The business of IoT,
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  I-On-the-Trends provides a look at not just what's occurring now
  with the Internet of Things (IoT), but is designed to be a predictive
  window into the future of the IoT.

GE Industrial Internet Image

GE's Revenues from Industrial Internet Approaching $1B
24 December 2014 - by Maxine Bingham

Despite those who have decried that the Internet of Things was hype, in fact, massive revenues are being reported from companies such as GE, who announced Industrial Internet revenues of $800M in 2013 and expectations of $1B in 2014. According to the Motley Fool:

     “One of GE's most famous takes on the Internet of Things -- or the "Industrial Internet," as the  company calls it -- is IoT's "power of one percent". The company believes that using sensors and software to make current industrial procedures and equipment just 1% more efficient will result in billions of saving for its customers.

GE Predix

     For example, GE believes a 1% increase in efficiency for the oil and gas industry would result in $90 billion of savings over 15 years. Similarly, the health care industry will experience a $63 billion in overall savings, and commercial aviation will see a $30 billion savings in fuel costs over the same period.

     GE's already started building IoT solutions by incorporating sensors into industrial equipment and then collecting and analyzing their data with software. For GE, the analytics side is what's most important right now. The company's invested about $1 billion into its Industrial Internet push, including its proprietary software, called Predix, which is used for managing and analyzing industrial equipment.

     As Bloomberg recently noted, the company now has more than 10 million sensors in the equipment it sells. The key question for GE investors is how much the company can make from its Industrial Internet focus. According to its CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, the company could see sales of up to $5 billion from helping businesses collect industrial equipment data by 2017.

     Right now, the software analytics side of its business is expected to generate more than $1 billion in revenue this year, compared to its Industrial Internet revenue of $800 million last year. For context, GE's total revenue in 2013 was $146 billion.”

Major corporations, like GE, are leading the way for the Industrial Internet, while smaller ventures are providing innovation in the areas of networking, cloud, wearables, connected car, energy and connected health.

Companies offering manufacturers – and consumers – new IoT products and services, are finding new ways of generating revenues, primarily through SaaS revenues. This has led to positive business disruption, calling for new skills and internal billing, etc. changes. For example, I heard leading HVAC air conditioning company, Daiken, discuss its investment in IoT for its commercial customers – leading to new revenue streams and increased customer satisfaction, as IoT was enabling cost and time savings for energy and repair.


Images from GE

csrmesh development board

Why Did Qualcomm Just Enter IoT Connectivity Market with $2.5B CSR Acquisition?
17 October 2014 - by Ron Bingham

Because that’s what Qualcomm does. As a fabless semiconductor company and technology licenser, Qualcomm generates lots of cash.  The company has north of $30 billion in cash and short-term assets. So, what do you do with all that cash? You distribute it to shareholders, you invest heavily in R&D or you buy companies. Qualcomm is doing all three. Since 1994, Qualcomm has averaged two acquisitions a year and in 2014 has acquired four companies so far. The more interesting answer to our lead question is intriguingly different. What, exactly did Qualcomm buy, when they bought CSR for $2.5 billion?

Qualcomm’s CSR acquisition news release (you have to accept Qualcomm’s terms to be able to read the release):

The acquisition complements Qualcomm’s current offerings by adding products, channels, and customers in the important growth categories of Internet of Everything (IoE) and automotive infotainment, accelerating Qualcomm’s presence and path to leadership. This opportunity is aligned with Qualcomm’s established strategic priorities in these rapidly growing business areas.

So what IoE, or rather Internet of Things (IoT), technologies might that be?  This is how CSR’s boilerplate describes their technology:

Our passionate technologists develop enhanced silicon, software and services with a focus on Voice & Music, Document Imaging, Automotive Infotainment, Bluetooth Smart and Indoor Location. We partner with leading customers across the globe and deliver integrated and differentiated technology platforms to help them turn their great ideas into market-leading products

I believe that what was of interest for Qualcomm in this IoT-based acquisition is CSR’s Bluetooth Smart technology. But wait. Didn’t CSR sell its Bluetooth division and IP to Samsung in 2012 including “full access to CSR's mobile connectivity and location technology?  Indeed it did. Note this from the July 18, 2012, press release announcing the conclusion of that deal:

Under the terms of the agreement, over 300 CSR employees will join Samsung which include a number of senior managers and engineers from Europe, U.S.A. and India, who will focus on the development of advanced connectivity, and location products and technologies. Klaus Buehring, Senior Vice President of Product Development at CSR will join Samsung's System LSI Business to lead the connectivity product development activities. In addition, Samsung receives perpetual rights to CSR's intellectual property and gains full access to CSR's mobile connectivity and location technology. The transfer of the operations and technology from CSR is for a consideration of US $310 million in cash.

