October 30, 2014
Gartner certainly got it right when they put IoT on the top of the hype curve. This many people have never been interested in what I am working with, not even when I worked with Wi-Fi. Last week for example, Stockholm Business Region, an agency promoting Stockholm, organized a breakfast meeting. But this one was about IoT and 150 people signed up within one hour! Since they had room for 80 persons in the venue they had to shut down the registration and find a bigger place. They ended up with the largest cinema in Stockholm, some 600 registered people, exhibitors in the entrance hall and a strong line-up of speakers.
I am managing an IoT Idea Challenge
for an EU organization, EIT ICT Labs, and we set our target to 100 submissions. The submission period was September and with one day to go we had received 72 cases. The last day we received 91! For IoT to change our society, businesses and lives the way we want, everyone has to be involved. Therefore I’m glad that 18% of the submissions came from women – at least a good start. Today we announced the eleven finalists
– all amazingly interesting young companies who will pitch in Stockholm November 13.
Well, now when a lot of people got the first part right – it is time to look into IoT – let us start prototyping and testing in order to get the whole thing right.
Leave a Comment » | IoE, IoT, M2M | Tagged: apps, Gartner, Hype curve, Internet of Everything, Internet of Things, IoT, M2M, Machine-to-Machine | Permalink
Posted by magnusmelander
March 27, 2014
Last night I participated in my first hackaton. It was arranged by Evothings who has developed an open source tool which includes libraries and API:s for connected devices like Arduino, Rasperry Pi, sensor tags, iBeacons and Philips LED-lamps and provides the ability of speedy development of IoT apps for IOS, Android and Windows Mobile. We were around 30 men (M2M unfortunately still means Men to Men) who got a 15 minute introduction, free pizza and a great experience. After two hours of playing with Evothings Studio, smartphones and some connected devices we had a “show-and-tell” session where the participants shared their experience and results.
Even though I’m quite well aware of what can be done in the field of IoT I was blown away to see how easy it was to put things together into a working prototype. Two young participants demonstrated how they controlled a small cannon from their smart phone, aiming and shooting. In two hours without having seen Evothings Studio before. My colleague came with an idea to extend their offering to retailers using iBeacons and I believe these two hours gave him what he needed to make the first prototype for a pilot test with a client.
I think this is very important to realize: not only is the Internet of Everything being built here and now with massive impact on industries, individuals and society. It takes minimal programming skills, little time and almost no money to develop a working prototype and see what happens. The democratization of IoT development tools together with modern phenomena like crowd-funding, crowd-sourcing and open API:s brings immense change. For sure.
EIT ICT Idea Challenge is a competition for start-ups in EU launched at CeBit some weeks ago. It includes eight different categories, each with 40K/25K/15K€ prices, and the IoT category is managed from Sweden. Before last night I thought that maybe 100 participants per category would be realistic. But after yesterdays experience I could easily see thousands of participants per category!
Leave a Comment » | Business Models, M2M, M2M Service Enablers, User Interaction | Tagged: Android, apps, Arduino, crowd funding, crowd sourcing, Evothings, Evothings studio, Hue, iBeacon, Idea Challenge, Internet of Things, IOS, IoT, LED lamp, open api, Philips Hue, Rasperry Pi, sensor tags, smartphone, User interaction, Windows Mobile | Permalink
Posted by magnusmelander
December 11, 2013
Companies are investing a lot of money year after year to communicate with their customers and influence their perception of their company and brands. The budgets are there basically to sow for future sales and they remain on the same level year after year measured as a percentage of sales. The ever-increasing challenge is the growing number of channels to be used, and the constantly changing relative importance of them. But the best channel by all means has always been the product itself. Customers who buy it has it and use it often for a long time. People around them might see them using it. Satisfied users as well as dissatisfied users are happy to tell others about their experience.
All of this is well-known facts. But what is less known is that it has become realistically possible to establish a continuous dialogue with the products and also the users of them depending of what product it is, by using modern M2M or Internet of Things technology. Examples of products that often are connected already are: trucks, electrical meters, cars, alarms, vending machines and coffee machines. They are typically connected for operational benefits like being able to tell the truck driver to go to a service facility and depending on where he is propose which one, for electricity companies to measure and report consumption almost in real-time, for vending machines to understand when it’s time to go there to fill it up and better schedule the service route, for coffee machine rental companies to change recipes over the air and for alarm companies to get the alarms automatically. This is all fine and the normal first phase of an M2M investment. Operational value is easy to realize and make ROI investments on thus easier to get project approval and budgets for.
