The buzz word for the immediate next future is “the internet of things” where appliances are all inter-connected in one large network. Today we talk of smart phones, but soon enough we would be living in a reality of smart-ACs, smart-refrigerators and so on. Such ‘connected’ appliances and applications is definitely bound to make lives of the customers simpler which means the smart phone of today would become the quintessential all in one device working on an extremely complex network serving a broad economic chain with providers and consumers interacting over this large ‘web’.
In order to enable this vision from the future as has been often showcased in Sci-Fi movies and books; a number of significant challenges need a thorough review. A few such challenges are:
- Not TBs but Petabytes or more even volumes of data: The problem is, even today making sense out of the data is a titanic issue. Imagine managing such gigantic volumes.
- Resource requirements: Obviously energy consumed for processing and maintaining such volumes would be way too high. Carbon foot-print reduction would then become the next big challenge.
- Cost benefits and Pricing: A connected planet is an ideal dream- but everything comes at a cost. So, would the investments in such efforts be good risks to take. Especially following the Moore curve, has the largest share of users in the late phases. So understanding the breakeven would be a good point. Not only that, the changes to the complete economics of communication would be interesting to keep a note of.
- Economics of Scale: The best bid would be to encash on Economics of Scale than waiting for the early adopters or even the late adopters. Penetration rates into the population therefore would be a significant metric for understanding profitability of operations. Another related topic to understand would be the economic divisions in the different countries. That would be a driving factor for understanding penetration rates- simply because a thorough reach out to the destitutes would definitely mean reducing the price for increasing accessibility- which in return would have low contribution to top-line, and with rising costs and additional costs- the margin for having a sustainable business may be found to be diminishing. This is the same situation as we currently see with competitive price wars among telcos.
- Data privacy issues: A connected planet would be a paradise for hackers and fraudulent vermin. Imagine tackling petabytes of personal information keeping fraudsters at bay is a dream for most operators. Effectively, the personal security of the consumers could be at stake if data is hacked.
- Information Usability for the End Users: With such connected devices, usability of the information derived for the consumers from these petabytes of data would be a key concern. More so because there would definitely be the need of cognitive interfaces for addressing the different educational backgrounds.
- The Killer called ‘Competition’ : The first mover advantage does not help in this ever converging world, and this is not a new fact