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IOT Evolution: Tellient

Collocated with ITEXPO this year was IOT Evolution, which is the transition from the M2M show that Carl Ford ran. IOT the term means as much to people as UC or SD-WAN. That isn’t me being mean; ask people. These are umbrella terms for a vague collection of things.

I sat down with an old colleague from ISPCON days, Tristan Barnum, and her co-founder at Tellient, Shawn Conahan. We talked about IoT, the Internet of Things, and its similarity to WebRTC. WebRTC was tech; VoIP is tech. Both needed a business plan wrapped around it to make sense. (The technology alone is not a business.) The technology has to be monetized. Tellient is in the business of monetizing IoT.

Conahan describes a marketplace as the place where data inputs into other data. All that data by itself means little. It takes analytics as well as understanding to give that data meaning. Then you can take that data and deliver it to a user in a fashion (or graphical form) that he/she can understand and utilize, in place of a terabyte of ones and zeroes.

“For companies wanting to embrace the Internet of Things to extract the greatest value from their products and customer relationships, the new value chain must include device analytics.” [from the Tellient website]

One example Conahan gave was over a NOAA buoy, which can be used to improve shipping routes from the same data that the NOAA collects (but doesn’t use.) Another example came from GoGo (the satellite Internet provider to airlines) who will use data to help airlines avoid turbulence, which wears on both the passengers and the planes.

In a way Tellient is helping to build a mesh network to connect data from a number of connected sources, add analytics to it and provide a functional output (like graphs).

For me, Big Data, AI (artificial intelligence and bots), math (algorithms + analytics) are all coming together at the same time as sensors, computing and connectivity are all hitting mass market penetration. Look at the Raspberry Pi, a $5 computer! Sensors are under a dollar each. Smartphones can be had under $100. Connectivity is all you can eat. Data storage on AWS or S3 is pennies. All of this hardware is commodity. The smarts – the math – is where the business plan is. It is where the money is.

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