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Internet of Things and business value

Posted on: Wednesday 30th of October 2013

A new Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) research report on the Internet of Things (IoT) finds that this rapidly growing market is “reaching a tipping point” in terms of global business interest. However, this optimism is not yet matched by investment. The Internet of Things is the name given to the interconnected network of ‘smart’ devices embedded in objects generating and sharing useful data and information.

Ctrl-Shift’s CEO Liz Brandt, who was interviewed for the report along with BT, Bosch, Belkin, Honda and GE, highlights one of the reasons for this lack of current investment – many businesses are still trying to understand how to commercialise the opportunity. Ctrl-Shift has been working on this challenge, focusing on how to catalyse data-led value creation via our work on the Technology Strategy Board funded Smart Transport Internet of Things Ecosystem (Stride) project.

The Stride project is highlighted on page 18 of the report as an example of a Government funded project others can learn from, “The aim of STRIDE is to create a smart transport and logistics ecosystem in the east of England, linking drivers who are having traffic difficulties to developers looking to turn those traffic data into new applications to predict journey time, traffic incidents and driver behaviour. At the heart of the cluster, BT is acting as an information broker. It has set up a hub that acts as a trusted and commercial framework for data gathering and sharing. This kind of interoperability is at the heart of the TSB’s vision.”

Ctrl-Shift’s role in the project – to define the commercial conditions that must exist to ensure a sustainable, thriving, ‘smart’ transport and logistics ecosystem enabled through trusted data sharing and applications – is also pulled out: “This is where the role of Ctrl-Shift [in Stride] comes in: to develop a business case for data sharing, redefine business models and create new ways of generating money.”

Ctrl-Shift’s CEO Liz Brandt is quoted, “We’re looking at how standard commercial terms and conditions for the controlled sharing and use of data could be devised to support a sustainable future market for the Internet of Things… If we start to get to the point where every single bit of data has a different set of terms and conditions, that’s going to be very slow and possibly unsustainable in the market where every single app developer has to negotiate their own terms and conditions.”

Over the last six months, working with our consortium partners, we have been developing business models for the Stride apps to understand how the IoT creates new value. These can be downloaded from the Stride website here. We’ll also be sharing our learnings about the value chain, the different business opportunities IoT provides for creating efficiencies, unlocking revenue opportunities from existing products/services and inspiring new business value in the form of an online magazine shortly. More details on this will follow soon.

The EIU report accentuates some of the technical and legal challenges that need to be overcome to enable the IoT to flourish, including issues around interoperability, privacy and security. Stride is working hard to address some of these issues around managing privacy and personal data, how to value data, the commercial agreement and setting the right terms and conditions for controlled data sharing as Liz highlights in her quote above.