The Connected Effect

Why "Connected Products" will soon be the norm...

Posted by Bill Zujewski

Jul 15, 2014 9:55:00 AM

By Bill Zujewski

The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is real, delivering value, transforming industries and here to stay… and connected products from product manufacturers are at the heart of it. So what’s driving the interest and momentum?   Clearly, the coolness of “Connected Homes” and the fitness benefits of “Wearables” are sparking some of the interest.  But what other macro trends and changes in consumer and customer behaviors are accelerating the demand for Connected Products?  Here are some key trends that I see that are driving the need for Connected Products:

  • Mobile Apps – There’s an app for everything.   Need a cab? Grab a taxi with Uber on your smart phone.  Want to play some tunes in the kitchen? Bring up your Sonos app.    We are becoming accustomed to interacting with things via our phones.  SIoT connected productso I expect we’ll hear this from consumers from now on: “What do you mean … this product doesn’t come with an app?”
  • Early “Connected Products” – We’ve tasted connected products.  My TV is connected.  My Nest thermostat is connected.  My fitness band is connected.  My Music player is in the cloud.  So I expect we will hear this a lot: “What do mean … this product is not connected? Ughh.”
  • “Use” vs. “Ownership” model – Who needs to buy anything?  Need a ride?  Just use  Zip Car today.   Music? Just sign up for a streaming music service.   Need an alarm system? The camera, sensors and system are free… just pay the monthly subscription.  So I expect to hear this more often in the future: “What do mean… I have to purchase this product?  I just want it use it for a while.”

My point is this… people are going to expect what they buy to be connected.  They‘ve tasted connected products.  They’ve tasted products-as-a-service.   They love their mobile apps.  Companies who can deliver a connected product experience have a chance to differentiate and capture buyers who are hungry for connected products.

And guess what… there will be IoT consumerization of commercial and industrial products.  Tractors, windmills, trucks, buildings, projectors, generators, engines… you name  it…. they’ll be connected, come with a mobile app, and be available as a service.   The expectations from the consumer B2C world will spill over into the Industrial B2B world.  It’s already happening.  Just ask our customers… GE, Philips, EMC, Diebold, NCR, Medtronic, Tyco, Hitachi, Agilent and Stryker.

Topics: Axeda, Connected Products, IoT, Internet of Things, Apps

GE’s Machine-to-Machine Initiative Reaches New Heights

Posted by Bill Zujewski

Dec 8, 2012 2:01:00 PM

Promises Real-time Integration of Machine Data from all GE Products

There are a lot of ways one might describe GE's 'Industrial Internet' vision. "Bold" is certainly one. "Inspiring" some may say -- but perhaps "Impossible" for others.  

For Axeda, it's the embodiment of the vision for our customers: innovative and transformative application of real-time product/machine data. This includes integrating machine data into their enterprise systems, mining data to improve maintenance as well as product design and delivering new innovative applications to their customers that leverage machine data.  GE is undeniably one of the best of the best in the M2M space -- that's why we awarded them the Best Product Intelligence M2Me at Connexion earlier this year.

Even as GE reinvents the many industries it touches , its initiative, as GE's Audi Lucas pointed out recently, still hinges largely on the critical primary stages of M2M: getting more machines connected, harvesting more and better product data, and continuing to brainstorm new ideas on how to use it.

In other words, as companies advance up the connected product maturity curve, they don't move away from those fundamental, base-building steps -- they become even more important to their overall success in M2M. It's not an easy undertaking -- as GE will attest -- but it fuels the business transformation we're currently seeing GE achieve.

We're incredibly excited to see GE carry the promise of M2M, and we're looking forward to continue helping them innovate and inspire their industry.

Bill Zujewski

Topics: Connected Products, GE, M2Me

Is mHealth Vital to Your Business?

Posted by Jeff Healey

Sep 4, 2012 9:09:00 AM

describe the image

Last Tuesday, we delivered a joint webinar with GlobalLogic, entitled “Capitalizing on the mHealth Opportunity with Connected Products.” Thanks to all of you who participated. For those of you who could not attend, we encourage you to access the recording.

During the webinar, we detailed the top mHealth business drivers  for product manufacturers and solution providers. GlobalLogic then shared best practices on implementation and concluded with an overview of VitalsNOW, a connected medical device framework based on the Axeda M2M Cloud Service.

Demonstrated at Axeda Connexion ’12, VitalsNOW can help speed up the commercial implementation of your mHealth solution. Use case scenarios range from vital sign monitoring in an ambulatory/home setting to monitoring multiple patients with multiple connected products. The framework supports a variety of medical devices (pulse oximeters to blood pressure monitors to others); custom hardware, cellular modems, and even Androids; leverages the rich functionality of the Axeda Platform; and has built-in functions (device status, reporting, alerts) and supports multiple platforms (Web, PC, tablet, smart phone).

