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With telecommunications reaching a greater ubiquitous state, the
capability for sensing, tracking, and predicting is now achievable and
implementable into wider areas – with it comes a suite of powerful
analytic tools. The meaning and potential impact of the Internet of
Things on business and personal life is recognized as enormous when
considering the development and utilization of Big Data and recognition
of conscious, unconscious, and natural patterns in a multitude of
systems. The purpose of this report is to summarize the recent history
of corporate efforts around the development of the Internet of Things
and propose a way forward for GE.
Table of Contents
The Evolving Market .................................................................................................................................5
How to Capture the Opportunity..............................................................................................................6
Development and Evolution of IoT...............................................................................................................7
The 3 Layers of the Internet of Things......................................................................................................7
Connectivity and Intelligence....................................................................................................................9
The Internet of Things’ Disruptive Nature..............................................................................................10
IoT Investment – Producer Incumbency.................................................................................................11
IoT – User Requirement..........................................................................................................................11
The Value of Brand..................................................................................................................................12
The Brand’s Value ...............................................................................................................................13
Fragmentation of the Field .................................................................................................................13
PESTLE Analysis - What are the advantages and impediments of the Internet of Things?........................17
The Opportunities for Service Providers.............................................................................................18
The Market Opportunities for Many Smaller Developers ..................................................................18
IoT Service Provider Activities – Supply Chain Analysis......................................................................19
Supply Chain Improvements for Manufacturing and HealthCare ......................................................20
Porter’s 5 Forces .........................................................................................................................................21
Conclusion and Recommendation..............................................................................................................24
Developing an App Portfolio...................................................................................................................25
Brandings: The Divided Sides of the overall Industry .............................................................................26
Partnering with Fellow Industrial Giants in Health Care ........................................................................27
Partnering with Manufacturing Giants in Industry.................................................................................27
The term Internet of Things (IoT) is defined as the connection of everyday objects that have network
connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data. The current generation stands at the threshold of
global interoperability and the market is facing more attention than ever before. Nearly 20 large capital
corporations are pouring their energies into the industry; consortiums are beginning to emerge to
standardize the protocol; usage is available to devices of all sorts meaning there is a market for literally
everyone and everything on the planet.
It is the last point that draws the most interest. Billions of devices are already online and billions more
are predicted to be online in the near future. Considering the enormous growth potential, the IoT is an
industry well worth investing in. The questions remains, “Which segment to pursue?” Since everyone is
a potential customer since everything can become a connected device. The following data is a
commonly found forecast:
1990 to 2015: 25 Billion connected devices (over 25 years)
By 2020: 50 Billion connected devices at a market value of $7.1 Trillion
The Evolving Market
General Electric has made it clear of its belief about servicing the digital domain is going to help it
generate income, but more importantly how GE will stay relevant because of the IoT. Developing the
Industrial Internet will not only help the company manage its own assets, but sell the service to other
companies to help them manage theirs as well. As the global economy becomes more service-based,
having a service that will underpin the operations of the world’s economy will be GE’s greatest asset.
GE must remain aware of competitors of its non-core businesses. The main threat of the upcoming years
is how non-traditional competitors will operate in the same market space. Industrial manufacturers will
soon compete with Internet advertising firms; software manufacturers will compete with computer
hardware manufacturers. Companies are acquiring assets and skills. Just as Microsoft bought Nokia’s
handheld mobile division, Google acquired Motorola and Nest. Wireless communication will allow for
new levels of work, engagement and analysis. This is due to the IoT removing barriers like never before.
With barriers removed, companies that dealt solely with their core business must now face a new reality
and must acknowledge the fact that they must compete in a service environment. For manufacturing
and Internet companies, this is a challenge for everyone. New competencies must be achieved in order
to deliver meaningful applications and analytical tools for daily use. This will cause an insourcing of skills
as companies harness the ability to manufacture a quality, relevant product and provide ongoing IoT
Although the consumer market will not be its initial focus, GE is entering a market with companies in
which it was never before in the same arena. Apple and Google are honing in on the consumer segment,
therefore, keeping apprised of these companies’ decisions and innovations may help prevent their
encroachment into the industrial field. Apple and Google have proven themselves masters of creating
software people want; learning from their inventions and product enhancements will be worth keeping
note. This addresses a critical concern: GE will initially focus on business to business marketing – does it
want to move into the business to consumer market or simply keep tabs on competitor developments?
