“Your Data may be used against you in a court of law….”

Hello and thanks for reading/watching….

I think most of us spent a fair amount of time (maybe too much, actually) watching TV cop shows growing up.  Regardless of the show, one phrase was drilled into our heads on just about every one….”You have the right to remain silent”.  Whether it was from also watching the same shows or from advice, most criminals know to do just that.


However, what if your devices don’t follow the same rules?


Two recent cases caught my attention in the news:

-  The first one was when the police legally obtained data from a suspect’s pacemaker
    to disprove their alibi

-   In the 2nd case, a suspect’s Fitbit’s data was used as evidence against a husband in      the trial for murdering his wife.

Kind of makes you wonder….what else has the potential to “rat you out”?  Maybe your Nest/Ring device, maybe your new smart washing machine (that might tell the police you did laundry right after a crime) or even your new smart Garage door opener?


You might ask….”Don’t I have the right against self-incrimination?”  So far, the courts have looked at these devices as being closer related to a telephone or computer, where usage records have long been used against defendants…..but perhaps this will go to the Supreme Court of most countries for a final determination.


The Bottom Line

So, will knowing this slow down the “smartening” of our society?  Considering the minuscule response to the privacy concerns at Facebook, I think that most people just consider this to be part of the new way of life….


Thanks for reading, check out more of our video blog posts on our web page and on our YouTube channel….

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OTT costing carriers billions. How much can M2M help?

Larry Bellehumeur |

I always found it kind of ironic that cellular network providers are referred to as "carriers".  For most of us, we grew up with our local postal delivery person being called "a letter carrier".  The reason I find it ironic is that carriers (of the cellular kind), who offer email and text messaging services, are a major reason why the other carrier (the postal kind) is having huge drops in business....I mean, when is the last time you sent something to someone by mail when you had the option of emailing it instead? Now, another kind of "carrier" is doing the same to cellular carriers that they helped do to the postal carriers.  The term "OTT" refers to those who provide "Over The Top" services.  By definition, that would be the delivery of content without the use of a multi-system operator (thanks to Wikipedia for that terminology).  Examples of such a service would be Apple's iMessage, Facebook and other chat services, but it also applies to content providers such as Hulu and Netflix.  While the cellular carriers can still have an involvement in the delivery of those services (by providing the transport), they are becoming reduced to the role of "a dumb pipe", which brings in a larger threat of commoditization and margin erosion And....we are not talking about small change here.  Recent articles have pegged the potential loss in revenue at $14B, just in 2014.  Even worse, those numbers are just for the wireless side of the house.  Most large wireless providers also offer some sort of consumer services that are also affected, such as cable and even home phone.  I know from a personal standpoint that I am not missing the reduction in channels that I recently did from my local provider, as my kids are much more prone to watching Netflix and Youtube.  One only has to look at the overpayment for various sports television rights to see how desperate the situation has become (since live sporting events are still mostly covered on broadcast TV).

So, how can the carriers make up for this lost revenue, or hopefully, even grow their business?

Move up the food chain

In this area, wireless carriers need to own the "end to end" experience of the customer.  If you look at the success of companies like IBM (on the services side), it tends to be done by offering a higher level of expertise in conjunction with the "I'll take care of everything" sales approach (we used to call it the "IBM comfort hug" when I worked there!).  Carriers have definitely started to do this (and have done it for a while), but they need to do it more.

Manage the data

Selling M2M hardware and connectivity is a good business to be in....but managing the data is likely better.  By providing more data-oriented solutions (and, billing it in such a manner), it allows for one to be much tougher to replace.  With the ability for customers to move devices between carriers much easier than ever before, it is more important than ever to increase the stickiness that one has at a customer.

M2M will help....but won't do it all on its own

One of the biggest changes in the past few years at the carriers was the introduction of the Apple iPhone.  For the first time, a vendor had such a powerful position and clout (while negotiating with the carriers), they were able to dictate conditions much more than ever before.  Unfortunately for the carriers, this trend may be one that is continuing and not dissipating.  So, it is unlikely that the carriers will see huge growth from the consumer side of the house any time soon....So, will M2M fix it all by itself?  Unlikely....M2M is (and will be) huge, but it won't be all on cellular.  A large proportion of M2M will be using existing landline/Wifi networks/cellular connections, so the gain will be not as greatly felt (in the area of activations anyways) by the cellular carriers.  The trick will be to get more out of every existing/new customer and that will take moving up the chain (as we mentioned above).As well, the rate of erosion of their traditional services is not slowing down....landline phone connections are being terminated at a great rate, and it looks like companies like HBO (with their announcement of their own streaming service) are going to become more of a threat than they are today to the cable/satellite TV part of the business.  It will take a big shift in the carriers thinking of M2M to come close to replacing the revenue today, let alone revenue declines in the future.