So, what, then did Qualcomm get, in terms of IoT technology, in view of this earlier Samsung deal? We can speculate, especially in light of announcements that CSR licensed back some technologies from Samsung.

Advanced connectivity is key for the IoT as the Samsung/CSR deal demonstrates; it is often used as code for Bluetooth or WiFi, which is what CSR has been good at. So, CSR must have retained some license rights to, and designers of, Bluetooth, because earlier this year CSR announced CSR Mesh that is a Bluetooth-based mesh network. This network would allow individual Bluetooth-enabled (BE) “Things” to communicate with each other.

So, in a home mesh network when you come home and walk into a room with your BE smart phone the BE lights would come on, the BE security system would know not to call the police and the BE heating system would adjust the temperature to your liking. From your BE smartphone you need only to be in range of any one BE-enabled device to control or interact with any BE device in the mesh network or all BE devices at once.

See this video of CSR’s Mesh Network in action.

Since Qualcomm has managed to acquire this mesh network from CSR, Qualcomm will be stepping into an important but contentious area of the IoT market where a clear need exists but where there is no clear winner or universally accepted standard. It must compete, for example, with the Thread protocol that is sponsored by some real IoT heavyweights like Google (Nest), Samsung (sound familiar), Yale Security, Silicon Labs, Freescale Semiconductor and ARM Holdings. Thread also supports virtually unlimited IP addresses using IPv6. CSR Mesh does not support IPv6. The Thread specifications will not be available until May 2015.

If the acquisition of CSR gives Qualcomm a first mover position in this important IoT technology of near field networking, then $2.5 billion may very well have been the right price.

Photo of CSRMesh Development Board Courtesy of CSR

Cloud Computing image

Cloud’s Role in the IoT Grand Convergence
6 October 2014 - By Maxine Bingham

In speaking with a dozen IoT companies lately, from cloud infrastructure to wearable, a theme emerged. All agree that the pieces and parts for exciting new IoT products and service are here - what IoT Perspectives likes to call the IoT Grand Convergence. This includes right-size, right-cost and right-battery life sensors and microprocessors, as well as powerful and low cost servers, storage, networking and software. What all also agree, is that integrating these capabilities is the challenge, and cloud providers claim they are the best ones to tackle that challenge.

What else do we all seem to agree on?

  • Billions of devices will be wirelessly connected within 10 years

  • People will expect instant information via their wearable or smartphone

  • Enormous amounts of data will be transmitted

  •  This data has to be very quickly aggregated, analyzed and returned to a user or connected machine (M2M), meeting our expectations for fast, instantaneous results

  • While some argue that data patterns will change so that more data will be processed locally and only a small amount will be aggregated in a remote server (i.e., the cloud), the cloud is still needed to manage and secure massive amounts of data, such as video, which these billions of connected devices and machines will – and are already starting to – generate.

Thus, a higher level of the IoT Grand Convergence includes big data collection and aggregation, analytics, networking performance, scalability, security and privacy, and the cloud is ideally positioned to provide that.

A number of IoT cloud platform providers have told me that they take security and privacy very seriously, but, as noted by TreasureData Director Hannah Smalltree, while the cloud provider has a responsibility to secure the data in its possession, the manufacturer or service provider has to take care of security and privacy with the end user at its end.

Thus, we have a number of IoT cloud providers who make the case that it is faster and more cost-effective for IoT developers to work with public cloud platform vendors than do it themselves, especially as a number of these cloud companies are developing special hardware and software to do the job.

Companies such as Ayla Networks note that it makes more sense for a manufacturer to focus on what they’re good at, which are the features of their product or service, and work with cloud and big data/analytics experts that can collect and help crunch and return the data that users’ devices, or connected machines, will be generating.

We’ll be profiling IoT cloud ventures Ayla Networks, Concirrus and TreasureData as part of our new Startup Spotlight section, in order to better understand the players and approaches to this important part of the IoT Grand Convergence.

