The recently concluded Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, ballyhooed to be the world’s largest mobile industry exhibition, witnessed a mind boggling range of novel phones, tablets, wearables, back-end solutions, technologies, applications, accessories, and more.
In the middle of all the hype, a catchphrase that stood out though, was the Internet of Things (IoT) and the fact that it was moving beyond being just a buzzword to something very real, very usable. “Just about every business will become an IoT [Internet of things] business,” alleged Jahangir Mohammed, CEO of Jasper Wireless. Supplementing that – “The benefits are so profound that it is inevitable that this will happen.” By way of connecting devices over the Internet and wirelessly over mobile networks, companies can manage a wide range of new services for their customers.
Why else would Google from its barrio pay more than $3 billion for Nest’s smart thermostat and smoke alarm technology? “The thermostat is the product but the service is the core,” Mohammed expounds.
Taking this concept a wee tad bit further, telecom giants NTT DoCoMo and Deutsche Telekom have announced connected cow projects at the MWC, according to Pauline Trotter, principal analyst at Ovum. “As amusing as it might sound, there is a serious side to their work. Both projects involve using sensors connected to a cellular gateway to monitor pregnant cows and ensure the safe delivery of calves. In NTT DoCoMo’s case the service is deployed to 30,000 cows and alerts farmers to changes in the temperature of the pregnant cows, which signal that delivery is about to begin. The solution has reduced the rate of calf deaths from 10 percent to less than 1 percent,” explicates Trotter.
“The significance of these projects is that they suggest that sensors of all kinds are getting cheap enough to be offered in mass-market products. Furthermore, the combination of sensors with analytics and more usable front ends mean that the Internet of Things is rapidly becoming a reality,” states Trotter.
However promising, analysts feel that operators and major system integrators continue to enthuse about the size of the IoT market, but neither really comprehends as to what it has to do with the Internet. Trotter feels that although the above examples come from major operators, many implementations are being deployed in OTT scenarios. “They (operators and system integrators) seem to think that the Internet just provides the transport for application fortresses that they will still own and control. These sensors, and the platforms they interact with, will be the basis of the next OTT player to take yet another opportunity from under the noses of the established players,” concludes Trotter.