2014 to be a big year for IoT

After all, Nest has just two products and paltry couple of years under its belt. (see - Google goes gadgety...) If Google is splashing such extreme cash there must be something in IoT worth going after.

And with the spotlight turned on, M2M and IoT should also be a key focus area at next month’s Mobile World Congress. Many companies will be name-checking the acronyms and looking knowledgeable, so to set the scene, here are the areas and trends you should be looking out for, according to Machina Research which has just published “Competitive Dynamics in the M2M Platform Space”.

First and foremost Machina expects a more ‘defined’ market to emerge this year so its first buds should be on display at Barcelona. It says 2014 is shaping up to be a year of productisation (and commoditisation), but the result of that will be accelerated growth.

But there's going to be a shake-up and a lot of business model adjusting to be done. It points out that a decade or so has seen a range of M2M platforms on which applications have been developed, but the platforms (and therefore the industry structure) has tended to be stove-pipe (aimed at vertical sectors).

This view of the market is now being challenged by more open platforms and a more open applications environment. The idea is to keep it loose and have IoT apps that can draw from multiple IoT or M2M 'feeds' or from real-time sources of data from elsewhere. Dynamic rather than nailed down, in other words.

These platforms are the ones to watch, says Machina. The key movers include Xively (which focuses squarely on the value-added IoT application space), Thingworx (which seeks to also support the stove-pipe applications that underpin an IoT environment) and Bosch Software Innovations (which is bringing systems integration capabilities to the party).

As a result the traditional M2M platform types will be impacted in a variety of ways:

Application Support platforms are likely to be hit hardest and their best way forward will be to secure deals with the likes of ThingWorx to leverage their M2M/IoT Application Platform capabilities.

Today's 'Combined Connectivity Support and Service Enablement platforms' will need to focus more on Connectivity Support than Service Enablement, as M2M/IoT Application Platforms come to dominate markets for the latter.

Solution providers: should regard an M2M/IoT Application Platform capability as a driver of revenues in other areas of their business. Systems integrators are likely to offer M2M/IoT Application Platform services for free, so disrupting the market for others, says the research firm.

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