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State of the Market: IoT 2016

Internet of Things
Author: Mark
Friday, May 27, 2016
1:59 pm


This afternoon, I read a recently released Verizon report, “State of the Market: Internet of Things 2016.” It provides a quick, but fascinating read about Internet of Things market forces, real-life industry adoption, key trends and real-world successes.  The report states:

The Internet of Things (IoT) is much more than the result of seemingly fragmented and complex technologies smashed together … forward-thinking business and public sector leaders, as well as consumers and developers, are turning to the Internet of Things to address some of society’s most pressing social, economic and business challenges.

Five macro trends— data monetization, consumer expectations, the regulatory landscape, network connectivity/IoT platforms and security—are helping to speed IoT adoption and deliver measurable results across several industries and sectors.

Verizon believes we just completed the year where IoT graduated from the neat new idea stage to mainstream adoption:

In our view, 2015 was the year IoT gained legitimacy. Businesses moved beyond a “start small think big” mindset. Today, they’re building IoT into future strategies and business models. Companies across all industries now have IoT squarely on their radar.

In 2015, the emphasis of startup capital began to favor enterprise focused IoT businesses over consumer applications in a big way, and the trend appears to be accelerating:

According to analysis conducted by our venture capital (VC) arm, Verizon Ventures, we estimate that consumer IoT startups raised 15% more VC funding than enterprise-focused startups in 2014. However, in 2015, roles seemed to have reversed with enterprise outpacing consumer by around 75%. In 2016, we believe the enterprise will continue that trend, but by a much larger order of magnitude—roughly 2 – 3 times more than consumer.

The sheer size of the potential IoT market continues to boggle my mind. The following chart shows a few big numbers that barely scratch the surface of the potential for IoT growth.  


Of the many potential IoT areas of emphasis, the Verizon report specifically addresses four:

  • Automotive: Connection, convergence, convenience and the connected car
  • Agriculture: Farming with precision
  • Smart Cities: Making communities smart and sustainable
  • Energy: Providing real-time energy insight.

Of these, the closest one to my heart is Farming with Precision – quite a big step from the old farm where I grew up, where adjusting irrigation meant installing canvas dams in ditches and using a shovel to channel water down the correct rows in a field:

Industry experts have quipped that the agriculture industry is proof that soon, every company will be an IoT business.

One of the biggest trends in farming today is precision agriculture, the practice of sensing and responding to variable soil, moisture, weather and other conditions across different plots. Farmers are deploying wireless sensors and weather stations to gather real-time data about things such as how much water different plants need and whether they require pest management or fertilizer  

Using this data, growers can customize growing processes. Indeed, one of the biggest benefits IoT offers farmers is the ability to gather much more granular data about smaller parcels of land. With site-specific data, growers can then optimize growing conditions on a plot-by-plot basis, boosting yields, improving quality and cutting costs in the process.  


Again, the numbers are immense:

The total market size for digital precision agriculture services is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.2% between 2014 and 2020, to reach $4.55 billion.

Security, is, of course, of critical importance across many facets of the IoT landscape. 

The sheer volume of IoT devices constantly producing communications, require careful security and privacy considerations. There is no current IoT protection framework that’s ahead of the implementation of this technology. The industry is keeping up with the development of technology by looking to the rising threat vectors—some old, some new—that will impact deployments and ongoing operations. Authentication of critical data, and baseline triggers for action are the emerging security focus.


 The bottom line?

Innovation, productivity and value will thrive as private companies and the public sector both come to the inevitable conclusion that IoT is imperative to delivering the integrated, easy to use and sustainable products and services demanded by an increasingly mobile, tech-savvy 21stcentury society.

No single company or country can realize the full promise of IoT on its own. We believe collaboration, experimentation and openness will:

  • Create cleaner cities
  • Deliver better healthcare
  • Make transportation systems safer
  • Conserve water
  • Boost productivity
  • And make the digital world work better for consumers and citizens.

We live in an exciting world, at an exciting time.  Hang on for the ride!


Targeted Advertising Reaching Too Far?

Internet of Things
Author: Mark
Monday, December 7, 2015
9:26 pm

Do you think targeted advertising can reach too far?

Marketoonist IoT


Goldman Sachs: What is the Internet of Things?

Internet of Things, IoT Business
Author: Mark
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
10:08 am

The following informative infographic, published by Goldman Sachs, outlines a bit of history, potential major application areas, exciting business opportunities and a glimpse into the future for the Internet of Things.  Enjoy!



