Will Industrial IoT be bigger than Consumer IoT?

M2M - The Industry

When a lot of people talk about IoT, it often seems to revolve around the consumer.  I often hear how it will change people's health, allow people to automate their home and allow them to have a disturbingly close relationship with their car.  However, according to some (including me), the real growth may be in the Industrial side.  So, why does no one talk about it?  Maybe getting the level of dirt from an Industrial vacuum isn't as much of a page-turner to read as the latest Apple iHealth application...

The following quote was taken from a Globe and Mail article, quoting Whitney Rockley.  Ms. Rockley is with McRock Capital and says:

There is a view in 2014 that the world has gone beyond Big Data. They are now talking about the Internet of Things [IoT], and data analytics,” Ms. Rockley said. The industrial side of the IoT is getting incredible attention from groups like Cisco, SAP, and also from Royal Dutch Shell and Rio Tinto — industrial IoT will outpace consumer IoT by 2017.

Now, the idea that IoT will be popular in many industrial applications is not new.  In fact, I wrote a blog post about how GE thought IoT (called Industrial Internet) would change many of the economics of business that we take for granted today.  So, what is different now?  I mean, I have been selling modems into some industrial markets for close to 20 years.

Well, for starters, it is beginning to move from the theoretical to the practical, as well as from the "operations team" to the entire company.  Companies like Cisco and SAP see it as large potential growth engines, amazingly in two totally different ways:

1.    Cisco sees it as both a chance to sell more hardware but also to move its company away from being a hardware-centric company to one more focused on providing overall solutions. 

2.    For SAP, it allows them to bring this very "decision-intense" data into their customers....basically, the data from an IoT application has tremendous importance to just about all parts of the company equally.  This is unique and this allows SAP the opportunity to sell services and software modules like little other data ever could, hence its value.

So, will the "Industrial Internet" be bigger than consumer IoT?

I've gone back and forth on this one.  On one hand, you have the consumer side.  It is hard to argue that it will be bigger when you talk about billions of potential users, all having various parts of their life using IoT.....the amount of data is incredible.

On the other hand, you have tons of businesses, each with thousands (or in some cases, millions) of assets that could be using IoT to communicate back.  In the end, I do believe that the Industrial side will be bigger than the consumer side and here are a few reasons why:

  • For many consumers (at least for the next little while), most will see IoT as a "nice to have" and not as a necessity.  I mean...I can live without my garage door being automated.  However, businesses are in a competitive situation and the savings/productivity gain will be too much to ignore.
  • As many consumers as there are, there are way more machines / devices out there.  I suspect that when one uses sheer numbers, companies own more potential assets than consumers that will use IoT, at least in the short term.
  • Finally, I think the pricing / complexity for consumer IoT is not yet at the point of mass-market appeal, where it likely is for most businesses.

The Bottom Line

I think companies that focus on either side of the IoT fence will be in a great position to make a lot of money in the coming years.  However, companies that can successfully work in both areas will be true winners in our space.

As always, Novotech is ready to assist with your M2M needs. Whether you’re looking to control, track, monitor or back-up, Novotech has the solutions and products you need. View our Line Cards and let us know how we can be of assistance.

Stay connected! Follow Novotech on Twitter (@NovotechM2M) or follow me personally (@LBNovotechM2M).  We’re also very active on LinkedIn so follow our company page too. 


 

Great, something else with a battery to charge at my house…

M2M - The Industry

About two decades ago, I started my “technology” career in the PC area.  It used to be that installing a PC meant way too many wires to be installed. 

One day, one of my colleagues told me that he was investing in a company that produced wires for electronics (I cannot remember the name).  I thought he was crazy….I mean, WiFi and other short area technologies were on the horizon, as was the push towards laptops…..who needs all of these wires if we are not going to be tethered to our desks?

Well, that was a mistake.  The investment went through the roof, as I missed one key item….even portable devices have batteries that need to be charged.  So, even though we may not be using as many connection cables for communication, the explosion in the amount of personal devices meant a huge amount of power cables were needed.

Funny how Elon Musk’s solution to using less power is to use a battery in your home….ironic since many things that are plugged in are actually just to charge the battery!

And, Mr. Musk, you may be on to something…

There are a few issues with many of the current attempts/technology to reduce electricity uses:

Expense  Putting a solar panel up on your roof may pay for itself over time, but it can sure cost you a lot to start.  Sure, there are some payment plans available and sure, many jurisdictions will provide rebates/incentives for you, but it still may be out of reach for many users. 

Practicality  If you live in Phoenix, I can see a lot of upside to putting in a solar panel, as you get over 3000 hrs of sunshine a year.  However, what about Seattle?  Not to pick on Seattle, as I adore the city, but I have been there for several few day stretches and never seen the sun.  As well, what if you live in an area (like I do) where you are prone to hailstorms…..not sure how well the panels may hold up to hail the size of your cat’s head.

Portability  Ok, you have some space on your lot and you get past all of the legal/regulation red tape allowing you to install a windmill on your property….Doesn’t help you much in the event of an evacuation, or if you simply go to your cottage.

Use of the grid during peak times  In many areas, the peak usage of electricity may not correspond to when green energy produces the most.  If you live in a cold weather climate, the maximum use is actually in the winter, when days are shortest.  Also, in many areas, smog rolls over the city at the time of the day when the temperature reaches its peak, meaning that you may not get as much sun exposure as you would at other times of the day.

Enter Tesla’s Powerwall battery

The idea of the battery is that it either draws power from the grid during off hours (when it is a lower cost rate in many areas and/or the grid is under-utilized) or it draws power from renewable sources. Either way, it allows you to use this power during times when you need it most. 

Is the battery ideal for you?

There are several factors that will decide this:

       The cost of electricity at different times of the day at your house.  If there is a big difference between peak and off-peak usage, it likely makes a lot of sense.

•       Can you attach it to a solar panel, especially an existing one?  If you can charge it for free (or close to free) using an existing investment, I have to think that this may be a no-brainer.

•       Where you live matters….as mentioned, Phoenix = yes, Seattle = no.

•       Do you live in a place that has spotty electrical coverage, such as a rural area, or one that is prone to natural disasters?  If so, I think that there is value as a back-up alone….

The Bottom Line

I remember when a few neighbours were chatting one day about plug-in electric cars.  Despite the fact that every household could replace at least one of their cars easily with a plug-in, none of us have.  The reason is that people don’t like to invest in long-term paybacks unless it makes things better.  The same goes for a solar panels….most people just don’t want to make the investment.  However, I think that the Tesla battery is an easy way to save energy. I mean, who doesn’t already have a dozen or so other devices to plug in each night…so, what is one more?

As always, Novotech is ready to assist with your M2M needs. Whether you’re looking to control, track, monitor or back-up, Novotech has the solutions and products you need. View our Line Cards and let us know how we can be of assistance.

Stay connected! Follow Novotech on Twitter (@NovotechM2M) or follow me personally (@LBNovotechM2M).  We’re also very active on LinkedIn so follow our company page too.