2. The Support System
At its core, IoT depends on network connectivity to feed IP-based data to cloud services. This section highlights a couple of relevant thoughts.
a) Network Infrastructure: The Internet, as an information superhighway, is made possible through the passing of data over the converged global telecom infrastructure, so-called the wide area network (WAN). Representing connections as submarine cables, satellites, and cellular networks, WANs are typically interconnected with a mix of short-range edge networks such as Wi-Fi, which, together, help put seamless content in the hands of end-users. Continued innovation in many of these areas today, including novel new initiatives, is what helps make the IoT a workable concept moving forward.
b) The Cloud: Cloud computing, or simply, "the cloud", may undoubtedly be considered as the heartbeat of the IoT world. It is that online place (ie, data center) where collected sensor data are stored in databases, analyzed via algorithms, meaningful information is produced, and monitoring and control of remote sensor products are enabled, among others. The resulting information generated in the cloud can then be accessed, for instance, by the end user of the sensor product as well as by the service provider who has a direct stake in the service and profitability of their business. For instance, a utility provider may remotely monitor and control water usage in the home and agricultural markets as part of its business operations.
3. The Business Drivers
This section addresses several business/market thought areas, and is presented here in a business strategy and decisions context. This focus could help an IoT service provider, for instance:
- Address questions, such as what business am I in? And,
- Review its business model, use cases, and value offerings.
As such, fundamental areas for consideration include:
a) Operations/Service Improvements: This area potentially offers a service provider opportunities to leverage data and cloud capabilities to improve its service processes, design better products, or strive for better customer service. The IoT concept fits well here as the data value-chain provides a vehicle which empowers such possibilities.
b) Data Monetization: This area addresses the service provider's business model and questions, for instance, whether or not the data collected, or the information generated, may or may not be saleable.