May 2019 IoT news

By Pilgrim - May 15, 2019

This is my second monthly update about the evolution of the IoT market. If you’re doing something interesting in IoT please let me know.


Over the past 6 months, I've become gradually aware of the market shift I'm calling "IoT without software": increasingly companies are able to deploy a complete end-to-end IoT solution without writing a single line of code. It's an important watershed in IoT because it radically:

1) accelerates the speed of deployment of an IoT system. You can now literally get up-and-running with a new IoT deployment in a few hours.

2) enlarges the addressable IoT market. Now businesses which are not primarily software businesses (i.e. 99%+ of businesses) can deploy IoT like a pro. 


We just published a 2-part blog piece about this with Richard Holmes of Arrow, and a concrete example of this in action is a new DevicePilot customer Optimised Buildings. They can save 30% of energy in commercial buildings by analyzing temperatures and usage, and then tweaking the building management system. But what's interesting is how they do this:

  • Optimised first deploys stick-on sensors from Disruptive Technologies to collect data such as temperature and stream it up to an internet endpoint
  • They then plug in DevicePilot to give them the visualization, monitoring, and automation that they and their customers need.

Voila! A complete solution with no software to write. The agility is valuable not just at initial deployment, but ever-after too. And both parts are available as-a-Service, so no upfront costs.


On a related note, Libellium just announced their new Meshlium Xtreme gateway which connects any sensor to any of the big IoT cloud platforms - without having to write any code. And in case you're wondering whether these off-the-shelf solutions tend to lock in the customer (good question!) then the answer seems to be "not too much" as the interfaces between the parts are rapidly becoming quite standardized (I plan to blog about that topic soon).


As I'm writing this, the launch of the first 60 of 4000+ Starlink satellites is imminent and - even for a paid-up Musk fanboi - it's hard not to be flabbergasted by the sheer scale of the ambition. I've yet to see an analysis of how relevant to IoT this will be (any volunteers?) but visiting IoT Tech Expo recently I was struck by a number of companies specializing in satellite uplink gateways for IoT in remote locations (mining, agriculture etc.). Just as Tesla managed to beat the incumbents' performance, so Starlink looks to beat fiber on some key metrics such as latency. I think I'm more excited about this than about 5G.


So Greta Thunberg comes to talk to the UK parliament and straight away it declares a climate emergency - it's like one of the Pippi Longstocking stories I used to read my children. Hooray. Yesterday I was giving a talk at the always excellent Ecosummit in Berlin, and was musing over the very close correlation between IoT and sustainability - many DevicePilot customers are driving radical shifts to sustainability, which I doubt is coincidental. It made me wonder whether IoT is a new nervous system that Gaia is somehow conjuring-up to manage all the technology we've created. On a related note, I'd highly recommend the book Into the Cool on how organised systems evolve spontaneously in the presence of energy gradients.


Following on from our blog last month about pricing for IoT services, it was good to read Nick Hunn's further analysis of business models for IoT (aka "who killed my unicorn"!).


Meanwhile at DevicePilot, our latest news is improved visualisation of KPIs - cool that any derived metrics you create such as "energy used this week" or "uptime this month" can now be shown alongside live telemetry, and used to colour maps, sort lists etc.


Hope you found this interesting, always very happy to have feedback, and I’ll drop you another line in a few weeks.



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