#IoT Landscape Map

Internet of Things
Author: Mark
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
9:56 am

Yesterday on Twitter, @KirkDBorne shared a tweet originally posted by @RogerAttick  including the following diagram, which succinctly identifies a broad range of applications for the Internet of Things. Thanks, Roger and Kirk for sharing this information!




This diagram was based on a figure in the Goldman Sachs document from September 2014, “IoT primer – The Internet of Things: Making sense of the next mega-trend.”  The following chart uses pictures instead of words, but conveys a similar message.


I am personally amazed at the breadth of opportunities to apply #IoT concepts. Lots of fun ahead of us!


Intel’s Guide to IoT

Internet of Things
Author: Mark
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
9:01 am

This morning, I received a link to a cool infographic from Intel that gives a high level overview of the Internet of Things, highlighting the amazing projected growth of this technology area:

Our IoT world is growing at a breathtaking pace — from 2 billion objects in 2006 to a projected 200 billion by 2020.

Intel IoT Infographic


Cory Doctorow:Will Technology Set Us Free or Enslave Us?

Identity, Internet of Things
Author: Mark
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
12:25 pm


I heard my first speech from Cory Doctorow at the Gartner IAM Summit this morning. He gave an interesting overview of the history of digital copyright law and attempts to enforce limited access by schemes such as Digital Rights Management and encrypted data streams. He expanded beyond this basic overview to discuss how current laws make it illegal to reveal hidden flaws in software and devices. Some points I found particularly thought-provoking include:

  • The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act  which criminalized breaking Digital Rights Management methods, wasn’t very effective, because people who were willing to break existing laws to steal content didn’t mind breaking another law.
  • Current copyright laws designed to make it illegal to know how DRM or encrypted streaming video devices work (e.g. Netflix player devices) also make it illegal to reveal flaws in our computers.
  • These laws may stop honest people, but support bad guys’ efforts to discover and weaponize vulnerabilities.
  • The NSA and its British equivalent spent billions of dollars per year to find vulnerabilities in devices, but don’t reveal what they have found.
  • Back doors to systems (such as government-requested back doors to encryption algorithms) have no allegiance.  We must assume that such back doors will be used for evil as well as good purposes.
  • Be suspicious of any software you cannot audit or inspect. How else can you know what lurks therein?
  • Remember – the capacity for human self-deception is bottomless. Will technology set us free or enslave us?

Interesting ideas worthy of further investigation.  The concept of unintended consequences certainly applied here.


Earl Perkins: The Identity of Things for the Internet of Things

Identity, Internet of Things
Author: Mark
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
11:24 am

Earl Perkings, Gartner

Yesterday, at the Gartner Identity and Access Management SummitEarl Perkins, Gartner’s Research Vice President in Systems, Security and Risk, gave a thought-provoking talk, proposing that Identity and Access Management as it is today is not going to cut it for the Internet of Things. Some the highlights include (filtered through the lens of my interpretation):

  • IoT can be described as as set of devices that can sense and interact with the world around it. Such devices can sense, analyze, act and communicate.
  • Devices, services and applications are creators or consumers of information, and must join humans in having identities.
  • Architectural concepts of IAM may still hold, but the scale will be vastly larger and must accommodate more than human identities.
  • Perhaps the word “thing” should be replaced by the term “entity”
  • Every entity has an identity
  • We need a model of entities and relationships between these entities.
  • We must address layered hierarchies of identities.
  • We should not separate device management and identity management systems.
  • Identity Management and Asset Management systems will likely converge.
  • Identity and Access Management may become:
    • Entity Relationship Management
    • Entity Access Management
  • We may think of architectures in four levels: things, gateways/controllers, connectivity, applications and analytics.
  • Two major camps of consumption: Enterprise (where more money is currently being spent) and Consumer (which is hot and sexy, but not currently making much money).
  • Strong year-over-year IoT growth is happening in four industry sectors:
    • Automotive – 67% CAGR
    • Consumer – 32% CAGR
    • Vertical specific – 24% CAGR
    • Generic business – 44% CAGR
  • Companies are “throwing jello against the wall” to see what sticks.

I really like Earl’s ideas about convergence of “entities” and “relationships” between entities.  Please note my blog post Identity Relationship Diagrams  posted in March 2013.

I also favor his view that identity management should not be separate from device management.

It will be interesting to see how architectures are transformed and what “jello sticks to the wall” in the coming years.


