Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Greg Ness, Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Java, Linux, Virtualization, Cloud Expo, SDN Journal

@ThingsExpo: Blog Post

Internet of Things Is Not Another Subscription Service | @ThingsExpo [#IoT]

There is a view that with IoT becoming a reality, it’s rather simple

The Internet of Things Is Not Just Another Subscription Service | Part 1

Companies that until recently had never heard of the Internet of things (IoT) are now excited to find that they've been IoT players all along. Businesses involved in home automation, security services, vehicle tracking and health monitoring to name a few have been around for a while. They all provide services that involve devices (now known as "things") that communicate with each other, with their owners, and sometimes with control centers. Increasingly that channel of communication is via the Internet. Therefore, they all see themselves as IoT service providers now, and rightly so. But they are also specialists in the actual services they provide, and the fact that we have an increasingly popular expression to describe the infrastructure they use does not diminish the need for that expertise. While IoT brings additional challenges and opportunities, it doesn't remove the need to retain business methods and strategies that remain appropriate for the specialist area, even in a rapidly changing world.

At the same time, companies that have built and sold business support systems for years - billing, order management and CRM - are kind of excited to find that they are also in the IoT business. Their systems can work even in this new world of IoT, and they are proud to publish the fact, inviting the world to participate in seminars, webinars, etc., highlighting this marvel. These billing vendors are being rather vocal and shouting loudly from the rooftops that the Internet of Things economy is happily meeting the world of subscriptions, so jump on board the bandwagon. We shouldn't be surprised. After all, a billing system that is optimized generically for subscription services can bill for recurring revenue services such as subscriptions in an IoT environment too, provided, of course, that the service provider accepts the premise that IoT is just another subscription service.

An Overly Simplistic View of the Internet of Things
There is a view that with IoT becoming a reality, it's rather simple. Politicians and commentators are fond of telling us that IoT means a new exciting future in which the fridge decides when to order more food. That example has stood the test of time: it has been with us since the closing years of the 20th century. In the movie The 6th Day, released in 2000, Arnold Schwarzenegger had a smart Internet-connected fridge (which might be the most memorable thing about that movie). Internet-connected fridges were sold in 2002, but without much success, and just last week a British politician regurgitated the cliché. Maybe he'd just seen the movie.

Many descriptions of mainstream IoT services tend to emphasize sensors and monitoring, with a degree of autonomous actions (alarms for example) to help people out, but mostly these services feed information into data centers for storage and analysis. This is where concepts such as home automation, energy management, health monitoring, security monitoring and vehicle tracking all started. But already we can see the emergence of smarter and more sophisticated systems, such as those with the ability to identify a need for medication, and trigger an Internet-connected implant to deliver a dose. Systems don't just notice an intruder and raise an alarm, they also can lock paths of exit and attempt facial recognition of intruders. IoT services can track vehicle movements, assess anomalous behavior and call for help when needed. All of this happens in near-real time. It isn't directly controlled by humans, although humans set the rules of behavior. It is not driven directly by data analysis, but data analysis contributes to creating the semi-persistent rules for appropriate actions.

What I am describing here are "agents": the devices and systems that make rules-driven decisions and enact transactions on behalf of the device's owner. Agent systems have been with us for a long time, even pre-Internet. The least-cost routing algorithms that telecom carriers and some large enterprises use for determining the routing of voice telephony calls are agents. The automated trading systems now commonly used to supplement humans in the stock market are also agents. The automatic assignment and configuration of network capacity and network functionality in emerging programs such as software-defined networks (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) will, in effect, be conducted by agents working on behalf of carriers and infrastructure owners. Agents are becoming an essential part of the IoT nervous system, and any business that is aiming to make money from IoT needs to understand that.

Individuals and businesses will employ agents that interact with cloud orchestration systems to continually optimize the portfolio of services consumed by their human owners, based on owner-defined criteria of cost, functionality and performance. Some agents will be smart enough to subcontract some of the load to other, more specialized agents. The agents will be fed data by sensors and monitors, will receive analysis from aggregation centers to inform decisions, and will give instructions for action to other devices.

With agents in the system, we can see that the simple view of sensors monitoring and actuators performing chores, with a data center acting as broker, is just too simple. Agents will enable and manage complex processes, decision trees and relationships. Agents will bring to the wider world many of the management and control concepts that have been tried and tested within the walled gardens of factories, hospitals, power plants and data centers. Agents could even provide citizens with cross-checked and validated data about the world that will help them understand whether politicians are repeating authenticated facts or are just making them up.

