What if your IoT devices started paying for themselves? What if your procurement team didn’t have to invest in CapEx on IoT infrastructure? What if you could derive more from your IoT devices that just real-time connectivity?
While IoT experts and consulting firms globally have come up with different approaches to justify an upfront investment in IoT solution, primarily the hardware infrastructure, a fundamental change in how we look at monetizing an IoT solution is the answer to this conundrum. Big data is imperative to businesses today, and the amount of data in circulation and storage increases every hour. While most businesses do recognize the value of this data, they are unable to use it to its full potential. Because unfortunately, most big data exists in silos that undermines its effectiveness.
Here comes the concept of DaaS (Data as a service), which essentially means monetizing the data generated from the multiple IoT nodes by exposing them to third parties who can consume it to add value to their existing business lines. DaaS enables companies to access real-time data streams from anywhere in the world, removing the constraints that internal data sources have.
While this may sound simple on paper, it is essential to put thought around how and who will take ownership of creating such a data marketplace and ensuring its seamless maintenance. Will it be the enterprise implementing an IoT solution, the hardware vendors, the cloud platform owners, the System Integrators, or a third-party data broker?
In theory, each of the above stakeholders can create such a platform. However, an IoT System Integrator is more uniquely positioned to actually set up this platform, as they interact with almost every other stakeholder in the IoT ecosystem. Big data itself isn’t useful at surface value—it’s disorganized, and more than likely won’t make sense to many professionals. A System Integrator, however, will be able to harness data, make sense of it, build rules governing its usage and its value, and ultimately sell it back to the masses as it were.
The SI can position itself as a clearing house for a wide variety of IoT or senor data, offering to capture it, clean it, manage it and even broker or sell it for you in its marketplace if you don’t want to fund the infrastructure to do so. Take the case of the transportation industry, for instance. If a Department of Transportation of any region is already collecting traffic data, they could easily license that information to a third-party navigation company like Google Maps or even to an Uber, to help them improve their route-planning capabilities.
However, before making the decision to invest in creating such a marketplace, there are a few things that need to be considered. This includes generating demand and supply and deciding what comes first, identifying potential customers, ensuring authenticity and security of data, and finally, finding the optimum technology stack to ensure that a data pool is designed with multiple layers to allow peer-to-peer transfer of ‘on-demand’ data.
The answers to all of these lie in a Private, Decentralized Data Lake with Centralized Pre-Processor Ingestion Logic and Centralized Post-Processor Subscription Layer. A private blockchain network will ensure sanity and authenticity of the data flowing across parties, while a cloud-based analytical engine will process datasets from multiple seed nodes, overlap them with each other and derive meaningful insights from them. The system will also have a post-processing module, which includes subscription channel management and billing management.
For illustration, here is how a company owning a fleet of electric vehicles and benefit from such a marketplace and recover the costs associated with setting up its connected vehicle infrastructure (OBD devices installation)
The pricing models could differ from organization to industry. The most common one could be a Pay-As-You-Go service that would basically allow companies to buy processed data for specific requirements. Remarkable advances in sensing and digital communication technologies are realising massive amounts of data through IoT devices. But ultimately, it is what an organization does with the data via algorithms, products and services, that will enable entry into new markets, creation of new sources of revenue or significant cost savings through better planning and management of assets. Imagine an SI who implements a comprehensive IoT solution for your firm and you are able to monetize data from millions of your devices by allowing others to subscribe to it. Or think of an IoT hardware manufacturer who gives you the device at minimal cost, but asks you permission for sharing the data. The moral of the story is that organizations should seize the opportunity to grab all this data, create the rules they can, and create new data brokerage businesses to recover costs on the IoT hardware. These new offerings may be supplementary to their core competencies, enabling them to reap the benefits that the IoT revolution is bringing.