A couple of months ago I gave a talk at a ThinkMonk event in London. It was a hot and sweaty time (no air conditioning during a heatwave!) but a great event. RedMonk finally published a video of my talk, and I thought I’d share it via this link to the video, and a quick summation below.
The goal of the talk was to get developers to move beyond the morass of competing standards and to begin thinking about the things they are building as the future infrastructure of the internet of things.
Once companies get enough information or a critical mass of data, they can start laying the groundwork for delivering infrastructure as a service, whether that infrastructure is granular temperature data, health data about a population, Bluetooth-based location, or energy consumption.
The inspiration for this worldview came from a story I heard from Sam Altman in 2009 when he was the CEO of Loopt. Back in 2007 and 2008 the providers of GPS data (Qualcomm, Broadcom, Sirf, etc) switched from charging per locate to charging per user. This allowed startups like Loopt and Waze to start pinging phones four times an hour without having to pay exorbitant costs.
This change in pricing made location-based services viable as an ad-funded business paving the way for it to become basic infrastructure for the mobile revolution. Now Waze provides real-time traffic for users, FourSquare provides data on venue popularity, Uber provides transportation as a service, Metromile offers pay-per-mile insurance, Visa uses location data to fight fraud and I can automatically turn on my lights when I get near my house.
GPS data became infrastructure that could be put to use in other services. Cloud computing and broadband both fit this mold. In the future, computer vision will likely become an essential piece of infrastructure.
Companies need to think about aggregating data with the goal of making it infrastructure that becomes part of the next generation of services. Otherwise, we’re going to have to wait a long, long time for the promise and utility of the internet of things to become real. And that would be a shame.