As we all know by now: data is the gold of M2M. And with these things connected we can gather and interpret the data from the connected things and start use it to create strategic value. Examples could be that the owner of the truck could measure how drivers actually drive, provide training to them and become a more sustainable company, the electricity company could offer customers better price off-peak hours, vending machines would get decision support from real data to know what products to have on weekends and warm days in different parts of the country and to use dynamic pricing, coffee machine companies could tune the choice of coffee for different seasons and learn customer’s coffee drinking habits and the alarm companies could add new adjacent services to their alarm infrastructure to become more competitive. All these things are examples of how the collected data could be used to add brand value, competitiveness, customer loyalty, innovation and attractiveness for employees, etc.
We are in the teen-age of M2M aka Internet of Things and many companies have started to connect their things, mainly for operational reasons. But it is still very rare to see companies using the data to create strategic value. Most consumer goods is not connected and if it is, there is no organized use of the data collected. Most professional equipment isn’t connected either and if it is, the data is rarely used in an organized fashion to create strategic value.
But this is about to change and I think we will see a lot of new examples in 2014. A number of new relevant ways of connecting things are available including the power-efficient and very small Bluetooth 4.0 chips with innovative solutions like iBeacon, networks optimized for connecting millions of autonomous things like Sigfox and a host of different ways to associate real life things with an avatar on the Internet like QR-codes, smart cameras, RFID and innovative solutions from companies like Evrythng.
This isn’t about technology. It is only when clever strategists, progressive marketing directors, creative advertising agencies, determined product managers and innovative business developers really understand what is practically and financially possible today that true innovation beyond operational value creation starts to happen. Interesting examples of creative customer communication through products could be the Evian Smart Drop, Volvo’s On Call app enabling their B2B+B2C model and Apple’s recent launch of an iBeacon based service in all 254 Apple Stores in the US.
1 Comment | Business Models, Consumer market, Inspiring example, M2M, Markeing, User Interaction | Tagged: apps, Bluetooth, Brand, Evian, Evrythng, iBeacon, Internet of Things, IoT, M2M, Machine-to-Machine, On Call, QR condes, Rfid, Sigfox, smart camera, Smart Drop, Volvo, Wbird | Permalink
Posted by magnusmelander
November 10, 2013
Data is the gold of M2M! Today even “monkeys” can connect a couple of things, collect the data in the cloud and present it in an app. And now, in its teenage, the M2M aka Internet of Everything industry is splitting up in three distinct parts: collecting data (sensors and devices), managing data (analyzing, manipulating, combining data) and distributing data (apps, web, integration in business systems, decision-making systems). Each of these three parts have to be perfectly resolved to make a great M2M solution: efficient and sensitive sensors connected using relevant networks, secure and efficient data management where understanding the context is absolutely required, and great, sticky UX in apps and web interfaces are examples from recipes of culinary M2M dishes.
It is when the collected data cautiously has been transformed into information and delivered into business applications that the value of M2M appears. The cold chain for the lobsters from Canada just delivered to the store is uninterrupted. The car that just alarmed the response center of an accident has three passengers. The route suggested by the navigator has risk for ice on a bridge 2 km from here.
With data transformed to information and delivered in relevant applications being the key for M2M solutions it is obvious that the access networks are secondary. Each solution in the hands of customers should ensure proper information delivery using the best available network option given the situation. Requirements on bandwidth, QoS, cost, latency, SLA, power, size, investment horizon, etc should determine which access network to use for each device and sensor. I see only two ways to deliver on this: either the service providers provide a portfolio of access options to serve the clients or the M2M Service Enablers will have to get access from a mix of service providers. At M2M Summit Scandinavia last week I was glad to hear that both Vodafone and Deutche Telekom share this view and aim to provide a solid portfolio of connectivity options for M2M customers.
Talking about access networks for M2M: Connode was just awarded M2M Company of the Year in Sweden by Mobil Business. Once again a great winner, once again a member in Swedish M2M Association.
