Defining the Battlegrounds of the Internet of Things
If there is one thing that has totally overwhelmed many people, it is the Internet of Things. Surrounded with spectacular expectations, it promises to augment and disrupt products and services across industries. Executives across industries need to understand where and how the Internet of Things will affect their industry. Understanding emerging battlegrounds, platform dynamics that will shape competition, challenges and profitability, will help companies determine where to invest and what capabilities are required to win.
A few major battlegrounds that are emerging, each with unique platform dynamics and growth opportunities that are areas of interest for leaders.
As leading mobile platform providers (Apple, Google and Samsung) extend their reach into wearables, smart homes, cars and other aspects of consumers’ lives, many software and hardware makers will find their place in these ecosystems. Creating platform stickiness and bridging customers across industry segments will be the key to success.
- Enterprise and industrial
As industrial and enterprise equipment and devices get connected, incumbents focused on specific industries are building on their domain expertise and customer relationships by expanding into broader offerings. Given the diversity of industries, expect a wide range of vendor platforms that may share common features but are tailored for particular uses.
- Network and gateway
Edge analytics and real-time (or low-latency) services will become increasingly important, close to sources of data rather than in the data center. Telcos will improve connections with better directory services to locate, authenticate and connect remote devices. And they will offer life-cycle management services to maintain, upgrade, secure and provision the complex device and sensor networks—which others will compete to offer, too.
Analytics will emerge as a critical platform battleground, given its importance for creating value from Internet of data. Traditional analytics vendors, cloud service providers and system integrators could successfully extend their customer relationships and scale into tailored products and services, especially in instances in which Internet of Things data is critical but only one of many data sources contributing to insights and decisions.
Robotics, drones and autonomous driving are among the most greenfield of all these applications. Startups and incumbents are moving quickly to get in on the ground floor where current industry leadership and capabilities matter less than in other areas. Real-time capabilities and technologies such as computer vision and machine learning will be important differentiators for success.
A company’s position and the dynamics in each battleground provide guardrails for an Internet of Things strategy, which will be critical for executives to position their companies for leadership.