The Connected Effect

M2M Experts Discuss Wireless Connected Product Strategies

Posted by Dan Murphy

Aug 9, 2012 1:13:00 PM

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As most of our readers know, Axeda has a long history of serving the manufacturing market – where machine downtime can cost more than $1 million per day.   Our company was founded on the idea that if we could make machines talk, and arm manufacturers with the ability to talk back, that we could fundamentally change the way that mission-critical products are monitored, serviced, and developed.

The options for how these connected products talk have seen a significant evolution over the last couple of years. Specifically in the industrial manufacturing market, equipment is now more intelligent, produced based on PLC, CNC, SCADA, and PC technologies, with some level of wired or wireless connectivity now standard.

Next week, we will host a webinar with AT&T, our leading wireless partner, where you can learn more about how industrial manufacturers are remotely collecting, monitoring, and analyzing the machine data for greater uptime, cost reductions, and improved productivity. 

We hope that you will plan to join us and learn how these types of solutions can benefit your company.

Topics: M2M, machine-to-machine, Axeda Platform, manufacturing, AT&T

M2M Point Solutions are “Pointless"

Posted by Dale Calder

Jul 15, 2011 11:56:00 AM

The general problem with point solutions is that they are point solutions.  

Point solutions, as a rule, do a good job solving the specific problems they were designed to solve.   The flip side is that they do nothing else.  Point solutions just aren’t designed to look beyond their silo.Moobella

For a modern enterprise – that’s a big problem!

A modern enterprise could contain hundreds of M2M point solutions.   These point solutions represent islands of information that will prevent full organizational efficiency from being achieved.  

Remember how hard it was to get your sales force automation system to talk to your financial system.   A million dollars, a bunch of high priced consultants, and maybe you’ll get a simple integration.   (Oh by the way, it will break as soon one of the systems is upgraded.)

Now what happens if you want your fleet management system to integrate with your vending management system and both of them to interact with your supply chain automation system -> sounds like a problem.

A better solution for M2M is to base all of your organization’s device (or product) interactions and applications on a single M2M platform.   An M2M platform acts as a system of record for all real-time device communication.  It provides shape to those real-time data sources and gives them a web-orientated programmable representation.   In effect, an M2M platform normalizes an organization’s device interactions and provides a hub for organizational optimization.  

The real power of M2M is using one real-time source of information to automate a myriad of business processes.   A single source of M2M data will likely touch many aspects of your business – the last thing that you want is to go to the trouble instrumenting your devices - only to find their use is limited.  

For M2M - think platform.

Topics: Axeda, Connected Products, M2M; customer success, machine-to-machine, Axeda Platform, cloud, cloud computing; SaaS, network

M2M – Be Free to Grow!

Posted by Dale Calder

Feb 7, 2011 5:12:00 PM

FREE! 

Who would have thought that in a totally capitalistic society that “FREE” would become the primary method by which modern business models are grounded?

In fact, Free has become such a part of our mindset that we have grown to expect it.  Can you imagine paying for LinkedIn or Facebook to do an Internet search?   No way.   I use an excellent application called Evernote on my iPad to keep notes – no more paper for me.   Of course, it’s Free.

The psychology of Free is totally different from “really inexpensive”.  Free is frictionless … really inexpensive is not.   What smart business people on the consumer side have realized is that pervasiveness is the path to economic riches.   Pervasiveness creates traction … traction generates market leverage … and market leverage enables all sorts of indirect economic models (i.e. advertising, data, premium services, etc.) 

Recently, I found myself facing an interesting problem - How to leverage “Free” to accelerate a business-to-business (B2B) market without the benefit of indirect economics.   In the business-to- consumer (B2C) world – it’s fairly easy.   Eyeballs are a sellable commodity.   Individuals are willing to put up with advertising in exchange for the benefit of accessing the service at no charge – think of all of those paid keyword advertisements on your next Google search  ... In the B2B space this is not true.  

In B2B, privacy, security, and ownership of data dominate.   Companies will not utilize a service that affects productivity, cheapens the user experience, or compromises the ownership of their proprietary information.  Yet, often, those that are tasked with an initial activity or project have very limited budgets and find themselves trading ‘time-to-market’ for the ability to avoid external capital expenditures (i.e. I can’t afford to buy it - but I can build it).  Of course, once that activity becomes mainstream in a company, the financial pockets will open - but by the time that happens - a company’s path down a particular road is often locked in – usually to that company’s detriment.

