The Importance of Ecosystems in The Internet of Things

What does it mean when we talk about ecosystems, especially when we talk about the Internet of Things (IOT) ecosystem? When I attended Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this past March, I attended a panel discussion with leaders from this industry and I was amazed that they are all struggling with the same questions we at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company struggles with on a daily basis. The biggest unknown that we’re dealing with is how do we engage with the broader competitive ecosystem of technology partners and still stay competitive in the market?

I don’t believe the answer is clear, but I’m not ready yet to give up on looking for a way to engage with the IOT ecosystem, as the Chief Evangelist for Aruba’s Meridian Engage Developer Ecosystem. My strength, which may also be my downfall, is that I am always up for a challenge and figuring out this puzzle has been the biggest challenge I’ve faced in my career, to date.

It was comforting to hear from such visionaries in technology, to show me that that we are not alone in our frustration to solving the IOT puzzle. After much reflection, I am convinced that the promise of a collaborative IOT ecosystem is not only possible, but necessary, if we are to all survive!

What I’ve learned over the last 3 years since I became fascinated with the concept of the Internet of Things (IOT) is that depending on where you sit in the IOT market, you have a unique perspective of the market. I have a unique perspective of the market from my work as an electrical engineer, a former computer science teacher who’s worked as a freelance mobile app developer, and now in my role as the App Developer Evangelist for Aruba’s Meridian Engage program.

I’ve learned so much through the many conversations I’ve had over the last year, with individuals from every corner of the world who touch, work and play in the Internet of Things ecosystem. What I’ve noticed is that everyone is convinced that their perspective is the only one that matters. What I’ve come to learn is that this faulty approach is going to be the downfall of many organizations that are not able to collaborate with their competition.

When I attend developer conferences and events all over the world, I always return with a new perspective, one that shows me how my limited view of the world has been just that, limited.

I now believe that the biggest mistake an organization, or individual for that matter, can make is in thinking that they have all the answers within their own technology or within the walls of their own organization.

This can’t be further from the truth, as I learned from listening to the panelists at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It’s clear that the companies that are able to collaborate successfully with groups and organizations whom they view as competitors, in some ways, are the organizations who will not only win the hearts and minds of their customers, but will be able to blaze a trail to the future in IOT. As my fellow technology partners, Microsoft, Intel, and Amazon can attest, hailing from the Pacific Northwest, we know a thing or two about BLAZING A TRAIL! (Go Blazers!)

If this is still all too fuzzy, what I do know for sure is that this is too big of a puzzle for any one company to solve; we have to work together!

This is the BIG question. How do we as technology companies, trained and conditioned to beat our competition, find the courage and strength to put our differences aside and WORK together?

Do we all have to be friends? Maybe not. But our customers are looking to us to show them the future. Does the everyday consumer care that Microsoft, Google, and Apple can’t get along?

No, they just want a mobile device — a cellphone, tablet, or laptop — that works for their unique need and use case.

I can say from a 20 year career in technology, that the friction between corporate rivals will never go away, but in the concept of an ecosystem, there needs to be a way for the consumer, the player who has the purchasing power, to learn, to have a voice and a choice of how they can utilize the best technology for their needs. Its as simple as that!

As I sat in the audience of the panel at Mobile World Congress, I listened to the visionary leaders from Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce.com, Accenture, and our own visionary from Hewlett Packard talk about their perspective of the IOT ecosystem. Here is what I heard.

