ISE Blog

IoT Platforms and Economics

If you were to ask most people to name some popular social media platforms, you would likely get a quick response of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or MySpace (just kidding on that last one).  Ask that same person to name some popular IoT platforms and prepare for a deer in headlights look.  Even if a person has knowledge about the IoT space, they likely do not know what the market is offering in terms of platforms.  That’s in large part because the market is still very much in the early stages. 

IoT NetworkAccording to analysis done by, as of mid-2017 there were more than 450 platforms available on the market, only a few of which generated more than $10M in revenue.  Put another way, no single platform has yet established itself as the go-to for the present or future.  While there has been some merger and acquisition activity in this space, that can just as easily be attributed to weak revenue generation as it could to dynamic growth and consolidation.  With the IoT platform market still in the early stages, one can begin to wonder who will come out as a market leader and may question whether or not it make sense to define your own platform based on your needs.  To identify when the IoT platform space will mature and how you could spot a trend, return to economics 101 for insight. 

When in doubt, go green….

No, I’m not suggesting you revamp your office with LED lighting and get the latest Prius to drive. I mean looking for value in current and potential IoT platforms.  If market consolidation is not being observed it’s likely due to the fact that value is not being provided that meets consumer needs.  A platform is simply a space, virtual or real, where multiple partners come together because there is potential or present value.  A platform can impact both the demand and supply sides of the equation and create tremendous value. 

You may not have seen value in Facebook initially, but chances are you are one of the many people who see value in it now.  By providing a social network platform, Facebook created an online space where advertisers could promote products and services for targeted online users in a way that was previously unavailable.  Put another way, online advertisers moved out of a very ad-hoc online space and into a more refined and organized one where they could see a better return on their investment dollar.  Similarly in IoT, when a platform is finally created that brings value out of the sensors, networks, data capture, and/or data analysis, one will see that platform gain traction rapidly. 

As you evaluate IoT platforms for your product, application, or enterprise you should refine your understanding of the value it brings.  In evaluating available platforms you may find several that do really ‘cool’ things, but do they add value?  If so, how much and at what cost?  Can you envision a platform that better meets not only your needs but the needs of your industry compared to what is currently offered?  If so, the investment of time and resources may be worthwhile and potentially revolutionary. 

While it’s easy to be impressed by something ‘new’ and ‘cool’, the value add question should be the dominant focus.  If your organization has an idea for an IoT platform the focus should not be around a specific technology, but rather the value it can bring to the marketplace and your domain of expertise.  If you focus on the domain, the technical resources can be brought in to make your platform a success, in fact you may just want to talk to us about your next IoT platform idea!  We can help you evaluate it to understand the likelihood of success and where potential gaps may exist.

Do you have an IoT project that we could help with? Give us a call and we’ll make it a success. 

Hudson Ludvigson, Senior Software Engineer

Hudson Ludvigson, Senior Software Engineer

Hudson Ludvigson is a Senior Software Engineer and the Practice Lead in Vehicle Telematics at Innovative Software Engineering. He has been with ISE since March 2006. He enjoys the diversity of the software engineering field and how it impacts and improves peoples' everyday life, particularly in the domains of agriculture, business, finance, and medicine. In his downtime he can be found enjoying college football and outdoor recreational sports, or spending time with his family.