VendorSphere: IBM’s Roadmap for 2019
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Authored by attending Ecosystm Advisors and Analysts: Randeep Sudan, Amit Gupta, Tim Sheedy, Lokesh Tayal and Sash Mukherjee

IBM has been sending strong messages about their future business goals in Asia Pacific, to the analyst community and the larger market as a whole. Over the last 2 analyst briefings held in Melbourne (August 2018) and Singapore (November 2018), they have emphasised their focus on the ‘Hero Brands’, the multicloud, their Open-First policy, and their One IBM messaging.

Based on our analysis, it is clear that IBM is:

Consolidating their Portfolio into ‘Hero Brands’. IBM’s portfolio has been consolidated into IBM Services, IBM Watson, IBM Cloud, IBM Security, IBM Systems and IBM Research. This consolidation represents a holistic and cross-cutting approach to the market and is likely to give IBM an edge in implementing emerging technology solutions. As an example, the Technology Support Services (under IBM Services), leverages both Watson-enabled support and Blockchain-based billing and invoicing.

Ecosystm Comment. IBM Watson still remains a flagship brand for the organisation and should be integrated more within the stories of the other ‘Hero Brands’. While the penetration of Watson capabilities has grown, it is not what it should be, considering that IBM has first-mover advantage in the cognitive/AI market. IBM needs to actively play to their strengths and build further capabilities leveraging the Watson/ IoT/ Blockchain ecosystems.

Focusing on the Multicloud. IBM’s strong experience in cloud deployment, migration and management gives them a true understanding of the cloud adoption landscape. They are pushing the concept of the multicloud, leveraging their capabilities to manage other vendors’ clouds, acknowledging the reality that organisations are at disparate stages when it comes to cloud adoption, and that they all have their own unique journeys. While the public cloud with cloud native workloads, is the end-game, IBM understands that their clients run their workloads across public, private and hybrid clouds, and have developed a capability to support all of these environments.

Ecosystm Comment. For many of IBM’s traditional clients, this is the right approach to take – these are companies with typically highly complex environments where simple messages around “take it all to the public cloud” might be more easily said than done. IBM will work with these clients to help them modernise their business and make the most of their current on-premise and hosted applications. Moreover, data localisation requirements in some countries will also require a hybrid approach to the management of cloud assets. While the market implications of IBM’s Red Hat acquisition are being discussed at length, other initiatives such as strengthening their automation capabilities, extending their relationship with ServiceNow, and their Open-First policy will also benefit IBM and the market as a whole.  

Creating a Services Differentiation. The Managed Applications division under Global Technology Services (GTS) – that works closely with Global Business Services (GBS) acknowledges that managing SAP and Oracle applications on IBM Cloud is their fastest growing market. So, given the plethora of service providers, especially in the region, how do they create a differentiation? IBM’s response is to infuse ERP deployments with change management capabilities to help companies become truly digital. This is bolstered by their Industry Impact Solutions, and the One IBM messaging. GTS and GBS coming together to deliver an end-to-end solution, can potentially give their clients a better understanding of the technological requirements, change management, and TCO.

Ecosystm Comment. In the studies conducted by Ecosystm, IBM features as the vendor with the highest mindshare for IoT and Mobility and comes in at 2nd spot for AI. However, where they clearly lead the market is in being the services provider of choice when it comes to Digital Transformation (DX).

Top of Mind Services Providers for DX, Asia Pacific

As organisations make the transition to digital operating models, services providers that can provide scale and skill, will become significant partners in the journey. IBM indisputably has both scale and skill, and the One IBM messaging can further strengthen their market position as the service provider of choice for DX. However, this messaging should be far more consistent and run across IBM’s entire operations for better market positioning.

Improving their Customer Capabilities. Over the past few years IBM has invested in its delivery capabilities, with design thinking, ideation sessions and customer journey mapping, included in many of their client engagements. They have brought in experts from outside of IBM to provide many of these capabilities – uncharacteristically, many of the IBMers you meet who offer or drive these services are new to the organisation. They are also driving new technology processes and capabilities within many of their clients – moving beyond simple systems integration to helping their clients change their internal digital delivery processes.