1 Comment | M2M, M2M Service Enablers, Networks, User Interaction | Tagged: apps, B3CC, B3IT, Connode, Deutche Telekom, Internet of Things, IoT, M2M, M2M Summit, Machine-to-Machine, Mobil Business, network agnostic, SMSE, User interaction, UX, vodafone | Permalink
Posted by magnusmelander
September 13, 2013
I was chairing Short Range Wireless Forum in Amsterdam 2006 and NFC
was the hot topic of the day since Nokia announced the first NFC phone the day before. But the combination of its limitations and the fact that only some vendors decided to implement NCF seriously made it yet another promising technology that never took off. These days Apple is introducing iPhone 5C / 5S and iOS7. This launch is as always followed and debated by a lot of people but still very few seem to have captured iBeacon
. I believe that is yet a significant enabler by Apple which rapidly will become an important building block for Internet of Things applications and could make NFC redundant.Imagine entering into an indoor location like a University Campus. Your iPhone connects to iBeacon automatically over Bluetooth and depending on who you are it will provide you with directions where to go for the next class, it will take you to the canteen and take care of the payment leaving you with a receipt. One build wireless coverage in a location quite cheaply. Lets move to a department store, shopping mall or train station and the use cases are easy to see.A beacon, or mote, is like a lighthouse for radio transmission. Estimote
is s startup providing beacons supporting iBeacon. The beacons are a couple of centimeters big and include an ARM processor, accelerometer, flash memory and Bluetooth connectivity. A beacon could cover up to 50 m radius and have battery life time of around 24 months. Estimotes developer kits give you three beacons for 99$ which gives us an idea of price points.iBeacon leverage Bluetooth 4.0 (also called Bluetooth Low Energy BLE or Bluetooth Smart)
which was approved in July 2010 and is told to be a stable platform to develop solutions on. With over 19.000 companies as members in Bluetooth SIG
and over 2.5 Billion products shipped Bluetooth is a well supported technology across industries. I believe developers will love this technology and application enabler why pick-up will happen quickly and massively. When we look back at these announcements a couple of years from now I think we will conclude that Bluetooth 4 was the real breakthrough for Bluetooth, iBeacon enabled a new generation of apps and NFC didn’t make it.Exciting times!
Leave a Comment » | Consumer market, M2M, M2M Service Enablers, Networks, User Interaction | Tagged: Apple, apps, B3CC, B3IT, beacon, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, Bluetooth SIG, bluetooth smart, Estimote, iBeacon, Internet of Things, IoT, lighthouse, M2M, NFC, Nokia | Permalink
Posted by magnusmelander
March 3, 2013
Mobile World Congress 2013 is over and some 72.000 visitors and 1.700 exhibiting companies have gone home. The new location – Fira Gran Via – was more “professional” and space, logistics, food, etc was better. But on the other hand, it is far away from down town Barcelona which made people spend much more time in the traffic. And at a couple of occasions the traffic turned really bad.
I have obviously not seen everything and met everyone so my conclusions have no trace of science:
The over-all impression was quite boring rather then exciting. Devices, boxes, antennas and software architectures all over the place and the devices really look the same. Is this a sign of commoditization? The very serious fact that Europe is seriously behind in LTE usage (4% of subscribers world-wide acc. to GSA) should make a lot of Europeans nervous. Our entrepreneurs in the European mobile industry might start move to the US like IT entrepreneurs have done for many years.
The value of MWC continues to be the interaction between people from the same industry across the world why parties and sub-events continue to be important. The 5:th Swedish Mobile Association-party on Monday was spectacular again and my job as bouncer was as easy as all previous years.
There is a growing number of visitors and exhibitors from other industries mainly due to M2M. I guess there were 20 more or less connected cars to look at but I also found exhibitors like Assa Abloy with their connected locks in a small both. I believe this increased focus on what to use the mobile network for is a good development – maybe the event should be divided in two: building and operating networks – using networks.
M2M was everywhere but the heavily promoted GSMA Connected City part of the event I unfortunately found quite dull. In the far end of Hall 3, few visitors, a lot of screens with presentations and no real energy or “heat” (if we exclude the Gangnam Style dancers from KT). And I couldn’t find anything about OTA provisioning of SIMs which was demonstrated by GSMA last year. Connected cars was clearly the most discussed topic in M2M followed by mHealth. I believe it is a sound development that focus on M2M itself disappears (no customer has ever asked me for M2M) and that we start discuss real problems with real customers. The industry needs to be able to create value for the huge SMB market and not only the multi-nationals, consumers and governments. That is the key challenge for M2M today.
