Purposely driven IoT becomes the norm
By Michael Skurla, Chief Product Officer, Radix IoT, LLC
2023 will be filled with a fair amount of economic disarray. Yet for the internet of things (IoT) this is a year of reset. A recent rash of withdrawal from cloud services offerings for IoT in 2022 gave pause to many, but relief to others. From Amazon laying off employees in the Alexa arm to Google Cloud cutting IoT Core; all of this impacted residential and commercial sectors and, to be clear, these were not the only big players that are questioning their IoT play. This was unexpected to many, yet at the same time showed the complexity of the IoT space.
A lot of speculation exists as to the reasoning for these ‘big-cloud' cuts. Although there are lots of mitigating factors; one that has been apparent for almost a decade now is "Small Data is hard". Many of the big players have focused on trying to find a way to monetize IoT information (or data) into a service; including services that enable other services to drive outcomes. "Outcomes" is the key word here. Analytics driven by data drive response from customers through "purpose", or in other words "outcomes". People naturally want outcomes, not just technology.
Creating outcomes has proven to be very difficult in IoT without the knowledge of industries. Creating a tool to visualize your factory automation is wonderful, but what is the ROI if that doesn't turn into efficiency improvements to drive enough savings to offset the primary investment in the system alone?
It must be remembered that devices (whether a factory automation line or a commercial office building) are filled with complex and custom variables. Each manufacturer is different, and this isn't changing. This is where big cloud failed. No one is buying the same ‘brand' all the time. Building or factory technology has no loyalty, like a cigarette brand. They are created out of a mess of parts and pieces and in harmony can create outcomes. The question is how to establish that harmony.
The key in IoT revenue (actually, harmony) going forward, lies in two avenues.
Disjointed collection refers to the fact that we must reasonably expect that each situation (location or otherwise collection of devices) is fairly unique, and probably a mix of manufacturers, device type, and communications protocol. Someone must deal with this and gather this data from everything and normalize it for any analytics to be useful.
Micro-focused analytics refers to the almost carnal knowledge of an industry, and the ability to create valuable and profitable outcomes from the data in the above-mentioned collection of data. This is beyond saying "I know an office building", but rather "I know an office building with 12 tenants, a restaurant on the ground floor, and that I'm in Chicago where is cold 7 months of the year; and I know how to not only save energy-but generate potential savings for the restaurant, which is different than the office spaces and residential tenants". Clearly vastly more complex, yet this field of analytics has grown but the hurdle has been the ‘disjointed collection'.
So where does this leave us if big cloud doesn't care? It's the small IoT firms; most likely using big cloud that solve this problem. Collecting disjointed data is at the heart of manufacturer agnostic platforms like Radix IoT and others. They solve the "disjointed collection" dilemma. From building systems to geolocation services, these platforms allow for the consolidated data collection to be useful for long-term; purposeful outcome-based analytics. Which brings us to Micro-focused analytics firms.
Micro-focused analytics firms (basically firms that understand specific industries) use this data to drive outcomes that have meaning and purpose to impact the monetary values of an organization. The separation here actually fosters an advantage to the customer. The customer can use this data for not just one purpose-but many analytics services to drive multiple uses of this information in efficiency, customer retainment, comfort; you name it.
IoT is having a renaissance of marketecture. Converting hypothetical to purpose-driven outcome results. This is the future of IoT.