In a recent blog post, Mike Carrozzo of Connected World Magazine, wrote about increased autonomy in cars. He posed a number of questions about the barriers to deployment, the potential of unintended consequences, and what these opportunities say about M2M market development in general.
This is our response to his generous open question to our team in that blog.
What the M2M, IoT and connected device markets (M2M for short in this article) might need more than anything is the development of policies to guide the deployment of M2M systems.
And when we state this, we do not mean government regulation, legal frameworks or technical standards.
We mean private sector policies developed by best-in-class deployers, with and for the stakeholders upstream and downstream in their commercial value chains. We are simply not investing enough time diving deep into the implications of potential M2M deployments to find the most authentic value add, and the greatest risk. The result: Many deployers are missing targets. Many analysts are revising forecasts. Many investors are scratching their heads.
The most detailed use case scenarios are not the most compelling if they focus only on the singular entity deploying the solution. Moreover, when use case scenarios or brilliant ROI models focus only on a two-party ecosystem (deployer and supplier, or deployer and customer), those too may have limited positive impact on now- and near-term market development.
We need private sector policy work focusing on the implications of M2M deployment for the broader community of stakeholders. This work, in combination with technology advances and ROI maturation, will materially impact near- term market development.
Why? Three reasons:
- People on the planet earth are more connected than ever. Public and private, for profit and non-profit, product and service trading blocks are more connected than everand only becoming more so daily. You see the commercials: milk prices in Italy being impacted by silk prices in China; Friedman’s The World Is Flat and all that; and Facebook compressing 6 degrees of separation to 4.2 or something like that.
- M2M solutions offer more promise, and risk, than anything we have deployed since nuclear. Set aside the hype. M2M offers extraordinary potential for gains in quality of customers’ experience, cost management, profit enhancement, revenue creation and more. But, it is the more that holds the key for us. In an odd way, the deployment of M2M offers the potential to bring people back from digital ‘lives’ in screens back to their real lives. Their lives with people.
- As such, the unintended consequences of M2M deployment are similarly powerful. We will deploy tens of billions of devices in the next 10 years. Their potential to create value will be great if the complete suite of value propositions are explored. But so too will their potential to create risk if the unintended potential negative consequences of deployments are not pre-defined and mitigated or eliminated.
Well structured, faithfully pursued and openly distributed deployment policies will help to define the potential negative consequences and their mitigation or elimination strategies. These policies will also help to define the auxiliary benefits that might accrue to a broader community of stakeholders in a deployed ecosystem.
Consider two cases of market development happening only when a larger perspective in deployment policy was considered:
- The PC-based or Micro-PACS (picture archiving communication systems) market. About 10 years ago, the health care markets were mired in a debate over the efficacy of medically valid diagnosis of a medical image at a remote location. It was not radiologists or patients – the primary stakeholders – that drove deployment. It was not specialists or hospital administrators. It was a European insurance underwriter.
- The robot-assisted surgical tool market. In addition to the reduced cap ex, opex, FDA-regulated risk mitigation, and proven better outcomes, the market for DaVinci robot assisted surgical tools is burgeoning because the developers and deployers have taken great pains to pursue broad and deep perspective on implications of deployment up and down the community of stakeholders pre- and post- surgical operation.
Consider two cases of market development challenges based on limited perspective or light consideration of larger implications of deployment:
- The slow and limited deployment of RFID across just about every market it has been predicted to transform during the past 10 years. Its growth remains uneven. Too many potential installations are stunted for the inability of stakeholders up and down a value chain to sort out the ‘fair’ sharing of costs and benefits of the deployment of RFID. You see, someone has to assume the cost of tagging. But everyone downstream of the tagger has the potential to create value.
- GPS-enabled AVL (automatic vehicle location) has extremely low penetration rates in most markets outside heavily regulated heavy truck segments. Beyond the largely valid complaints about system complexity and cost, many of these market segments suffer from a lack of perspective on stakeholder impact.
The markets for autonomous systems in cars – and many other M2M markets – will not reach their full potential for anyone, until we elevate private-sector deployment policy development aimed at maximizing positive impacts for as many stakeholders as reasonable, and defining risk mitigation for same.
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