Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: XebiaLabs Blog, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Mehdi Daoudi, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Java IoT, Mobile IoT, Linux Containers, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

@ThingsExpo: Blog Post

The 'Internet of Things' Becomes Mainstream | @ThingsExpo [#IoT]

No mention of IoT targeted at the masses would be complete without the clichéd example of the communicating fridge

Internet of Things Becomes Mainstream, What Happens Now? | Part 2

How do you know when a technology has become mainstream? A good clue may be when politicians start talking about it on the campaign trail and with mainstream media. David Cameron, the UK prime minister, was the latest, indicating that the world was now on "fast-forward" with the Internet of Things (IoT) ushering in the new industrial revolution. No mention of IoT targeted at the masses would be complete without the clichéd example of the communicating fridge. While it is easy to get caught up in the hype and over-simplify, the complexity associated with making IoT mainstream will be unlike anything we have seen before it.

In the last Internet of things (IoT) blog, I suggested that in the emerging IoT world, humans will set policies and rules that define desired outcomes, while the execution of minute-by-minute decisions driven by those policies will increasingly be handled by automated agents. In turn those agents, as they evolve in sophistication and functionality, will drive new business models, new ways of generating revenue, and new strategies for pricing and charging.

Today, enterprises are discovering that one-trick billing is not suitable for a complex services world. We all know that a billing system needs to flexibly support, for example, recurring and non-recurring charges, volume discounts, short and long-term commitments, settlements, and (for enterprise billing) bill tracking and assignment across multiple departments and product lines.

Yet here we are today in a world increasingly being made more complicated by a proliferation of online services, by IoT and by a maze of evolving business relationships, and what do we find? Service providers are still being sold one-trick billing systems.

Perhaps there is some deep-rooted psychological need for some people to deny complexity. Over-simplifying, like politicians with their fridges, may be part of the popular culture, but in business, as in engineering, science and medicine, it is important to face up to complexity, understand what is really going on, and build our plans accordingly.

When Internet services emerged, some people predicted that everything was going to be paid for by advertising: a really simple business model. Then the online shopping cart came along and, without diminishing the importance of advertising much, vendors were able to trade online and offer services and products for money in a subscription form: another simple business model supported by one-trick billing systems. While subscription services have always been with us, the Internet enabled providers to offer many new services using the subscription model: software, music, movies, news.

And now we have IoT, and - even better - IoT with smart agents. We will see, naturally enough, that Internet merchant platform players insist that IoT devices and systems can be sold in shopping carts. Subscription billing system vendors will tell us IoT services are perfect for vanilla subscription billing. While others will come along with billing systems that are IoT-specific and assume some kind of a business model that is absolutely the best for IoT.

Yet in this increasingly complex environment, one-trick billing starts to look like a shaky idea. If you only have a merchant platform you can't handle subscriptions. If your billing system only supports subscriptions, forget selling service-related products through your own portal. If your billing system is designed just for IoT-style services, you could find yourself shut out from expanding into other lines of business. You will either have to constrain your business model, buy or license additional systems, or go to third parties for help.

For a new-start company, a one-trick billing system could appear to be a great way of getting into business, especially if it's available as a service with no long-term commitments. But as a company matures and expands its portfolio of services and products, it also expands its perspective on the marketplace. They experiment with more varied and more nuanced business models. They want to try interesting new approaches to pricing and billing to attract and retain customers. At this point, businesses find that they've outgrown their start-up one-trick billing systems. They find, as so many companies have discovered before them, that they cannot form their pricing and billing strategies around the needs and preferences of the market. Instead they must constrain their strategies to conform to the limitations and ways of working defined in their billing system. If you want to evolve your pricing and billing approach, you will have to buy a new system, either to replace or supplement the old system.

An earlier generation has seen this before; it's not a distinctive feature of the Internet. One traditional phone company, a giant, started with one billing system, as everyone does. They grew and refined their approach to the market and added new services. Their original billing system was a one-trick system, so they bought or built some new systems: systems specific to a particular product set; systems specific to a particular pricing strategy; systems to link all the other systems together... After a surprisingly short time, they found they had over a hundred distinct systems in their billing environment, strung together after a fashion, but with fragmented and highly duplicated data. Expensive and dysfunctional. Getting out of that kind of trap is not easy. The company sought help from another corporate giant and bought one more billing system, the system to end all other systems. Five years later they still had over one hundred plus one systems.

If they'd had a billing system able to support the agile needs of the business, they could have spent more time developing and selling services and less time band-aiding their systems environment. I have pointed out in several previous blogs that MetraNet users have a distinct advantage: the system can handle any business model, or any combination of business models, including business models that haven't been invented yet. By contrast, when you buy a one-trick billing system, you are also buying into the one-trick business model supported by that system.

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud, BUSS. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda was CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. At MetraTech, Esmeralda was responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution for enterprise and SaaS products, product management, business development and partner programs. Prior to MetraTech, Esmeralda was co-founder, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Lightwolf Technologies, a big data management startup. She was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of resource and service control software, now part of Extreme Networks.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
The age of Digital Disruption is evolving into the next era – Digital Cohesion, an age in which applications securely self-assemble and deliver predictive services that continuously adapt to user behavior. Information from devices, sensors and applications around us will drive services seamlessly across mobile and fixed devices/infrastructure. This evolution is happening now in software defined services and secure networking. Four key drivers – Performance, Economics, Interoperability and Trust ...
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busin...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Analytic. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound e...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
@ThingsExpo has been named the Most Influential ‘Smart Cities - IIoT' Account and @BigDataExpo has been named fourteenth by Right Relevance (RR), which provides curated information and intelligence on approximately 50,000 topics. In addition, Right Relevance provides an Insights offering that combines the above Topics and Influencers information with real time conversations to provide actionable intelligence with visualizations to enable decision making. The Insights service is applicable to eve...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi, the leading provider the Internet of Things and Digital Transformation, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility and analytics. We help globa...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi, the leading provider the Internet of Things and Digital Transformation, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility and analytics. We help globa...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.