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The Internet of Things: Where is it really headed?

Posted by Norman Miglietta on 05/30/2012

The discussion of the “Internet of Things” has been hot recently. And there are some glaring misconceptions out there regarding what the “real” Internet of Things is, and what it can accomplish.

The term, coined by a technology pioneer, refers to uniquely identifiable objects (things) and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure. Brought into the mainstream in waves, the chatter around the Internet of Things has been steadily growing and can be attributed to large companies, such as Google and GE, jumping on the bandwagon.  Those companies, not surprisingly, think everything from your refrigerator to your window blinds will all be connected and remotely controlled and monitored to improve the quality of our daily lives.

There are only a few verticals, however, in which I believe the Internet of Things really stands to gain a foothold, at least in the short term. These are supply chain management, municipal government and healthcare delivery.

Supply Chain: The global supply chain is ever-growing and changing every day. When you consider where supply chain management was even five years ago, you’ll notice a large uptick in connectivity. Where there used to be lapses in “real-time” intel and communication, we now see many more shipping companies using new wireless capabilities to remotely track and monitor their mobile assets. However, with M2M now we’re seeing the ability to control the precise movements or climate of a truck and cargo. Clients of ours like Purfresh, can offer tracking for not only the location of produce in transit, but also its environment. This intelligence helps protect the quality of delivered goods, a critical component for ensuring regulatory compliance and safety of our global food supply chain.

“Smart City”: Many local governments and municipalities dream of being able to troubleshoot traffic jams, water main breaks or snow removal issues from afar. However, the bigger question here is not how those tools will be utilized effectively, but how cities will do so while maintaining low recurring costs as well as providing efficient connections to these devices in even the most difficult locations.

Healthcare: “mHealth” is a term that was coined to describe the practice of medicine and public health, supported by mobile devices. The term is most commonly used in reference to using mobile devices for health services and information. However, many consumers may have the misconception that they will be able to track their vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, glucose levels, etc.) using their smartphones. This is not necessarily the case. Rather, we are seeing two different verticals arise from the mHealth space--"Information gathering" applications and critical care monitoring. The real value of the Internet-of-Things comes in enabling doctors to manage specific diseases or general patient wellness remotely. This “critical care” monitoring will be driven by rugged, purpose-specific devices with necessary privacy and security measures built in, and will be operated largely by healthcare providers and payers. Informational wellness monitoring, on the other hand, will be the domain of the smartphone, and it will be more for the curious consumer, the classic early adopter ... folks who want to track and manage non-vital aspects of their health on their own. Many are mistaking this informational monitoring as Internet-of-Things value-add.

Although the opportunities of the “Internet of Things” have still yet to be nailed down, we are beginning to see some defined trends within certain verticals and spaces.  Stay tuned as we continue to monitor these trends in future posts.

By Stein Soelberg, Director of Marketing

Stein leads a team whose responsibility is to own the branding, advertising, customer engagement, loyalty, partnership and public relations initiatives designed to propel KORE into the 21st century. With over 15 years of technology marketing experience in the business to business software, Internet services and telecommunications industries, Stein brings a proven track record of launching successful MVNOs and building those brands into leaders.

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