Why IoT at scale needs ‘shrink-wrapped’ options

Shrink-wrapped services are the key to realising the vision of IoT at scale, and providing it as a service will drastically improve adoption
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by Nick Sacke, head of IoT and products, Comms365

By Nick Sacke, head of IoT and products, Comms365

Analysts continue to talk up the potential of the IoT market – but it is hard to see how 21 billion devices will be connected by 2020 given the current, highly bespoke IoT deployment model from a handful of large suppliers.

The potential of IoT will never be achieved until we have ubiquitous delivery. However, from smart parking to smart warehousing, a new generation of ‘IoT as a Service’ solutions will transform IoT adoption.

The Channel has had little input into the evolution of IoT. From diverse sensor technologies, a lack of network standardisation, large investments, and the need for multiple vendors, achieving an end to end IoT deployment has been considered complicated and too high risk.

Instead, resellers have rebadged the IoT services from mobile carriers. Unfortunately, not only do these services do little to build on legacy machine to machine (M2M) offerings, they don’t maximise the value of the technology.

IoT as a Service, or shrink-wrapped IoT, requires limited customisation. A complete IoT smart parking solution can include sensors, network, data storage, analytics and visualisation, but is offered as a service that can be purchased as a proof of concept, a first case deployment or even as a full-scale solution. For a reseller, there is nothing to do other than install it. With this approach, a reseller can become a trusted IoT advisor for the end customer, taking its strength in understanding a customer’s challenges and creating a business case.

Shrink-wrapped IoT PoC kits allow the end user to test IoT for real in several application areas to determine the validity of their business case. Every aspect of this shrink-wrapped model is designed to scale to thousands, even millions of highly dispersed devices. Plus, it is a solution ready to deploy and provide immediate value.

For example, one car park in Cambridge already using a smart parking system, unveiled significant missed revenue due to customers not paying the minimum one-hour fee when making a quick stop. IoT informed analytics resulted in the creation of lower charges for short stays – generating some £500,000 in additional revenue after the change.

The logistics of implementing and supporting IoT is daunting for any organisation – which is why the IoT as a Service model relies on an ecosystem of expert companies in order to grow. The new generation of IoT as a Service providers will use this ecosystem to drive industry standards, ensuring resellers have full access to the expertise required to deliver IoT at scale.

IoT can deliver efficiency, cost savings and generate revenue – but will only become mainstream if the ‘as a Service’ model is adopted. Shrink-wrapping will release IoT from the constraints of expensive, bespoke projects and provide opportunity to explore IoT’s potential revenue streams. 

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