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July 25, 2014

Three unlikely ways to make money from the Internet of Things

CBR looks at three ways IoT manufacturers can drive opportunities in the emerging market.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Many businesses are already aware of the Internet of Things (IoT), but still aren’t quite sure how to turn all its innovation into money.

CBR looks at three ways to monetise the IoT.

1. Software licensing & entitlement management

IoT app developers will have to figure out how to use software licensing and entitlement management to capture additional revenues.

Laurie Wurster, a research director at Gartner, told CBR back in April: "Licensing entitlement and entitlement management will protect your IP, so it’s the software running on your device that you’re trying to protect.

"So your device will cost X amount of dollars and then the software that’s running on it will count an additional dollar figure, based on how much feature and functionality you want and whether or not you have multiple types of intellectual property."

Wurster added that the concept should be applied to medical robots, smart cars and other intelligent devices, and that manufacturers should never compete on price.

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"If you keep lowering your price you lose out, especially if price goes below the cost of production," she said.

"So you need to look for ways to differentiate your device from someone else and the way to do that is going to be with the intellectual property that’s going to be running on that device."

Mathieu Baissac, VP of Product Management at Flexera Software, also told CBR: "You can’t monetise the software running your Internet-connected device without being able to protect your intellectual property and protect against revenue leakage. Licensing and entitlement management protects against piracy while giving product, pricing, and service flexibility across the IoT."

2. Remote monitoring Software

Another key way that companies are already monetising IoT is by adding paid remote service monitoring for a monthly fee to existing equipment service plans, according to Kathryn Weldon, head of M2M research at Current Analysis.

She told CBR: "This is happening in all kinds of business verticals from medical equipment in hospitals to fire systems in offices to equipment on the factory floor.

"Remote monitoring can proactively detect problems before they happen, or be used instead of or in conjunction with an in-person service call with the eventual hope of having self-healing systems that can detect a problem and fix it via software."

3. 4G

In its second annual M2M Adoption Barometer report, Vodafone predicted that 4G connectivity will improve the ROI as it enables emerging applications in the automotive, security and healthcare sectors.

Phil Skipper, Vodafone’s head of business development for M2M, saidthe high-speed network would remove the need to build expensive fixed line and wireless networks.

"Where the communications is regulated, or where you need to be certain that a message will get through from any location, for instance in a security or health application, then you will see other technologies like 4G being the standard," he told CBR earlier this month.

"But also emerging applications like body cameras used by paramedics to stream footage directly back to hospitals to help them prepare for incoming patients, rapid downloads of mapping and situation data…and portable monitoring."


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