Q1: How would you describe the current state of IoT?
I would say that we have moved past the hype cycle into reality-based assessments of the industry. Four years ago, very large companies made huge investments in IoT thinking the money would just roll in. They put together big business plans and hired large teams. At the end of the first three years, they pulled back, and now a year later they have come back in a much more thoughtful and realistic way.
Q2: IoT is picking up steam but remains fragmented by industry. What is the role of organizations like the IMC in helping accelerate IoT?
Our role is to bring buyers and sellers together. When we started, we knew that we did not want to be a technical standards or a testbed organization. We wanted to create something that included enterprise users and OEMs that want to buy connectivity services, hardware, and software to deploy connected devices. We want to find out what they needed, and to bring them into our orbit. We now have all kinds of projects that support this, including RFP templates, key industry events and webinars.
Q3: What is the most common thing that you are asked from companies trying to implement IoT in their products or services?
As a credible third party, we are asked for documentation from that shows that buyers are doing their homework around sourcing and deploying IoT technology. The RFP program is the classic example, and we also have a leadership committee of 30 people mostly from Fortune 500 companies. They needed documentation that helped justify IoT activities with their procurement organization. A set of independent, comprehensive guidelines is a huge benefit.
Q4: What is the dumbest thing you have seen in the market lately?
The issue that I dislike the most is when people waste time trying to differentiate between M2M and IoT. Who cares? Neither term is clearly defined, and it is a waste of effort to spend time and attention on it. Fortunately, the discussion on this topic has decreased over the past several years! Now more technical folks have been saying that IoT is not important anymore, it is all about AI. The two technologies are mutually supportive and different. Frankly, IoT still has many things running on 2G networks. It is an asymmetrical discussion.
Q5: What do the next 12 months look like in IoT?
We spend quite a bit of time tracking industry numbers. The size of deployments is not as large as anyone would like and the industry still has not scaled. The vast majority of deployments are under 10,000 devices, and the majority of these are under 1,000 devices. Scale has not yet been achieved. There are some good things happening with OT and IT companies working more closely together. The irrational exuberance of the industry has left us, and this is a good thing. Companies are much more serious now, and I expect things to accelerate throughout the year.
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