GlobalLogic is available to demonstrate VitalsNOW. If mHealth is vital to your business, we want to hear from you!

Topics: M2M, Connected Products, machine-to-machine, mHealth

5 Reasons to Capitalize on the mHealth Opportunity with M2M

Posted by Jeff Healey

Aug 23, 2012 1:53:00 PM

describe the image

You don’t need to look any further than our daily news headlines for how mHealth (also referred to as mobile health or telemedicine) is shortening the distance between doctors and patients in improving and delivering critical care to the far reaches of the globe.

mHealth is quickly emerging as the fastest-growing M2M segment with these impressive growth estimates:

  • mHealth-related symposiums, conferences, and tradeshows are at record highs. 
  • Google hits for mHealth will more than double from last year to ~300,000 in 2012.
  • mHealth revenues are projected to grow to $32.5 billion globally by 2018 ― up from 13.2 billion in 2011.

With countless life-saving stories involving the elderly and the critically ill, it’s easy to see how mHealth has become such as media darling. But what is the key enabler to mHealth’s success in achieving such hyper growth?

Connected products.

Medical product manufacturers and solution providers view connected products as the key to combating rising costs and generating more revenue by enabling healthcare organizations to extend patient care to more and more remote locations, including households.

With simplified connectivity, cloud-based application platforms, and organizations to create tailored solutions, everything from pill dispensers to dialysis machines to patient monitoring devices and more are becoming connected products.

So, what are five ways in which medical product manufacturers and solution providers are capitalizing on the mHealth opportunity?

  1. Remotely monitor equipment in improving asset uptime and operation (without patient involvement)
  2. Automate the software patch delivery process in reducing costly service visits
  3. Send treatment data directly from the equipment to doctors in delivering real-time information and avoiding patient transport/visits
  4. Monitor solution levels for automated resupply in increasing consumable revenue
  5. Track equipment for improved inventory management and auditing

Interested in learning more? Join Axeda and GlobalLogic for an upcoming Webinar: Capitalizing on the mHealth Opportunity with Connected Products.

Topics: M2M, Connected Products, machine-to-machine, mHealth

MY Connected Product!

Posted by Dale Calder

Sep 19, 2011 10:25:00 AM

Most companies think that the connected products they sell are theirs – this is a mistake.   All connected products and their associated services and applications are the property of, and for the benefit of, the consumers who have purchased them.

This is one of the reasons that I am adamantly against a Smart Grid initiative that is utility-centric – see my recent “Is the Smart Grid  Dumb” blog for reference.   I ended my last blog on this topic with the question: How does a vending machine become MY VENDING MACHINE?

Let’s consider some of the elements that enable a product to be mine.  In general it boils down to control of the following:

  1. Who has access to it
  2. What it does
  3. When it does it
  4. What it can do
  5. And who else it plays with

It is much like a drawbridge on a castle.   You can’t pass the alligator filled moat unless the bridge is down.   The bridge will only be down if someone on the inside says its ok.

A connected product respects this concept.   From a software stack perspective, a connected product looks like the picture below:

 myconnectedproducts

In the wild is the physical product, creatively called the “Product Instance” in this drawing.   The “Product Instance” communicates through the Internet (wired or wirelessly) to the Cloud.   The Cloud holds a virtual incarnation of the product, I call the Product Avatar.   (Since everyone saw the movie, I thought the word would work)   In this context a Product Avatar is a data representation of a specific product.  Now here is the interesting part: the Product Avatar is wrapped via owner credentials.   This means that the web services, the data, and everything that makes this product in the wild yours is protected and controlled by the owner’s user credentials.   That means that nothing can be done to the product without the owner’s explicit permission. 

Next up in the stack are the applications that interact programmatically with the Product Avatar.  The manufacturer or 3rd parties may provide the applications.   The owner may use the applications or enable the manufacturer or a service provider to operate them on their behalf.  But the key point is that no one can do anything without the owner providing the credentials that say it’s ok.

A subtle, but very important point, is that the Product Avatar is separate from the applications that operate on it. There are several reasons for this:

  1. This separation enables a single application to operate on many Product Avatars
  2. The application and Product Avatar can be updated separately and independently of each other without breaking
  3. The credentials for access to the core of the Product Avatar are separate from the applications that operate on them, improving security significantly

The morals of the story?

  1. Connected product interaction is shielded from activity by the owner’s credentials and preferences  
  2.  A manufacturer’s business process must respect owner credentials and permissions  
  3.  All connected product interactions should be managed through applications that my have additional/independent settings.  

Think about your connected products – are they owned by you or your customers?

 

Topics: Axeda, M2M, Connected Products

Smart Grid Part 2: What is a Connected Product?

