Iot As A Service Becomes Mainstream, While Smart Cities Come Online

The Software as a Service (SaaS) model has laid the foundation for IoT as a Service (IoTaaS) platforms. In both industrial and other commercial settings, the IoT is the hot topic of the here and now. From ‘over my dead body’ to life in the cloud, business quickly adopted remote intelligence, after a notable percentage of enterprises resisted back when ‘cloud computing’ was a novel concept. People now like to consume things ‘as a service,’ and the pay-as-you-grow and overall flexibility inherent to many offerings have become preferred options.

The IoT is finding its best acceleration in that approach, too, but businesses are still grappling to evaluate just what benefits the IoT (and M2M communication, specifically) can deliver. While it’s still a little warped at times (customer-facing companies looking to industrial applications, for example) there are now emerging platforms that render the IoT as a Service, something many companies are going to sign up for – and for a number of good reasons.

The IoT is one of those things that present with obvious logic and intrinsic value – it’s not hard to imagine the benefits, no matter what the nature of your business might be. Problems creep in when imagination is the only thing informing IoT ambitions, however. It’s new, unknown, hasn’t yet scaled globally, and anyone can be forgiven for flights of fantasy when dreaming of the IoT applied to their business. But it’s also a tech advancement that lends itself to a logical, relevant application and learning curve.

It may not be standard fare for Quantity Surveyors or Project Managers, but the IoT is that kind of thing – something that can be analyzed, totaled up, and delivered. The essential ingredient in all of it is business purpose. That is what makes a methodical approach valuable – articulating your business’ purpose. Although that’s so obvious as a starting point, something about the IoT – too many Matrix movies, perhaps? – has people abandoning that fundamental determinant of commerce and industry, and rushing headlong into gadgetry and nonsensical applications. 

Looking to Smart Cities and 5G for application

If you’re wondering just how to apply IoT tech – capably aided by the 5G roll-out and the myriad of cloud modeling tweaks many IoT installations are manifesting – working with an IT consultancy may be your best bet. if ever there was a time to have a savvy techie in your pocket, now is that time. In fact, IT support are the main group advancing the IoT, as the fraternity has always been given to detailed analysis, methodical builds and – crucially – also houses those who know best of all what the capabilities of the various components are.

Not surprisingly, Smart Cities constitute a broad and detailed arena that is enabling the building and beta of the IoT as a Service. As global urbanization remains a trend, the advent of smart cities is providing a myriad of use cases that encourage the development of IoTaaS platforms. The grand scale and public money of major metropoles are not the only facilitator of commercial IoT applications, but they’re hard to ignore. Coupled with the mainstreaming of 5G, public projects provide a grand testing ground from which commercial and industrial applications can be extrapolated.

Of course, enterprise money is leading the way on other fronts, but a remarkable amount of intel is gleaned from the applications Smart Cities are implementing. We tend to think of the IoT in terms of smart homes and robotic factories – and those avenues are valid – but the public sector has giant budgets and huge buying power, a reality definitely scaling the IoT. 

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts bemoan the lack of fungibility of digital currencies, but the same can’t be said of the IoT. Hungry for cost savings and greener lifestyles – not to mention less traffic congestion, better traffic control, better security and smarter user behavior – Smart Cities are the broad base that provides an insight into exactly how the IoT can benefit business at large.

Smart City IoT provides a mirror for enterprise

The Smart Grid is a prominent theme in cities looking to IoT apps for cost-savings. Eliminating human control (or lack of control) over particularly lighting, while maintaining the UX behind utilities, is a desire shared by the world’s Smart Cities. Those responsible for building management are incorporating IoT devices and intelligence into infrastructure in order to become more efficient power users. 

Optimizing any Smart City’s architecture through IoT application in buildings is putting a spin on modern offices, and by implication also retail malls, warehouses, and factories. While we probably give little thought to it, elevators in buildings across an average city are eating years out of people’s lives. It was noted in 2010 that New Yorkers lost more than a collective 22 years waiting for elevators in that year alone. Smart elevators have become big business, as IoT application makes a notable difference in their value for people. 

The Smart Grid of the modern city is already indistinguishable from consumer application, when one considers that the majority of EU homeowners have smart electricity meters in their homes, and a rising and sizeable percentage are turning to smart gas meters as well. Savvy cities also offer power storage options to homeowners (where this power is derived from solar) and the process of storage and resale back into the grid is managed by the IoT.

Monitoring of pedestrian, vehicle and even bike traffic behavior in the average Smart City provides substance for similar efficiencies in commerce and industry. Workshop layout and design, people movement, and overall ergonomics are optimized through the implementation of the IoT. Many of the commercial applications now becoming entrenched stem from Smart City projects that demonstrated often dramatic improvements in costs, public safety, and overall enjoyment of the urban arena.

Ryan Kh

Ryan Kahn, known as a career coach and television personality. Ryan Kahn is founder of The Hired Group, author of Hired!