IoT Offers New Opportunities for Prepaid & Wireless Services
What would you pay for a copy of yesterday’s Wall Street Journal? Nothing? How about a copy of tomorrow’s edition? Priceless! Consider this as a copy of tomorrow’s Prepaid and Wireless News. Throughout time, innovative entrepreneurs have found profitable applications for new technologies. Consider callback, MVNO, calling cards, enhanced services. All of these very profitable services were created by clever use of existing technologies, coupled with energetic marketing and non-typical distribution channels.
What is the next killer prepaid or wireless application? Who knows? But, it will likely involve IoT. What is IoT? IoT, or “Internet of Things” refers to the networking of devices over some type of internet, often the public Internet. It is what powers the Ring doorbell enabling you to answer your doorbell from anywhere in the world, magic refrigerators that tell you when you are low on something, and doors that magically unlock when you approach them.
There are countless examples of IoT powered applications, and more are coming out every single day. What are the sales opportunities for IoT applications? What new markets can be breached with an IoT application? What riches await those that design and market must-have applications? The possibilities are endless, and limited only by the ability to dream up exciting new applications and bring them to a world hungry for interesting and useful new applications.
“There are a lot of opportunities to automate a lot of processes,” said Sam Greengard, freelance writer and author of “Internet of Things. “If you are a reseller or a managed service provider, you can package these solutions.” Greengard said that besides an adequate level of security, service providers must also make sure that apps are fully integrated. Otherwise, he says that you might end up with solutions that can’t be connected for maximum value.
But, how do you find the opportunities for IoT that will excite the public?
Ramin Heydari, CEO of XYZies, says that IoT will disrupt existing systems, offering an opportunity to provide services that are unique to particular applications. “Anyone that can think up an app can develop it for other users,” said Heydari. “Anyone who has a passion for anything knows the problems because they deal with them.” He said that those who dream up these apps wish that there was already an app, and IoT facilitates the development of an application.
We have seen many examples of commercial applications using IoT, but this is just getting started. It is a fertile field for those who can not only dream up applications, but have the ability to package and market them. While there is a lot of technical information available, there is not yet a lot of information on the distribution of products. All Wireless & Prepaid Expo will feature a conference session on new technologies, like IoT, at its August 20-21 event in Las Vegas at Caesar’s Palace. Experts like Heydari will be there to explain the process of IoT development and marketing.
But, there is more to IoT apps than the technical details. Unless there is a revenue stream for distributors and retailers, they will not be motivated to offer them. And, right now, it is unclear how money will be made with IoT. “For all intents and purposes, there is not a lot to sell,” said Adam Wolf, President, National Wireless Independent Dealer Association (NWIDA). “Nobody is going to walk into their local Boost Mobile store and buy a wireless water meter,” he explained. He said that everybody is talking IoT, but it is not something that a mom and pop dealer or even a large retailer can sell.
Wolf does not thing that we are far from being at the point where IoT is marketable, maybe six months or a year, but “we are not there yet,” he said. “Everybody is talking about it, but nobody has real applications or products that the dealers can sell right now.” As Wolf said, the market is not there just yet, but the day is coming soon.
While this report may not be the equivalent of tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal, for wireless and prepaid providers, it will offer a glimpse into the future. It is time to get prepared and get informed, or be left behind.
The Internet of Things
We turn on the lights in our house from a desk in an office miles away. Our refrigerator alerts us to buy milk on the way home. A package of cookies on the supermarket shelf suggests that we buy it, based on past purchases. The cookies themselves are on the shelf because of a “smart” supply chain. When we get home, the thermostat has already adjusted the temperature so that it’s toasty or bracing, whichever we prefer. This is the Internet of Things—a networked world of connected devices, objects, and people. In this book, Samuel Greengard offers a guided tour through this emerging world and how it will change the way we live and work.
Greengard explains that the Internet of Things (IoT) is still in its early stages. Smart phones, cloud computing, RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology, sensors, and miniaturization are converging to make possible a new generation of embedded and immersive technology. Greengard traces the origins of the IoT from the early days of personal computers and the Internet and examines how it creates the conceptual and practical framework for a connected world. He explores the industrial Internet and machine-to-machine communication, the basis for smart manufacturing and end-to-end supply chain visibility; the growing array of smart consumer devices and services—from Fitbit fitness wristbands to mobile apps for banking; the practical and technical challenges of building the IoT; and the risks of a connected world, including a widening digital divide and threats to privacy and security. Finally, he considers the long-term impact of the IoT on society, narrating an eye-opening “Day in the Life” of IoT connections circa 2025.