Matt Vasey, IoT Business Development, Microsoft, OpenFog Consortium
What does it mean when you hear the term ecosystem or IOT ecosystem? What does it mean to you at Microsoft?
“When we think about ecosystem we think about what are the customers telling us? If you listen to the analysts you hear about billions of devices and being connected, and for customers that doesn’t make sense. They’re interested in how do I simply get engaged into IOT. The great majority of them are just starting their journey into IOT, a few are deploying, but largely they’re looking at how do I get there.
When we started looking at our ecosystem plan we started looking at how do we make it easier for customers, from both a product perspective, from an innovation perspective, what are the different parts of the innovation cycle, that our customers are going to need support in? Whether it’s working with the OpenFog Consortium that we’re trying to bring technology leaders like Intel and Dell and Cisco together to talk about Edge computing and make it easy for customers to deploy.
Or if it’s working with hardware partners to build validated hardware platforms to easily connect into our assets and other assets in the cloud. That’s how we think about building the ecosystem. Enabling innovation easily so that our customers can get started. To start this journey, because we can’t get to the high value of IOT, the analytics if you don’t have the data intimating some of the basic components built first. We’re working on that foundation.“
Prodip Sen, Senior Vice President, Chief Technologist, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s response to the same question:
“What does it mean when you hear the term ecosystem or IOT ecosystem? What does it mean to HP?
“HP has been working on developing solutions for IOT for a while now. I come at it from a slightly different angle from the NFV business but also through all of these theaters. Clearly, one of the enabling technologies for making IOT successful is NFV (Networks Function Virtualization). If you don’t have that, the economics don’t quite work.
The IOT margins for a carrier, for example, providing connectivity guarantee is a very competitive business. So you need to bring your costs down and be flexible. So NFV becomes a natural case. As we were developing our NFV approach, the systems and solutions, we naturally came across the concept of ecosystem because even within the limited NFV space, and the larger IOT space, we could not do it ourselves. We had to partner with others.
So actually we’ve launched a formal HPE partnership program. We have about 60 independent software vendors, who are providing software solutions and functions for the network, and 10 or so platform technology partners. This is a program we set in place a couple of years ago. We see that we need it at every layer as we’re working through it. We need partnerships to complement what we provide to the solution. Customers are looking for a solution, and no one company has all the technology to solve all the issues. We do a whole bunch of things but we realize we need partners.“
Henrik Stahl, Vice President, Internet of Things Product Management from Oracle’s response to the question:
“What does it mean when you hear the term ecosystem or IOT ecosystem? What does it mean to Oracle?”
“I have a slightly different perspective which comes from my position on the delivery side of the house. When we look at ecosystems, we think about what do these provide. What are these products and what are these ecosystems and why are we driving them? There are a few different reasons for that. One is to solve technical problems, you might have an existing technical problem from protocols and devices, or big complications.
Then we might have very pragmatic marketing, lead generation partner ecosystems, which is very important, our partner programs are clearly about lead generation program delivery on projects. Which is also really important.
When we approach ecosystems, we cannot think about why we do it, and I think it’s very important for any participant, or for that matter, for one of these ecosystems to also be clear, what you want to get out of this. One unfortunate thing in IOT is, groups pop up everywhere, and it’s really hard to see where you should spend your time and effort.
One thing I’d like to throw out there is that I don’t think there is such a thing as “A IOT Ecosystem”. I think it’s quite fragmented. Will there ever be a single one, or will it always be a bunch of islands?’
Yossi Zohar, Director for Communications Industry Product Marketing, Salesforce.com’s response to the question:
“Our philosophy of IOT is that behind every thing there is a wearable or a connected appliance or a connected car or connected buildings or connected cities or machinery. Behind everything, there’s a human being, there is a USER! There’s a customer. In order to get the benefits of these connected products, and technologies, you need to have a seamless and effortless experience.
The ecosystem is the vehicle to deliver it, and when we talk about the ecosystem, it is actually a number of parties, we have the telecommunication providers, obviously providing the connectivity, in some cases they try to provide a broader solution. We’ve worked with several of them that want to become a system integrator, and we heard some of it in the panel. There are definitely the product manufacturers, that traditionally were not developing connected products, all of a sudden they are developing connected products or products with connectivity. Or embedding connectivity.
There’s also the app developers! there’s the app developer communities that develop the end user apps to control and manage those devices. And so I look at it like a value chain, from the connectivity all the way to the end user that needs to work together somehow and deliver that seamless user experience. It sounds a little bit difficult but that’s where we’re focusing on.”
