“See it at a Glance,” The New Era for the Industrial Internet of Things

I’ve been involved in the IoT since 2006. Since that time, the discussion has changed from M2M and protocol level topics to focus on heterogeneous machine and human systems and interoperability on higher levels. I think it is time again for the discussion to change.
What really is IoT all about? As a technology, it means Internet Protocol (IP) formatted traffic end-to-end from individual sensor nodes to the cloud and on to end users. For most business people, including me, the IoT is still something “you cannot touch nor see.” Essentially it’s about bits and bytes flying in the air or in cables.
I started working with the founders of Sensinode in 2006, ultimately leading the company first as Chairman / VC representative and later as CEO. I had an outsider’s perspective; my previous background was in services marketing, sales and advertising, and it was very exciting to the industry begin its rapid evolution from isolated network “islands.” By late 2007 – if I remember correctly – 6LoWPAN was standardized in IETF. Perceived by many as a protocol level messiah, it was initially utilized in almost no field installations.

After leaving Sensinode (now a part of ARM) in 2010 and then founding Cyberlightning together with 3D Internet thought leaders, I had a picture in my mind that was not yet clearly focused. The team at Sensinode had successfully pushed 6LoWPAN and other core IoT technologies forward. Excellent team & great guys – thanks Zach and Mikko for your effort and passion! Now it’s 2014 and 6LoWPAN & COAP (on app level) seem to be winning the game… but the road is long.

This past June, I participated in the IoT World Conference in Palo Alto CA, It was a chance to meet old friends and make excellent new ones. As I’ve noted, the focus of the discussion had risen from protocol level topics to higher-level interoperability, but it was still rooted in technical issues.
The flow of conversation at the Palo Alto conference was like this: Technology, technology, interoperability, platforms, cloud, security, technology, etc. Let me put my outsider hat back on for a minute and say it in black & white. These are abstract issues for business people – which means for most of the customers. The fact is that IoT works today. Millions of sensors send messages and data is flying within many different networks. The technology behind this is not important to business people. Earnings, savings and customer loyalty are what matters.
So how do we sell IoT applications if the business decision makers can’t understand nor see the solution or its value? It’s like selecting a new car by listening to the radio.
We can sell the IoT when we show how information consumers (by that term, I mean everyone) best handle large volumes of data. And that is done visually. How did TV change the media environment when it came alongside radio? What enabled the growth of consumer Internet? What differentiates mobile phones vs. Smart Phones? You get the idea. The massive utilization of IoT has boundaries on the UI/UX side. The key to crossing that boundary? I’ll say it is with data-rich, visually-based real world and virtual world integration.

This was the picture that had not quite focused in 2010. Today we’ve solved the UI/UX problem in CyberVille®. We’ve widened the IoT from radio to TV… or actually to an interactive mobile/web UI/UX on a platform that enables solution providers to realize high-level interoperability and automated big data analytics for their various applications.

See “with one glance” and control your IoT easily with your mobile. That’s the start of a new era for the Industrial Internet of Things!

Ville Mickelsson, CEO, Cyberlightning Ltd.