Ecosystm Comment. In an era where change is constant, the ability to drive change within the business will be central to the ability to succeed in the market. Too many companies bring in external consultants and SIs and instead of leading the change, they let the SI lead the change. They do not take many – or any – learnings out of the engagement and are completely reliant on external consultants every time they need a big change. While this is a great opportunity for the SI and consultancy providers, many companies – IBM included – want their clients to succeed. So instead of selling them lemonade, more and more they are teaching them to make their own lemonade.

 

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Ecosystm VendorSphere Ericsson
VendorSphere: Ericsson Achieves Clarity In Its Combined IoT and 5G Strategy
5/5 (4)

Recently I attended Ericsson’s Industry Analyst Day in Boston where Ericsson’s leaders updated the analyst community on the state of the company both globally and in North America. They also deep dived into the network evolution to 5G, AI, Automated Operations,5G and IoT Industry Innovation. With my focus on IoT, I was keen to hear what was new in IoT platforms, cellular connectivity, secure IoT 5G services, and Industry 4.0 use cases.

Corporate Update:

As part of the very public turnaround plan, Helena Norrman, Ericsson’s SVP and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer and Head of Marketing and Corporate Relations announced the following: Ericsson’s focused strategy continue to be based on a vision to empower an intelligent, sustainable connected world while enabling the full value of connectivity for service providers. Results of the strategy included accelerated cost cut  – which was on plan to reduce expenses by 10 Billion Swedish Kroners (SEK), with an improved cash position by over 11 Billion SEK.

While not out of the woods yet, it appeared that the renewed focus on business efficiency, improved end-customer experience and new revenue streams has given Ericsson a level of optimism that hasn’t been seen for at least 4 years. For example, Norrman shared that Ericsson’s networks had become 50% more efficient in energy consumption on footprint and operations optimization. She indicated that new digital services were being rolled out 86% faster than before. Finally, she indicated that Ericsson had achieved 201% RoI in the first year for an IoT-based factory maintenance system.

In his update, Niklas Heuveldop, President and Head of Ericsson North America, suggested that there might be continued changes for the big 4 US-based telecom operators. With a background of a six-fold increase in mobile data, mobile revenue remains flat, blended ARPUs declining, and cellular connections (including IoT) growing by 4.4% from 398 million 3Q-2016 to 434 million 2Q-2018, he indicated that operators would have to look for new revenue streams to stay profitable. This was on top of a new operator market that may change structurally as a result of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger (offering a broad range of spectrum for both consumer and enterprise customers), and the arrival of new wireless network operators.

5G and IoT

The day was dominated with the business opportunities based off 5G networks, as Ericsson continues to look to expand the addressable markets by enabling new revenue streams. For example the combined Critical and Massive IoT markets based off 5G networks could range between $200 – $600 Billion as part of scale driven and performance driven opportunities in markets such as Industry 4.0.

However, this is a new looking Ericsson who shared its new IoT strategy. Jeff Travers, head of IoT, was clear that IoT would follow a path of disciplined growth with goals to:

  • Capture new revenues through rapid innovation building on 5G and IoT
  • Make our primary customers, services providers, succeed in new value pools
  • Use a lean startup approach to validate and scale ideas.

These goals would be achieved off the backs of things that Ericsson does well:

  1. Build a connectivity platform:- IoT Accelerator
  2. Be the forefront partner in Industry 4.0 wireless connectivity
  3. Aggressively position itself as a leading partner in Edge Computing for its operator customers and network partners: – Ericsson EdgeGravity
  4. Processing and providing network insights and analytics :- Ericsson Emodo
Analyst Opinion:

5G and IoT have been pushed by the major operators for some time and the industry has been holding its breath as vendor after vendor attempts to craft a profitable business strategy and identify use cases that deliver an acceptable RoI. Most have not yet either reached scale because of the lack of readiness of the whole ICT infrastructure once IoT devices are connected. Too much emphasis has been placed on too few IoT applications at the edge of the network. Too much hope has been placed on Edge Computing without meeting customers’ needs of an end-to-end solution.

However, we belief that Ericsson’s clear focus on connecting IoT devices, while maximizing the edge computing needs through local analytics while enabling operators to partners with cloud service providers will open up vertical industries such as manufacturing to IoT deployments. Ericsson’s solution for wireless capabilities within Industry 4.0 could be readily accepted by customers who want to transform themselves to digital-based businesses.

