Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Gregor Petri, Flint Brenton

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Java IoT, Mobile IoT, Linux Containers, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

@ThingsExpo: Blog Post

The 'Internet of Things' Becomes Mainstream | @ThingsExpo [#IoT]

No mention of IoT targeted at the masses would be complete without the clichéd example of the communicating fridge

Internet of Things Becomes Mainstream, What Happens Now? | Part 2

How do you know when a technology has become mainstream? A good clue may be when politicians start talking about it on the campaign trail and with mainstream media. David Cameron, the UK prime minister, was the latest, indicating that the world was now on "fast-forward" with the Internet of Things (IoT) ushering in the new industrial revolution. No mention of IoT targeted at the masses would be complete without the clichéd example of the communicating fridge. While it is easy to get caught up in the hype and over-simplify, the complexity associated with making IoT mainstream will be unlike anything we have seen before it.

In the last Internet of things (IoT) blog, I suggested that in the emerging IoT world, humans will set policies and rules that define desired outcomes, while the execution of minute-by-minute decisions driven by those policies will increasingly be handled by automated agents. In turn those agents, as they evolve in sophistication and functionality, will drive new business models, new ways of generating revenue, and new strategies for pricing and charging.

Today, enterprises are discovering that one-trick billing is not suitable for a complex services world. We all know that a billing system needs to flexibly support, for example, recurring and non-recurring charges, volume discounts, short and long-term commitments, settlements, and (for enterprise billing) bill tracking and assignment across multiple departments and product lines.

Yet here we are today in a world increasingly being made more complicated by a proliferation of online services, by IoT and by a maze of evolving business relationships, and what do we find? Service providers are still being sold one-trick billing systems.

Perhaps there is some deep-rooted psychological need for some people to deny complexity. Over-simplifying, like politicians with their fridges, may be part of the popular culture, but in business, as in engineering, science and medicine, it is important to face up to complexity, understand what is really going on, and build our plans accordingly.

When Internet services emerged, some people predicted that everything was going to be paid for by advertising: a really simple business model. Then the online shopping cart came along and, without diminishing the importance of advertising much, vendors were able to trade online and offer services and products for money in a subscription form: another simple business model supported by one-trick billing systems. While subscription services have always been with us, the Internet enabled providers to offer many new services using the subscription model: software, music, movies, news.

And now we have IoT, and - even better - IoT with smart agents. We will see, naturally enough, that Internet merchant platform players insist that IoT devices and systems can be sold in shopping carts. Subscription billing system vendors will tell us IoT services are perfect for vanilla subscription billing. While others will come along with billing systems that are IoT-specific and assume some kind of a business model that is absolutely the best for IoT.

Yet in this increasingly complex environment, one-trick billing starts to look like a shaky idea. If you only have a merchant platform you can't handle subscriptions. If your billing system only supports subscriptions, forget selling service-related products through your own portal. If your billing system is designed just for IoT-style services, you could find yourself shut out from expanding into other lines of business. You will either have to constrain your business model, buy or license additional systems, or go to third parties for help.

For a new-start company, a one-trick billing system could appear to be a great way of getting into business, especially if it's available as a service with no long-term commitments. But as a company matures and expands its portfolio of services and products, it also expands its perspective on the marketplace. They experiment with more varied and more nuanced business models. They want to try interesting new approaches to pricing and billing to attract and retain customers. At this point, businesses find that they've outgrown their start-up one-trick billing systems. They find, as so many companies have discovered before them, that they cannot form their pricing and billing strategies around the needs and preferences of the market. Instead they must constrain their strategies to conform to the limitations and ways of working defined in their billing system. If you want to evolve your pricing and billing approach, you will have to buy a new system, either to replace or supplement the old system.

An earlier generation has seen this before; it's not a distinctive feature of the Internet. One traditional phone company, a giant, started with one billing system, as everyone does. They grew and refined their approach to the market and added new services. Their original billing system was a one-trick system, so they bought or built some new systems: systems specific to a particular product set; systems specific to a particular pricing strategy; systems to link all the other systems together... After a surprisingly short time, they found they had over a hundred distinct systems in their billing environment, strung together after a fashion, but with fragmented and highly duplicated data. Expensive and dysfunctional. Getting out of that kind of trap is not easy. The company sought help from another corporate giant and bought one more billing system, the system to end all other systems. Five years later they still had over one hundred plus one systems.

If they'd had a billing system able to support the agile needs of the business, they could have spent more time developing and selling services and less time band-aiding their systems environment. I have pointed out in several previous blogs that MetraNet users have a distinct advantage: the system can handle any business model, or any combination of business models, including business models that haven't been invented yet. By contrast, when you buy a one-trick billing system, you are also buying into the one-trick business model supported by that system.

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud, BUSS. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda was CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. At MetraTech, Esmeralda was responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution for enterprise and SaaS products, product management, business development and partner programs. Prior to MetraTech, Esmeralda was co-founder, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Lightwolf Technologies, a big data management startup. She was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of resource and service control software, now part of Extreme Networks.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
The vision of a connected smart home is becoming reality with the application of integrated wireless technologies in devices and appliances. The use of standardized and TCP/IP networked wireless technologies in line-powered and battery operated sensors and controls has led to the adoption of radios in the 2.4GHz band, including Wi-Fi, BT/BLE and 802.15.4 applied ZigBee and Thread. This is driving the need for robust wireless coexistence for multiple radios to ensure throughput performance and th...
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Is your aging software platform suffering from technical debt while the market changes and demands new solutions at a faster clip? It’s a bold move, but you might consider walking away from your core platform and starting fresh. ReadyTalk did exactly that. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and over a decade of audio conferencing product development to start an innovati...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
If you had a chance to enter on the ground level of the largest e-commerce market in the world – would you? China is the world’s most populated country with the second largest economy and the world’s fastest growing market. It is estimated that by 2018 the Chinese market will be reaching over $30 billion in gaming revenue alone. Admittedly for a foreign company, doing business in China can be challenging. Often changing laws, administrative regulations and the often inscrutable Chinese Interne...
As ridesharing competitors and enhanced services increase, notable changes are occurring in the transportation model. Despite the cost-effective means and flexibility of ridesharing, both drivers and users will need to be aware of the connected environment and how it will impact the ridesharing experience. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Timothy Evavold, Executive Director Automotive at Covisint, will discuss key challenges and solutions to powering a ride sharing and/or multimodal model in the a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CDS Global Cloud, an Infrastructure as a Service provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CDS Global Cloud is an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provider specializing in solutions for e-commerce, internet gaming, online education and other internet applications. With a growing number of data centers and network points around the world, ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
Big Data has been changing the world. IoT fuels the further transformation recently. How are Big Data and IoT related? In his session at @BigDataExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will explore the interplay of Big Data and IoT. He will anatomize Big Data and IoT separately in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. He will then analyze the relationship between IoT and Big Data, specifically the drilldown of how the 4Vs of Big Data (Volume, Variety,...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...