My solution to this dilemma is simple – create a hybrid of the totally Free models used by consumer companies with a pay-as-you-grow B2B business model.   General philosophy:

1)    Free to develop
2)    Free for initial production deployment
3)    Pay-as-you-grow in defined and reasonable increments

The benefits of this model are straightforward – postpone the economics required to maintain the service until the company that utilizes the service has achieved production success.    This enables the B2B customer to:

1)    Utilize a proven platform under which to build their solution
2)    Make decisions lower in the organization – speeding time to market
3)    Avoid up-front investment through a pay-as-you-grow model.

Ultimately, this provides the B2B customer with the ownership, user experience, and service level that they require.

I call this business model – “Free to Grow”.    Ultimately it creates a win-win situation between the customer and vendor.   The vendor removes initial friction in order to create higher adoption rates.   The customer benefits from this reduction in friction by delaying their costs until a point in time when they are successful.   Coming full-circle - the vendor ultimately benefits from greater activity and traction enabling them to provide the customer with an even more robust, highly adopted platform.  

At my company, Axeda, we saw companies throughout the entire M2M ecosystem with their hands out – seeking money at a time when the customer was least able to afford it.   At Axeda, we are prepared to invest in our customer’s success and in the growth of the machine-to-machine (M2M) market itself.   

Be “Free to Grow”.


I spoke with Richard Tehrani, founder and president of TMCnet on this topic.  You can view the full contents of that conversation here.

Topics: M2M, machine-to-machine, Axeda Platform

Plan Axeda or Plan B?

Posted by Erin Smith

Jan 12, 2011 8:00:00 AM

The Year of M2M is here and Axeda is making it easier for companies to take advantage of the massive opportunity.  This video speaks more about our new free platform offering that aims to remove the barriers to developing game changing M2M applications.

 

Topics: M2M, Connected Products, machine-to-machine, Axeda Platform

We Have Seen the Light – and its Name is CLOUD!

Posted by Dale Calder

Jun 25, 2010 2:54:00 PM

Microsoft Pickets Salesforce.com at Cloudforce

It made me think!   Why is Microsoft picketing salesforce.com.  Could it be that they don’t like what the cloud is doing to their business?  Could it be that cloud computing will demolish IT as we know it?   Could it be that Microsoft has figured out that they are a dinosaur?   Hmmm…

Today millions of people and an entire ecosystem of companies selling billions of dollars worth of goods are involved in an activity that history will paint as the rough equivalent to “sticking a needle in your eye.”  

 Picture this:

  • You allocate a significant percentage of your people and dollars and have them work on things that are out of your core competency
  • Once you have done that, start buying parts that you have to put together, operate, and be totally responsible for
  • And for the cherry on the top – you will have to pay the companies that sold you the bag of parts just to pick up the phone when you call

Sound like a good deal?

No way! Yet, I would say that is a fair description of the global IT market as it is today – and it’s painful!      

Benefit can be derived, but high costs, risks, and distractions to your core business are CRAZY OUT OF CONTROL!

The way I look at it, IT in its current incarnation is going the way of the dodo bird.   The global pervasive network called the Internet allows us to consume our IT in a better way – hosted and operated in the cloud by companies who make it their business to do it well.  And the best part, if you don’t like it, you change.   No bag of parts, no big capital expenditures to hold on to, no regrets.  You can even call them without having to pay something extra.   It’s all good.

Over the next 10 years – the “old” tech companies will either completely reinvent themselves or perish!   This is their buggy whip-to-automobile moment.   Cloud is it – it’s cheaper, better, and easier.   

So to Microsoft – I am sorry – we will not go back to the old ways.   We have seen the light – and its name is CLOUD!

Topics: Axeda, M2M, Connected Products, Axeda Connexion, Platform-as-a-Service; PaaS; Axeda Platform, Axeda Platform, cloud, cloud computing; SaaS

Disconnected Products Are Lame!

Posted by Dale Calder

Jun 8, 2010 2:53:00 PM

Let's put it on the table - disconnected products are lame! THEY ARE A PAIN!

