Changing IoT Environment Means New Ways of Doing Business

As companies rush to stake their claim in the Internet of Things marketplace, successes will come and go -- and the way business is done will change forever.

by / November 4, 2015
Esmeralda Swartz, vice president of marketing enterprise and cloud with Ericsson, says the next phase of the Internet of Things' evolution will be dependent on the better, more meaningful connections with consumers. Eyragon Eidam/Government Technology

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – As technologists shift focus toward putting the Internet of Things (IoT) to better use, they will also have to consider a changing environment and the evolving connectivity needs of the devices and systems that make up the ever-expanding global network.

Personalizing the interactions with those on the network, or the “end users,” has taken center stage for the folks thinking about the next iteration of the IoT environment and how it will become a more useful tool in the global marketplace.

Esmeralda Swartz, vice president of marketing enterprise and cloud with Ericsson, told attendees of the 17th annual Cloud Expo that the next phase of IoT’s evolution will be dependent on the better, more meaningful connections with consumers.

Because of the changing face of these networks, Swartz said companies are having to adapt to a new business environment with what she calls “traumatic implications.”

“We are now at the point of moving from purchasing a product to subscribing to a service. And this has traumatic implications on what needs to happen behind the scenes for businesses to take advantage of this phenomenon,” Swartz said. “Services can be transient, partnerships can last as long needed for the life of the service. We have services that are increasingly being composed and decomposed on the fly, and it’s your ability to participate in this type of environment that’s going to enable IoT to transform the way you do business …”

Swartz said that while the Internet of Things has come a long way, it must evolve past the siloed, one-purpose applications. The drive to evolve with the demands of the changing environment has created the need to support “fail fast” business models for companies looking for the next big thing.

“I think we all agree that we need to evolve as an industry and put the interconnectivity in IoT," she said. "We still have today a lot of stovepipe-type solutions. It’s been devices and connectivity, a lot of the initial applications for IoT were about cost savings, and of course that’s really important, but really the opportunity is what happens when you start to be able to participate in a marketplace-like environment and drive applications and new services, and support an ecosystem concept.”

Making information clear and accessible is essential for it to be useful to businesses and clients relying on the data collected through IoT channels, Swartz said, adding that tools like data-as-a-service will likely become part of the new ecosystem.

She points to the data collected by connected smart vehicles as an opportunity to potentially work with insurers to provide usage-based insurance models.

“We’re well beyond, at this point, of just having the services you would expect in connected cars. In terms of integrated entertainment, we’ve now moved to the point where we have the ability to use that data for safety and road management,” Swartz said. “But increasingly, it’s about what can I take as data streams from my connected car and make that available to stakeholders in that ecosystem and how do I get recurring revenue from that data and how do I support the settlement of that ecosystem of money to all of the parties in that transaction?”

She points to a partnership between Ericsson and carmaker Volvo, and their efforts to better define potential services for both drivers and stakeholders interested in the data collected by connected vehicles. 

One such service could be the ability for groceries or products to be delivered directly to a vehicle instead of a customer’s home. 

Swartz said that estimates put the number of connected vehicles at more than 230 million by 2020.

The many ways shipping company Maersk uses the Internet of Things was also a feature of Swartz’s talk. The company relies on data streams and sensors to monitor cargo, manage routes and optimize vessel performance. 

Similar tools are being used in Germany to monitor four vineyards using a host of sensors and connected devices. By tracking things like humidity and soil temperature, winemakers can determine optimal harvest times and quickly determine the overall health of thousands of acres of grapes from a single device.

Eyragon Eidam Web Editor

Eyragon Eidam is the Web editor for Government Technology magazine, after previously serving as  assistant news editor and covering such topics as legislation, social media and public safety. He can be reached at eeidam@erepublic.com.