Smartphones are far from a slowing market, but prognosticators are already looking ahead to the Next Big Thing, literally called the Internet of Things.
Sensor-enabled vials will ensure medicines remain usable – just one of the many advances the Internet of Things will bring to healthcare.
In this next wave of connected devices, sensors and computer chips will be embedded in anything and everything. As my colleague Alec Saunders points out, this will run from contact lenses that measure your blood sugar levels to cars with always-on 4G-LTE to dairy cows connected to the Internet to keep track of their health.
There could be 50 billion devices connected via the IoT by 2020, predicts Saunders. That’s much more than the billions of phones today, and MUCH larger than the wave of PCs before them.
For the IoT to flourish, the devices all need to be able to talk to each other. This either requires agreed-upon communication standards, or a platform, aka operating system, to win out.
In an article today on M2M Evolution, longtime IT analyst Rob Enderle argues that tech standards tend to be too weak to ensure interoperability, and too full of security holes. I’d agree, and point out also that standards tend to get stuck in committees and take years to come out, leaving them near-obsolete by the time they come out, setting them up for poor or no adoption. See HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, or, more recently, the war over WebRTC’s video technology, to see what I mean.
So Enderle thinks a platform is necessary for IoT to take off. What does Enderle prefer? “I think we’d rather this go to BlackBerry.” Here are his four reasons:
1) Expertise. “BlackBerry actually has the missing parts pretty well in hand and is planning to take its QNX platform, already dominant in automobiles, to the Internet of Things as an alternative to Google’s similar effort.”
2) Security. “BlackBerry has security in its DNA because its primary market has always been corporations that require a much higher base level of security than consumers do…In addition, the firm’s platform, Android, has been the least secure of the major platforms, suggesting that that Google’s winning this battle wouldn’t be in our best interest.”
3) Consumer Privacy. “Google’s solution will undoubtedly be cheaper because it can sell the information it gathers about those who use its products to others subsidizing their costs like they do with Android. However, I think it is ill-advised to have anyone sharing this much information about any of us.”
4) Head Start. We launched our QNX-powered Internet of Things strategy, Project Ion, earlier this month, targeting healthcare as one of the first industries beyond cars for our cloud-enabled strategy. Enderle likes that. Healthcare “is one of the areas that has proven to be low-hanging fruit for this Internet of Things movement because so many of the related devices must communicate back to some central service so remedial action for a health problem can be both timely and effective.”
While “running against Google won’t be easy,” Enderle points out that “Google has never learned to focus on any one thing, which is what gives BlackBerry this opportunity to steal the Internet of Things market. Given how Google makes money, off of our information, I think it is in all our best interests if BlackBerry wins this fight.”
As a future consumer or developer, do you agree with Enderle’s analysis?