Exclusive Speaker Interview with Jeremy Green, OVUM

Jeremy GreenIn the lead up to the Digital Services World Congress we spoke to several industry experts, who will also speak at the event. Please read below the interview with Jeremy Green, Principal Analyst, OVUM.

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Do you think ecosystem players have found the winning M2M business model yet?

Business models for IoT are still very much in formation. There are some very straightforward B2B deployments out there, and that’s a tried and tested framework that is well understood by suppliers and customers alike. Typically an enterprise buys a service that makes its business processes more effective. But the B2B2C model is emerging, whereby enterprises use M2M and IoT technology to enable new kinds of customer-facing services; and still others are building applications that are clearly based on ‘over the top’ frameworks, where the customer pays for the application or service (and sometimes just the hardware) and the cost of connectivity is hidden. None of these models are outright winners, and none are likely to be any time soon. Others will emerge too, because the commercial possibilities enabled by the technology are very diverse.

What challenges still stand in the value chain’s way when it comes to entering and profiting from new vertical sectors, such as wearables?

One of the obvious challenges posed by wearables is the business model issue raised above. Telcos like to charge a recurring fee for providing a service that they think has value, but that’s increasingly at variance with the way that hardware vendors think. They’d rather make money from a one-off hardware sale and use services, and applications and platforms associated with them, to differentiate their offerings and get closer to their customers. They don’t have the mindset to charge a recurring fee or the tools to do it. But technical inter-operability is a big problem too. Open standards work less well than they ought to, so the easiest way to enable wearables is via closed, proprietary ecosystems like Apple’s. Everyone loves the idea of open standards, but in reality they just want their stuff to work. My own experience at MWC was a wake-up call for me. I tried to get a Bluetooth-enabled wristband to talk to my Bluetooth-enabled Android handset, and failed because there was no way to align incompatible drivers.

Data monetisation, security and global reach are all key themes on the M2M & IoT agenda; what questions surrounding them still ‘keep you up at night’?

If you want to wallow in paranoia security wins every time. Not only will IoT devices capture information about us that we might not have thought about sharing – when we are home, when we are awake, where we go – but they are linked to control systems that will have the power of life and death over us, like alarm systems and emergency call systems and our car’s brakes. Connecting these devices via IP makes sense from the perspective of technical infrastructure, but it creates risks that haven’t been thought about enough yet. Even if there isn’t really an issue, the public needs to bereally, really really sure that those systems are not susceptible to being hacked.

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