Hey Industries, do not be afraid of collaborate in IoT

[First published in IOTS World Congress]

Gone are the days of isolated point solutions that leave companies in a lurch trying to figure out how to get the last mile of their needs met.

Industry solutions in the age of IoT, the ones that will really create change and drive new levels of productivity for the enterprise, will necessarily cross the bounds between different applications, platforms, networks and hardware devices. Everyone in this sector agree that developing industry solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT) need of collaboration.

Almost every day we read announcements of partnership in the IoT and Industrial Internet. Most of the interviews and related posts from different vendors and alliances members include comments that describe how they are collaborating to streamline IoT integration by delivering consistent, reliable, and integrated, end-to-end solutions that encompass hardware and software and scale across industries.

It is not a casual, it is an unstoppable trend, and this trend is more than just integration of products and services, it is also customer-centric design and innovation.

The value of Partnership in Industrial Internet of Things

Partnerships are going to be necessary for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to achieve its potential as the next biggest area of growth. This is something that almost every IIoT company understand and are making a reality with their alliances.

Let´s see some visible examples of partnerships, like Samsung and SAP partnership is just one example of a very visible partnership trend between previously unlikely bed-fellows. SAP also announced a partnership with Jasper during MWC 2015. Apple and IBM recently announced a similar partnership aimed at bringing together products and services that meet user needs. IBM and TI are collaborating to develop IBM’s secure, cloud-hosted provisioning and lifecycle management service for IoT devices. Partnerships announced by the likes of General Electric, Cisco, and others brings the respective companies a breadth to their platforms that they could never offer their customer base on their own. Intel says that “the IoT is all about the power of connection and no single technology provider can enable the IoT alone. So it makes sense that fulfilling its promise requires collaboration”.

John Nosta, President of NostaLab and Director of Obi Mobiles’ Global Health Initiative in an interview recently answered to the Do you have any top tips for digital health startups/entrepreneurs? question: “One tip would be to embrace the magic of collaboration, and to develop a company based around a collaborative experience. Multiple voices provide the magic of discovery – to have engineers talking with clinicians, financial advisors and patients is incredibly insightful”.

The Alliances & Consortiums needs more collaboration

A few days ago I read the post “Microsoft’s new code changes the balance in the Internet of things standards war”. As the hype around the Internet of things continues to build, the major players in the consumer electronics markets are working hard to build out software that allows devices to connect to the internet and each other, and then communicate what they can and cannot do. Apple has HomeKit, a group of chip firms led by Intel is launching the Iotivity standard, Google last month announced Weave and Brillo, and Qualcomm and Microsoft are pushing AllJoyn.

One again I would like to emphasize about the urgency in standardization. In the post Will we be able to build the Internet of Things?, I said that “Despite how big are companies that are looking in IoT a new source of revenue and more profits for the next ten years, none of them alone can embrace the complexity and the dimensions involved in creating a network of heterogeneous networks capable of connecting 50 billion objects worldwide”.

Only with strong alliances that collaborate among them we will be able to build the IoT and accelerate growth of the Industrial Internet.

During the IOT Solutions World Congress, we will have the opportunity of learn about the benefits of collaboration with two test bed focused on near-term products and services developed by leading industrial enterprises of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC).

Interesting to read the answers about IIC members standardization in these interviews:

Collaboration between Government and Industrial Internet of Things

One of the recurring issues that most concern to companies, consumers and governments is the safety and privacy of IoT / IIoT. The data generated by the billions of connected devices are very often beyond the owner’s control. The isolated and worthless data from the sensors, if are intercepted, aggregated and analyzed may result in valuable information to third parties. So every actor in IoT is hiding behind security to avoid share their data. In the other hand, most users have no way of knowing if your data is captured and used by third parties and governments are hesitant to provide access to all open data they own.

Build a secure IIoT infrastructure that is going to connect +50 billion devices will be unfeasible if the big industrial companies and the states do not share the costs of installation, operation and maintenance. Much of the value of this global IIoT network will be in allow third parties use of devices / machines / sensors data. It is essential therefore that big companies and governments (local, regional, national or supranational) collaborate in building this infrastructure and in creating a sustainable innovative ecosystem of new entrepreneurs, startups and SMEs.

In this article “Can a £10m fund start an Internet of Things revolution?” the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board), is encouraging business to work with local government, to find solutions to everyday city challenges such as traffic and pollution. According to Techcrunch, the projects must include a local authority, a local enterprise partnership and a few businesses.

Collaboration is also key to create sustainable IoT jobs

It has been written a lot about the impact of new technologies in the creation of new jobs, but to turn about destruction of jobs that are going to be easily replaceable by machines. Experts estimate by 2035, 50 million jobs will be lost to machines and they predict by the end of the century; or possibly much sooner, all jobs will disappear. So it is not surprising if many existing human jobs (either blue collar but also white collar and of course IT) will go away within twenty years.

A few weeks ago during IoT Week in Lisbon, I have the opportunity to speak during the Social IoT session (you can see my presentation here). We had a heated discussion about if IoT will create or will destroy more jobs, but eventually we signed tie.

Once it is clear that many of our jobs are going to change or disappear during the 4th Industrial Revolution powered by the Internet of the Things, workers need to be ready for the more than ever demand of specialized jobs. The Industrial Internet is going to demand workers to be more specialized than ever.

In the short term, in IoT, we will struggle to fill open positions, but in the long term many who do IoT specialized work will feel overqualified or underutilized. It is expected that Artificial Intelligence and robots will have the capability of replacing many IoT known jobs within twenty years, aAnd in spite that McKinsey in the report “Connecting talent with opportunity in the digital age” consider that online talent platforms could boost labor markets by more effectively connecting individuals with work opportunities, we will need more than sophisticated online platforms to avoid the global economy collapse. We will need collaboration and commitment of companies to create and maintain new jobs and to train workers during the transition of most traditional office work that’s not critical to differentiating their companies.

Key Takeaway

Frequent readers of my IoT blog probably have noted the recurring theme of ‘need of partnerships’ across many of my posts. I pointed out many times that it is needed trusted collaboration between customers, IoT vendors, Communication Service Providers and Governments. Without collaboration among industries, we would not be able to develop efficient IoT solutions, neither solve some of the big challenges ahead nor get the maximum value of IIoT.

IIoT solutions are complex and dynamic and big part of IIoT community is convinced that strategic alliances and partnerships are going to be necessary to achieve its potential. This is a fact that every company in this sector should understand and should work to make it a reality.

It is our responsibility to convince customers in different industries about the benefits of IoT only if all sensors and all devices work with each other, and this can be only possible if IoT vendors work to ensure that machines can connect and collaborate easily and secure.

Finally say, that we are probably at the “End of Work as We Know It”. Many of us will not be able to stay updated with IOT technology. Industrial and Technology companies will need to invest to develop highly specialized skills employees but at the same time collaborate and commit to maintain their total workforce perhaps with new and fair labor conditions, despite the level of mechanization that we will achieve in the coming decades.

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