Ericsson’s Key Note event Tuesday night was a highlight: well structured and executed with M2M and Networked Society as a leading theme. And finally Vestberg invited Avicii on stage and then they launched a new song right there, XYOU based on a crowd-sourcing process. The thing I really liked was that they showed the Twitter feed from when Avicii entered the stage and when they played the new song we could see it spreading over the Internet on another huge screen. Well thought through and executed! I’m not sure everyone in the audience understood what was going on but my 17 years old daughter was really impressed already by the SMS I sent her.
My choice of coolest product at the show was also in the Ericsson hall. Under the banner “Windows of Opportunities” they demonstrated four connected windows solving real problems. My favorite was the one for skyscrapers which generates electricity from light coming in. I hope they have solid patents in place!
Personally my highlight of the week was outside of MWC. I was invited by Prof. Aninyda Ghosh, assistant professor of entrepreneurship at the great IESE Business School, to give a speech on Parallel Entrepreneurship. I enjoyed every minute!
Leave a Comment » | Consumer market, Healthcare, Inspiring example, M2M, Transportation, User Interaction | Tagged: Anindya Gosh, apps, Assa Abloy, Avicii, B3CC, B3IT, connected city, eCall, Ericsson, IESE, Internet of Things, IT, LTE, M2M, Machine-to-Machine, Mobile World Congress, mwc, OTA, SIM, SMA, Vestberg, Windows of opportunities, xyou | Permalink
Posted by magnusmelander
January 7, 2013
Solving real problems is a good foundation for entrepreneurs. And finally finding what we are looking for is something we all like. StickNFind is a promising solution built on Bluetooth technology together with IOS and Android. You simply put your very small Bluetooth stickers on your keys, pets, children backpacks or whatever you want to keep an eye on. The receivers are similar in size as a quarter-dollar coin and quite thin. The replaceable battery lasts for about a year. When you use the StickNFind mobile app to find things you can even light the label up and make it vibrate to help localize the item. But you can only locate things about 30 meters away. One can also use StickNFind to tell when tagged things are coming within range like the bag at the airport convey belt or getting out of range like your turtle trying to escape. Two labels are sold for $35 US but you can have many more managed from one phone.
to crowd finance their product and with just a couple of days left they have raised almost ten times the $70.000 US they aimed at.
1 Comment | Consumer market, Inspiring example, M2M, User Interaction | Tagged: apps, B3IT, Bluetooth, crowd financing, Indiegogo, Internet of Things, M2M, Machine-to-Machine, smartphone, trace, track | Permalink
Posted by magnusmelander
November 9, 2012
Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) has been worked on for some twenty years. The idea to look at traffic and transportation using a holistic approach is great and rarely disputed. And the effects when ready would be fantastic! Efficiency, safety, sustainability and convenience, all the key promises of M2M, are there. But still the development is quite slow. Of course we need to remember that a lot of these issues are infrastructure related thus complex and time-consuming to develop. And a multimodal transportation approach require integrated organizations which is yet another complex thing to change. There are also many stakeholders and a lot of legislation involved.
But still I believe there are ways to drastically speed up the process: by leveraging the rapid development in technology in combination with innovation and pragmatism we could make things happen fast. Examples of key things to leverage are
- the open data movement to allow entrepreneurs to drive innovation
- the smartphones and pads to allow users of the transportation systems to access the information they need to make qualified decisions
- crowd sourcing and other innovative ways to collect data
- entrepreneurs to drive creativity, innovation and choice
A very good example of an ITS type application which is in place and leverage all of these is Waze.
It is the world’s fastest growing community-based traffic and navigation app
and it is free. They claim 30 million users already and they even get help to edit the maps from their users. It started as an open-source mapping project in 2006 and Waze was founded 2008. The company is backed by serious investors and the business model is based on location-based advertising. The level of innovation is high and you can for example connect your Facebook account to see where your friends are.
Think about this: First came GPS devices integrated into cars for maybe 3-5K$, then came mobile GPS devices, often with better maps and features, for about 1/10 of the price and now this, for free. The power of what today’s technology and modern ways of working can do is immense. The services are continuously improved and by using one device for many things we even help save the planet.
