IoT, Spimes and Everything

::: nBlog :::

With the Internet-of-Things now featuring regularly even in mainstream media, one might get a feeling that it is just another brick of technology to be added in order to extract a bit more efficiency from existing products and services. Even though the hype is comparable to the 2000s dot-com bubble, this time we are going to see profound changes in most business environments.

BaseN views IoT as the key enabler for Everything-as-a-Service. With affordable connectivity, cloud computing and eternal data storage, more and more mundane things (like socks) can be fully modeled and tracked in cyberspace, and 3D-printed into connected, physical reality only when actually needed. The digital side of any thing, Spime, remains in sync with the user at all times.

Connecting things is nothing new. Already in the 1960s, in the Apollo space program, all vital structures were linked back to ground control through wireless connections. It was called telemetry and just carried a bit higher price. It is the digital structure of the cyberspace which is now at grasp for everyone, not just for NASA and the likes.

Now we also have off-the-shelf components, like RFID tags, available for a few Eurocents a piece. These can be included in virtually any physical product, in order to achieve basic sensing and identification capabilities. Many businesses, such as retail and manufacturing, have adopted these already years ago, but only for limited product tracking during production and sales phases – once the product is at the customer, it is largely forgotten by the vendor.

In quite near future, all products will be mostly digital, with physical resources assembled around a Spime which evolves throughout the customer relationship and meets the customer requirements progressively better. This has large implications to most business aspects, especially sales and marketing – those will be much closer to production and technology, and will become very fine-tuned consulting instead of repetitive pitches and canned materials.

From the 1980s to the early 2010s, telecommunications and IT were considered as (expensive and sometimes futile) support functions at large manufacturers and traditional industries. Who wouldn’t have heard about a gigantic SAP project delayed by a year and taking double the budget. Important things were raw materials, transport and factory processes.

The bottom line is that for any current industry, the digital platform hosting the spimed merchandise will surpass the importance of raw materials and logistics. This has yet to sunk into most CEO’s minds, but fortunately we’re seeing some leadership with e.g. crane and elevator companies. The reliable, future-proof digital engine with real-time access to each and every customer is key.


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