The Internet Of Things: How Can We Really Add Value?

Jun 6, 2014Ecosystem

This article is written by Arjun Mali, an emerging thought leader in the field of the Internet of Things. This guest post is a contribution from our partners UP Europe, who are hosting a series of FI-WARE Bootcamps within Start Up Weekends all over Europe!  

The Internet of Things, described by Wikipedia: “The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure.”

Basically, a world where every device is connected to the Internet. Using sensors, devices are enabled to collect data about the  world around us, think of human activity, temperature, or air quality, and act on it or tell us something about it.

In most cases this means most devices become remote controlled, and are able to collect enormous amounts of data which can tell us even more things about the world around us.

“Connected sensors” are already implemented on a large scale in industry. Where current challenges for consumer market implementation lie in  technology, finding a balance between price, power consumption and performance, and are soon to be overcome, a large scale implementation towards the consumer market is only a matter of time.

Anything from a vacuum clearner to a car will soon be available as a product that is connected to the Internet.

Take a step back. Think of how Google offers services like its search engine for free, and still is able to make lots of money. Data is the keyword here. Google knows a lot about you as a person, and that is only based on your online searching behavior.

Can you image what one can tell, if all the other devices we use in our lives will soon be connected?

But, how many connected devices can you name that you already have in your house?

Connecting these dots, can you imagine the amazing opportunity that lies in this field. There is a huge potential, while there is nothing like a leader, who has been able to conquer our homes with a connected device yet.

Maybe now, the $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest by Google recently makes a lot of sense. Nest has been one of the first companies to set ground into our homes with a connected device,  by introducing a connected thermostat and, more recently, a fire alarm. What did they focus on? The user and its need.

The home is a private space. Why would we pay more for devices that keep track of everything we do? Do we really want to monitor everything 24/7? Probably it will just be a matter of time before the current generation has adjusted their standard to what a normal device is.

Many stakeholders can be recognized in the context of a connected device. From a data analyst to a utility company, analyzing the data available will allow lots of different parties a profit. However, setting the first step is all about the user, who has to adopt and accept the device in its home. Intrusiveness, price, privacy, are all to be overcome by finding what added value can really be created by having all your devices connected, and this is, in my opinion, the biggest challenge for conquering one of the last battlefield of data collection, the home.

Whoever finds a way to implement the internet of things into our home environment, with a sustainable business model and most importantly in a way that can really add value to the user, might have the potential to become the new Google. If it’s not Google itself.

Arjun Mali

More interesting thoughts about the Internet of Things and Smart Citie in this interview with Mirko Presser:

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