As I was alluding in my previous post about my thoughts about moving up the IoT value chain, the opportunities are aplenty in the IoT space because there is a healthy ecosystem of different players from the device manufacturers, to SI/ISVs who provide the vertical solutions to the platform/infrastructure providers. Ultimately it is an ecosystem play. I’m not saying that there is no competition, surely competition exists to make the ecosystem a much more vibrant place. The best players I know are inspired by their competitors (as opposed to being delusional about their competitors) because it helps them to get their own act together and be serious in producing valuable innovation.
I have the pleasure of partnering with many great software players within my previous life as a technical evangelist. One of the earliest adopters of IoT was this ISV. The COO of this ISV was a visionary. He wore many hats so he’s not your typical COO who just wanted to focus on scorecards, KPIs, and traffic light indicators (oh I have a good joke about the watermelon effect but let’s save this for another post). He wanted to build an IoT practice. This was back in 2009, not that IoT didn’t exist then, but it was like something I read of some conference or symposium, I have not seen any solutions in this space at all.
He was super excited when he told me about the tones of devices out there that needs to be connected and sounding pretty philosophical about the Internet of Things. He talked about getting his engineering team to focus on building firmware for devices which essentially were agent software that connects to his IoT middleware. I was pitching the idea to him to leverage some Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering in the cloud, and just focus on the core assets of his IoT practice; an IoT middleware and a buzzing professional services unit. Coincidentally I had a colleague from the product team who was coming to run a workshop and a few partner architectural sessions for my partners and he’s really an expert and guru in middleware, messaging systems and how to scale it out really well on the cloud. He was no other than the bloke behind this blog which I am following, Clemens Vasters. Mr COO was delighted and he had one and only request, we needed an NDA before we sat down in front of a white board! Woah this got exciting. I happened to be really good at getting partners to sign NDAs so we got one signed in no time! LOL
The session was intense I must tell you, sparing the details. But the stuffs which we were talking about, it’s all nothing new NOW. What’s available NOW is that a lot of infrastructure and platforms are horizontal in nature, and this allows an IoT practice to focus on their vertical solution’s time-to-market.
When I was building my IoT PoC, GetFitY’all, I was pleasantly surprised how much I could achieve in such a short time. I was able to connect to my devices and sensor apps, and harness the data through friendly self-analytics tools. I am missing other pieces for sure such as the ability for command & control of my devices, configuring the services via rules and workflow. That’s alright, I look forward to all the good stuffs I could leverage along the way as I extend the project.