Internet of Things needs a start-up culture

Realising the dream of the Internet of Things (IoT) requires a similar start-up culture to the one that is currently driving the mobile application market, claimed one analyst this week.

IoT innovation needs to be “multi-linear”, said Saverio Romeo, principal analyst at Beecham Research, during a roundtable discussion hosted by Orange Business Services on Tuesday. “Orange’s R&D lab can innovate a lot, but it can do a lot more if it enables innovation around and outside it”.

Romeo also called on regulators to help cultivate an IoT start-up culture.

As it stands the EU’s Horizon 2020 budget has allocated €3.1 billion of the €24.6 billion earmarked for science to what it calls Future and Emerging Technologies (FET).

“50% of the FET budget should go into the Internet of Things”, Romeo recommended. “We need to put national interests to one side and drive it at EU level.”

While the representatives from Orange Business Services agreed on the need to foster a broad ecosystem of M2M and IoT start-ups, they said that the market, not regulators, will be the ultimate driving force.

“When there is no business reason to do something, then you need the government,” said Emmanuel Routier, vice president of global M2M at Orange Business Services, citing the EU’s eCall initiative – which from 2015 will require all new cars to automatically dial the emergency services in the event of an accident – as one example.

“But we didn’t wait for the government to start the M2M business,” he insisted.

Routier is confident that OBS has the right scale, experience of partnerships, and expertise to meet the needs of its M2M customers.

“The market is looking for an end-to-end approach,” added Mike Smith, head of M2M international at OBS.

In healthcare, for instance, Orange is working with companies like Weinmann, which makes devices for people living with sleep apnea, to launch a monitoring solution that enables healthcare providers to access patient information via a Web portal.

OBS has also won a string of fleet management deals, both with private sector players, like Sosucam, a sugar producer based in Cameroon, and in the public sector, such as the city of Vallauris in France, which tapped OBS to help it improve the management of vehicles from street cleaning trucks to local police.

In each case “we help the customer identify the cost optimisation and the revenue generation” opportunities, said Smith.

(article by N.Wood)


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