IoT Needs More Innovative Business Models

Speakers at a government event have called for more innovative business models to enable the IoT to live up to its potential.

Speaking at the Westminster e-forum event Tom Rebbeck, from Analysys Masons, said IoT revenues for tech companies that have launched themselves into the IoT space, such as Intel, were hovering at below 5% as a proportion of total sales.

Rebbeck said: "We're mostly talking fitness tracking, smart metering, smart parking and fleet management.

"There are more complex systems, such as Nest, but these are the exception today.

"Radical business models are rare. It's all about how the IoT will save you money on your existing systems, and reduce operating expense through monitoring and predictive maintenance. This is not to criticise, but it raises a challenge in how the IoT is sold. As a result, movement to innovative business models is slow."

Gary Barnett, a software analyst at Ovum, agreed that the bulk of IoT use cases over the next 10 years would be merely offering incremental improvements.

Roger Bickerstaff, partner at law firm Bird and Bird, raised questions about the future funding models for IoT and suggested there would be three sources of IoT funding. For example, corporate equity from the likes of Google and venture capital investors, which would come in handy for the initial startup and development stages of IoT projects.

Event chairman, Matt Warman, said the government needed a proper digital strategy to tackle both these issues and more general problems such as digital skills which are holding back the IT industry.

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