SECTIONS - Caught in the Crossfire
June 20, 2016

Words of Inspiration

Next month I am speaking at a carrier’s customer meeting.  The primary customers are CLECs and integrators that have been part of its wholesale wireline market.

Speaking to existing customers who know legacy products about the new opportunities with IoT requires a persuasive speech.  It has nothing to do with the carrier’s capabilities. It has to do with catching people’s attention as to how opportunity can be applied to their business and how business can be served by the carrier’s services.

Let me share with you the outline of my talk.  And let me warn you, I intend to use tired metaphors.

The first part of the presentation is to inspire. 

How do you inspire people? The cathedral metaphor should work, but I have to be careful. When does a market projection become overwhelming? For a recent white paper I wrote, I waded through market forecasts that could make you laugh. Is the IoT worth the entire GDP of the U.S.? How about a tenth? The numbers get incredibly large quickly. Here are some forecasts I gathered just in the connected home market.

Pretty overpowering!

I usually concentrate on the number of IoT devices and not the dollar values involved. I find it’s easier to talk about 50 billion devices in 2020, which was first posted by Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group.

At this point the forecast has us about half way there, with 25 billion devices in the market. 

The vision of the cathedral comes down to the brick layers as wall and bricks.  Seeing the vision of the cathedral can be inspiring, but laying the bricks is the essential foundation.

Based on Cisco’s estimate, we are near the halfway count of 25 billion devices. In general, they break down this way: 10 billion are legacy devices that may have limited internet connectivity, most likely through gateway devices; 10 billion represent cellular solutions that include tablets, IPTV solutions, etc. That leaves about 5 billion devices that are in the enterprise and connecting to smart systems. 

Now I am not sure that the inspiration has taken hold, but the next step is to educate and inform.

The practical side of IoT is the Industrial Internet. GE has pointed out that 1 percent improvement in efficiency in manufacturing and distribution means  $1 billion in savings. 

The home market represents growth, the enterprise market represents efficiency, but what does the automotive market represent? The answer includes both those elements, but a large driving force is compliance. Trucking and transport have been going through rule changes that are making IoT a valuable part of all strategies when looking at electronic records and food processing logs.

We have inspired, and informed. Now it is time to persuade!

The easiest way I can think of persuading is to ask a simple question: How many devices do you own today?

The reality is that we are in the process of the retooling of the internet. The cloud services, the virtualization of the network, the advances in cognitive and machine learning make a fertile ground for people and businesses to increase profit.

Finally the conclusion has to be compelling.

If you are not inspired at by this opportunity, I believe you can be just by talking to your customers. And you better do it soon, because I bet they are talking to other people. 

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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