Internet of Things in a Box (IoT in a Box)

A few years ago, the idea of a “Telco in a Box” was very usual among the Telecommunication industry. Basically, it was a pre-integrated, turnkey real-time billing and customer care solution that enabled communications service providers (CSPs) to accelerate their growth strategies and increase profitability.

Companies like Accenture, Oracle, Redknee or Tech Mahindra used this concept addressed to Mobile Virtual Network Operators or MVNOs, Tier 3 Operators and Tier 1 sub brands. The benefits of this solution were clear:

  • A low-risk, quick to launch turnkey solution
  • Go to market faster than competitors

It was a matter of time that this marketing slogan reached the Internet of Things (IoT). And so it has been, at the moment with little noise, but it is certain that we will see much more “IoT in a Box” in the next months.

What is IoT in a Box and What’s in the box

Today we could say that IoT in a Box is:

–          A pre-configured, fully integrated, enterprise-enabled IoT bundle optimized for IoT processing (Telco view)

–          All the required building blocks to develop a wireless IoT system (IoT Vendor view)

In the first case, the IoT in a Box must include some of the following components depending of the application:

  • Hardware / Hardware as a Service
  • 1 o more battery powered modules with sensors for monitoring for instance temperature, humidity, geo-location, movement, vibration, battery level or signal strength
  • 1 or more Relay switch or actuators
  • 1 GSM chip (SIM) per module with a data plan
  • IoT gateway
  • Software / Software as a Service
  • Device management
  • Enterprise database with storage plan
  • Security Connectivity
  • Pre-configured dashboards
  • Pre-configured thresholds and alerts
  • Mobile app
  • Services / Services as a Service
  • Professional Services (optional)
  • Support (basic included, premium optional)

When you receive your IoT in a Box.  All you must do is:

  1. charge your modules
  2. place them on (or in) things,
  3. login to your own org to name your modules, and then
  4. turn on your modules. As soon as you activate a module, it starts to send sensor data, and you can start monitoring your things in near-time – online or using the mobile app.

“The concept behind a basic “IoT in a box” is that It takes you less than 1 hour to set up your own IoT system.”

In the second case, the IoT in a Box must include a Development Kit and all required building blocks to develop a wireless IoT system. We will see some examples later.

What if I want to expand the capabilities of my IoT application?

Although IoT in a Box is aimed at solving a simple business need, in certain scenarios or industries it may be necessary to extend the capabilities included in the Box. In this regard, vendors must provide accessories, expansion modules, I/Os and peripherals, Multi-standard connectivity options  and additional Pre-configured dashboards and alerts depending of the industry and application.

Selling IoT in a Box

When I wrote Welcome to the first “Selling IoT” Master Class!, I did not emphasize in selling IoT to Small and Medium Business (SMB) and Consumer market.  Precisely, the main objective that vendors pursue with the “IoT in a box” is increase sales in SMB market. This is a huge market and vendors need a way to escalate by channel partners, but as I do not consider myself an expert selling to SMB, so I look forward for your advices.

Is IoT in a Box already in the market?

Due to confidentiality agreements, I cannot include info from different vendors that will be selling IoT in a Box very soon.  But we can find already some examples of IoT in a Box in the market. See below some of them based on public information.

T- Mobile IoT in a Box  –  With the T-Mobile IoT Box, you can realize your individual M2M application without great effort. Connect your devices and sensors and transfer the obtained data to a cloud system via mobile radio. A data interface provides processing and integration information to other systems, websites, or apps. The T-Mobile IoT Box consists of a developer board with an integrated M2M SIM card, several inputs / outputs and Bluetooth smart interface, an online portal and a RESTful API.

T-Mobile US – IoT promotion for device makers  –  Building on its movement into the internet of things (IoT) market, T-Mobile US announced a new IoT-specific pricing model as part of a promotion that includes a free Cat1 LTE module along with data services.

T-Mobile US, SVP Doug Chartier said: “The wireless industry needs simpler options for IoT to take off, and that’s exactly what we’re delivering.”