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VendorSphere: HPE’s Internet Of Things Strategy At The Edge Becomes Clearer
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HPE’s announcement in Madrid regarding its build out of Edge Computing services and solutions is to be expected as more of its customers and prospects look to establish comprehensive data and systems management functions at the edge of the IT network. As more data is created outside of the traditional data centre walls, IT needs to be able to provide the same level of integrity for the remote locations. HPE’s announcement of the Edgeline systems management fills that gap. However, this does signal to CIOs and lines of businesses that they will now have to continue this build out of full remote distributed IT services to include data backup, recovery, application device management, etc :- expect HPE to continue to make future announcements to meet those needs. Industrial partners such as industrial players like PTC will benefit from this announcement as it will enable their products to run in a more enterprise-class environment.

HPE’s announcement to provide an open link platform between industrial and IT connectivity protocols is again a reflection of a maturing IoT market. As businesses move from proof of concept into production, more varied input sources from differing factory floor devices could or should be connected. The open link platform is a way to encourage and speed up that connectivity.

However, our IoT study data indicates that enterprises who are adopting large scale IOT projects prefer to work with software and analytics vendors, rather than pure-play hardware vendors. Today’s announcement is a way for HPE to demonstrate to its customers and prospects that it is more than an ‘edge server’ hardware company, but that it can provide full systems management services. Its biggest competitor in this field, DELL EMC will argue that it too can provide these services across its company portfolio.

Figure: Primary Partners for Current IoT Projects

Finally: our advice to tech buyers is that those who want to build out an edge infrastructure will need to plan to support a fully integrated data and systems management environment and therefore look to a vendor who can replicate their enterprise solutions and support capabilities. This may be in contrast to their distributed cloud computing strategy which HPE have not articulated but will need to over time.

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AI is the end game
Artificial Intelligence Is The End Game
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I recently published my predictions on AI (see blog here and download or view the more comprehensive report here). The prediction that got the most feedback and discussion concerns the likelihood of a large acquisition or merger based on AI assets. With AWS, Microsoft, Google and IBM dominating Ecosystm’s list of current and future preferred AI suppliers in our AI study, other companies (such as SAP, Oracle, SAS and Salesforce) want to be the choice for AI platform. As we published our AI predictions, this one was already coming true (to an extent anyway!) with SAP’s acquisition of Qualtrics.

But the question has been asked “why is AI so important”. And my answer to that question is “because, for software companies, AI is the end game…

What do I mean by that? Well we are not too far away from a day where traditional enterprise applications are no longer relevant. ERP, CRM, HRM, SCM etc will all disappear and be replaced by an AI engine. The purpose of those traditional systems was to simplify, codify, and automate business and customer processes. ERP, CRM, and the rest are already starting to use algorithms to drive semi-custom (typically pre-coded) business processes. But in the mid-term future, we will have a time where the entire process is intelligent – where the system/application creates the best business process for the customer on the fly. I’ll take you through an example:

A customer comes to your website – the site will look at the information it has on the customer (either as a registered customer or a non-registered one, where it will scour cookies, IP addresses, location, social information – Facebook, Pinterest, Google etc) and then will create an experience designed for that customer – e.g. it might know the customer is based in New York City, is a Mets and Rangers fan, viewed posts on Facebook about global warming, is female, 42 years old, has kids etc. It uses the language of the customer, words that they would relate to, and the level of detail they would expect. It puts the products or services forward that best match that customer’s potential needs.

The customer orders 10 identical products as gifts for friends for Christmas – but the provider does not have a location with any more than 4 of those products – so the intelligent system sources the 10 from different locations and organises multiple shipments. One of the locations can’t ship until after xmas – but the intelligent system decides that the customer is important so puts in a request for Uber to pick up from that location and do the delivery. However, there is no automatic integration with Uber – so the intelligent system creates a real time custom integration with Uber.

The customer also asks the question if they can pay with AliPay – which the supplier does not accept as standard – however again the intelligent system creates a real time integration with AliPay in order to complete the transaction. The customer gets the goods they want – quickly – and gets to pay in the way they want. The system accounts for the revenue and moves it to the right bank accounts, co-ordinates follow-up orders with suppliers, and adds the sales information to the real-time sales analytics. It also crafts a unique email welcoming the customer and adds them to the customer database.