Burgeoning sophistication can bring lots of benefits, provided we don't lose sight of what is really going on. But humans do like to over-simplify, even as the world naturally evolves into something more complicated.

Why One-Trick Billing Systems Don't Cut It with IoT
That brings us back to billing systems that need to monetize the IoT. There are lots of billing systems out there, and many of them are rather simple. These simple systems support only a narrow range of products or services, or they support only one type of pricing or charging model. These are one-trick billing systems, and they are good for one-trick service providers that don't plan to be anything else. Agents will certainly drive the generation of new and more nuanced business models as the concept of a service itself becomes more amorphous. IoT will inevitably bring a need for more, not less, sophistication and complexity, and we need systems, including billing systems, that can handle the complexity challenge.

I will share more thoughts on one-trick billing systems in my next blog, but in the meantime, read what more about the Internet of Things.

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda is responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution, product marketing, 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 OSS software, now part of Extreme Networks (Nasdaq:EXTR). At Avici Systems (Nasdaq:AVCI), Esmeralda was Vice President of Marketing for the networking pioneer from startup through its successful IPO. Early in her career, she was a Director at IDC, where she led the network consulting practice and worked with startup and leading software and hardware companies, and Wall Street clients on product and market strategies. Esmeralda holds a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Marketing and International Business from Northeastern University.

You can view her other blogs at www.metratech.com/blog.

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.


@CloudExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Parasoft will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 27 years, Parasoft has researched and developed software solutions that help organizations deliver defect-free software efficiently. By integrating Development Testing, API/cloud/SOA/composite app testing, and service virtualization, we reduce the time, effort, and cost of delivering secur...
Until recently, many organizations required specialized departments to perform mapping and geospatial analysis, and they used Esri on-premise solutions for that work. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Dave Peters, author of the Esri Press book Building a GIS, System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers, will discuss how Esri has successfully included the cloud as a fully integrated SaaS expansion of the ArcGIS mapping platform. Organizations that have incorporated Esri cloud-based appl...
Dyn solutions are at the core of Internet Performance. Through traffic management, message management and performance assurance, Dyn is connecting people through the Internet and ensuring information gets where it needs to go, faster and more reliably than ever before. Founded in 2001 at WPI, Dyn’s global presence services more than four million enterprise, small business and personal customers.
European data center operator DEAC is the largest in the Baltics. The activities are orientated to provide data center services and IT outsourcing on Eurasia and America scale in order to create the primary or backup or additional data center for customer in the EU, to protect its business and, most importantly, reduce costs up to 40% within 3-5 years. DEAC is an IT outsourcing services and solutions company whose highly experienced and qualified employees offer various groups of services and...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money! Speaker Bio: ...
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: S...
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Ashar Baig, Research ...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
When an enterprise builds a hybrid IaaS cloud connecting its data center to one or more public clouds, security is often a major topic along with the other challenges involved. Security is closely intertwined with the networking choices made for the hybrid cloud. Traditional networking approaches for building a hybrid cloud try to kludge together the enterprise infrastructure with the public cloud. Consequently this approach requires risky, deep "surgery" including changes to firewalls, subnets...
Ixia develops amazing products so its customers can connect the world. Ixia helps its customers provide an always-on user experience through fast, secure delivery of dynamic connected technologies and services. Through actionable insights that accelerate and secure application and service delivery, Ixia's customers benefit from faster time to market, optimized application performance and higher-quality deployments.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratogent will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Stratogent is a custom managed services organization based in San Mateo, California. We design, implement, and support mission critical infrastructure 24x7 on premises, in datacenters and in the Cloud. Since 2005, we have acted as an extension of internal IT teams, achieving a customer reten...
SYS-CON Events announces a new pavilion on the Cloud Expo floor where WebRTC converges with the Internet of Things. Pavilion will showcase WebRTC and the Internet of Things. 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--computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will con...
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to bui...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual C...
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP’s Printing a...
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, will discuss how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP ...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., will show what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform...
SYS-CON Events announced today that AIC, a leading provider of OEM/ODM server and storage solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AIC is a leading provider of both standard OTS, off-the-shelf, and OEM/ODM server and storage solutions. With expert in-house design capabilities, validation, manufacturing and production, AIC's broad selection of products are highly flexible and are conf...
We are all here because we are sold on the transformative promise of The Cloud. But what good is all of this ephemeral, on-demand infrastructure if your usage doesn't actually improve the agility and speed of your business? How must Operations adapt in order to avoid stifling your Cloud initiative? In his session at DevOps Summit, Damon Edwards, co-founder and managing partner of the DTO Solutions, will highlight the successful organizational, process, and tooling patterns of high-performing c...