One of the big lessons we have learned in our 7 years of working with over 300 clients and 5 million low energy wireless devices is that Commercial IoT is different. Different than what? Well it’s different Consumer IoT and it’s different than industrial IoT.
When we talk about Consumer IoT in this case we’re talking about wearables, smart homes, and personal monitoring devices. As many of you know that’s where a lot of Bluetooth and 802.15.4 wireless protocols got their start. One of the advantages in this case, especially when it comes to Bluetooth applications in Consumer, is that everybody has a smart phone. So, you can rely on the smart phone as a ubiquitous, secure, application-ready platform that is always connected to the Internet and that’s a big head start when you’re looking at building and deploying wireless applications in IoT use cases. And, it’s not necessarily one you have in Commercial IoT.
On the other side of the spectrum Commercial IoT is also different than industrial IoT. When discussing Industrial IoT we tend to think of large scale factories or manufacturing. We might also think of monitoring utilities and expensive assets. A lot of times these are wired sensor connections with expensive hardware and server class gateway devices. The economies of scale are different. The economics are different. The technologies are different.
And so, we have this thing in the middle which we call Commercial IoT which behaves in a little bit different way and includes different types of use cases. Specifically, when we talk about Commercial IoT some of the key use cases that we see, and that Rigado technologies are deployed to support, are things like Smart Buildings, Smart Workplaces, Connected Lighting, Asset Tracking, Sensing & Monitoring of all types, and Location Services, like being able to provide contextual experiences to guests in places like hotels and restaurants.
This is the set of Commercial IoT applications that we’re seeing increasingly deployed into environments like commercial office buildings, retail, hotels, hospitality, healthcare facilities (whether those are hospitals or outpatient facilities), and entertainment venues. Effectively, these are the new ceilings into which infrastructure is being placed that support these types of key applications and, that landscape is shaping up differently than the Consumer IoT landscape or the Industrial IoT landscape.
There are two forces that we see shaping the market for these types of Commercial IoT applications. One is the very rapid growth of short range wireless devices. Depending on who’s staggering projections you believe the sheer number of devices connected via Bluetooth Low Energy or 802.15.4 is growing from about 5 billion today to about 15 billion by 2022. That’s a lot of growth in just 4 to 5 years. The second force is coming from the need for edge computing and the ability to run local applications, collect data, and exert command & control over devices within relatively short proximity, and its exploding as well.
Consequently, these two forces are reshaping the architecture around IoT solutions and that creates a particular need. It’s a solution recipe that includes flexible wireless connectivity, large scale security, and cost-effective edge computing. These needs are not too different from the types of connectivity and computing that you need in say Commercial and Industrial. But what is different is that for Commercial IoT applications you’re dealing with a much larger scale often talking about, for example, rolling out an asset tracking solution to hundreds or thousands or even tens of thousands of locations and the ability to deploy, install, monitor, manage and evolve the solution in all those different locations. That’s a very different economic proposition. And so, figuring out not just how to do this but how to do it at scale is a big part of the Commercial IoT recipe.