The intelligent system created a unique process in real-time as it interacted with the customer using text, images, video and voice. The system understands what your business is trying to achieve and what the rules are.

Such a capability is not that far away – and it makes existing enterprise applications and integration platforms redundant. THIS is why AI is the end game – if you aren’t the chosen AI platform in your customers, you might not be in your customers plans for much longer.

In most organisations that transition will be slow – applications will get smarter, and will move from standardised processes to unique processes slowly. These organisations will start from their application investments and work outwards from there. But other companies will start from their cloud-based AI platforms and partners – and reinvent their businesses in the cloud on these platforms. Others will do both – and at some stage in the future need to decide on which AI platform they standardise on…

Therefore mergers and acquisitions in the AI market are inevitable. Applications, cloud and analytics providers will build and buy capabilities, customers and market share in order to position themselves as the key AI platform in their clients. For many technology vendors, the next few years will be integral to their long term success. AI will change the technology provider landscape as we know it today – get strapped in for a fun ride!

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Ecosystm Predicts – Healthcare in 2019
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There is no argument that the healthcare industry is ripe for Digital Transformation, especially because the needs and concerns of the industry have remained essentially consistent over the last few decades, in spite of tremendous technological advancements. Healthcare organisations have access to higher volumes of data than ever before. While a decade ago healthcare organisations were at a data creation stage, they will now shift focus on data management, extracting intelligence out of the data collated, and the use of that intelligence to transform their organisations and the industry, as a whole. So, what can the industry expect in 2019?

  • India will Receive a Lot of Attention from Technology Vendors
    At the turn of this decade, there was a plethora of healthcare IT vendors, driven by investments in the Affordable Care Act in the US. The industry has since become far more consolidated. A similar situation will open up in the Indian market. What is popularly being termed as ‘Modicare’ is narrower in scope and has a long way to go in terms of policy as well as planning. However, it will create a ripple effect and get vendors – especially the smaller ones – very interested in India in 2019. Every large global insurance company has a presence in India, attracted by the population base. It will be similar for healthcare technology vendors.
  • CX will go Beyond Managing Patient Experience to Providing Personalised Healthcare
    Improving customer experience (CX) is a key objective for most healthcare organisations. This has been compounded by how technologically savvy people have become over the years. Patients often do their own research before they even visit their doctors. While most physicians consider this a bit of a nuisance, it is increasingly going to be the way forward. Patients are also expecting better experience, when it comes to access of timely alerts and information, education, and access to their reports. Healthcare organisations will eventually go beyond patient experience to personalised healthcare and deeper customer engagements. While this will become most apparent for chronic disease management, it will go into spaces such as predicting patient risk over the next few years.
  • Operations will Lead Investments in IoT ….
    The global Ecosystm IoT Study reveals that of the healthcare organisations that have embarked on their IoT journeys, 2/3rd are still at the evaluation stage. What then are the drivers for healthcare organisations to adopt IoT? The top three drivers tell us that the key stakeholder is not the clinical   departments, but Operations. Struggling with the workforce constraints, IoT is deemed as the technology that will allow better optimisation and innovative ways of providing customer care to improve patient experience. Internal process monitoring emerges as a key driver, in an industry where medical error monitoring and reporting is an important mandate.

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Ecosystm Predicts – Cloud in 2019
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The growth in public cloud platforms and applications is just starting to hit its strides. In 2019, more companies will spend more money moving more of their applications and processes across to the public cloud. Many cloud markets will move into hypergrowth. Cloud computing adoption is moving beyond the fast adopters to the mass market – so dynamics are changing. Our top five predictions for 2019 are:

Many SaaS Applications Will Move into Hypergrowth

If you think that the software-as-a-service (SaaS) market is a mature one, think again. Yes, cloud-based solution providers such as Salesforce have a lot of customers for their CRM and Marketing platforms, as do vendors such as Microsoft and Google for their collaboration suites – but even the cloud-based CRM market is set to explode in 2019 as the number of companies looking to deploy SaaS-based applications nearly doubles. Most companies across the globe still have most of their applications hosted in their own or partner data centres. The opportunity in the SaaS market is still huge – and will be that way for years to come. SaaS-based BI & Analytics will move from 10% of companies using it today to 21% in 2019, marketing applications from 10% to 24% and UC&C from 11% to 21%.