How to Capture the Opportunity
GE’s strengths derive from its history of envisioning big answers to big questions, but it cannot go it
alone. Developing the Industrial Internet for its own purposes will improve internal efficiencies, but GE
will further succeed if the service can be sold so others who can utilize the same technology. The
Industrial Internet will benefit from external buy-in. Developing partnerships with medical,
manufacturing, and commercial companies to integrate designs and functionality will enhance the
capabilities of upcoming applications and machines, and ensure continued success.
Hardware reliability will become the commodity the IoT trades on. Companies that create a compelling
proposition through a large variety of feature-rich applications and dynamic tools will enlist droves of
customers. The main competency GE must develop is its software. Second and third party applications
will add to the library of tools, but mastery of the Industrial Internet’s core software must be developed
and remain under GE’s control.
Development and Evolution of IoT
“The paradigm of the IoT is not displacement and replacement, but connectivity and
recombination.” (Marco Iansiti, 2014)
In 1999, Kevin Ashton combined Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology with fast-moving
consumer goods to track their whereabouts. After further work on developing the useful application of
RFID with more objects, he coined the term “Internet of Things” in a presentation at Procter and
Gamble. Although the first successful remote data retrieval was from a Coke machine of a machine was
at Carnegie Melon University in the early 1980s, by the time Ashton made his presentation at network
of machine-to-machine communication had taken root. The rollout of broadband communications,
wireless communications, and increasing computing power has helped to complement growth.
The 3 Layers of the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things can be divided into 3 layers. The first is the Internet of Things, the second layer is
Big Data, and the third layer is the intelligent usage of all the information, entitled Smart given the
ability to learn, adapt and predict. At the first layer, the collection of communication enabled devices
simply transmits information: temperature, moisture, on/off status, wind speed, watt usage, weight,
etc. These are the tens, hundreds, or thousands of physical devices that communicate their signal
creating a network of devices, the Internet of Things.
This information by itself does little, but when the sensors are combined into a network, the greater
volume of information becomes more meaningful, it becomes a coherent story that tracks the progress
of a situation more accurately. Individual instances become a pattern, a baseline norm by which to
monitor against volatile changes. As the thousands of data points relay information, the data begins to
shape a narrative. The collection of sensor information and its digestion by software is the second layer
of the IoT, Big Data.
Information by itself does nothing. Information
gives insight to a situation through dashboards
or reports. The third layer is where action can
be taken on the amalgamation of data and
creates a saving benefit of resources. These
feeds tie in directly to the third layer of the IoT,
the Smart Environment when utilizing such
software as Predix, will work towards making
the human experience much more comfortable
Layer 3: Smart Environment-
Layer 2: Big Data - Consolidating
the informatoin and finding
patterns in the data
Layer 1: IoT - Raw Sensor
The Internet of Things has been receiving a lot of attention recently. Technology reviewer Gil Press of
Forbes online notes that the IoT is nothing new, but credits the recent attention to an inflation of media
press coverage. He conceded, however, to the fact that the technological capability has reached a point
where functionalities become a reality. He noted, “The price of sensors, processors, and networking has
come way down. Since Wi-Fi is now widely deployed, it is relatively easy to add new networked devices
to the home and office” (Press, 2014). What is clear is the huge potential value of the market. GE’s own
estimates the added value of the global GDP at $15 trillion over the next 20 years (GE, 2013); Cisco
estimates an incremental $19 trillion over the next decade (Chambers, 2014).
Although the forecasts range in value and time, the estimates predict a trajectory that calculates
connected devices in the tens of billions. While the accompanying figures chart the historical trend of
populations growth correlated with connected devices, with the continued miniaturization and
innovation of wireless devices, the projected additional 25 billion devices connected through the
Internet does not seem farfetched.
Considering the growth rate of data
communicating devices, the next 5 years will be a
defining period of protocol and standard setting.
As the picture states, connected devices will
outnumber people at 6-to-1. This ratio signals a
surge in the development of applications to
manage equipment and facilities.
“Estimates for Internet of Things or IoT market
value are massive, since by definition the IoT will
be a diffuse layer of devices, sensors, and
computing power that overlays entire consumer,
business-to-business, and government industries. The IoT will account for an increasingly huge number
of connections: 1.9 billion devices today, and 9 billion by 2018. That year, it will be roughly equal to the
number of smartphones, smart TVs, tablets, wearable computers, and PCs combined” (Adler, 2013).
With the growth of connected devices, the development of technical capabilities and analytics is
inevitable. Many applications at present focus on energy management or some kind of remote access.
However, where much of the promise of IoT exists is in its increased efficiencies, increased safety, and
both professional and medical pattern recognition of Big Data’s raw format interrogation.