The Bottom Line

So, is it all doom and gloom for the carriers?  Hardly.  These are companies with extensive reaches into the consumer/corporate world, incredible billing and customer service capabilities, some of the smartest people in business running them....and, oh yeah, billions of dollars in annual profit.  I think they will make some pretty good decisions and will "right the ship".....they just better start doing it soon!   






**UPDATED** Top 10 Business Reasons to Deploy an IoT Solution

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As someone who grew up in the 1980’s, I was a fan of David Letterman.  One of his favourite bits was his nightly Top 10 list.  The list was usually topical in nature and it brought some laughter to justify staying up that late.  Well, I can’t say that mine will make you laugh, but instead, I do hope to bring some value to your business or organization. 

I think one of the issues that we have in the IoT space is that we tend to talk too much about technology and not what the actual benefits are.  We use phrases like, “Imagine what you can do with the data you receive!”.  Well, most of us aren’t children and we don’t want to have to imagine.  We need to do a better job in explaining it, in ways that actually make sense to most business owners.

In honour of Mr. Letterman, here are 10 ways that an IoT solution can help your business:

10) Reduces your Energy usage

Nothing drives me nuts more than wasting energy.  It isn’t all about the cost but just it is a waste of valuable resources.  For businesses, it is mostly about the cost.  Things like reduced lighting after-hours, reducing the output of key systems when not in use and not having to drive to a service call are all benefits of IoT Solutions…and they all reduce your Energy usage.

9) Brings new billing options and flexibility

It seems that no one wants to build a product and just sell it as a one-time thing anymore.  Businesses are moving towards service and recurring revenue models. One way to do this is to be able to gather information real-time.  When you have this info, you’re able to bill per use, per cycle, per month or however you want to do it.

8) Improves Safety

We all know that you are supposed to touch a door during a fire to know if it is safe to open it.  IoT solutions do that, and then some….your team can be warned of potentially dangerous issues before they get there, reducing injuries and costs.

7) Allows you to spot Trends much earlier

Want to know why some things sell better than others in your location?  Want to know why your team is not as productive as before?  IoT solutions allow you to not only gather info from the field, but also to make business decisions with it.  You’ll spot trends that you can act on much sooner than before and maybe before your competitors.

6) Improves the Life Cycle of your Valued Assets

My wife seems to wear out the brakes on her car much faster than I do on mine, even factoring in the extra distance driven.  One ride with her will show why….she has a heavier braking foot.  Knowing things like this about your equipment usage (and being able to see ideas on how to fix it) will make all of your machinery last longer, making your investments even better.

5) Reduces Downtime

Wonder how productive a printing shop is when their machines go down?  Not very.  IoT Solutions help you spot trends (things overheating, alerts to unscheduled maintenance, etc).  You can now make minor repairs before major ones shut you down.

4) Makes your Products and Services better

Ever wonder if the engineering changes you made to your product actually helped?  IoT solutions allow you to gather usage data and to spot trends that allow you to gain valuable insights into your customers’ usage and behaviours.

3) Improves Employee Productivity

Imagine a school was unexpectedly closed one day….you can bet the guys who pick up the garbage and stock the vending machines wish they knew before they went there for their scheduled stops.  Alert your team to changes, give them the best information and let them access key data remotely – all this will make them more productive.

2) Reduces Waste and Theft

Restaurants are usually pretty good at controlling waste, but even they are not immune to spoilage.  Spotting trends, keeping an eye on the temperature of a key fridge and alerts to issues with food during delivery are just a few IoT solutions that cut down on waste.  Not using perishables in your business?  Well, the same solution concepts can also be used to reduce unwanted theft, both internal and external.

And, the #1 reason….It improves your Customer Service levels

Let’s face it, in the day of quick manufacturing and Google in everyone’s hand, products and knowledge can be copied faster than ever before.  What differentiates your business is your level of service.  IoT solutions give you amazing tools to help….knowing an outage happens before you get calls, repair issues over the air (and not dispatching a truck) and improved products that meet the customer needs better are just a few of the ways that IoT can help your business.