Security Will Return to Being the Number One Barrier to Public Cloud Adoption

As the cloud providers start to penetrate the “mass market” – involving companies that are not fast adopters and do not push the envelope and procrastinate over big technology or business decisions – expect the question of security to come up again. And again. And again… When public cloud first entered the business consciousness 10-12 years ago, security was the number one reason why companies did not embrace it. It slipped down the list over the past few years as more leading, fast moving businesses overcame this objection – but with more companies looking to implement public cloud services, more of the objectors are coming back out of the woodwork to make security a number one blocker again.

Partners Will Come Back into Fashion for Cloud Deployments

The very first companies to move to public cloud platforms or software typically used a partner – they were going where few had been before, and they relied on the expertise of external providers to help them make the move. But the past five or so years have seen many businesses eschew partners in the move to the public cloud – as they looked to learn the skills that they require both to make the transition and for the ongoing management and automation of the cloud environment, themselves. But as the market for public cloud software and platforms moves into hypergrowth, more companies will look to partners to help them with the transition to cloud – and more importantly – the ongoing management of their cloud environments.

Cloud Ecosystems Will Accelerate the Adoption of Artificial Intelligence Solutions

Today nearly every software provider is looking at the opportunity to make their software smart – to have the software learn, predict, personalise, see, sense or converse. Some have started by building their own AI tools – but these companies are learning that these tools are more lines of code that need to be maintained, secured, evolved and improved. Smart ISVs are building their AI capabilities using the tools that already exist on the public cloud platforms. In fact, this move is seeing more ISVs move away from hosting the cloud version of their software from their own cloud platform to one of the big five or six public cloud platforms. As more ISVs make their software intelligent, more customers will be able to adopt AI solutions that are embedded in their existing software tools and platforms.

Companies Move to the Cloud for the Features and Functions, but Will Stay for the User Experience

While companies might move to the public cloud because of the features, functions, technical capabilities or in-country data centres, what keeps customers on cloud platforms is the user experience. Some of the global public cloud platforms and software providers have not created the best user experience – yes, the technologists and developers might love them, but cloud usage is quickly moving beyond the technology team. AI tools need to be used by data scientists and product managers, while automation tools will be used by Customer Experience professionals. Business analysts want to be able to create or vary processes without the intervention of the IT team or cloud management partner. User experience will be key to increasing cloud usage within existing customers.

For access to the full report, please follow this link.

 

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The IoT Platform Jigsaw – The Heart or the Head? (Part 4/4)
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A major consideration that I left for the end is whether to select an open source or a proprietary IoT Platform. The heart often wants open source, while the head chooses proprietary. It is near impossible to find someone who will deny that IoT Platforms are hot. It is not surprising that there are dozens of companies developing or updating their proprietary IoT platforms, with many of them using open source code in their products. I mention this to make it clear that probably most IoT platform vendors leverage some open source code.

Open Source IoT Platform

There are many people who believe that IoT needs open source to be successful.  Everyone loves the promise of open source IoT platforms – It is free (or almost free); it is built by passionate communities of developers; and there is no vendor lock-in. Add to that, the rate of innovation, which is supposedly faster with open source IoT platforms. Why would anyone choose to work with anything else?

A while back the IoT Data Management (IoTDM) project showcased how a robust middleware platform can unlock innovation and fulfill the promise of IoT. I have been following up to 30 open source IoT platforms, starting with Eclipse Open Source IoT platforms project. Recently I have had conversations  with members of a few of them such as Kaa and SiteWhere;  but like I said there are many other enthusiastic IoT platform developers in the world, some closer than you think.

The advantages and disadvantages of open source have been repeated for years. On the advantages side we have:

  • Cost
  • Flexibility
  • Avoiding cumbersome licensing requirements or activation headaches
  • Freedom

However, it is not all roses in the realm of open source. As the saying goes, nothing is ever truly free. The disadvantages of open source include:

  • Support
  • Documentation
  • Complexity
  • Advertising
  • Easily detectable vulnerabilities

I want to emphasize that sometimes, one of the advantages of open source – transparent, customizable code which is accessible by anyone – can be turned into a disadvantage. Without a proprietary vendor on the hook for releasing updates, fixes may be slower to arrive (though to be fair a strong developer community can develop solutions more readily as well).