For GE, business value will be based on service provided. What is not in question is the need for the
service to handle billions of devices. With 25 billion devices currently connected since the inception of
networking, the amount is set to double within the next 5 years. The acceleration in connections to the
network is expected to deliver trillions of dollars in value. Gartner, the information technology research
company, noted, “By 2020, component costs will have come down to the point that connectivity will
become a standard feature, even for processors costing less than $1. This opens up the possibility of
connecting just about anything, from the very simple to the very complex, to offer remote control,
monitoring and sensing” (Janessa Rivera, 2013).
Devices and Dollar Value
2015: 25 Billion devices after 25 years
1 Billion devices per year(average)
2020: 50 Billion incremental devices
5 Billion devices per year(average)
2013: $1.9 Trillion Market Value
2020: $7.1 Trillion Market Value
Connectivity and Intelligence
Connectivity and communication are the staples of the IoT. Connectivity will enable ordinary devices to
perform work in ways and relay constant status updates to optimize performance. Enabling devices to
communicate their location and status have added new potential to businesses to better understand
their clients, better manage their inventory, and respond better to the factors that influence the
environment since analytics can be added into a live data stream.
The need to redefine and continually add new types of data will be a defining aspect building
intelligence into the product and key to success. With the increase of volume, velocity, and variety of
data, Big Data looks to add to traditional data standards, which cannot cope with emerging classes of
data, thus missing these research opportunities. Analytic tools, such as Predix, will help to understand
customers, a logistics pattern, or the environment, which are all business needs with numerous
variables. The possibility of obtaining a better understanding for any business decision can be the
difference between success, failure, or even future innovation.
The Internet of Things’ Disruptive Nature
The Internet can arguably be the most disruptive creation of recent times. It transformed the
professional and personal lives, and transformed and invented new industries. It destroyed sustainable
technologies for companies with cash cows and ushered in new ways to consume information,
effectively speeding up product lifecycle and reducing the margins. Further consequences include a
whole host of new inventions, models of selling, and modes of communication.
Although it destroyed some industries, if global GDP and employment levels are any barometer of the
Information Era’s benefit, the disruptive nature of the Internet has been true to its definition. As Clay
Christiansen phrased it, “It’s important to remember that disruption is a positive force. Disruptive
innovations are not breakthrough technologies that make good products better; rather they are
innovations that make products and services more accessible and affordable, thereby making them
available to a much larger population” (Christensen, 2012).
Since Internet communication is becoming increasingly wireless, new opportunities continue to emerge.
When Kevin Ashton presented on the “Internet of Things” in 1999, most devices where bound by
Ethernet cables. Progressively, communication devices have become cheaper and smaller thereby
enabling devices of all size to communicate through a network. Using sport medicine as an example,
Nike sells Nike+ a chip that inserts into their shoes, which monitors time, speed, distance, as well as
heart rate. This information can help a runner set goals and monitor progress more easily than ever
before. This example of time, speed, distance, and condition has been applied to equipment of all sorts
in industries around the world.
How the attachment of sensors can benefit society will become evident when the information starts
serving society. In the example by Libelium Smart World (Libelium, 2013), the uses become widespread
and range in usefulness from a common citizen to a municipal worker. When intelligent objects begin
delivering readily available information, speed, utilization and safety can all be increased.
At the pinnacle of the Internet of Things is
Intelligent Community. Intelligent Cities, for
example, look to optimize energy expense,
decrease waste, and maximize convenience
through the amalgamation of all the work
done by the IoT’s sensors and Big Data’s
analytics. A city’s inhabitants will create a
constantly changing environment. At some
point or another, a greater or lesser
quantity of data will be needed and having
a mechanism that delivers reporting is
exactly the kind of useful information the
IoT will deliver.
IoT Investment – Producer Incumbency
Grasping the idea and bounds of the IoT quickly reveals its potential to interconnect people and devices,
and its global expansiveness. In Alfred Chandler’s article, “The Enduring Logic of Industrial Success”, the
successful companies Standard Oil (commodity), Bayer (chemicals), and IBM (business machines), all
made upfront investments in production, distribution, and management (Chandler, 1990). The first
mover in the area of chemicals was Bayer; it did make the investment in production to gain command of
the economies of scale and invested in management to gain the economies of scope.
In the modern day, Internet connectivity is a basic necessity. However, no one has created the end-to-
end service, although there are efforts to do so. Various companies have built software suites, which
means Chandler’s concept has been reapplied to computer software. Evidence of Apple’s, Google’s, and
Microsoft’s management is the continual development and refinement of their products and services.
