Dreamforce Flash: The Internet of Things demonstrated with bananas and balls

Yesterday our co-founder Brendan O’Brien told a packed house how the Internet of Things is here now. He explained that companies should get ready to take advantage of the ginormous opportunity that IoT is bringing, sooner than later. In other words, if companies want to make money they best listen up and start preparing. He explained that the real thing to pay attention was not the IoT devices themselves, but the collection of the data that IoT devices would throw off. His point was that if companies want to monetize the IoT they must be careful to collect all the data that comes from the devices. Here’s a quote he used in his presentation to make this point.

“You [will] need services [to] take that [IoT] intelligence and present it to the consumer in a way that’s easy to use and meaningful.” – Rajeev Kumar, Dir. of Worldwide Marketing and Business Development for microcontrollers, Freescale Semiconductors

Today in the back corner of Moscone West in San Francisco at Dreamforce I wandered around the Internet of Things pavilion. I saw a group of bananas embedded with devices, that when touched played an onscreen piano. (Cute!)


I also saw a robot-like arm that picked up balls and detected their weight and if there was a difference from ball to ball. These IoT start-ups were showing how the IoT worked.red arms and balls

Coming off my co-founder’s talk from yesterday I boldly asked a number of them how their fun applications could be monetized. They responded with “We’re showing how this all works you’d have to talk to Reid”. In other words “huh?”

I was struck by the difference between Brendan O’Brien speaking about getting ready to monetize the IoT and the fact that the Dreamforce IoT section was mostly start-ups educating people on what could be done with the IoT devices. There was no conversation of how they’d actually make a dime off of IoT.

Now mind you, I only talked to about 6 people. But in every case I got a blank stare and directed to “Reid”, whom I never found, let alone talked to.

What do I take this to mean?

Some select, innovative companies are way ahead of the pack by having already monetized the IoT. But perhaps many more companies are just learning what the IoT is and does.

And because I like to fancy both my whip-crack smart co-founder and my company as forward thinking, I’m going to take this experience to support my belief that Aria is at the forefront of enabling the monetization of the IoT. Just like when we were at the forefront of solving the subscription billing challenge back in 2002.

That’s when Brendan and his small team started this gig and I bet he got blank stares then too.