Howard Wright, Vice President, Intel’s response to the same question:
“What does it mean when you hear the term ecosystem or IOT ecosystem? What does it mean to Intel?”
“At Intel, we like to think of it as this wonderful Fabric of connectivity of all sizes and all shapes. dime-size, nickel-size, quarter size, the size of a toaster, the size of a refrigerator, to enable all these services to write on top of, that’s what we’re focused on. To enable all of us to receive and transmit distribute in a meaningful and quick way. We’ll talk about some of the IOT stuff. But also the 5G stuff.
My CEO keynoted on Monday talked about our brand and our brand vision. All of this is part of this tapestry of silicon that must be created for these services that must be created.”
Do you see your organization as the conductor of this orchestra?
Hewlett Packard: “IOT is a big umbrella. Many solutions can be solved in it. It depends on the level of solution. Part of what we are selling are network platforms. So where we’re providing carriers the ability to provide slices of their network. So in that case what we’re providing hardware software. So that’s the mobile solution. But if you look at the overall end to end solution those carriers are providing their customers, they need to integrate. I think this happens at every level. I think you need an ecosystem at various levels. I was talking about partners at the ecosystem, there are industry consortiums, there are ecosystems and players, there are standards bodies, that are open source that are extremely important. Because a lot of the solutions we need are involved in there. and we need to be involved in those ecosystems. We need to harness that”
Salesforce: “We focus on helping the ecosystem develop end-user apps and focusing on usability. Because a lot of the manufacturers we’ll see. They’ll do a great job of the connected product but when it comes to the connected user app, it’s not always there. Think about the fact that in the future, a single person may have multiple apps, especially consumers. How do they manage all these apps? Are there going to be 10 apps on their smart phone? We believe there should be a better way to create the end user experience. That’s one dimension.
The second one is the support. What happens when things go wrong? Even people on this panel. It should be End-to-end Intel, HP is printers, Intel is Sensors, so that when there is a problem, the connected device can engage support immediately. “
Salesforce: “In my opinion, there is not one answer to this, service providers have the opportunity to be the orchestrator in places where they decide to be and manage the OEMs and the SIs or whoever’s implementing those. I see a lot of the service providers that are actually not able to scale those connected devices. They basically become an enabler of the ecosystem and provide other companies like hardware manufacturers capabilities.
They provide connectivity, they provide expertise, they may provide cloud applications for a lot of them that want to provide cloud applications. In a sense, they are taking responsibility. I am not sure they will orchestrate. I do think they will take responsibility for creating or enabling the value chain.”
What about the non-human aspect of IOT?
Intel: “The problem that exists today is going to get only worse over time. Most of the interaction right now is kind of unilateral, I take a picture, I send it up into the cloud, I send it to Facebook, I send it kind of Northbound and Southbound. The world that is coming on top of us here, that we’re at the precipice of, at the doorstep of, where all of these devices connects… are talking simultaneously as I walk through this conference, as I walk through the airport, as I walk through the office in Santa Clara. That creates this digital trail of content, metadata that I’m both breaching and leaving behind. We aspire to build those little pieces of silicon as the piece of metal that goes underneath it all.
It evokes other opportunities, as well as challenges where you are exposed, inside mobile devices the radios will listen for, have RF engines to tune to. LTE, Bluetooth LE, all the versions and all the 3 letter acronyms that you can come up with.
That also has to be reckoned with proper security, so that I know that my data trail is consistent with what I’ve done. So these are the opportunities and the threats at the same time, because all these nodes at the end of the network, at the edges of the network are fantastic, they make my life easier. But also represent threats if they are not addressed properly and succinctly”
Is Intel interested in an enablement or as a conductor of this orchestra?
Intel: “Enablement is our focus. Folks will do it above the metal much better than us. Our job is to build the wonderful pieces of silicon, that will operate independent of the spectrum band, independent of the geography that you’re in, independent of the region that you’re in, independent of the kernel that you are using, that’s what we aspire to.
Hewlett Packard: “Looking for one orchestrator, is perhaps not the right approach. As I said, there are orchestrators at different levels, but more than that, we can look at this as the way IT becomes successful by introducing a lot of innovation. What that means is, if you take it a step further, is you are able to talk to all of these pieces. More self-discovery, more ability to plug things in, which announce themselves. So the need for that master in the sky, I think it’s impossible to even imagine.”
