Key Areas of Focus for the Internet of Things (IoT)

Communications, Content, and Commerce via IoT will involve new technologies, services, and business models

Telecom Engine and its research partner, Mind Commerce, see a few key areas of focus for the Internet of Things (IoT) that will require special attention over the course of the next three years on the part of software, platform, and infrastructure providers.

Connected Communications, Content, and Commerce

Emergence of IoT is a milestone that brought consumer devices into connected environment. It is a future of communication through embedded and connected devices with unique identity for personalized, group and business use.

IoT goes beyond Machine- to-Machine (M2M) communication and provides advanced connectivity of devices, systems and services. It covers variety of protocols, domains and applications. IoT is the next step in automation in almost every field including home automation, vehicle automation and automation of healthcare devices over IP networks.

The Cloud is rapidly moving into its next phase of supporting virtually any form of communications, application, content and commerce.   Important to consumers is anytime, anywhere, and any device access to the digital goods and services they use every day in their daily life.  Combined with the Cloud, IoT facilitates a new world of communications, content, and commerce in which programmable outcomes occur autonomously based on predetermined triggers awaiting.

Communications, Content, and Commerce via IoT will involve new technologies, services, and business models. In addition to the wireless technologies that make connecting different things possible, there are wide number of technologies that gain benefit from the IoT or support it. There will be many technologies involved in the deployment and management if IoT including basic OSS as well as the key areas of identity, security, and privacy. These technologies will become increasingly important as IoT evolves to become more main-stream across various industry verticals.

IoT and Embedded Systems

Embedded systems are part and parcel of every modern electronic component. These are  low power consumption units that are used to run specific tasks for example remote controls, washing machines, microwave ovens,  RFID tags , sensors, actuators and thermostats used in various applications, networking hardware such as switches, routers, modems, mobile phones, PDAs, etc.

Usually embedded devices are a part of a larger device where they perform specific task of the device. For example embedded systems are used as networked thermostats in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, in Home Automation embedded systems are used as wired or wireless networking to automate and control lights, security, audio/visual systems, sense climate change, monitoring, etc.

Embedded systems will also be at the cornerstone for the deployment of many Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, especially within certain industry verticals and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications.

Major players in embedded system hardware and software developments are aiming to bring these transformations into their products to take advantage of growing IoT market. The areas that are going to transform are Real Time Operating Systems (RTOS) and microprocessors and microcontrollers, followed by memory footprints and networking, open source communities and developers.

The markets for overall embedded systems will grow with a CAGR of 22.5% to reach $226 billion through 2020.

IoT and Big Data

The Internet of Things (IoT) remains largely an amorphous construct with many different meanings to many different constituents.  One thing that is clear, however, is that it represents a next generation set of technologies, systems, networks, platforms, devices, solutions and services that will transform virtually every industry vertical.  Those industries that are not transformed by IoT are also those that are destined for significant contraction.  IoT will also transform consumer lifestyles and lead to a new world of possibilities in terms of how people view virtual objects and interact between virtual and physical assets.

Big Data and Analytics will increase in importance as IoT evolves to become more commonplace.  Data generated through sensors embedded in various things/objects will generate massive amounts of unstructured (big) data on real-time basis that holds the promise for intelligence and insights for dramatically improved decision processes.  Where will the data come from?  Mind Commerce sees certain industry verticals as early leaders in driving massive data.  Those leading areas are Connected Homes, Connected Vehicles, and Industrial Automation.  A fourth area to watch is global Smart City initiatives.

Connected Home covers automation and connection of home electronics and appliances, utility meters, thermostats and sensors within the home using remote access from the internet. Connected homes also include intelligent home that controls lighting, air conditioning, and security systems such as door locks and safety locks.  Major automobile brands are committed to the connected information market.  Today, many vehicles today have infotainment for entertainment, connected with devices such as personal navigation systems and smart phones with a hands-free car kit.

Smartphone connectivity bridges the product life cycle gap between car infotainment systems and smart phones.  Initially focusing on improving existing processes and augmented current infrastructure, IIoT will evolve to encompass next generation methods and procedures such as “teleoperation” (operation of a machine at a distance), tele-robotics, and other areas that rely upon interface and control of real objects by virtual objects.

IoT and Security

The Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to become as silent, hidden, omnipresent, and essential as the air to modern society. Like the air, IoT also has virtually limitless access points and vulnerabilities. While initially hackers have been largely a nuisance, Mind Commerce anticipates that their intrusions will become increasingly impactful leading to the potential for operational disruption, industrial espionage, damage to enterprise assets, and even potential physical harm to human beings. To regain trust, IoT has to undergo a transformation with respect to front end policy and design a unified procedure that will take care of the entire IoT lifecycle.

Securing  devices and sensors associated with IoT will be a formidable challenge as they can be prone to hacking and can create a huge loss that no one yet has anticipated.  Vendors supplying IoT solutions and services will take utmost care in Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions and Mind Commerce estimates that they will invest billions of dollars in security solutions as per the below table:

Markets for Security Solutions for IoT. Source: Mind Commerce

IoT and Smart Cities

We believe that Smart Cities represents an opportunity in the public sector as we expect IoT to support various infrastructure initiatives including Smart Grids and other critical areas.   In reviewing the European Smart Cities project we see that estimates place expenditures reaching upwards to 16B by 2020.  This is just the start as communications, devices, and overall telecom infrastructure is put into place to support various aspects of the “smart city” including structural health of buildings, waste management, air quality, noise control, traffic congestion, energy consumption, and everyday efficiency items such as smart parking, lighting, and building automation.

We see great synergy coming in public and commercial IoT initiatives, but it will take up to twenty years fully develop.  Major IoT initiatives will begin to be impactful starting in 2020 as critical adoption points are reached and major issues, such as interoperability and security, are solved initially through preliminary solutions.

IoT and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)

In our latest SOA related report, Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) Planning, Operation, and Governance for Optimized Service Delivery, Mind Commerce evaluates the SOA approach to application integration, operation, and related governance issues.

Mind Commerce has covered areas related to and dependent upon SOA for many years.  These topics include Service Delivery Platforms (SDP), IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), Next Generation OSS/BSS, and others.

More recently, we expect that the greatly anticipated impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) will be realized in an optimized manner only through a SOA approach on the part of the services providers.  More specifically, research findings from Internet of Things (IoT) and Wireless Networks: Technologies, Business Drivers, and Market Outlook identify network operators as the key player to ensure efficient operation, flexible application creation, and effective service delivery for IoT.

We see SOA emerging as critical to IoT as the former will support the latter in terms of services creation and delivery.  More specifically, we see IoT network topology evolving from the telecom carrier’s as follows:

  • Virtual objects (software programs) function as an abstract of real-world things (smart objects in the physic environment)
  • The virtual objects are associated with real objects to the extent that the latter may be manipulated, controlled, etc.

More Information

For more information, contact Telecom Engine to request a briefing.

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Market Opportunity: Big Data in the Internet of Things 
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Today billions of devices generate data associated with various enterprise and consumer lifestyle events such as shopping activity, utility usage and other smart grid data, advertisement response, status of goods in transport, weather forecasts, traffic conditions, unscheduled and schedule maintenance of vehicles, aviation delays and timings, downloads and usage of applications, and much more.

Big Data and Analytics software and applications will play a crucial role in making IoT a success. The data generated through sensors embedded in various things/objects will generate massive amounts of unstructured (big) data on real-time basis that holds the promise for intelligence and insights for dramatically improved decision processes.