Adding Value to the IoT with a Cloud Platform
July 9, 2015 § 4 Comments
As Randy mentions in his Real IoT examples post (here), things are getting more interconnected day by day and it’s very likely we will start to see more examples of the internet of things (IoT) in action. With an average of 4 to 7 connected things per person anticipated by 2020, it is important to have a robust system to manage these devices and I believe that personal IoT clouds will become a natural model for managing these devices.
What are some of the advantages of a centralized, cloud-based management and control interface? First are the most common use cases of devices being able to push battery consuming processes to the cloud to remain efficient or simplified device management. But there are also other benefits which I believe are critical to the consumer IoT market gaining momentum. This includes quicker device on-boarding, easier device troubleshooting and support, and finally, the ability to add value added services. The last point is key as new monetization strategies will help push IoT technologies to consumers faster and attract 3rd parties to develop services on top of the underlying technology (think recipes on IFTTT).
How could this work? Using IBM’s internet of things cloud model (as shown below), all the devices within a home could send device data to a central hub, or cloud based management environment, using MQTT protocols (HiveMQ has a great MQTT 101 introduction for those unfamiliar with the protocol). From here, device data is aggregated and processed by a combination of downloadable applications and third party APIs to create useful insights and recommendations for the end-user. For example, a developer could use IBM’s Watson Image Recognition Service (currently in beta on IBM Bluemix) to create a subscription service where real time information about a pantry’s contents are visually analyzed to make recipe suggestions or recommendations based on nutritional goals. By offering additional services such as this and even realizing advertising value through these same services, it is possible that IoT platforms can be subsidized to reach a cost level where they become truly pervasive.
Most of the IoT solutions today seem to make use of this model and it’s clear why… Cloud based device management has benefits for both end users and the service providers including easier administration, greater efficiency, and the ability to create additional revenue streams. I am looking forward to seeing if the solution which reaches critical mass in going mainstream first follows this model.