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'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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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’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?
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 –
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
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
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 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
IOTP Brief: Why Apple's New iPhone Bodes Well for the IoT
By Maxine Bingham - 9 September 2014
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
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
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)
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 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net