Posted by Dale Calder

Sep 1, 2011 2:39:00 PM

It’s four days post Hurricane Irene. Here in Foxboro, MA, we have trees down everywhere and the town is still without power.  I have to admit, I assumed that the storm was a big non-event once it went west and weakened.  WRONG!  One of my neighbors had four trees fall down – all on his house.  What are the odds of that?   As bad as it was around here, it was nothing compared to what happened in Vermont – Massachusetts is counting itself lucky.

In my last blog, (Is the Smart Grid Dumb?) I talked about a consumer centric approach to smart grid that is built on the concept of a Connected Product.  In the conclusion, I talked about how Connected Products could serve a world of applications, even ones such as smart grid.  This blog digs further into that concept.

WARNING: This section may get a little technical – I’ll try to keep it English.  

Background:

Computer scientists use a term call “Services” to describe capabilities that a particular application provides that can be utilized by others. In the past, this was called an Application Programming Interface, or API for short. Services have been around forever. When you run an application, like word, on an operating system like Microsoft Windows, the application is using the services provided by the operating system to do its job.   

The word-wide web is comprised of many sites. Each site has an address, like Amazon.com and Weather.com. Many of these sites expose little pieces of functionality that can be leveraged by the developer of another web site. For example weather.com has a full set of services that can be used to find local weather. If you expand the concept across the entire world of web sites, there is a site that does almost anything you could possibly want to do that can save you tremendous amount of time and energy. Want to send a text message notification to someone? Twitter can do that. Want to send them a voice message? Try Twilio. These sites perform useful functions that can be accessed programmatically as well as via a traditional browser.

To facilitate easy utilization of these services, standards have evolved that govern the way that services are published and consumed. These services are called, appropriately enough, Web Services.

A modern web site will have an architectural stack that looks something like this:

modern Site architecture.emf 

You put a bunch of the sites together, all doing their thing, you have the Cloud.

Still with me?

Extending Cloud Architecture to Products

Now lets take the cloud architecture of modern web sites and extend it to everyday products. One way to do this would be to take the architecture of the cloud down to the product. The old website in the toaster guys though this way. It never took off!   
The better way is to bring the products to the cloud and enable each and every one of them to start acting like a major web site. The picture below shows the general idea…

connected architecture.emf

The general gist is that each product gains a virtual representation of itself in the cloud. That virtual representation can be interacted with via web services just like a major site. In effect, each product becomes like amazon.com – a fully functioning element in the cloud.

In the Cloud? Now What?

Once that product is in the cloud everything is possible. It is now a Connected Product. Connected Products are publishers of services. Want your product to participate in the smart grid? It publishes a series of services that manage it’s power consumption. Want it to play well with others in its operational environment? It publishes services to interact with its operational behavior. Once these services are published, standard web tools can be used to develop applications that interact with the product and extend it functionality. Those applications can be developed to run in the cloud – web site like, a smart phone like Apple’s iPhone or Google’s Android. You name it, it’s possible.

In effect, we have taken a humble product in the wild and brought it to a place where its power can be harnessed.

Not Finished Yet!
Next comes the tricky part – user logins and product security… How does a vending machine become MY VENDING MACHINE!

To avoid potential brain melting – that will have to wait for another day…

Topics: Axeda, Connected Products

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

Machines - Embracing The Network Effect – Part 2…

Posted by Dale Calder

Jun 22, 2011 10:55:00 AM

“The more users connected to a network, the more valuable that Network becomes”, Metcalf’s Law… 

This was one of my key themes from my Axeda Connexion 2011 keynote.  

For the past 13 years, the M2M industry has been focused, almost solely, on connecting things.   If you go to an M2M conference, listen to a M2M webinar, or read an M2M article, the topic always drifts to connectivity.

  • What type of communication to use?
  • How much data to send?
  • How much does the data cost?
  • Wireless, wired?

It drives me nuts…

When I was preparing my keynote, I kept wondering why there was a myopic focus on connectivity in M2M, when it’s clear that the value happens on the other side of the pipe (the user) …   See Metcalf’s law above.

Then it dawned on me … we focus on connectivity, not only because it is required, but also because for most of those 13 years, there really wasn’t a good way for connecting users to a M2M system.

So I used my pulpit at the Axeda Connexion to explain what I coined, the “Cloud Phase” of M2M.   In the Cloud Phase consumption of M2M data becomes the focus and connectivity is assumed.

In discussing this phase, I first went into why the cloud is such a key enabler.   Directly from the keynote, my description of cloud: 

Cloud computing contains the following three elements: 

1)     It’s Everywhere
2)     It’s Elastic
3)     It’s Consumable

I think of it a lot like electricity. None of us know the magic of power creation or distribution, but we do know that we can plug something into an electrical outlet and it just works. 

