IoT is widening the chasm between the have and have-nots. No this is not about a privileged human social class but instead about the companies that get how disruptive some technology innovations can be and those who don’t.
Cloud is lowering operating costs, speeding time to market and in some cases generating new revenues. Big Data is giving unique insights into previously unseen trends in an ocean of data. However both are dwarfed by the power of acting upon these cost, time-to-market and knowledge advantages. IoT is substituting slow human-driven processes by fully automated processes. The end result is that companies can do in minutes what traditionally would be done in months. Let’s look at some examples:
Retail and in-store studies
Supermarkets know what you buy but they don’t know what you almost bought. Neither do they know if you spend quite some time in a specific isle and ruched through another. The traditional way is to survey a subset of shoppers during weeks, often months, and extrapolate. Via IoT you just embed tracking technology in shopping carts and use computer vision to analyse in-store cameras. Real-time information is available. What if you would put wheels under the racks and displays? You could restructure the store every day to see what the ultimate layout is.
Home Insurance as a Service
Take a normal home insurance contract and you see a list of standard questions: Do you have a fire alarm? Any valuable content? Etc. Questions take months to fine-tune and change.
What if you could adapt home insurance costs based on how you use and maintain your house? You don’t only check if a house has a fire alarm but you can increase the monthly premium if you don’t replace you fire detector’s batteries immediately. You can even check if you always put on the burglar alarm when you leave or only from time to time. Your insurance premium can be lowered if you hardly cook but increment if you always eat out. Intelligent doors and security cameras can do more than signal a potential breach. Via face recognition known burglars can be spotted as soon as they enter the premise and even before they reach the front door. Insurance can take risky behaviour into consideration as well as reward the opposite. So families that leave the cooker unattended or use a lot of candles would pay a higher premium.
Cargo transport and logistics
What about self-driven lorries or container ships? Gamification of parcel delivery services in which fast delivery makes you gain points but driving recklessly looses points. Uber for small delivery vans. Crowd-sourcing container cargo and using uber style collection and distribution services. High-frequency trading based on container ships or trucks delivering late.
This is only the beginning
“TheFacebook.com” and “Angry Bird” IoT apps have not been invented yet. The world is waiting for disruptive companies to create unfair competitive advantages because they understand the new capabilities IoT brings. Who would you rather work for, the disruptor or the disrupted?
Today Intel in their keynote speech announced that Snappy Ubuntu Core will be available for Intel based IoT gateways. The announcement has been in the making for several months now so it is good to see that the world finally can know that Snappy Apps and Snappy Stores for smart devices are the future.
What does this mean?
Due to NDAs any future products can not be mentioned publicly. However it is clear that Snappy Ubuntu Core offers a secure, easy and innovative way to define what enterprises and consumers can do on top of IoT gateways. Expect things to become cheaper, faster and smaller but after 50 years of Morse Law that has become an industry rule. The fact that the largest processor company in the world thinks that open source operating systems with apps and app stores are the future for their IoT product family should give a clear indication to the market…
Frugal Innovation is about designing new products with less instead of more. Products that cost a fraction of current solutions and yet solve critical problems. IoT needs Frugal Innovation if it wants to live up to its promise of connecting billions of devices and helping people improve their lives.
Frugal Health Innovation
Probably the area where most Frugal Innovation is needed is the healthcare sector. More and more countries have an aging problem. Social security schemes for retirement are becoming unreliable in even the most advanced countries. Instead of excellent but expensive healthcare solutions for the elite we need cheap good enough for the masses. Fugal IoT Innovation should focus on driving down the cost of equipment, avoiding people from having to go to a doctor or hospital via remote healthcare or better prevention. We need a Bluetooth stethoscope for under $20 that can be used in any remote area.
Fugal IoT Innovation in energy
The other critical area where the world needs better and cheaper solutions is energy. Forget $3000 home batteries. Ideally cheap energy harvesting. Building a wind turbine for $50 from ready available components. Reducing the cost of solar. A way to build your own solar panels for $50-100 to boil water would eliminate a lot of diseases and avoid expensive wood being burned and the associated deforestation.
Fugal Innovation is going to make more money because it has the potential to change habits of a lot larger population…
You go to http://www.pwc.com/IoT and download their IoT report and you will learn that PC’s will no longer be the next growth market, IoT will be. So as a semiconductor manufacturer you need to come up with a strategy and optimise operational costs for IoT.
The most useless IoT report!!!!
