For Mathias Herberts, cofounder of Cityzen Data, mastering the connected objects sector requires skills such as managing data storage, handling data collection networks and guaranteeing the longevity of services. These are tasks that a company, for its own sake, should delegate to others.
The challenges of the internet of
things sector are far greater than those so far presented by the world of big
data. With big data, social security administrators have learnt how to process
one billion healthcare-related forms per year, the RATP (the Paris region
public transport authorities) have been able to transport 5 million passengers
a day and banks recorded 8 million bank card payments in 2013.
With the internet of things, passenger plane black boxes record 300 different
parameters per second for around 100,000 flights per day, and the electricity
meters of the future will collect information relative to 35 million households
every ten minutes, that is to say 5 billion measurements per day. With the
internet of things, it will no longer be enough to quantify each of our activities:
we will need to break them down into smaller chunks of information.
It is not possible to
have an "end-to-end" approach
All of this leads to data analysis
challenges. Current providers of connected objects often try - and wrongly so -
to have an "end-to-end" approach, that is to say they want to possess the data
produced by their own objects and associated services, believing this approach
will give them a competitive advantage. In reality, however, only access to
data which can be analysed is important.
Possessing data adds a useless layer of complexity. Platforms need to be
created in order to deal with several technical details: a high quality data
intake process, data storage, storage scalability and, of course, a sufficient
level of security. The provision of these services to an optimal level - one
that is compatible with the world of the internet of things - is a sector all
of its own.
Connected object manufacturers need to be aware of the fact that it is in their
best interests to outsource the task of storing their data to platform
providers who have been emerging recently and who propose IoTic (Internet of
Things analytical) ecosystems. Not only are these companies innately developed
for the internet of things sector, but they also offer a large number of
analysis possibilities for the connected object provider, who can also offer a
large number of consumer-oriented services.
Plurality benefits the consumer
The emergence of such platforms place
consumer interests at the heart of their activities, as they are "agnostic":
they can collect data originating from different objects. This means that a
user of several connected objects, each produced by a different manufacturer,
can, thanks to these platforms, benefit from third party applications offering
cross-cutting services. These services will generate supplementary data which,
ultimately, will enrich any data that the connected object provider would have
been able to obtain through their own services alone.
Furthermore, these agnostic data collection sites, which are sometimes
dedicated to specific sectors of activity (like insurance, for example), enable
consumers to formally authorise the use of their data. This is important
because, let us not forget, this data remains the consumers' data. If companies forget this, they risk facing
accusations that they did not act in the consumers' best interests.
Finding new data collection network partners
Not having to deal with data
management will enable connected object providers to concentrate on their core
business activities. And, in this domain, there is already a lot to do,
starting with choosing the way in which data will be collected. Although the
networks that are currently in place can be used immediately, they are not set
up to accommodate new types of usage. It is therefore necessary to study
possible alternatives and find partners capable of managing them.
Among these alternatives, we can cite the possibility of using smaller cells
(Femtocells, or even picocells, such as those that JC Decaux and Vodaphone are
looking to install in urban properties). Another option is to opt for different
types of technology, such as Bouygues Telecom's Lora network or that of
Developing a connected object is a sector all of its
Even before that, the first challenge
of the internet of things is above all for companies to develop devices with
captors and actuators that can take in
situ measurements then trigger actions in other geographical locations.
The problem is that it is difficult to make modifications based on experience
when dealing with objects that are found all over the world. It is therefore
important to have a vision as early as possible of how the services linked to
an object could evolve throughout the life span of the object in question.
What's more, this must be done without the overall cost of the object spinning
out of control. This, once again, belongs to a sector all of its own.
These challenges, within themselves, create myriad opportunities that visionary
entrepreneurs will no doubt seize - entrepreneurs who will become the
privileged partners of the already well-established companies. This will only
happen, however, if the players already in place do not try and opt for too
sovereign an approach.