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IOT and Monetization

September 05, 2017

I am fortunate to work for a company that allows me to pursue my ideas and inspirations. As a Business Unit Director, I’m excited to see where those ideas can impact our partnerships and create value. That is what got me thinking about data and how it can go from existing in a black hole, to existing as a means to an end.

Data, data and more data…what to do with all the data? A while back we entered the age of information swiftly followed by the Internet of Things, or IoT. Compared to the Internet, IoT can seem like a step back, gathering raw data and not necessarily valuable information. But much like Apple and its App Store, perhaps we don’t know what we have in IoT until it is shared with the masses to make something much more useful out of it.

Just a couple of decades ago we reached for encyclopedias or visited the library to get our questions answered. Then came the Internet and as its evolution. Google became a verb and we all went there for our information. Millennials now look to Apps to solve problems and simplify their lives as society embraces the work smarter not harder adage. But what can IoT do to bridge the gap to the next level and how do we turn all that data into actionable information?

Imagine what works of art would look like if they were only black and white. What if we considered data as our color palate? The new genre is Apps, developers are the artists, and IoT generated data is the paint to create pictures like we have never seen before. So, what should we be doing to realize this information renaissance? Consider the functionality of any device and ask which environmental factors impact or encourage its success. With the miniaturization of technology, we can gather more data in a smaller space than ever before. But what does that mean for us as a society and how we move forward? Consider improving your life 0.33% each day. Seems small but you have subjectively changed your life 100% in a year. What if the gathering of data at a similar rate could lead to small improvements in energy savings, waste reduction, efficacy of medicine, etc?

Perhaps we should think of a device not as a closed loop but as an environmentally sensing and connected entity that has the job of executing commands as well as collecting data. What if light and sound can be equated to stress and the efficacy of a medicine is impacted enough by those factors that we encourage the user to limit their interaction there of? But how would we know unless those factors were measured, studied and determined to be cause or effect.

In the evolution of IoT, we need to consider monetization of data and the infrastructure associated with capturing and enabling open/closed source research. Oddly, monetization and open source usually do not fall in the same WACC (Weighted Average Cost of Capital) model. What about payers subscribing for data? This is open for debate depending on the sensitivity and accuracy of the data being collected.

As we develop long term plans for customers and relationships that move C-Suite metrics, we should be looking at monetization of data and how we can make the data reliable enough to merit its purchase by those looking to get more out of the user experience as well as deciding where to invest in future marketing strategies.

And when it is time to store the data or develop an IoT infrastructure, we have those resources at Jabil as well. In a way, that is what I like most about working at Jabil, I can envision a solution and then meet the folks that can bring it to reality. Whether it is using our stacks for storage or our IoT lab to further the discussion, it is all right there at the Blue Sky Center in San Jose.

So, where would you use sensing technology that perhaps does not use it today? If you don’t know, ask around and perhaps you will find a bright idea that changes how you think. Start looking beyond the device itself and into the interactions it has with users and the environment.