Yesterday I spent a few hours at the Internet of Things World expo in Santa Clara, CA. One common thread that appeared again and again in conversations was how ecosystem enablement is key to unlocking the promised value of IoT.
During a conversation about IoT enabling medical devices and the types of data and actions that they need to support, the conversation quickly elevated into how that device needed to be part of a larger ecosystem. The device manufacturer (the gentleman I was talking to) needs to see low level operational data from the device in order to sell value added maintenance services to the buyer of the device. But the buyers of that device needs to be able to see all the devices they own and where they live in the device lifecycle (ready for deployment, at a hospital, at a patient’s home, being recovered from deployment, etc.). And then here are multiple levels of users of that device: The Hospital needs to be able to see data from all devices they have deployed, grant access to slices of the data collected from the device to a doctor or nurse based on who’s currently on duty or assigned to a patient; The patient also wants to have access to the information from that device to feel empowered and part of their care program. And then there is the HIPAA requirements and privacy concerns regarding the data coming from those devices, how do you support all the above use cases and ensure privacy? And then consider the security around sending commands to that device to adjust the monitoring parameters or the amount of medicine being dispensed.
And this was just one of the conversations from yesterday. Same trend happened when discussing automotive telematics system, a hospitality industry personnel optimization project, a travel industry concierge project, a manufacturing operational monitoring project, and even a consumer based mobile application for social engagement. All different vertical or industry focused solutions…same horizontal need, participating in a larger ecosystem.
Many people who start down a path to creating an IoT solution (or just IoT enabling something) don’t realize that the real value that IoT enables isn’t just around connecting and collecting data. It’s about how that device needs join a larger ecosystem of people, data, and legacy system. Real value starts to be unlocked when there are win-win-win scenarios across the entire ecosystem. And many of those scenarios won’t be visible immediately but will evolve over time.
After having hundreds of IoT conversations over the past 6 months this is the strongest recurring trend I have seen. Many times just understanding each of the groups of users who need to interact with a Thing can be a challenge, let alone all the nuances around security and different levels of data and access to the controls of a Thing. And that Thing needs to interact as part of a large ecosystem that doesn’t just include people but also other things, legacy applications, and other data source.
Are you’re IoT plans being built around Ecosystem thinking?
Are you’re technology decisions being made with Ecosystem enablement (now and for the future) in mind?
This is one of the core strengths that attracted me to joining Covisint last fall. The Covisint PaaS has three main pillars of functionality which work in an integrated fashion for ecosystem enablement:
- Identity and Access Management to handle the dynamic security model that is required to enable an ecosystem and not only scale to support Millions of users and things but also handle the complex relationships that exists between all members of the ecosystem.
- IOT Services to provide realtime messaging for Things and not only describe, manage, and secure the capabilities of each Thing at scale within the ecosystem but also to manage the lifecycle of each Thing as it lives within that ecosystem.
- Messaging and Orchestration to not only integrate Things with legacy applications and other data sources, both internally and externally to an organization, but to also become the single integration point to open up all your legacy application and data.
Leave a comment and let me know if you agree or disagree with my observation around ecosystem thinking being key to unlocking IoT value. Let’s talk about your ecosystem…