Image Courtesy of KROMKRATHOG /


AppleWatch Image

IOTP Brief: Why Apple's New iPhone Bodes Well for the IoT
By Maxine Bingham - 9 September 2014

Download PDF

IOTP brief Apple announcement good for the IoT

IOTP Brief Page 2 re Apple announcement



Image courtesy of Apple

Intel World's smallest modem

Window into the Future: IC Companies Investing in Miniaturization and Wireless for Wearables and
Special IoT Devices
27 August 2014

Following semiconductor (IC) companies provides a window into the future for the Internet of Things. Manufacturers typically rely on off-the-shelf ICs and components rather than design their own, primarily due to cost and time-to-invention. While some vendors with strong relationships with IC companies may ask for special features, the uniqueness of a product will depend upon the vendor's software, design, marketing and distribution and, hopefully, security additions.

For example, on 26 August, Intel announced in a blog post what they say is the world's smallest standalone 3G modem for the Internet of things (click on image for larger image). According to Intel:

     "At the heart of the Internet of Things lies the convergence of computing and connectivity, where even the tiniest of everyday devices—or “things”—can have massive computing capability and intelligence though its connection to the cloud. Today, we commercially launched the XMM™ 6255 modem to provide a wireless solution for the billions of “smart” and connected devices that are expected in the coming years. At about 300 mm in size, it is the world’s smallest standalone 3G modem, making it perfect for networked sensors and other IoT applications such as wearables, security devices and industrial equipment."

On its web site, ARM declaims:

     "The Internet of Things (IoT) is the collection of billions of end devices, from the tiniest of ultra-efficient connected end nodes or a high-performance gateway or cloud platform, intelligently connected and interoperating with servers and services. ARM’s technology’s breadth and diversity from silicon IP to software IP, combined with its partnership approach and ecosystem meet the needs of rapidly evolving secured interconnectivity of IoT...."

Freescale Semiconductor and ARM have collaborated on a white paper about "What the Internet of Things (IoT) Needs to Become a Reality::

     "Many recent articles point to the IoT as the interaction and exchange of data (lots of it) between machines and objects, and now there are product definitions reflecting the same concept. Hence, from a technology perspective, the IoT is being defined as smart machines interacting and communicating with other machines, objects, environments and infrastructures, resulting in volumes of data generated and processing of that data into useful actions that can 'ccommand and control' things and make life much easier for human beings ... similar to the world envisioned in the 1970s cartoon The Jetsons, only better… Almost any manufactured  good now includes an embedded processor (typically a microcontroller, or MCU), along with user interfaces, that can add programmability and deterministic 'command and control' functionality. The electrification of the world and the pervasiveness of embedded processing are the keys to making objects ‘smart.’"

Keeping an eye out for announcements from IC companies, as well as the statements on their web sites, will give you insight into the IoT products and solutions of the future. 

THIS JUST IN FROM THE FINANCIAL TIMES: 28 AUGUST 2014: U.K. wireless IC company, CSR rejects takeover bid from Microchip Technology to focus on Internet of Things solutions.

Photo from Intel (click image for larger image of Intel's new tiny modem for the IoT)

cat cartoon

UK Investing in IoT Businesses and Interoperability Standard
20 August 2014

According to Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board), Prime Minister, David Cameron, at Cebit, in March 2014, announced an additional £45m of government funding through its Technology Strategy Board to stimulate innovation by UK businesses in the Internet of Things. This took the UK's total public sector investment to close to £73m ($120+M).

According to the UK Government:

"Mr Cameron said: 'There are developments that could allow literally billions of everyday objects to talk to each other over the internet - using low-cost, low-power chips… This has enormous potential to change our lives. Electricity meters that talk to the grid to get you the best deals; health monitors that keep an eye on your heart rate or blood pressure; water pipes that warn of a fall in pressure; yes, and even a fridge that can order your milk. I see the internet of things as a huge transformative development - a way of boosting our productivity, of keeping us healthier, making transport more efficient, reducing energy needs, tackling climate change. We are making available £73m of funding to ‘put the boosters' under research and I can announce today that we are launching a new European internet of things grant fund valued at up to £1m for companies that are grabbing at these new opportunities.'

The UK is also driving Hyper/CAT, a consortium and standard for secure and interoperable Internet of Things (IoT) for industry:"To grow, we need to build an ecosystem where all applications work with all services." US company support includes IBM & Intel. This adds to the standards and consortia started in the US, from Thread (Google & Nest) to the Allseen Alliance (Cisco, Micorsoft) and others.

Image courtesy of athwart /


Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG /