March 11, 2015. Technical Author: David Fearne

Five ways Cloud Service Providers can make the Internet of Things a reality

Believe it or not, the term Internet of Things (IoT) was first introduced way back in 1999 by technology innovator Kevin Ashton to describe a system where the Internet is connected to the physical world via ubiquitous sensors. Fast forward to 2015 where the concept of the IoT has expanded, so much so that Gartner predicts that by 2020 the IoT market will include 26 billion connected devices and sensors that will generate more than $300 billion in revenue.

The opportunity to take advantage of IoT hasn’t gone unnoticed. In fact, a quick look at the crowd funding site Kickstarter.com shows that three of the top four technology projects by popularity are IoT devices. One project has already secured nearly $1.5 million in funding after asking for only $50k, proving that the desire for investment in IoT devices, predominantly in the consumer space, is huge.

Securing investment is one thing, delivering an end-to-end solution is quite another – this is where the Cloud is the backbone in helping organisations take the first step on this journey. Cloud represents an immense part of the IoT enterprise in terms of ease of adoption, cheaper implementation and integration costs, as well as providing more room for scalability. So how can Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) join the movement to monetise this opportunity and make the Internet of Things a reality? Here are five key areas CSPs should consider focusing on:

 

Devices and sensors 

Connecting devices and sensors is the first link in the IoT chain. These devices are the catalyst that provide businesses with one of the most important by-products of the IoT: data. By partnering early with an Independent Hardware Vendor you can steer the direction of the hardware development to deliver the best possible services solution to best utilise the valuable data.

 

Connection management

Having a simple platform that is easy to manage and aggregates the connection will help to deliver the consistent experience that the end user expects. Value-added services can help guarantee secure delivery of data as well as offer integrated security solutions here.

 

Hosting services

Hosting services give CSPs the flexibility to scale in line with the demand for compute and storage. Depending on the infrastructure you have in place and your ability to develop and maintain a software defined data centre, you may choose to host, co-locate or partner as the method to deliver these services.

 

Analytics

Hosted analytics platforms can simplify the intake of data from IoT devices and ensure the delivery of information to value added services on a wider scale. Device and usage statistics can help to you define future development of products and services, so it’s important to ensure detailed usage statistics are collected. You will also need to accelerate and simplify the adoption of value added analytics of data.

 

Automated service billing

Finally, you need to ensure that you have the systems in place to enable simple, highly accurate and automated service billing. Being able to offer different billable services to supplement or enhance your data is a highly valuable method for securing and increasing recurring revenue per user.

By investing time and resources into the IoT early on, you can spot trends, identify up and coming product innovators and independent software vendors, as well as build relationships with established infrastructure providers before the competition does. You can then start to offer competitive services through third parties. Demonstrating vision, flexibility and confidence is the first and most important step CSPs must take to make the IoT a reality.

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