Proprietary IoT Platform

If the decision to use and customize an open source IoT platform is complex, the decision to select a proprietary IoT platform is a nightmare. There are so many vendors out there that customers are expecting a market consolidation or running pilots before they can take a final purchase decision to invest in a proprietary IoT platform.

With companies like GE Digital failing with its Predix platform, the fear that any other big companies like Microsoft, AWS, Google, IBM or PTC can also fail is understandable.

And if this fear exists, you can imagine how customers feel when they need to decide among hundreds of proprietary IoT platforms guessing if they will survive or at least be acquired. You need to be careful of the Walking Dead of IoT

I have addressed the challenges and benefits of proprietary platforms in a previous blog: About IoT Platforms, Super Powers Methodology, Superheroes and Supervillains

 Key Takeaway

I have repeated many times that the IoT is going to transform the way we live, work, and interact with each other. It’s more than a trend; it’s a revolution that will fundamentally transform the way the global economy functions, and IoT Platforms will play a key role.

Even after reading through this series it is possible that I may not have completely solved your doubts about what should be your decision regarding the most suitable IoT platform for your business. I hope at least you are not more confused! We should trust the market will consolidate very fast either by M&As or unfortunately by death of start-ups, so we will find a much clearer picture in a couple of years.

Nevertheless, should this fragmented market affect your decision to initiate or advance your IoT strategy? Clearly not. Your business cannot wait 2 or 3 years without IoT. Make sure that the IoT impacts you in your business  –  the IoT platform you choose will be key.

Thanks in advance for your Likes and Shares

Thoughts?  Comments?

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The IoT Platform Jigsaw – Industry Considerations (Part 3/4)
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Industry knowledge is a key area of expertise that many organizations look for in their IoT platform vendor. The global Ecosystm IoT Study determined the key IoT partner selection criteria for planned deployments of IoT. While technical expertise emerges as the key criterion (and bodes well for horizontal platform vendors), industry expertise comes in at number 3.

Some industries such as the Retail, Distribution & Consumer Packaged Goods, Health & Life Sciences, and Transportation assign a higher significance to industry experience.

Vertical vs. Horizontal IoT Platforms

It is not my intention to write in detail about building a vertical or horizontal IoT platform. Though I promise to address this in a detailed post later. Nevertheless, I give you two very useful links that are relevant even today. They provide different and interesting point of views.

A good example of where a horizontal platform would be beneficial is when an organization wants to leverage the portfolio of a particular vendor – let’s say connectivity to Google Cloud Platform, giving customers the benefits of using BigQuery, Google’s analytical service, using data collected from connected devices. On the other hand, a good example of a vertical platform use would be from Healthcare where the organisation chooses an integrated cloud-based, analytics-driven solution designed to deliver real-time, actionable insights on patient care across the entire patient experience.

There are always some special industry cases, as well, such as the companies that want to participate in the home automation market. In Who Will Build The ‘God Platform’ For The Internet Of Things? the author suggests that these companies will need to create products that work compellingly in isolation and alongside competitors’ products — and somewhere in all of this, the ‘God Platform’ might emerge.

The Singular Case of Smart City Platforms

Smart Cities need Intelligent Platforms to thrive. IoT will be central to this shift from a vertical to horizontal approach, based around a new generation of powerful, unified Smart City Platforms, capable of managing different technologies and devices and supporting a wide range of applications and services. A Smart City Platform is defined as a framework for sensing, communications, integration and intelligent decision-making, delivering the minutest information and services that citizens need.

Some Other Considerations

Platforms Vs. Products

We hear IoT vendors saying that the IoT is at an inflection point. In “The Internet Of Things Race – Platforms Vs. Products”, Adrian Bridgwater raises an interesting discussion. What matters most, the platforms or the products?

“What does matter is the degree to which we recognize just how much the Internet of Things (IoT) platform-level technologies matter. We need analytics tools capable of dealing with large quantities of fast-moving data, we need cloud Platform-as-a-Service functionality that is capable of handling the immense flow of data and provide anytime access for decision and we need security systems capable of helping organizations protect IoT data as rigorously as they do their own confidential financial, IP and strategy information”.

For Adrian, today, it’s the Internet of Things (IoT) but tomorrow it will be the Internet of Analytics-Enabled Secure Automated Wearable Things (IoA-EASWT).