IoT Report: Transforming Smart Grid Devices into Open Application Platforms

Internet of Things, Smart Grid
Author: Mark
Friday, August 1, 2014
5:54 am


In July, 2014, Epri published a technical update to an interesting report, “Transforming Smart Grid Devices into Open Application Platforms,” first published in January, 2013.  The report address the concept of providing a platform for tying together and extracting value from a broad set of intelligent equipment, rather than have applications needing to address each device individually. This way of thinking is certainly right in line with the broad concepts of the Internet of Things:

The state of technology is such that this “platform” way of thinking about things is now practical for a wide range of smart grid equipment, including smart meters, communication head ends or collectors, capacitor and regulator controllers, reclosers, sectionalizers and other smart grid equipment. Distributed resources, like PV smart inverters and energy storage controls, are also good candidates for an open application platform. To be clear, if the utility is the owner and operator of the equipment, then it is for their use that an open app platform would be established. Although it is possible that a utility might launch an app that has customer-facing aspects, the general intention here is making smart grid equipment more flexible for the utility’s use.

The following diagram illustrates the platform concept as it may apply to smart meters:


It is interesting that in this diagram, the focus is on the app in the smart meter, not the apps that are geared toward consumer consumption or analysis of data from many meters.  Ostensibly, the platform could facilitate the development of apps at many different levels.


Microsoft: Making Latent Data Valuable through Stacks of IoT

Internet of Things
Author: Mark
Friday, August 1, 2014
5:21 am

This morning, an interesting blog post, “What is the ‘Internet of Things’ and where does Microsoft sit?” by Ewan Dalton, Microsoft Evangelist, came to my attention. I was particularly intrigued by two concepts Ewan stressed:  

The first – an overriding emphasis on data:

The secret sauce, the Holy Grail, the raison d’être for Internet of Things is data. That much is pretty obvious to anyone with more than a passing interest in the field – why would you go to the bother of deploying a load of sensing devices and the infrastructure to manage and communicate with them, unless the data they provide is particularly interesting?

In particular, the potential for IoT to accumulate “latent data” and create value is emphasized:

To a large degree, the IoT is an emerging set of technologies, protocols and patterns for the collection, aggregation, analysis and actioning of intrinsic, latent data, and the management of this process.

Data is ubiquitous and inherent in all environments, be it an outside space, an ecosystem, a manufacturing complex, a supply chain or a city. This data can be regarded as “latent data” or “potential data” in the physical world – the data exists but is not accessible, or if it is accessible then it is of limited use since it is not combined with other, relevant data (such as historical readings, or data from complementary systems). …

We believe that IoT is fundamentally about bringing this latent, intrinsic data into the digital world, in a way that allows the creation of value. This value is due to the aggregation of collected data, its analysis, and the use of that insight to drive decision-making and actions.  

The second interesting concept? Identification of “Stacks of IoT” with these characteristics:

  • Abstraction at multiple levels
  • Multi-vendor approach
  • Big compute done in the cloud
  • Real-time/small compute near the device endpoint or sensor network

The stack components?

  • Sensors
  • Hub devices
  • Comms
  • Cloud

The following diagram illustrates these concepts:


I think this multi-stack architecture is useful to think about how data is gathered and acted upon to create value. The stacks of IoT can be thought of as a sort of “value chain” for making data useful. Some of that value is created near to the sensors (think intelligent thermostat).  More value can be created at a local hub (e.g. coordination of multiple components in a home heating system for maximum energy efficiency).  Still  more value can created in connecting multiple homes through a network for data accumulation and utility-wide balancing of energy usage.

So, as I interpret Microsoft’s view, IoT is all about capturing latent data and making it valuable.  I like that perspective.


IoT Crockpot – Why?

Internet of Things
Author: Mark
Thursday, July 31, 2014
7:02 am


This morning when I saw the announcement of the Crock-Pot® Smart Slow Cooker with WeMo™  I just scratched my head and thought, “Why?” The reason we have used slow cookers over the years (I think we got three for our wedding in 1976) is so we could put food into the cooker in the morning, set it once, forget about it, and have a nice warm meal when we returned at the end of the day. It never occurred to me that remote monitoring and control of such a simple device would be necessary.

It looks like I have been proven wrong, like so many times in my life, when I have doubted new technology innovation. I remember scratching my head and wondering what Visicalc would be used for when I first saw it, too! However, something tells me that this slow cooker innovation is not on the same level as Visicalc. A novelty, yes. A conversation starter among technogeeks, probably. But earth shattering?  Not a chance.

But what the heck. This modern IoT device is available for pre-order today!

Copyright © 2014, Mark G. Dixon. All Rights Reserved.
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