Moderator: We started this discussion by describing a seamless customer experience. When I think of something as seamless, I do think of a mastermind of someone making sure all of the seams come together so that the customer never sees it. And in fact, the customer experience is what will hopefully drive significant adoption and growth in the industry. So that was why I was trying to get at it. I was also trying to get at who was interested in World Domination and none of you have yet bitten on that but maybe Microsoft is.
Microsoft: “I want to go back to what Howard said about traveling through the network, gathering data. In today, most of IOT solutions focus on connectivity. I want to connect this device to some sort of silo’d service. When we look at what a seamless solution looks like is when all that information begins to build a graph of your experience moving through the world. And then you tie your solution into that graph of that information that has information about your schedule, A cloud service that comes through your devices, through the car you are traveling in, as well as through the context of the city that you are moving through. So that graph, tying solutions to the graph is where the ecosystem is going to be able to build these high level services. But today, unfortunately, we are very very early and solution looks like connectivity. We can’t really see what that solution really looks like. Ultimately it’s tying into this whole graph.”
Hewlett Packard: “We’re talking about abstraction. Every device adds a layer of abstraction to the stack, so that higher layers of the group doesn’t worry about the details of abstraction below, but they have this model of abstraction. So the seamlessness at that level is made possible by that common fuel across that layer. But again, we can talk about customer, yet but if we’re talking about the end-users there’s one level of seamless experience. Even the people who are providing the solutions are customers of the people below. And they need to see a seamless experience too. If I’m providing a network platform to a service provider they need to be able to look at all of this in a unified way.”
Moderator (PWC): To build on that premise, where do things change as business practices? Intel has been very clear that its all about enablement. Some might argue that Intel has been enabling for decades and they are very good at it. Are you doing something different now for IOT in enabling an ecosystem versus…
Intel: “The next step in our maturity is not just to be enablement but we call it the predictive analytics. SO now all these 1s and 0s are flying around. What do you do with that? You have the 5 9s of connectivity. It’s the network learning from what it needs to adapt to, that’s the servers, from HP and other partners that we have. We can shoot that up into the cloud or whatever saying you prefer and bring it down so that we can have actionable intelligence.
Those relays have to be microscopic. They have to be nanometers of time for us to either do something that protects us or to do something that might help us. For autonomous driving, you’re going to need it to brake the car while you’re in the back reading the Wall Street Journal, in the vehicles of the future.
For other things it might just be a friendly reminder that it’s time to take your medicine depending on the vertical depending on the use case, all that is needed is to cloud source some of the data in an intelligent way. Somebody’s going to curate that data and that person is going to create new business models that we haven’t even seen yet.”
Salesforce: “I have to say that we’re also focused on exactly that, curating that data, making it actionable and actually in a sense, predicting things that will happen, things that are brewing up — devices that are either having difficulty. We can see the customer is not yet aware and not yet impacted. We can already mitigate those. Or in some cases it may be readouts on the devices whether it is a vending machine that has a less particular drink you can alert the vending company. That’s the beauty of connectivity is that you could leverage the data. There’s alway the question: B2B is less of an issue than the B2C side or the consumer side of the house, there’s the issue of privacy that we were discussing earlier.”
Oracle: “We talked a lot about connectivity here. There’s no doubt that a lot of the IT business will be based on enabling connectivity and intelligence and devices. But from our perspective, that’s not where the value to the end user is. We actually start on the application side. We start with the application. What do you want to achieve? Is it improving your factory floor automation, or having some sort of smart remote service functionality, we’ve predicted the maintenance. Luckily, like my colleague here from Salesforce, we have a ton of applications in the market. We’ve started our go to market research and we look at the existing application like, how can IT enable this to be of value. You asked about orchestration. When it’s a simple project — and I do have tracking and I want to make sure that I have support — we do it. Oracle goes in and we do it directly, it’s not very hard. But there’s actually one person missing on the panel here because it often gets a little bit more complicated and that’s when we bring in System Integrators and I’m absolutely sure that that’s true. Maybe we should have had Accenture on the panel.”
Oracle: “A lot of the projects end up being orchestrated by System Integrators, because they have the project planning and system architecture. and many of our customers do not have the right experience on their own.
Let’s shift the topic a little bit, we’ve been talking about layers and I want to talk about verticals a little bit. Which verticals are you guys betting on? The assumption is there is not a single IOT solution and you can see them emerge in various verticals. From your perspective, which ones are you betting on? And do you have the most hope for? Or do you see as the lead horse or the lead vertical that is really going to lead the way for the others and to help lead and shape what needs to get done to evolve the ecosystem.”
