and similar services to companies with mobile workforces.
So, while the IoX isn’t popping out all over, yet, some platforms are more in line with the broadly defined IoX vision. But still, much of this is simply marketing hype: from a small evolution in M2M to others reaching for the definition of the IoX.