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How to Find Your Cash Cow in the Internet of Things

By Matt Paulson, TMCnet Contributing Writer
August 20, 2014

The 'Internet of Things' (IoT) refers to a future lifestyle where a majority of devices use machine to machine (M2M) communications to communicate with one another to synchronize tasks, allowing relatively simple devices to perform complicated routines in concert. Common appliances like stoves and refrigerators are expected to someday use wireless sensors and communication to begin cooking meals remotely and order more food when certain products run out. All of this innovation offers several opportunities for businesses and manufacturers to make money in the IoT market, yet many business owners are still unsure of how to make money in a still infantile market. Thankfully, three IoT opportunities present themselves quite readily as means to earn a profit on the industry as it grows.

The first clear and reliable strategy for making money in an IoT climate is to pursue software licensing & entitlement management. As more devices and controllers are released for use with IoT in mind, the cost of software will make up an extraordinarily large portion of the product's final cost. Competing over prices by lowering rates below other services is also expected to be rare, since lowering prices causes everyone to lose out. As a result, these profits are expected to remain large.

Remote monitoring is also likely to be a huge component of the IoT, as multiple devices all communicating with M2M technology need to be observed and controlled. As such, the software behind remote monitoring is expected to be another strong market. Remote service monitoring is usually sold as a monthly fee by those who offer the service today, and that is not likely to change soon.

"Remote monitoring can proactively detect problems before they happen, or be used instead of or in conjunction with an in-person service call with the eventual hope of having self-healing systems that can detect a problem and fix it via software." Kathryn Weldon, head of M2M research at Current Analysis (News - Alert), recently told Computer Business Review.

Finally, 4G connectivity is expected to be the information superhighway that the IoT will be based on for the next several years, alongside Wi-Fi networks when available. Because of this, 4G providers are expected to take advantage of the increased traffic, while other competitors will create their own 4G networks to deliver service to customers just outside the service area.

Edited by Alisen Downey