SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The landscape of the Internet of Things is more fragmented than the mind of Sybil, the poster child for multiple personality disorder.
Patrick Moorhead recently tried to provide a little therapeutic organization to the mess in a recent Forbes article. Here’s how he broke down IoT from his company-centric viewpoint as a strategy consultant:
- IBM Smarter Planet has identified relevant IoT real-world issues for vertical markets and has what looks like a large marketing and consulting effort aimed at vendors in those verticals.
- Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group is in the Internet of Everything (IoE) camp -- IoT being, apparently, insufficient.
- Intel’s Intelligent Systems is a broad framework for describing baseline capabilities of, and interactions between, systems of systems.
- Microsoft Intelligent Systems seems aimed at incremental Windows Embedded sales.
- Google researchers are spread out through the IoT world, and they are funding other folks’ experiments.
- GE’s Minds + Machines initiative is a wildcard. GE is large enough to affect the direction of the industry, should they choose.
- IPSO Alliance (Internet Protocol for Smart Objects) formed in late 2008 to promote the use of IP in smart objects -- sensors and other end-points.
- ARM talks evocatively of “wearable, ingestible, implantable” sensors as well as massive server installations.
- International M2M Council is a new, global trade association to connect vendors and adopters.
- HP M2M Solutions is focused on M2M communications and not yet focused on an integrated IS strategy.
- Qualcomm is in the IoE camp and is similarly focused on end-points and M2M communications without including the larger IS picture.
- Internet-of-Things Architecture (IoT-A), formed in 2009, is a European Lighthouse Integrated Project that gets good marks on completeness of vision and being forward looking.
That’s not a bad starting point, but it misses a lot of activities humming deeper in the technical weeds like so many crickets. Here I would point to more dev kits than you can shake a stick at. To name just a few representative examples, they include:
I credit Dust Networks with being one of the pioneers of the field. The startup spun out of a Berkeley research project is now part of Linear Technology. Dust is just one high-profile example of a whole set of leaders from that era, some of which have not survived.
Another way to track this fragmented landscape is via actual deployments. But this is the most murky part of the IoT territory.
Many deployments are embedded deep into SCADA infrastructure projects that are not widely publicized and probably don’t want to be, for security reasons. They range from city traffic cams to farm irrigation systems. And let’s not forget the emerging market for wearable computers.
I am keen to map out this piece of the terrain because it holds the promise of best-practices and lessons learned -- quite a promising harvest.