Guest Blog with Avangate
Author: Michael Ni, CMO/SVP, Marketing and Products, Avangate
Sometimes it seems like just yesterday that everything was getting “cloud-ified,” from photo sharing to customer relationship management, but the move to the cloud is actually a couple of years old these days. But now that we all have our documents stored in the cloud (and our heads out of the clouds), everybody’s looking for a clear path toward success in the latest trend: the Internet of Things.
Just like the cloud before it, the Internet of Things is now top of mind for software professionals. Its promise has been nascent for a long time: although Dick Tracy’s 2-Way Wrist Radio first appeared in 1946, connected devices like the FitBit and Apple Watch are just starting to get in the hands – or on the wrists – of everyday folks.
With broader adoption of connected devices come both opportunities and challenges. Even the companies that are able to sell IoT hardware successfully find themselves needing to develop and monetize complementary services to help users get the most out of their devices. And software-focused companies that don’t have devices need new a way to get in on the IoT and the billions it’s expected to bring in. That way is through data.
While the IoT started out with connected sensors, it soon became clear that simply sensing data wouldn’t be enough. Just like storing content in the cloud also required building interfaces that made it easy for users to access cloud content, IoT sensors now need to produce data that’s easy for people to find, understand and use. And because IoT data is so valuable (not to mention expensive), there needs to be a way for companies to monetize it. So if wave 1 of the IoT trend involved simply creating the sensors, wave 2 involves monetizing them and the data they create.
As a result, more and more software vendors have started staking a claim in the IoT. At Avangate, we’ve been helping companies like Bitdefender monetize their IoT offerings. Bitdefender offers a “security of things” solution called BOX, a small device that scans for IoT threats on a local WiFi connection. By monitoring the way your smart devices stay connected, BOX finds and protects against possible threats to your connected information. By helping Bitdefender easily monetize its entry into the IoT, including not only the device itself but also associated data, we’re showing the importance and ease of monetizing IoT devices and the data they produce.
And that’s the key: commerce absolutely has to run in the background of every IoT play. No matter how affordable a device is up front, or if streams of data are free for now, devices and data both cost a significant amount to create, maintain, and provide in ways that really work for consumer and business customers. As a result, to truly succeed in the IoT, software companies need to be able to package and sell data derived from connected devices in ways that will benefit other entities as well.
In the end, it’s clear that that the desperate need for IoT data monetization is actually a massive opportunity. Companies are still scrambling to create devices and support data, and not enough entities are thinking about how to monetize it. Those who find themselves able to successfully package and sell information in the IoT era may find themselves enjoying Salesforce style status and riding high on the wave of the future as the IoT truly takes off.
Avangate will be exhibiting at the Cloud World Forum on Stand D48, taking place on the 24th – 25th June 2015.