The usual (or unusual) array of weird and wonderful products are being touted in Las Vegas, at the annual CES show. Cars that park themselves, plants that look after themselves, robots that are cool just because they are tiny, nothing is not possible. Almost everywhere the Internet of Things (IoT) is emerging and evolving.
While some products seem insane, others will make people go ‘aha’ and wonder where they can buy one.
The rush is on. Gartner predicts that 4.9 billion things will be connected to the internet this year.
The trouble is that now the IoT is going mainstream and spreading into almost all elements of our lives, the Regulator will need to get involved. Hopefully this will be a good thing. Machina Research believes that it will be good, but will slow adoption. Already, of course, innovations such as self driving cars will need to be tested and retested for safety. Not only that, there will be heated debate about the fact that cars and other devices can roam for free, but humans cannot.
Every device that monitors medical equipment will need to go through hoops. Let us hope that smartphones that are used in the process are not caught up in the nets of the FDA and others.
There is no doubt that the IoT is here, and will spread across our lives until we no longer even refer to it as the IoT, just business as usual. There is also no doubt that we are in the hype phase of the cycle. Before long, possibly because of regulatory, safety and privacy concerns, we will slide into the trough where the barriers will seem greater than the potential. Finally, though, we will climb the plateau of reality and accept the new normal.
While all of that is happening, we also need to work out how the business models work (and if they work). And part of that process must be to evaluate whether the BSS is ready to start managing the money. Scale is one criteria, but the discussions are only just beginning about the flexibility that is needed, about whether, finally, we will need to bill for ‘value’ and not just connectivity. It may be that similar models will emerge that are used for current content business, where different parties pay, depending on the situation.
There will, however, will be a whole new set of variables and we need to be ready.