A while back I had the opportunity to participate in the Silicon Valley IoT Meetup (“IoT, Big Data, and Edge Analytics Opportunities and Challenges”) discussion hosted by Cisco VP/CTO Jim Greene and Ken Forster, COO of PLAT.ONE. Any discussion with Jim is an insightful journey rich with data-driven references. This time, the discussion had good IoT insights into business views, industrial dynamics, some interesting case studies and a serious non-apocalyptic view on security.

One common view discussed at the meeting was that analysts now believe the consumer IoT market will grow faster than industrial IoT, which is contrary to predictions last year. The group attributes this to lower price points for connected devices in consumer markets. (We know that the faster time-to-market pressure in consumer markets, along with shorter design cycles, are also major factors).

The expectation is that the Internet of Things market will be dominated by consumer-focused companies (half of which will be three years old or younger by 2017). But by the year 2020, industrial and commercial IoT markets will catch up and will grow faster, ending up twice as big as the consumer side. The reasoning is that by then, the industrial engine will have gained its momentum.

Participants surveyed at the meetup reported that remaining challenges to IoT include: 

  • Too much data to analyze (44% respondents)
  • Too difficult to capture useful data (36%)
  • Not sure what questions to ask for analysis (27%)

Digging into the data aspect of IoT, it was stated that 86% of business leaders now understand they could get benefits from collecting and analyzing data. This is an increase from early last year and will drive a changed sales process. Companies get it; they just need help analyzing all the data. The speakers gave some insight into who is interested in the data: Business leaders see the ROI for device and user data better than technology leaders within companies, at a rate of 58% vs. 28%. Fascinating stuff.

A quick discussion of industrial IoT noted that operational technology (OT) has a lot of real-time data, while information technology (IT) has not so much. Industrial applications can gain significant cost savings through IOT, but with large data bandwidths.  This can be seen from a couple examples.

One example comes from the wind turbine industry. A vendor with 20,000 units collects 30 terabytes of data in real time. This information is used to modify turbine blade angles and direction based on wind speed, humidity and temperature for optimum performance. Of course, maintenance prediction is also done as part of the analysis. The resultant 15% increase in efficiency amounts to $158 million per year of added revenue.

Another example: Formula racing has been changed forever due to an IoT-driven winning pit-stop decision. garageData was collected at 30 million points per lap in Singapore—with analysis done in real time in Italy. Concerned about internet timing? Average latency was 30ms.

On security, the group discussed that IoT is not introducing new risks but rather potentially increasing the security surface area exposure. This is one of the most concise ways I have heard this described. But it was also noted that the methods available today to address and mitigate risks have evolved significantly. We have AAA (authentication, authorization, accounting) enterprise methodologies, as well as IPS (intrusion protection) systems that can analyze data in real time to see if it is valid or hiding unauthorized (data scoping) payloads or accesses.

At Ayla Networks, we see firsthand the rapid adoption of IoT technologies in consumer markets. While our horizontal (AAA-secured) platform has garnered wins in the industrial/commercial market, most of our customers fall into the consumer market segment due to much faster project cycles.

Ayla’s IoT platform allows manufacturers to concentrate on being leaders in their market by simplifying the connectivity part and allowing them to focus on the products they build. Connectivity becomes a standard embedded serial connection. Cloud development is simplified to merely a configuration process. App development is supported via a native library. Manufacturers need no new SDKs (software development kits), no NRE (non-recurring engineering—i.e., customized engineering) and no new expert teams. For more detals on what to consider in building out your connected device strategy click here.

All in all, the IoT meetup provided lively, discerning validation for what we’re seeing with our customers worldwide. Exciting times ahead!