Microsoft: “I would look at 2 things, there is fast and there’s slow. Manufacturing has been doing IoT for 20+ years, this is probably selling embedded products now it’s IOT and now it’s cool. That is an industry that is very quickly, the numbers pencil out on the cost of the solutions. We think that there is a lot of value that can very quickly come to fruition. The slower thing is working with the enterprise and brining IOT into the enterprise where the math isn’t so simple and we’re asking people to innovate their business models. I think it was intel this morning who was talking about changing the model from billing for hours rather than billing for engines; specifically in the GE enterprise. When we think about that kind of innovation, that kind of innovation is going to happen in the enterprise and it’s just going to take longer. So fast, very quickly we’re going to see value in manufacturing and downstream, we’re going to see billing in larger values in the enterprise.”
Hewlett Packard: “I don’t think we’re betting on any one. We’re really looking at multiple verticals simultaneously and looking at where we can provide solutions into those spaces. We have identified several verticals such as embedded and industrial, but there are others and more than that, there is growing the business are the managed service providers, so how do we provide them with the platforms which enables them to provide innovative solutions to their customers? And that varies with every category. We try to be agnostic to the vertical because part of n where the solution is, the solution has been stuck because people have been constantly thinking vertically and we think horizontally is the way to go. We need to get capabilities that span the individual use cases. And maybe when you go further up the layer you can specialize into that particular industry. But a lot of the needs are similar, you need connectivity, you need to download the information, you need the ability to move things around and to give just the network and and just the resources you have to the customer. A lot of those things are very common and if you provide that, then you enable many different kinds of IOT success.”
Oracle: “We are a huge company with vertical business units. We sell IOT both into verticals and there are a few that are very active, manufacturing is one of them, utilities is kind of going through a second wave, I guess. The original smart readers are undergoing cost cutting. We see a lot of movement in retail, but the times are a little bit slower because it takes time to resolve the privacy and legal concerns about the data. We are active in all these verticals. If I we’re to pick two, I would say manufacturing and transportation are the ones where we see customers moving with us.
Very short term in the IOT business, with us that’s where I would start. But there are also horizontal applications, ERP systems that can be IOT enabled, that aren’t really vertical specific. That said, I actually think that the line where you can do something purely horizontal and where you have to start thinking vertical is lower than many people realize. We talk about this as a genetic problem, but we find that once you get past the really really basic analytics, there’s a threshold that has been exceeded, it very quickly becomes vertical specific. Even though the technology might be horizontal, the implementation and even the way we have to position our products become vertical very quickly.”
Moderator: Let me build on that really quickly, so do you believe that if the threshold is actually lower now for where you go from thinking horizontal to vertical, is there money to be made, is there new sources of money to be made for companies that are thinking vertical? Or is the line still the same, those that to horizontal enablement yield to those that do vertical solutions?
Oracle: “I believe that without a doubt, big money is in the vertical solutions but it is also the cost. Because you have to invest in every single vertical to make the money there.
But I think the margins will be larger there. I would also like to say, and I think that people will agree, that IOT will be a HUGE money maker for the industry as a whole. But realizing that revenue is going to take time, because there is a large history that we have to contend with. Like manufacturing as an example. We can’t just go in and replace all that. We have to build on what exists and it’s going to take some time. So it’s not going to be as fast as the mobile revolution. But it’s going to be more profound.”
Moderator: “That is certainly promising considering most of us have spent our career in mobile. The fact that there is something beyond mobile is good! Salesforce has arguably created an ecosystem. What’s your sense in terms of horizontal or vertical? Do we play vertical in that you create end user apps?”
Salesforce: “We’re definitely going for vertical solutions, especially with IOT, we are partners with over 70 companies in the IOT space. Some of which are manufacturers, some of which are consumer electronics companies like Emerson, several examples, we have high tech companies like Intel and HP that we partner with and we definitely communication service providers, some of which want to sell direct to the consumer or direct to the business and we enable them.
Different solutions in that space to help them sell and service IOT products and we also help them to enable the IOT value chain. The value chain that they enable the connectivity, which includes the OEMS, which includes the distributor channels, which includes the app developers. So AT&T is a great example, they spoke earlier, during the keynote. They basically bundle our cloud software together with their connectivity and their infrastructure. And they provide vertical solutions. We’re focused on selling vertical solutions. We’re also in the value chain of IOT.”