I have read some useless IoT reports but this one really crowns it. I hope PWC did not call Intel, ARM, Broacom, Samsung, Qualcomm, Mediatek, Allwinner, etc. to tell them they should look into IoT as their next growth market because they would be laughed out of the boardroom. If you are a semiconductor manufacturer that hasn’t been investing in IoT by now then you are not going to be around in the next years. Hardware R&D has long delivery cycles. You can’t just invest in an IoT chipset by tomorrow because PWC says so today. On Computex in Taiwan, a week from now, Raman Chitkara (PWC global technology leader) should go and see what will be presented there. He will be surprised to see that chip makers have been heavily investing in IoT already and will be presenting their first or often next generation of IoT products. Unlike what the reports suggests, IoT is not only about low margins on high volumes but also about smart devices that can connect to lots of sensors and single purpose devices and create synergies via apps. These smart devices will need powerful semiconductors. My suggestion to PWC is to revamp their website with new ideas after they get back from Computex. Happy to sell them some strategy consulting to put them in the right track 🙂
A new revolution is in the making: the micro – server revolution. When Google started, its first server was four to five times less powerful then an Odroid-C1. The Odroid is just one of many small boards that retail for $35 and host a gigabyte of RAM and a 1Ghz processor and are no larger than a credit card. The $99 Parallella even has 18 cores on a credit card sized board. This combined with the new Snappy Ubuntu Core allows makers to create super smart devices that fit in the palm of your hand and developers to make millions of apps for them. Kickstarter and Indiegogo are likely going to see an avalanche of new smart devices and apps for them. Imagine your vacuum cleaner with apps. Your WiFi with apps. Your alarm, HVAC, coffee maker, sprinkler, set top box, etc. will all be app enabled. Now let’s look further to what new type of devices and apps are likely to come? In the health industry there are lots of doctor visits that could be diagnosed remotely. If people could buy some kind of $99 appliance that could measure all type of regular things like heart beat, oxygen level, temperature, sugar level, look in ears and mouth, etc. Connect this device to a tablet and any health care professional could see lots more patients each day and involve doctors and patients that live in remote areas. An app example could be investment banking. Flood sensors, wind sensors, rain sensors, seismic sensors, etc. can all predict disasters minutes or seconds before they happen. Micro – seconds high frequency trading could go global and make use of billions of sensor data to make trades just before problems occur and warn the rest of the world seconds or minutes earlier than before. There are many more devices and apps possible, just make sure you check out crowdfunding websites regularly…
Many people are still getting their head around public and private clouds. Even less know about Internet of Things. However the real revolution will be bringing both together and for that you will need a proximity cloud.
What is a proximity cloud?
In five years time there will be billions of sensors everywhere. You will be wearing them on your body. They will be in your house, at your job, in your hospital, in your city, in your car/bus/plane, etc.
Now in a world where 1 billion people will have access to 10’s or even 100’s of connected devices around them, it is easy to understand that you don’t want to send all data they generate to a public or private cloud. There is just not enough mobile spectrum or fiber capacity to cater for this.
What we need is put intelligence close to the data generators to determine if your heartbeat, that video camara stream, the electricity consumption of your boiler, the brake capacity of your car, etc. are within normal limits or are outliers that deserve some more attention. Especially if video is involved you don’t want to send it over a public Internet connection if it has nothing interesting on it, e.g. the cat of the neighbours just got onto your lawn.
So houses, cars, companies, telecoms, hospitals, manufacturers, etc. will need some new type of equipment close to the data avalanches in order to filter out the 99.999999% of useless data.
An example. If you are a security company that manages tens of thousands of video cameras in thousands of companies then you want to know when a thief walks by or an aggression happens. You will train machines to make decisions on what the difference is between a human walking past or a cat. However burglars will soon find out that computer vision has a fault and when they wear a cat disguise they can get past. It is this type of events that will trigger a central cloud platform to request all videos of a local business in the last 24 hours and to train its visual model that humans can wear animal suits and then push this to all proximity clouds in all its customer premises. The alternative is storing all video streams in the cloud which would require enormous bandwidth or even worse, not knowing what happened and being in the press the next week for being the “cat-suit” flop.
As announced previously if you are into IoT, proximity clouds, robotics, next-generation networking equipment, etc. then you want to subscribe to Telruptive because I plan on giving readers early access to IoT innovations that are non-public. This message will be the first of this kind. Ubuntu will make some major IoT announcements in the coming months. The type that change industries. So if you are working on something that can be connected to the Internet and can house an ARMv7, Intel Quark or better then please reach out to me on LinkedIn and tell me what you are working on. If it meets our innovation criteria then we will let you in on some of our secrets before anybody else. We want to give your innovation wings and make 2015 a magical year for innovators…