It’s IoT Day – dedicating and showcasing how The Internet of Things is revolutionizing how we live, work and monetize. But jumping in can be a daunting proposition. So many moving parts. How can you pull it off? With help. Probably a lot of it. In this post, we provide a brief overview of some of the main IoT enablement services available to help make your IoT monetization vision a reality in the marketplace.
Just to be clear, no enterprise, no matter how large, has all the capabilities in house to bring a complex IoT product or service to market without some outside help along the way. Take Nexia, an IoT service for running your connected home. Creating this offering required a number of specialized disciplines in areas such as device design, electronics, digital systems, application integration and ergonomics, to name just a few.
But just because you may not have everything you need in house, that doesn’t mean you can’t take some first steps toward IoT monetization on your own. Actually, you can develop a workable prototype of a connected machine-to-machine (M2M) gadget with very little seed capital.
Hardware: If the DIY route sounds appealing to you, you have many options. When it comes to hardware, Arduino is the first and still one of the best open source platforms for creating your own IoT devices. Another great place to start is Spark, an “open-source IoT toolkit.” A stroll through its Projects gallery may be just the inspiration you need to hit on the next big thing in IoT.
But let’s say you already have the device piece figured out and you’re ready to deploy and manage them. There are numerous DIY deployment platforms that can help you self-manage all of your connected devices. Several notable ones are the IBM Internet of Things Foundation, Bug Labs and Zatar.
Software: It’s important to note that you don’t need to deploy a device to create new streams of recurring revenue from the Internet of Things. Sometimes, all you need is an app-driven offering that connects to devices deployed by others, such as a location-based marketing service that relies on smartphones.
But even if you do sell a device, you’ll still need software — if your goal is to monetize on a recurring basis that is. That’s because in most cases with IoT, it’s not the fancy gadgets that create recurring revenues. It’s the data those gadgets produce. For example, a smart washing machine is something you pay for just once. It doesn’t offer anything of value you’d be willing to pay for over and over again. But then there’s Fitbit. Again, you can buy one outright and use it for free from then on. But it also comes with software applications that help you make sense of the fitness information they track. And to get the most from that data, you’ll need to sign up for the Premium service, a subscription-based web app that costs $49 a year.
If you have specialized software development chops in house, there are application development platforms like Evothings to help speed you on your way.
Expert advice with some of it
You can do any or all of the above on your own. But to make your IoT offer market-ready, you’ll need help in areas that are beyond your core capabilities. And while perhaps you could have, it’s a pretty safe bet that the makers of Fitbit did not design their hardware and software in house. There are plenty of vendors who offer specialized assistance in these areas. From hardware experts like ARM and Marvell, to application developers like Nuvem Consulting and Click Labs, to IoT development platforms such as mbed and ThingWorx.
Putting the pieces together
Looking beyond hardware and software, there are many additional aspects involved in bringing recurring revenue IoT offers to market. Depending on the complexity of your product or service, a short list of some of the outsourced assistance you may need includes: systems integration, big data analytics, wireless technology, telemetry, GPS, RFID, network connectivity, and integration with business systems such as customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain management (SCM), business intelligence (BI) and inventory control.
And when it comes to maximizing recurring revenues from your IoT offer, it goes without saying that you’ll need a malleable and scalable billing platform like Aria that works seamlessly with everything under the hood.
Help getting started
What if you don’t know where to even begin? While there may be some opportunities where you can attach an IoT-related angle to drive recurring revenue, you’re still not sure. That’s where the help of an IoT strategist can pay big dividends. A few of the many vendors who provide these services include Harbor Research, Capgemini and Xively.
Outsourcing the whole thing
Because of the many complexities involved, you may want to simply turn your entire IoT initiative over to an end-to-end specialist. Ehterios and Aeris are just a couple of the many firms that can help with every phase of bringing your IoT service to market. From identifying opportunities, to concepts and prototypes, to development, deployment, analysis, measuring success, offer refinement and iteration.
I should also mention that if you provide expertise in any of the areas mentioned in this post, there’s potential revenue to be made, and often on a recurring basis, helping companies with their IoT projects.
With all these options out there, there’s no reason to sit on the sidelines as your competitors take the first steps toward monetizing the Internet of Things.
So there. You’ve got a ton of resources to work with now. It’s up to you to take the next step.