Moderator: Intel, are you looking to make money a different way?
Intel: “We think of it really as a decathlon, preparing for and trying to be a decathlete, in 10 verticals that are shown to us very quickly, where maximum use of our silicon and industry partners and consortiums, will be of value. We believe the first 3 could be, Industrial IOT, kind of factory floor, transportation will be hugely important, and then retail, of course.
So we’re prepared to train and adapt to if something else, if telematics becomes, or if healthcare becomes front and center, I think that we have the solutions to actually do that with maximum reuse of our silicon. Once we get all of those pieces together, to prepare for the decathlon, the market will decide. Darwinism will always win. And we’ll figure out which verticals give us the road to profitability, the quickest.“
Moderator: “Let’s build on that….Performance enhancement. I believe in accelerating growth of ecosystems. How do we do that? We’ve all talked about partnerships we’ve talked about consortiums. Are there other collaborations that can benefit us, that you’re exploring, that can accelerate this and provide a quicker return on investment?
Intel: “There are some big partners, some of whom are on the stage. Big companies have to make big bets on the future. Most of the consortiums have minimum 4 or 5 folks, and we must all make room for the small entrepreneur to come in. Just because he or she doesn’t have the same balance sheet as Microsoft or HP or Intel.
Once you have a new innovation on top of the layers of success, then we really can stand on each other’s shoulders and reach into the future and make our future together. That is what we aspire to do.
Intel believes that creating room for others, smaller organizations, is going to be critical to the success of the ecosystem?”
Intel: “Why does Intel use these lanes? Why do we aspire to make an Autobahn of connectivity and partners? Because it’s all in our very selfish best interest. More 1s, more 0s, is better for everybody’s business on this stage.
Moderator: DO others have similar thoughts relative to the smaller, perhaps more nimble innovative entrepreneur?
Hewlett Packard: “Absolutely, as I was saying, in the limited space of NFV, the innovators provide a more Agile solutions, more forward looking solutions, in which we can incorporate. a lot of the incumbent vendors in the space are simply moving too slow for us.”
Moderator: “So is the expectation that you will be taking equity positions or is it always a mutually beneficial business relationship?
Hewlett Packard: “It’s a mix. We’ve done some acquisitions over the last 2–3 years, in specific areas where we needed to add to our solutions. We’ve done that. But in many cases, it doesn’t make much business sense to acquire a company, so we partner with them and work with them.
Oracle: “The question about acquisitions starts to get interesting in the last 10 years. We’ve done 100 Microsoft acquisitions. in IOT, going back to what we said earlier, it’s ultimately about the end user solutions which there is a ton of space for more specialized vendors. And it doesn’t make sense for anyone, whether you’re as big as Oracle or Microsoft, to go in with acquisitions and cover it up later, it’s just not realistic. SO how do you try and do business with all of these people. You deliver the technology to them and you help them to find customers! We do it all the time, we have a network of Microsoft Certified IOT partners. It’s just another ecosystem. The customer comes in with a specific problem and we can identify a partner who’s better suited. That’s very common and it’s going to be increasingly common in the IOT space as these small to medium size companies mature in their products and how they position themselves.”
Moderator: “What i’m hearing from the panel is that creating room for others to go into the areas, whether they are verticals or niche IOT end user spaces may in fact be the way to go. You’ve said this is going to take some time for the market to adopt, this might be an accelerant. A way to collaborate to accelerate growth.”
Oracle: “I want to throw something out there and see if people agree with me.
We don’t feel we are market share restricted, today, in IOT. Market share does not restrict our business today. Competition does not restrict our business. It’s education and maturity of the market. Which means enablement of the market is the competitive solution. Education and Mindshare are the keys to what we need to focus on.”
Hewlett Packard: “That is very true, a lot of us are participating in industry forums, and partnerships amongst ourselves. Besides this, we all realize that the market is much bigger than we know. And another aspect is when you look at something like this, like IOT, there is no killer application. There are many many end solutions from people who come up with ideas which we haven’t thought about. So trying to bet on any one is foolish, I think. So as much enablement as we can do using the core competencies that we have, that’s where we should work together, and the solutions will emerge for the consumer. But, trying to acquire everything just doesn’t make sense.”
Microsoft: “One of the things that we looked at, we have a ventures program, and rather than try and go take the state which hurts the cap table, which makes the path to innovation much more difficult, is we go in and make investments in technology partners and say, here’s technology that you can go use. And that worked really well and what we were doing now is building innovation labs and bringing partners like Intel and Dell and ARM and others into these labs. So when you bring a start up or an enterprise customer, they have access to all the partner assets, so they can quickly build a solution. We believe that that makes the pie that much bigger for everybody. And ultimately, that’s how we can deliver value to our customers through our partnership, rather than trying to worry about the partnership.”
