The Internet of Things is now the Internet of [insert name of industry]

Written by on April 8, 2016 in Opinion with 0 Comments

Internet of EverythingYou know you have hit a tipping point when a ‘technology’ topic is discussed on morning radio. The Internet of Things has hit this tipping point. It also seems to be the point when the divide between common sense and insanity becomes very obvious. One such conversation on the radio was about a new range of smart home products connected to the internet. And there was a lot of laughter. Your fridge with cameras in it? Your washing machine connected to your smartphone? Cameras in your oven? Each item was discussed and deemed pretty stupid. Sure, you can now see what is in your fridge (does the light really go off?). Yes, you can turn on the washing machine from work (as long as you loaded it before you left, so why not just turn it on) and yes, you can see if your cakes are burning.

The conclusion was generally that all this IoST gadgetry is producing the Internet of Lazy People (our term).

So much for the insane camp.

In the other corner, things have also reached a tipping point as well. We are seeing, before our eyes and in very real time, the term IoT disappear, as we said it would. Already we now hear about the Internet of Health, the Internet of Cars, the Internet of, well, Everything, as the TM Forum likes to phrase it. And within those vertical arenas great things are happening.

To a large extent, the next phase will be enabled by what we used to call big data. The next phase of big data will be about prescriptive and predictive analytics. At the moment, according to a Verizon report only eight percent of businesses are using 25 percent of the ‘IoT’ data that they have. The rest, not so much. That will change as common sense kicks in and industries and arenas begin to truly engage with the potential for their own space. Healthcare is the most obvious benefactor of predictive analytics. The ability to predict more accurately a patient’s status will save huge amounts of money – and lives.

Monitoring and maintenance for inventory will create huge efficiencies. Tracking containers that are being shipped around the world, but spend time in huge container holding areas in docks was a nightmare. Until you could put a monitor on each one, know exactly where it is, what it contains and what the temperature is inside it.

A great example, from IBM a few years ago was about mobile phone masts. In the era of ‘because we have always done it like that,’ an engineer would visit every mast every six weeks, say. With predictive analytics, you can decide the best frequency to visit the site, reducing cost and avoiding risk. It is, goes the example, entirely possible that on one of his visits, the engineer accidentally leaves the door open, a snowstorm gets up, gets in and ruins the machinery. If he had not paid the visit, the site would have been fine.

The IoT, hand in hand with predictive analytics, will very quickly become how verticals evolve, and knowledge of the industry will become more important than knowledge of the technology.

How telecoms operators play in this game – apart from providing the connectivity – remains to be seen. What is certain is that they, too, need to gain – or partner with – vertical industry experts to make the most of this huge opportunity.

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Alex Leslie

About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .

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