The Internet of Things: Just a Fad or Worth the Buzz?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is astoundingly broad, at least in its conception. It is quite possible, of course, that insufficient standards, gaping security holes or other liabilities will limit its success.
However, the big companies are not taking any chances: If the IoT does indeed realize all or most of its promise, it would be disastrous to be left at the IoT station. Microsoft offers a cautionary tale by paying a deep price for its tardiness in realizing the importance of the Internet.
That’s the context. Three examples of the need to get ready for the IoT onslaught – if it comes –were in the news this week.
The first is that Microsoft’s Azure IoT Hub was made generally available. The service was announced last September and has been visible since the following month, according to ZDNet. Its mandate is to be the link between customers and Azure services:
Microsoft wants businesses to use the service to collect data from devices; analyze data streams; store, query, and visualize large data-sets; and, finally, integrate that data with back-office systems.
The story details pricing and notes that 30 companies have been added to its Azure Certified for IoT program, including Avantech, Dell and HPE.
Another interesting news item is that Jasper Technologies is being acquired by Cisco Systems for $1.4 billion. According to eWeek, Jasper “has built an IoT platform that makes it easier for enterprises to connect their products through the cloud.”
At a very high level, Jasper brings to the table technology that focuses on the same basic task as Azure IoT Hub: efficiently and effectively shepherding lots (and lots) of data through the huge maze that will be the fully formed IoT:
Jasper offers the platform that customers can use to connect their products through the cloud and then manage those connections, making it easier for enterprises to embrace the Internet of Things. The platform connects any product via mobile networks run by service providers, and then offers software-as-a-service (SaaS) to manage those connections.
The third announcement – Ericsson’s creation of a virtual marketplace for patent licensing across IoT verticals – is further afield than those from Cisco and Microsoft.
The marketplace, according to WirelessWeek, will operate as an independent company. The goal is to ease acquisition of standardized technology as a way of furthering what the site calls Ericsson’s “go-to market strategy” of gaining intellectual property rights and patent licensure.
The bottom line appears to be that Ericsson uses tools that exist in the marketplace to approach vertical markets as opposed to developing homegrown alternatives. The marketplace is a way to make that a bit easier.
The IoT is a huge opportunity for vendors. It is also a huge risk. Poor strategic and technical choices will have dire ramifications. This means that the companies will make as many moves as necessary to cover themselves. The bottom line: Look for aggressive acquisitions and platform introductions to continue.
Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report.