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Previously I wrote about the process to extend an ecosystem to include connected devices; collection, connection, crafting and combination, now I’ll address other areas that are crucial to ensuring that any services that are developed are dependable as well as useful.

IoT Blog Graphic - Part 2


What about quality control?

Unfortunately, it’s not only a case of orchestration, analytics and API exposure. To guarantee the quality of service there are a whole host of other related issues that need to be managed, mostly around the task of making sure all the components involved are working as expected, making sure that there is a robustness to them, and that the proper control mechanisms are in place to support the expected volume of calls to use the service. Without these, no one calling upon the exposed services can really depend on it, so they will be less willing to incorporate a call to it as part of their own processes. It’s about building a level of trustworthiness in what you are providing.

Some of this may involve tools, for example, for error handling and recovery or for application monitoring, other may be purely policies such as data management and backup policies. It may well be that your organisation has many of these controls and functional abilities in place already, but I’d suggest that these could be impacted by adding device data, certainly when it comes to having to deal with the new volumes and velocities of data. It could be here that you start to review the chain of the sources of data and discover areas of weakness or gaps in capabilities.

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With today’s focus on the role of ecosystems and the Internet of Everything, Integration, API management and Big Data are all key tools. We can begin to combine data from these new devices with existing sources of data to build new services, based on this combination of ecosystem and device. We can also provide a way to allow other organisations to find and use those services that have been developed.

Ecosystems?

First, just to describe what I mean by an ecosystem. All organisations have an existing set of functions, capabilities and data that describes them. Much of this is supported by standard applications that are common today: ERP, customer management systems, supply chain management. But it's rare that an organisation will own all the functions that they use themselves. They are much more likely to have certain functions supplied by one or more specialist providers, so the organisation needs to have access and insight into the activities of their partners and suppliers. By using interfaces to access them, the organisation can treat these as an extension of their core business. What we can propose is to extend the same approach to connected devices and objects, anything in fact that can create data may be useful. When device data is combined with existing data sources you can create something new with its own value and use it to build a new service. This might be only of use to the organisation themselves, but may have the potential to be part of a product offering that can be sold as a capability to others.

The process

IoT Blog Graphic

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When you go to any specialist, a doctor for example, the quality of the advice you’ll receive will depend on how much relevant information you share. If there is a level of trust between the two parties, sharing correct and up-to-date information will increase the chance of the best result.

open-data-infrastructure

As part of the case for Open Data as a part of the wider API based economy, it will not be enough to only share data with public bodies or commercial partners, but there will also be the need to verify the quality of data and to ensure that the correct permissions to access someone's data has been given and that these take into account where and when that data is used or combined with other sources of data.

A business collects many types of data from a customer and they may consider that to be their own asset, but that business may need to get permission to use and share that data, particularly when that is related to health or personal financial matters. This could be data that is generated by a customer over time through the usage of a service and from the interactions they have with different organisations, including recording their location.

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The telecommunication industry may seem like a giant making easy money, too big to be bothered by their modern rivals. The traditional Telcos have approximately five billion customers worldwide, equating to 70% of the world population (Mogg, Dahlke, Wimmer, & Hoffmann, 2012).

However, when you look closely, you will realise that Telcos globally are constantly battling to stay competitive. The challenges Telcos face have evolved through the years, and the battle for survival is only becoming harder.

Telecommunication companies today are struggling to find their identity. They are at a crossroad, with one path leading them towards becoming a sheer backbone or a pipeline and another towards adapting and playing a pivotal role in digital transformations. For the latter, Telcos find themselves in a unique position of competitive advantage, since mobile technology is the core of the digital ecosystem. Telcos have the most direct access to the consumers who are the most reliant participants of the digital ecosystem. While they have access to the voice of the customers most of them are still struggling to have a place in their hearts.

On the other hand, who would have ever imagined that a non-Telco, like Google, would launch its own broadband services in the US! Or that a company like Twilio would open up the Telco services as Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and piggy back on the network which is provided by the Telcos, eating into their revenues! Globally, the telecommunications industry is under pressure to rationalise players. OTT Players like Apple and Google are posing serious threats to Telcos, edging them into the abyss of customer ignorance. In an era where Mobile Wallet, Apple Pay and M-Pesa are posing threats to the BFSI Industry, and Netflix has disrupted the traditional CD/DVD industry, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) need to quickly identify the threats and act to build an ecosystem which enriches the customer experience and puts it at the heart of their digital evolution. Let’s try to find an answer as to whether the Telcos are really facing a lot of competition from unknown quarters by doing an industry analysis.

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Digitization or digital transformation is the most important element of any business evolution. When we use the term “digital” we refer to the term Digital Economy using APIs as a means. People often ask the question, “What is the revenue potential of APIs?” If we look at the numbers below, we will have a clear idea of the major role that APIs play in revenue generation:

API-Economy-APIs

Source: Harvard Business Review, Jan 2015

So, what will Digitization do for your business?

  • Digitization will help you change the arena of competition
  • Digitization will help you offer a bigger umbrella of services and products woven together by APIs
  • Digitization will help you be seen as a platform on which third-party businesses can add their products, services and customers
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