Intel: “That’s the jet fuel in your accelerator in your analogy, that’s setting innovation on FIRE! Not just for Intel Capital which has a long and strong history of 30 years of investment and 5 + years and multiple millions of dollars of investment. Putting our money where our mouth is as we see the future is one of our strategic assets that we have. That’s straight M&A, we have the Altera purchase, Axia, and others, to enable what we believe is going to be the future of 5G, that’s critical for us.
But all those combinations are necessary, versus one myopic swim lane, when you say, I can only do this through acquisition or I can only do this through Intel Capital. We’re taking a much wider approach.”
Moderator: “A number of times throughout this panel, we’ve talked about data. It’s no secret there’s going to be a ton of data out there. As we talked about there’s data that the enduser is going to want to access, there’s data in the industry that needs to be generated and collected. So what are we going to do with all that data? Obviously the storage guys are going to want to sell you storage. What are we going to do with the data?
Are you guys going to hold on to it? Are you going to give it back to the enduser? What are you going to do with the data that’s being generated?”
Salesforce: “I think that there are multiple uses of the data, honestly. One way of using the data, and by the way, there is a privacy issue that we must be conscious of. One way of using the data which I think that the IOT provider would have to do is to aggregate the data and analyze it in order to understand how products are being used. Some of the product companies have not had that before and they’re going to now collect data on how products are being used and learn to evolve the products or find out what features are being used, and what is not. Why is it not, when is it used? I think that is one level of the data.”
Moderator: “Let’s pick one of the verticals to look at, which is manufacturing industrial IOT. Now the data from all these machines are generating all this data. from process controls, etc. Manufacturing companies, they own it. Are they going to start building big databases to store all this stuff? I think this will be the next big challenge for technology to address.
Where are we going to put all the data from manufacturing, look at just that use case. You guys don’t want it, right?
Oracle: “We like to sell storage space, all of us, we have customers in that space. It’s actually interesting because there are entirely two different types of data. You have service data which is tied to the machine controlling production. You can argue that the owner of the data is whoever built that machine, they own that data because they can get the most value to that data. in some cases whoever is running the machine controls the manufacturing, because they have the closest access to it. The other view in manufacturing is very clear that the data belongs to whomever owns the facility.
Or maybe whomever owns the product before it ever gets sold . This is interesting with IOT. I haven’t talked much about cloud, I think that IOT is the perfect use case for the cloud. for two reasons, one is the elasticity. it is so easy to collect more and faster and faster data, it’s just not financially viable. You go to the web to the data center. The second reason is the complexity of managing this data and the integration with other systems. I don’t think it makes sense to do this in a data center, causing an overload from that. So buying capacity makes it an operational thing and shifting the cost of the running the data, to data warehousing.”
Intel: “I think you are missing one quick point and that is, data as a service. So now that we’ve generated all this data. I, as an individual user might be willing to pay someone for access to that data. If they have warehoused and looked at every other 48 year old of my height, and my weight, there aren’t that many. it would tell me that my blood sugar, my risk of diabetes, my arrhythmia’s, my whatever, if they can anonymize that data, behind Intel’s hardware and give it to me in a meaningful, actionable way, I’d be willing to pay for that, I’d be willing to store it. Car manufacturers will say, well wait a second, I need on the factory line, to know that one of the arms of the robot has gone immediately down, I can’t wait for, pick your service provider, i need access to that data. And then beyond compliant frameworks, is the necessity for protecting that data at all costs, that is our digital thumbprint in the world. And nefarious uses of that activity can be bad for everyone.”
Moderator: “We talk about where to store the data. Do you all believe that the way to store the data — you mentioned the industrial service data belongs to … it’s captured by the manufacturer, do they own the data or does it belong to the factory that uses it.
Hewlett Packard: “I think there are multiple users of the data. Whoever’s collecting the data needs to provide it in a usable manner to the group of users. There’s the end user. The machine provider, the network provider, they are concerned with the health of the network.
