Connected devices often have a cloud access component to interface with a user app. But there may be some real differences in what the cloud actually does. What can that cloud do and why should it matter to you? If you have a Wi-Fi camera at home sending video of your fish tank to your office PC screensaver, that’s a cloud implementation (a dumb cloud, but a cloud nonetheless).
If you have a NEST thermostat that’s collecting data about your energy consumption and forwards that data to some NEST server so you can view this data remotely from your smartphone (and maybe with some relevant ads in the future), that’s a cloud implementation.
If you drive a Tesla car that communicates across its built-in 3G modem to a TESLA server at some remote data center, that’s a cloud implementation.
If you’re an airline with BOEING planes and the Rolls Royce jet engines send operational telemetry, usage performance, and other parametric data over satellite to a server at a Rolls Royce data center server, that’s a cloud implementation. Literally.
Now that’s just four variations of IoT connectivity using cloud access, and there are many more. What the connected device maker chooses to do in the cloud is typically determined during product definition. This requires consideration to the desired customers’ experience, and how “iteratively innovative” does the device maker choose to be after the connected product is purchased and deployed.
Why does it matter?
When Malaysia Airlines flight 720 went missing, data analytics were applied on Rolls Royce servers from the engine parametric transmissions to localize an arc of where the plane most likely flew.
When a TELSA customer’s mis-installed charger in San Diego caused a garage fire, TELSA pushed a firmware update from its cloud over-the-air to all its cars to limit charging if current fluctuations were detected – good customer relations, and no expensive recall required.
When several TESLA owners ran over large objects at highway speeds causing battery damage, TELSA pushed another firmware update from its cloud over-the-air to limit the vehicle height reduction at highway speeds while the NTHSA looked into how to safeguard users even for an event that would be deadly in an ordinary car – good customer relations, increased safety, and no expensive recall required.
When NEST recently found a corner case fault in their Protect cloud-connected smoke alarm, they halted sales, sent out a press release and sent this email message to customers. A difficult proposition for an end customer. Yet, they found a way to do an over-the-air update from the cloud to disable the feature. Will it have the agility to repair the flaw without an expensive recall?
So, as a connected device maker, are you in need of a dumb cloud for basic connectivity, or do you want the cloud to have the support and visibility tools, data analytic and agility that can fundamentally change the way you do business and provide whole new levels of customer value?
If it’s the former, you are repackaging and providing current data. If it’s the later, you are building new value for the customer, and expanding your business – if you want to change the playing field with IoT, then you should be working with an IoT cloud provider like Ayla Networks.