Why the Internet of Everything demands that we focus on services
There has been an explosion of applications using the internet, and it is estimated that by 2017 there will be three times more connective devices than people on the planet. This growth is set to continue, driven not just by the desire to connect devices, but also because of the valuable services that can be provided.
Visitors to a recent event hosted by Dataracks and Cambridge Cleantech at the Trinity Centre, Cambridge, heard Tim Murdoch, Head of Digital Services at Cambridge Consultants, discuss how service-led innovation is driving the demand for data centres. This innovation is about creating a service people value, and is happening because digital, devices and services are coming together in a way that has never happened before.
For example, M-PESA is a financial product initially available through the mobile phone network in Kenya, and later across the world. M-PESA succeeded as a service platform because it is resilient, enabling users to access money and buy airtime even in the event of discontinuities in the market, such as the disruption that followed the 2007 Kenyan presidential election. Shortly afterwards, Africa saw the appearance of its first IoT devices when water pumps were connected to M-PESA, allowing people to purchase water supplies electronically, paying for investment in the well. Another application, M-KOPA, enabled people to use M-PESA to pay for solar energy, making electricity available to many households for the first time. Examples such as these are driving data services, opening up access to all sorts of digital services.
Service-led innovation is a combination of the IoT, big data, cloud-based technologies and, increasingly, AI, and is changing the way technology is perceived. Today, the focus is not just on the technology, but on the proposition itself and how business can transform to deliver it. Motor insurers can take advantage of sensors to monitor cars and drivers, which has the potential to eliminate, for example, fraudulent claims for whiplash – were there really several passengers in the car at the time of the accident when only the driver’s door was opened?
Other examples include throwaway devices containing UV sensors, which can monitor exposure to UVA/B to help devise the ideal skincare regime, and energy management systems to control home heating – delivering the right amount of heat, at the right time, helping to reduce carbon footprint. Healthcare is set to benefit too, with medical devices such as the KiCoPen for the administration of insulin, which communicates dosing information, confirms that the correct dose was administered, and when.
With continued growth of the IoT, the amount of data collected and the services that are being delivered, having the right infrastructure in place for data storage and processing is vital. This is starting to drive different architectures for the industry, and creating a demand for edge computing. Getting the infrastructure right is crucial.