This massive amount of data they’re collecting helps them decide what’s happening on the network, are there possible problems on the network. so the network providers is a very important part. They are also interested in how their users of the network. But they want a different slice, a projection of that data to look at that. So, it’s really those that are collecting that data, those that provide those solutions. It’s up to us to come up to that data and come to this group of users in a usable manner. If we do that it either enables them to do things or they’re willing to pay for it. But I think there are multiple users of data.”
Even if the data is owned by the customer, there’s a privacy protection of that data, the customer data. you can ask the customer to share that data for their own benefit. If we’re talking about a seamless experience. What if that data could be used, not as an after the fact, to analyze or to sell it, but actually real time, to predict issues, to track issues as they happen and immediately mitigate. I think a lot of customers would opt-in. Microsoft always asks ‘do you want to share that data?” Apple does that too. Do you want to share data on ‘default’ operating system so they can fix it, and it’s for their own benefit. This could change the game. I think there is a way for customers to accept that and then you can use it in real time. To analyze it.”
VP from AmDocs: “It seems like the consensus is that IOT coupled with Big Data will help gather large amounts of data, optimize processes, and that’s obviously true and obviously a big market changes. At the same time, over the last few dozens of years the really fast industries, the things that change really fast and change our lives care very little about that. Do we really care about internet usage of Netscape users in 1995? Or could efficiency of developing code in 2000s or how people use their feature phones in 2010? Frankly, we don’t. Data that’s 2 years old or 1 years old is irrelevant, So my question to you is, if you know this industry so well, do you see IOT also affecting the real high profile industries, the ones maybe we cannot predict, that will really change the world in 10 or 15 years.”
Oracle: “To start, I just want to say that I actually think you are pretty far off or right in your assumption, and I’ll give you a counterexample. We have customers doing this. A car manufacturer, you build the car, you collect it and pick it up from the factory that built the car. The car goes out of the building, and 8 years later, you find that this model car has a recurring issue. You go back and look at the manufacturing data and you can spot the specific lot of cars that were built in that specific factory that have the issue, you don’t have to do a product line recall, you can go target the specific vehicles. So big data actually does apply to IOT, not always, for sure”
Salesforce: “What you said is true if you just leave the data and do it the old way of data warehousing and analyzing. Data can be analyzed in real time. There are technologies today in the cloud that can help you to analyze data and see trends and mitigate issues. I think that’s the way to go.”
Microsoft: “I would agree on that machine learning point, having that history of data in some sort of history or storage allows you to make new algorithms and change on a path of moving forward. We do this with elevators, we do this with machines. Soon we’ll be able to do this with machines, we can predict health problems.
Intel: “To find that needle in the haystack, you actually have to have the haystack, from which is a central repository for all of this information.
Oracle: “There’s no doubt there’s going to be tons of all kind of solutions based on what we call IOT today are going to drive an entirely new things that we’ve never though of . A lot of the things that we do today in our daily lives are not the way it’s going to work. If you don’t have that in place 10 years from now. You’re toast. Your competitors will win.”
Robin Dan, Price Waterhouse Coopers: “We talk about an ecosystem in a technology center. In another session we heard about manufacturing ecosystem. What is your take on how these are going to merge together. At the end of the day, they have to say who they want to bring to the table. whether we go to them and say here’s a solution for you guys, What’s your take on this?”
Intel: “I would go back to the CIOs of all of our wonderful companies where they control their own bio-dome, and add more offices in those extended campuses. They are lord of everything that will happen in our immediate vicinity and industry.
The rest of the world, the civilian world is going innovate probably quicker than inside our enterprise bio-dome. If I knew when those two things were going to converge, we’d probably be in Las Vegas right now. It’s too difficult to put a time stamp or a date or a prediction on when those two hemispheres converge.
All we know for sure is that they will converge and they’ll converge with devices in our hands in our pockets, in our purses on our person and in devices that are most likely going to be digestible at some point in our lives.
Oracle: “They also solve two different problems. The industry that we talk about — data acquisition, data architecture, they are going to rely on ecosystems that solve specific technology problems, where would the internet be without data analytics, they are integrally tied.
Hewlett Packard: “When you look at ecosystems, its about providing a choice. When we really want to be successful in IOT it’s not the whole ecosystem, but ecosystems provide an economy of choice for customers. That’s where these two sort of merge. Now the end customer can choose among the set that provides them with that.”

I can say from a 20 year career in technology, that the friction between corporate rivals will never go away, but in the concept of an ecosystem, there needs to be a way for the consumer, the player who has the purchasing power, to learn, to have a voice and a choice of how they can utilize the best technology for their needs. Its as simple as that!