This is my fourth monthly update about the evolution of the IoT market - if you’re doing something interesting in IoT please let me know.
After I aired my misgivings about the relevance of 5G to IoT, I enjoyed reading William Webb’s book "The 5G myth" and later bumping into him on my Cambridge - London commute. William confessed he’d worried whether the book might be professional suicide but has been delighted to discover that, if anything, it’s increased companies’ propensity to hire him as someone who can separate reality from spin.
In IoT, standards emerge bottom-up and piecemeal, driven by engineers and product managers adopting whatever useful existing pieces they find, which is very different from the top-down monolithic "one standards process to rule them all" approach used in telecoms. Ian Skerrett recently published a useful analysis of the IoT protocols in use on Azure IoT. Up at the level of the "schema" (e.g. what do you call the properties of your device, how do you structure device data), recent sources of useful standardization include Project Haystack (which we encountered in building management but it seems to have broad applicability) and also of course schema.org. So, next time you need to pass a piece of information such as time, location, or hierarchy between two pieces of IoT infrastructure and you’re the one who gets the choice to define how it’s done, these tools let you see how others are already doing it, and increase your chances of easy interoperability in the future.
In the world of IoT networks, it was interesting to see Sigfox release a low-cost plug-in gateway and also to open up its radio specification - fascinating how at a certain stage of growth being seen to be ‘open’ suddenly becomes essential. Meanwhile, LoRA seems to be growing well and I was interested to learn from Ricehard Stamvik of Multitech how they (and their competitors, Kerlink and Cisco) now offer customers a core network for LoRA, enabling, for example, largish companies to deploy a private LoRA network across their campus. This month also saw Helium LongFi emerge as potential LoRA competitor, though it’s debatable whether there’s room for another LPWAN (non-)standard. I also noticed that even renowned CDN providers Akamai are exploring how their tech could help IoT.
Our CCO, Marc Munier, recently uncovered this 2017 Harvard Business Review article which makes the still relevant point that because IoT is hard, it’s vital to focus on your core business competence and not get too distracted by cool, shiny tech. This reminded me of conferences back in my AlertMe days when people would try to drag me into arguments about whether one standard or the other was better (e.g. ZigBee vs. ZWave radio standards) and my response then and now is “if we do our job right, the customer won’t even have to know the difference”.
Like all IoT players, a significant part of our job at DevicePilot is helping to make connections across the ecosystem – someone has a need, someone else has a solution – technical, customer, data etc. so we do a lot of connecting up and are always happy to help and pass you on to a relevant partner where we can (and if you're already a partner, - let me know if you'd like to join our partner WhatsApp group).
To the list of BI acquisitions I mentioned last time we must now add another: Mnubo has been acquired for $102m by asset-management specialist Aspen Technology.
Finally, our latest product features include a dash of machine learning for forecasting device behaviour (i.e. when will that battery run out?) and the ability to place your devices onto Floorplans interactively, and you might like to take a look at some recent blog posts:
If you're heading off soon on your summer holiday, have a great one.