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The Internet of Things is expanding so rapidly that it now includes a very wide range of products – everything from watches and activity trackers to household products, vehicles and actual cities. Yet the value of these connected objects is not how they connect users. It lies in the data they send.

It is thought that there will be some 50 billion connected objects in the world by 2020. That will represent a $1.7 trillion market – as opposed to $655.8 billion in 2014 – half of which will go into app development. Let’s not mince words: the Internet of Things is a growth opportunity for numerous companies – both SMEs and the world’s major groups. And all sectors will be able to benefit.

What is the real value of connected objects? The real value lies not in the fact that a particular object is Internet-enabled, but rather in the data that it can send.

Data is the value

Internet-enabling devices is a means for companies to provide users with a service or product… as well as expanding their business in the process. They can then use it to strengthen the relationship that they have with their customers, providing them with support wherever they are via whatever device they happen to be using. It also changes the way in which the object in question is used – such as cars. For example, with current systems, users can already send coordinates directly to their car’s satnav system from their smartphone. And given the immense potential that self-drive cars have – this is just the beginning.

The wealth of opportunities that the Internet of Things has lies not so much in the fact that the objects themselves are Internet-enabled. Rather, the opportunities lie in the data that companies can gather, analyze and then make use of. Thanks to this data, they can deliver a customized service that is rich and effective. Or transform the user experience that the connected object provides. What is involved in analyzing this data? It’s the transformation of a data item into a value using the following process:

  • The first stage involves collecting the data.
  • The second stage involves converting this data into information. This information answers questions such as: “Who, What or When?”
  • Then in the third stage, this information is converted into knowledge. It can then be used to answer the question: “How?”
  • And by stage 4, we have developed an understanding: we can answer the question “Why?”
  • The value emerges in the last stage: by analyzing the data, a context can be linked to it, together with a persona, a moment or a place. All the facets of a user’s behavior can be understood: the way in which they do something, how they do it and why they do it.

Why is this analysis worth mentioning? Because it is essential if the connected object is to become indispensable for the user and so a source of value for the company. People often talk about connected refrigerators, for example: unless you stick RFID chips on each yogurt pot so you can deliver useful alerts to users, the purpose of the connected fridge will simply be to provide users with cooking recipes. So there is every possibility that this “value” will not be enough. But the data that can be gleaned from a whole city’s urban lighting system can be used to find out where exactly crowds gather and which areas are less busy. The resulting value is significant: cost savings can be generated, public lighting systems can be made more efficient, service quality can be improved, etc.

What all this means for business

Obviously as far as business is concerned, the Internet of Things is much more than B2C examples that involve connected objects, such as watches. The IoT connects:
• People to objects
• People to machines
• Machines to machines

The omnipresence of the Internet of Things is going to revolutionize the way we interact with our environments, the way we work and the way we work together. Potential applications include ones to do with our immediate environment – cities, transport systems, housing, etc. – and our relationships with others: our relationships with brands, objects, people around us and our employees.

But there are 5 key issues that need to be tackled:

1. Securing data
2. Analyzing and understanding it
3. Managing this mountain of data
4. Transforming the business model
5. Industry fragmentation – what is referred to globally as its disruption or transformation

How can mobile apps be designed for the IoT?

In this future that is taking shape, in a world where everything is connected, mobile devices and mobile apps will play a key role. Mobile app development platforms are able to take up the challenges and meet the needs of the IoT:
• Data from multiple sources and back-office technologies that need to be connected to
• Securing this data
• Rolling out apps that can work on any device
• Rapid app production
• Being able to upgrade these apps so they can keep pace with the rapid changes in the features and functions that devices provide

As a full-stack and open-source platform, Wakanda can cater to all these requirements. Companies can use it to:
• Track the movement of IoTs, without getting involved in endless POCs and analyses
• Rapidly develop mobile apps that work on different devices and legacy ones
• Test, experiment with, innovate and optimize their apps until they find the right business model

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