I am focusing a lot on ITS and together with our partners and entrepreneurs we have numerous concepts and ideas (including dynamIQ parking™ which we launched at ITS World Congress) leveraging modern technology and ways of working to make drastic ITS progress. Let’s get going!
Leave a Comment » | Business Models, Inspiring example, ITS, M2M, Transportation, User Interaction | Tagged: apps, B3IT, Business model, convenience, crowd sourcing, efficiency, entrepreneurs, GPS, Internet of Things, investor, M2M, Machine-to-Machine, open api, pads, security, smartphone, sustainability, Traffic, Transportation, usability, User interaction, VC, Waze | Permalink
Posted by magnusmelander
October 3, 2012
The magic between the generic communication services and the specific application providing desired value to the users business is what we call M2M Services Enablement. This component of a M2M solution is absolutely vital since it shortens time and effort to develop the solution and minimize the effort to maintain and further develop the solution. The more robust and complete the Services Enablers become, the more users will decide to use M2M solutions. Services can be applied in three different ways: communication providers can add it on top of the connectivity, owners of the connected things can run Services Enablement in-house and one can use an independent third-party.
From a pure technical point of view Services Enablement platforms are generic but the successful providers of these services will be very focused on a specific niche or industry. If we look at a straight forward consumer solution like sleep monitoring, there are several solutions available. But one day there will be a market leader and that solution will definitely include some kind of intelligence applied on the information gathered in the cloud. It could typically be world-class sleep experts who can look at your data and give advice or comparisons to relevant indexes. With such services available it will be difficult to sell a plain stand-alone sleep monitoring solution. What is done with the information collected will differ from industry to industry but the logic will still be the same: players in an industry will benefit from using the Services Enabler who can add most value to their business and they will most likely end up using the same one. Following this logic there will be a large number of Services Enablers each focused on a specific industry, application or niche. The marked development for Services Enablers seems likely to follow Geoffrey Moore’s theories about “crossing the chasm”. Targeting a specific pin in bowling alley is the way to cross the chasm. When on the other side, it’s possible to target another pin, using the first pin as reference.
I continue develop the Swedish M2M Service Enablers (SMSE) alliance and we just included two more companies: Springworks and Episcope. They both follow the logic above and focus on the Automotive industry and Process Industry respectively. I continue to believe that M2M Services Enablement will be a forte for Swedish start-ups.
1 Comment | Cloud computing, M2M, M2M Service Enablers | Tagged: apps, B3CC, B3IT, chasm, crossing the chasm, Episcope, Geoffrey Moore, Internet of Things, M2M, Machine-to-Machine, SMSE, Springworks, Swedish start-ups, Traffic | Permalink
Posted by magnusmelander
August 4, 2012
Single purpose M2M solutions have started to appear in the market. They are typically addressing one specific problem with a combination of hardware, software and communication. If the problem addressed is clear and considered big enough by many people and the solution works well then the willingness to pay should be possible to build a business around. Provided the solution uses the cloud to deliver the service from, then expanding the solution to include generic devices like smartphones, pads and PCs is an interesting next step at least to access the data but maybe to run the entire application on as well.
A good example is Coyote from France who claims over 1.7 million users of their speed camera alert system in Europe. The service is also available as an app for iPhone/iPad, Android, Blackberry and for Parrot. A Coyote device cost about 250€ including one year of service. A solution like this is also interesting for mobile operators since one agreement can sell hundreds of thousands subscriptions of the same type and each deal like this provides opportunities to add service enablement services on top of the connectivity.
The two key success factors of products like these are a high quality solution to a reasonable big problem and ease-of-use out of the box. Then people are willing to pay reasonably well for the service and word of mouth will work for marketing. Easy to buy and use solutions are also interesting in sales channels. It is quite likely that we will see many more single purpose M2M solutions onwards.
Leave a Comment » | Business Models, Cloud computing, Consumer market, M2M, M2M Service Enablers, User Interaction | Tagged: apps, B3CC, B3IT, Business model, Coyote, Internet of Things, IoT, M2M, Machine-to-Machine, speed camera, Traffic, Transportation, usability | Permalink
Posted by magnusmelander