The cloud is a lot like that …  Data is located in a place where it can be aggregated, analyzed, and distributed. Its ubiquity enables massive consumption of information on an unimaginably large scale.

I then discussed cloud as the key enabler to the unleashing the power of the network effect in M2M:

“It is the wide consumption of M2M data and its millions of users that will create the virtuous cycle that will enable the M2M industry to become the next Social Networking of technology…. “

Finally, I discussed how the network effect is ruling the future of the Internet.   I discussed how M2M unleashes a network effect so powerful and large that in the future it will dwarf even Facebook in “connectedness” … 

Sean Parker, the guy who is most famous for starting Napster (but richest from his involvement with Facebook!) stated in a recent interview: 

 "Companies that harness the power of networks will dominate the future of the Internet." 

The more I thought about the quote, the more brilliant I thought it was. With Facebook, we all act as a hub for our own networks of interconnected friends. In M2M, that hub is the device. The key to the M2M industry generating the type of value that Facebook is unlocking is to extend the personal networks of those devices to as many users and uses as possible.

Let’s do a little back of the napkin math … What if 50 billion devices were the hub of 100 human and business interactions. That would be tantamount to a network with 5 trillion users. Remembering Metcalf’s law, I would contend that the leverage and value creation that can be unlocked from this network would dwarf what we are currently seeing even from social networking…” 

I concluded my keynote with a challenge to everyone… 

I challenge each of you to look to your markets & your organizations, and think about how you can use the M2M cloud to drive massive M2M network effects on top of your connected products.

In the end, we are all part of an industry that will reshape the fabric of the world.   Connected products, connected not only to the company that sold them, but to the world of users, application writers, and each other, will reshape how our global infrastructure operates and how we interact with the products we use … Ultimately improving our quality of life… 

I can’t wait…

Topics: M2M, Connected Products, Axeda Connexion, cloud

Machines - Embracing the Network Effect

Posted by Dale Calder

Jun 9, 2011 5:24:00 PM

Yesterday, I had the privilege of keynoting Axeda Connexion 2011 – properly coined “The M2M Event of the Year”.   I joined a knockout group of M2M industry luminaries, including Eric Goodness of Gartner, Chris Hill from AT&T, and Wayne Ward from Sprint, in discussing both the present and future state of the M2M industry.

I found that each of the primary keynotes had an amazingly consistent message:

• M2M is massive
• M2M is here now
• The Cloud will play a huge role in M2M

Drawing a correlation between the Network Effect, the cloud, and social networks, I focused on the importance of the cloud in propagation of M2M data to as many users as possible.  

So select points from my keynote…M2M

“The M2M industry compares very favorably to the social networking industry:
• LinkedIn is seeking to connect every professional in the world - > 1 billion people.
• Facebook counts every Internet user in the world as a potential user -> currently greater than 2 billion and growing every day.

But with more than 7 trillion machines to connect, M2M dwarfs them both. “

“It is the wide consumption of M2M data and its millions of users that will create the virtuous cycle that will enable the M2M industry to become the next social networking of technology…. “

“The cloud provides a place where M2M information can be aggregated, analyzed, and distributed. Its ubiquity enables massive consumption of information on an unimaginably large scale.”

“The Axeda Platform … is built to acquire the vast quantities of M2M information that our machines and devices communicate, process it, and enable its consumption.   Without the ability to seamlessly consume the tons of M2M information we create, the power of the network effect is not unleashed. “

In my next blog, I will share more from my keynote and discuss more about how the cloud unleashes the network effect for M2M.

Stay tuned.

Topics: M2M, Connected Products, cloud, network

The M2M Event of the Year - Less than a Week Away!

Posted by Dale Calder

Jun 3, 2011 9:45:00 AM

Axeda has assembled an armada of M2M industry experts, customers, press, and analysts who will convene in Boston next week for Axeda Connexion 2011.

With keynotes fromAxeda Connexion

  • Eric Goodness, Research Vice President, Gartner
  • Chris Hill, Vice President for Advanced Mobility Solutions of AT&T
  • Wayne Ward, Vice President Emerging Solutions, Sprint Nextel, and
  • Yours truly, Dale Calder, Founder Axeda

Combined that with sessions from leading companies, such as:

  • Brinks
  • NCR
  • Roche
  • Welch Allyn
  • Among others

 And for good measure, add an Industry Leaders Panel Discussion, “50 Billion Connected Devices by 2020, Hype, Fact, or Fiction?” 

You end up with a very exciting and stimulating couple of days.   There will be no other place in the next twelve months where you can learn more about the state of the M2M industry than at Connexion.  And attendance has almost tripled from last year’s event! 

For my keynote, I plan to discuss the similarities between M2M and Facebook.   I look forward to seeing you there…

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

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