They require me to do the heavy lifting. I have to understand their every need, to learn arcane ways to interact with them, and heaven forbid if they have a flaw - I will have to live with it until the end of time.  A prime example: my high-end HD TV that chooses to lose its noodle every time the game get's close! How does it know?

Disconnected products are all little islands - they barely interact with me and hardly ever with each other. I want to corral them, to organize them, to turn them into an army that works with relentless efficiency, doing the things that I want them to do - when I want them to do them...I WANT MY PRODUCTS TO BE CONNECTED!

To be fair, today's products do amazing things, but the avalanche of complexity has caused a great disconnect between the user and the maker of the product. Users want a better product experience. Makers want to differentiate themselves from their competition and sell more product. So, where do we meet?

We meet in the cloud! I want to utilize the infinite possibilities of the cloud to teach my products new tricks! To teach them my likes and dislikes... to get them to play well with others... to evolve...

Instead of putting more complexity into my product - into a platform that can't handle and organize it - utilize connectivity to leverage capability in the cloud and give me the reigns! And here is the amazing thing: I, the consumer, will actually pay for you to give me the reigns! If it creates value, makes my product better, makes it more useful, solves problems for me, I will gladly pay. The iPhone is a perfect example of this. Today, this platform has more than 200,000 applications and has sold more than 1 billion devices. It has changed the game.

Your product, too, can become a cloud-based platform. Medical devices? Yes. Industrial machines? Yes. Consumer products? Definitely yes.  Join me on my crusade. Let's rid the world of lame disconnected products! Connect them today! http://developer.axeda.com.

Dale

Topics: M2M, Axeda Platform

Top 10 Reasons for On-Demand Solutions

Posted by Dale Calder

Jun 18, 2008 2:49:00 PM

As promised in my last article, these are my own Top 10 reasons why organizations should adopt SaaS/On Demand solutions:

1. Focus: It goes without saying that companies do the best when they operate within their organization's core competency. By getting rid of distractions an organization is better able to focus on its unique value-add. An analogy - all companies use electricity but none make it.

2. Reduced Costs: SaaS solutions have a much more attractive investment profile. Almost all SaaS solutions start with moderate up front investment that enables your return to grow with your investment versus having to capture it back over 18 - 36 months.

3. Leverage Best Practices: Most SaaS solutions have evolved to encompass best practices through the volume of experience gained by interacting on a particular business process automation problem. An organization is infinitely better off leveraging this expertise and adapting its execution to embrace it. Extensive customizations are like a ball and chain - they are heavy and no fun to carry with you over time.

4. Time to Value: Return on investment is comprised of three items. Investment - cash out to reach some goal. Return - value back. Time - time it takes to start getting your return. Since SaaS solutions are packaged and ready to use, there is a much shorter window until the returns start. i.e. no infrastructure to build = quicker time to value.

5. Solution Consumability: Change is an attribute of life - do it or become extinct. Too big of a change, too fast or too little too late and you are toast. Highly packaged SaaS solutions are ideally suited to the evolutionary approach - take a step and then adapt to environmental conditions.

6. You Don't Know What you Don't Know: Heaven and Hell are in the details. No one is an expert in an area without living it. There is always complexity hiding under the covers as projects scale.

7. Accountability: Who would you feel more comfortable holding accountable - your internal IT organization - part of which just got outsourced - or a company that is in business to solve your problem?

8. No Shelfware: We have all heard the horror stories from the 90's - millions of dollars of value setting on the shelf - consuming a solution as a service eliminates this risk.

9. Pain Avoidance is Good: If everything went as planned there would be no need for management. Suffice it to say - it does not. So where do you want to spend your valuable organizational bandwidth? Avoiding a task avoids the pain associated with its growth and development. I don't really care how the car works - as long as it takes me where I want to go.

10. Simplicity! A packaged simple to use service is always better than purchasing the parts, putting it together, and maintaining it. KISS - Keep it Simple Stupid!


There were several excellent Top 10 lists on various topics associated with SaaS. These are the lists I found particularly useful:

1. Bessemer's Top 10 Laws for Being "SaaS-y"
2. Top 10 SaaS Traps: Watch Out For Hidden Snags
3. Crownpeak Challenges Top Ten SaaS Myths

Topics: M2M, Connected Products, SaaS, On-Demand, Axeda Platform, cloud

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