Telia M2M in a Box – M2M technology easy and affordable for any business. Telia M2M in a Box gives you a set of hardware with sensors providing you with real time information about position, movement and climate, which you can monitor directly in the web portal. A versatile and user-friendly measurement tool to observe, monitor and protect your business remotely.

Capgemini IoT-in-a-Box is a rapid, low-cost, low-risk, method to pilot IoT strategy to test and define business cases and provides a pre-configured, enterprise-ready IoT system for monitoring up to 25 devices. It simplifies the task of aligning integrating and configuring all IoT components to provide rapid time to value.

Relayr -Industrial Grade Starter Kit for IoT Acceleration powered by relayr, Intel, Dell and Bosch.

Microsoft – Solair IoT in a Box  was an IoT plug&play kit to connect things, sensors, machines to a gateway and then, in a few clicks, instantly visualize data on the Solair application. After acquisition of Solair probably Microsoft had discontinued this offer.

Creator Ci40 IoT  Developer KitThe Creator Ci40 board is a high-performance, low-power microcomputer that packs a cXT200 chip based on a subsystem optimized by us specifically for IoT applications. The cXT200 SoC includes a dual-core, dual-threaded MIPS CPU clocked at 550 MHz and an Ensigma connectivity engine that covers super-fast 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi and low-power Bluetooth/Bluetooth low energy (Classic and Smart).

Nextcloud Box – a private cloud and IoT solution for home users – from Nextcloud, Canonical and WDLabs.  Nextcloud Box makes hosting a personal cloud simple and cost effective whilst maintaining a secure private environment that can be expanded with additional features via apps. The Nextcloud Box consists of a hard drive and a case, complemented by a Raspberry Pi 2 or a similar credit-card sized computer. The pre-configured, easy-to-use platform handles file storage and syncing, communication and more, requires no maintenance and enables users to install more functionality through apps like Spreed, OpenHab and Collabora Online. The box offers 1TB of storage at the price point of Eur 70. For information on where to buy please visit nextcloud.com/box.

WIKON – My M2M BOX – Our special expertise lies in the compliance with industrial standards for our product developments and the development of powerful embedded hardware and software. Special developments for explosion zones, adverse environmental conditions, IP-68 standards and extended temperature ranges are frequently in demand.

There are many IoT Vendors who offer Devices, IoT platform, Apps and Services bundled with the same purpose of IoT in a Box, democratize the IoT.

IoT in a Box and IoT Marketplaces

As we know “IoT is not only about connecting things, neither controlling things”, it is about the Things become more intelligent and therefore companies could offer new services under new business models. I believe that IoT marketplaces will play a key role in the evolution of IoT in a box. We have already some examples:

Libelium, the IoT Marketplace is a one stop click-and-buy online store. The company is helping frustrated companies with pre-integrated solutions from choosing the right hardware, cloud components to application.

Telus IoT Marketplace – Connect the things that matter to your business by leveraging connected devices provided by their partner network.

ThingWorks Marketplace –  gives easy access to everything you need to build and run your ThingWorx based IoT application. All components listed on the ThingWorx Marketplace are customized, tested and guaranteed to work with the ThingWorx platform.

Intel IoT marketplace – Coming soon.

“IoT in a Box solutions that encompass infrastructure, networking, analytics, service enablement and monetization to connect devices, expose data, services and processes to applications, consumers and machines will be the foundation for IoT marketplaces”.

IoT Service in a Box, the logical evolution of IoT in a Box 

I believe that the logical evolution of IoT in a Box will be IoT Service in a Box sold through IoT marketplaces. It is a matter of time that we will see:

  • Predictive Maintenance in a Box as a Service
  • Loss Prevention in a Box as a Service
  • Asset Location in a Box as a Service
  • Predictive Intrusion in a Box as a Service
  • Vending Machine Product Recommendation in a Box as a Service
  • Real time micro-Inventory in a Box as a Service
  • Customer Emotion in a Box as a Service
  • …… Your imagination is the limit

Thoughts? Comments? and Thanks in advance for your Likes and Shares

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