MWC and 4YFN are eye openers for me each year partly because they show how much is going on in the mobile and next generation solutions space. The offerings from thousands of vendors can be overwhelming but enlightening.
This year, though, I arrived at MWC17 with a distinct sense of FOMO. We at BlinkMobile recognise that we need to start engaging more deeply with IoT vendors so that we can offer our customers a low friction and low risk way of delivering solutions enhanced with the greater context and insight that IoT technologies and analytics can bring.
And therein lies the challenge. The numbers of companies offering IoT solutions or technologies is bewildering. We've been playing quite a bit with sensors, hubs, beacons, gateways and more over the last year or so and through that I've begun to realise that this is still early days for this market sector despite the confident sounding marketing at the very glitzy booths.
I wanted to understand such things as where I might propose a beacon/gateways solution vs a LoRa based network. Should we use WiFi positioning? Where does Sigfox fit in? Is everything going to be made obsolete with NB-IoT in 5G? Perhaps the latest GSM based positioning devices may work well. What are the cost differences and implications?
Well, it turns out that no one technology has all the answers, and that creating solutions that are somewhat abstracted from the sensing or positioning technology will be the key to avoid being left stranded by technology change.
The technology offerings tend to suit particular solution scenarios and knowing where to employ each and knowing which equipment vendors can be relied on will become an important value add companies like ours can make.
So, my head is spinning less at the end of today. The FOMO has abated because vendor after vendor noted that they also are finding their way. There are some great siloes of IoT use like smart parking, tracking etc that have come down in price dramatically, but whilst there are lots of customer organisations that have some IoT engagement, it's mainly in one or two focus areas, not permeating their businesses yet.
It's an exciting road ahead despite the IoT hype being over optimistic, and whilst I know there'll be the "trough of disillusionment" in the technology to go through soon, there's real value to be had and BlinkMobile will immerse itself in ensuring it can help to navigate through the complexities.