Platforms Vs. Frameworks

Lots of IoT frameworks and/or platforms with different enterprise offerings and alliances have come up recently to increase the connectivity of devices into private and/or public networks/cloud. Key to a successful IoT implementation is the interoperability among various devices, robust IoT frameworks and platforms that enable the same with powerful analytics that enable applications to be built on top of it.

 

 

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Ecosystm Predicts – IoT in 2019
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Historically I had been responsible for drafting predictions that were often discrete and almost independent of each other. However, in the last 12 months I’ve become a strong proponent of observing market trends and joining their collective impact into bigger and broader industry predictions. I feel that this approach has more value to the ecosystem, that takes to enable the Internet of Things.

With this as a backdrop, my five independent predictions are aimed at vendors and customers to be constantly reevaluating their position in the value chain with adjacent technologies and markets. The predictions for 2019 are:

  • Flexibility Will Outweigh Performance: eSIM and MVNOs Will Create More IoT Services Value than 5G Providers.
  • The Intelligent Edge and SD-WAN Will Tackle the Distributed Network Performance and Management Issues.
  • IoT Ecosystems Will Evolve into Automated, Intelligent and Interactive Workspaces.
  • IoT Public and Private Market Exchanges Will Emerge Enabling AI-Based Startups to Create Business Outcome Services.
  • The Insurance Industry Will Become the Leading Advocate for IoT Innovation Services Forcing ICT Companies to Play Along.

At the base of the predictions pyramid, or a starting point in an IoT ecosystem where the customer or their data is in the center, is connectivity. The deafening drum beat of 5G can be heard. By all accounts every IoT application should be deployed onto a 5G network in 2019. However, while 5G and several key IoT applications are a great fit for each other (video is a perfect example), customers are already testing alternatives which are both good enough from a network performance and business case angles. To that end, 2019 will be a year where e-SIMs delivered by Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) will be the defacto on-ramp for many ICT organizations. Layered upon that will be the opportunity to run unlicensed spectrum such as LoRa to greatly simplify the complex issue of connectivity, security and scalability.

As more customers scale up their IoT deployments in 2019, distributed architectures become more important as edge computing takes on the new ‘branch office’ layer. To respond to the new network edge, distributed networks become easier to manage with the broader deployment and acceptance of software-defined wireless access networks (SD-WANs). SD-WANs will become the stepping stones for carriers, network equipment vendors, IT and industrial operations to deliver application management performance, and security.

In 2019 the discussion of who has the best IoT platform will become irrelevant, as customers who own the IoT data will be asking who has the best ecosystem. IoT data will quickly shift business processes from being stand-alone engagements between suppliers and customers to one of a complete end-to-end solution. Industries such as manufacturing, retail, smart buildings, smart cities, transportation and logistics will all come alive with disruptive business models and services within the ecosystem. This shift will generate a ‘new software’ platform that isn’t owned by a traditional IT software company, but by someone who owns the business relationship with the customer and who can aggregate all of the players onto the platform.

These automated, intelligent and interactive workspaces will become a potential battleground between traditional services companies and these new nimble aggregators using SaaS-based platforms to deliver better customer experiences. By late 2019, these ecosystems will become the foundation layer for IoT exchanges whereby business knowledge gained from IoT analytics will be traded or bartered within private or public exchanges. Here, technology such as blockchain will have a very relevant place within IoT solutions.

Finally, in 2019 the major insurance companies will rise to become some of the most influential players in making vendors and customers adopt IoT solutions. Knowing that IoT sensors can give detailed information on every aspect of product and customer behavior, insurance companies will exercise pressure on everyone who wants to play within an IoT ecosystem. Anyone who wants or needs some level of product warranty, liability, replacement coverage, service and user behavior insurance will be impacted by IoT-fed actuary tables. Insurance underwriters will ask, seek or have the ability to combine IoT data with Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML) integrating the outcomes with Augmented Reality (AR), Digital Twins and 3D-Printing for robotics, drones, autos (or all levels of transportation) across every industry. The influence and impact will be significant and to every intersection of technology and human interface as the high demand for data drives IoT sensor deployment from the base of the network infrastructure all the way to the ecosystem and exchanges.

For access to the full report, please follow this link.

 

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