IoT - Internet of Things
In its most basic form, an IoT ecosystem will consist of three essential building blocks to take your things to your apps: 1) Hardware, 2) Connectivity and 3) Software platform.
We provide objective, confidential and experienced advice no matter what part of the IoT ecosystem you are in.
What is your IoT Ecosystem Strategy?
IoT has been around under various names for a long time but today it’s the hot thing. Being able to connect and remotely manage a plethora of devices at the edge is quickly becoming just the way we do business.
In its most basic form, an IoT, or IoE ecosystem will consist of three essential building blocks to take your things to your apps:
Application Enablement Platform
Many players touch these building blocks but we typically concentrate on the OEM Suppliers who are creating the building blocks, and the End Solution Providers who are integrating these building blocks into a cohesive offering.
OEM Supplier Companies: What to offer?
While some IoT, IoE or M2M supplier companies are moving towards a full ecosystem offering, the majority still specialize in one building block and leave it to their customer to select others.
While this may be a viable strategy for some, it may also hinder the company in multiple ways. For example, let’s take a hardware provider that does not have a PaaS or connectivity offering. They are limited with: 1) No Recurring Revenue and 2) Vulnerable to Commoditization. Let’s face it, they are now less sticky and easier to replace. This is especially true for the finished hardware provider, and the embedded module manufacture, they can be up in the next board spin.
The OEM Supplier Company needs to decide if they are:
Willing to continue as a one building block solution
Build, Acquire or OEM the other building blocks
Create a best of breed partnership
There are many dynamics to consider, what is the best strategy?
The first two options are straightforward but the third option can be tricky. A best of breed partnership can provide incremental value but it must be handled correctly. For example; If integration for this best of breed partnership is required, what kind of engineering resources do you devote?
If the sales teams are not properly aligned success could be limited. Even then, it could still go sideways as companies outside of this partnership may perceive it as a threat and cut off a once lucrative lead channel.
How do you decide? Each of these choices brings an associated risk.
End solution providers: Create a best of breed ecosystem or select a turnkey ecosystem?
If you are integrating these building blocks into a cohesive offering, you must decide between:
An OEM supplier company that offers all three of these IoT building blocks
Choose each building block yourself and design your own IoT ecosystem
Let’s take the first option. If you choose the full ecosystem approach you need to keep in mind that most of these companies have all three building blocks as a result of acquisition. They started out as a hardware company and then purchased the MVNO and PaaS offerings. If they integrated these business units well, the end result is fantastic. If the integration was less than desirable, this could weaken your offering. There could be a whole host of issues behind the green OZ curtain.
On the other hand, let’s say you hand pick your own best of breed building blocks. What happens if a technical issue arises and fault is unclear? Congratulations, you just inherited a new job title: “Issue Project Manager” and you are now charged with solving the problem. If you would have chosen a full ecosystem supplier you could simply have just told them to fix it.
How do you decide which direction to take? We have a tremendous amount of insight that you can leverage. To learn more, contact us here: San Diego Consulting Group
IoT Software Platform
There are quite a few IoT platforms on the market today. While many of the original players have been snapped up, expect more consolidation to come.
The term “Platform” in itself is misleading and cause for much confusion. Eventually the discussion centers on Cloud IoT platforms (or mega platforms) and Edge Platforms (which are also cloud hosted).
What is important in this building block? This is a question for a much larger discussion but at a high level you should consider:
The modern IoT platform is Serverless IoT. Serverless will speed your time to revenue and reduce development and deployment costs.
The huge overall opportunity of Serverless is that you can you can now rapidly build event driven architectures using mega platforms like AWS. Companies are realizing they need to build applications that respond to all kinds of events, and not just those from keyboards and websites. Companies today need to write applications that respond to events such as:
Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality interface event
Device sensor sending in a data packet
Alexa voice command
Inbound/outbound phone call from a Customer
Chatbot response to a chat message from a Customer
Inbound email from a customer
Social Media events such as a Like, a Follow, or a Share
Rest API generated event from an external system
Status changing on an Account, Customer Record, etc.
Website post or get request
An orchestrated IoT platform solution built on top of a mega platform like AWS is the way to go. This way you can leverage the vast AWS toolsets and scalability without spending the time and effort to configure all of these pieces. Once you are set up you can respond to ANY type of customer request (event) from any interface, device, protocol, or new smart product.
To learn more, contact us here: San Diego Consulting Group
Last is the connectivity portion of this equation. This can be wired or wireless and LoRa, WiFi , Bluetooth, Satellite, Cellular etc...
For Cellular you have MNO, MVNO, MVNE... and other building blocks with a whole list pluses and minuses depending on which direction you take. MVNO’s claim a more personable touch but they are reselling the airtime of the MNO. As with platform, this is a much larger conversation but in general, larger deployments go to an MNO and smaller ones will take the MVNO route.
We can talk more about coverage, cost and customer service. To learn more, contact us here: San Diego Consulting Group