With almost no industry untouched by blockchain-mania, what opportunities does the technology hold for the mobile industry? When we consider the application of blockchain to the telecoms industry, it is difficult to see large-scale disruption of existing operating models. This is because the industry has long-established supply chains and, in 3GPP, a well-functioning and transparent institution that fosters innovation and technology standardization. It is also an industry with a several decades of delivering cost reductions from scale economies. This limits the scope for blockchain to disrupt the established order
The smart city concept is now firmly on the operational agenda of government officials and private sector solution providers. The evolution towards grounded solutions means that adopters and solution providers require tangible strategies along with workable frameworks and planning tools to initiate their smart city initiatives. Look at how the emerging smart city industry acts as a host to multiple smart city reference architecture initiatives in parallel with multiple check-list criteria that aim to rank cities on smart city implementation roadmaps. Let’s focus on two structural features of city planning and management to illustrate the real-world challenges that city authorities will have to overcome. The first deals with differing economic profiles that characterize individual cities.
True IoT application opportunities, however, present a new challenge because of the value potential arising from cross-silo applications. The implication for IoT platforms is that they will need to support cross-platform application usage scenarios. This may be through inter-operability capabilities such as APIs with application and application-performance status capabilities to enable a dependable quality of service and rapid problem diagnosis. Coherent data models will also be required to allow sensors to be recognised automatically by non-related applications, for example, and also to support the flow of sensor data across platforms that might be configured for silo applications.
The IoT takes most industrial organizations into a new operating domain and requires a process of self-education to begin with. Most of the questions I encountered began around the two topics of connectivity technology choices and approaches to justify the IoT business case. A major challenge for industrials is to plan their strategies and business-cases with the right frame of reference. Much like navigating with a map, the best way to make significant progress involves zooming out to see the bigger picture.
Most companies get caught up in the first few stages of product development and miss out by not planning for Stage 4 sources of value. The challenge for manufacturers aiming to profit from IoT opportunities is to manage their product development road-map strategically. They have to anticipate solution “mash-ups” and data from different ‘vertical’ silos or third-party sources. The supply-side of the IoT market faces its own challenges. Basic connectivity will be commoditised once technology choices are simplified. By then, network and platform interoperability will drive value through new business models based on shared resources and data assets.
Companies offering services based on connected devices will increasingly have access to significant amounts of highly granular data about consumers and their connected devices. This trend is heightening privacy-related concerns about the way that such data might be used and the potential for consumers to be harmed. Policy makers and business organizations that have an interest in the long-term viability of the IoT market also need to ensure that consumers are not ruthlessly exploited under apparently beneficial situations. Through this perspective, concepts of trust and stewardship related to the use of private data can be developed into new and appealing value propositions.