The IoT has adjusts the field. Since no one is fully prepared to offer an end-to-end solution, traditional
incumbencies are diminished. With the market able to include literally everything, software
manufacturers will need to reach into the physical world, while industrial manufacturers need to reach
into software design. This creates new competitors as companies move into non-traditional areas,
hardware and software, respectively. The new circumstance creates a race very similar to Alfred
Chandler’s article. Manufacturers will have to deliver a scalable solution and compete in a variety of
areas, i.e. scale and scope. This leaves incumbency in a question state.
IoT – User Requirement
The IoT is becoming more real every day. Even if the deployment of an IoT network is not fully
understood by management, companies that do not invest in it may lose favor with their capital
contributors who simply understand the cost of business is higher, revenues are being missed, and
opportunities to save are lost. An IoT solution can boost investor confidence by the simple fact that
“everyone else is doing it.” A decline in confidence may have greater impact than anything else a
company may face. It goes to say, without the most up-to-date information companies are leaving
themselves vulnerable to missed opportunities and for competitors to exploit their error.
Investing in the IoT would increase a company’s offensive and defensive capability, thus increasing
competence and increasing investor confidence. Those companies that invest now will have capabilities
that will allow for a company to obtain a momentary competitive advantage. Since the technology will
become more common, the technological advantage will diminish. What may be retained is the
technical knowledge and customer insight gained from the head start. Filtering the data and anticipating
customer expectations may be the differentiating factors that create a sustainable competitive
The companies developing technology for the Internet of Things include: Apple, ARM, Amtel, Bosch,
Cisco, Ericson, Freescale, GE, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, PTC, SAP, Texas Instruments, and
Qualcomm. These companies have all shown levels of excellence in business at some level through
invention, innovation, or execution. The threat to GE is not competing with most of these companies,
but being made obscure by some of them. Four of the top five most powerful brands are tech
companies in direct competition with GE in the IoT. It is important to mention brand is due to the new,
widening awareness of the IoT industry. Due to consumers’ lack of familiarity with IoT services, they will
rely upon their brand knowledge, which will bias their opinion and preference.
The Value of Brand
As companies create something new, the connection to the past will help
pull clients into the new field. Brand loyalty helps sustain the continuity
between product launches. As new products emerge, and the sales
exchange is repeated, loyalty increases over time with repeated, successful
As consumers become more confident in the brand, brand loyalty increases.
The benefit of greater brand loyalty includes the ability to charge a premium
to products and services, and straight rebuys become quicker and more
efficient. Also, consumer willingness to experiment with new product lines is
less onerous, especially if is packaged with a preexisting product. With
greater brand awareness, the publicity of making moves into new channels
has greater organic growth and natural traction.
Google differs from GE, IBM, Intel, Oracle and Cisco in one key way: it is a
service both businesses and consumers knowingly and willingly use on a
daily basis. GE, IBM, and Cisco are creators of the infrastructure and tools
that the modern, digital world runs on, but it is Google that is used by
people of all ages who are able to use the Internet. As important as GE’s
work has been, it is not in the minds, have the loyalty, or the daily, repeated
traffic Google does. Google has embedded itself into many nations’ psyche
due to its excellent search results to the point that it has become the
reference brand for conducting searches.
Google’s birth came at a time when it was possible to be born global. In an
instant, it reached more people than it took GE to do in decades. The genius
of Google’s core product would require a book of its own. Google’s users - their product - use free
services in exchange for being sold to advertisers. Extending their products and services to mobility
extends their research and resale capability to advertising companies.
The Brand’s Value
In each of its sweet spots, GE, Google, IBM and Cisco have strong brand recognition with its clients and
respect from the business world. In terms of the IoT, there are no points of reference, no standard by
which people can measure services. Without the ability to benchmark competing services, business and
consumers will favor familiarity and a semblance of predictable expectations.
This demonstrates how the value of the brand increases the return on investment. A strong, welcomed
brand will reduce the costs to raise brand awareness, and shorten the time a consumer will take to
make a purchasing decision. This is how brand will sway customers to make their decision at a time
when there are gaps in the information.
Fragmentation of the Field
The Internet of Things is a budding industry. Early on, competitors have recognized what is at stake, the
potential value of the market, and their own weaknesses. Differentiating between the industry
participants is still too early to determine who will hold what market position. What is certain is alliances
are being made between previously disparate companies, the move to partner has already begun to
compensate for weaknesses. For example, IBM partnered with AT&T to complement each other’s
strengths to capture this opportunity.
When considering only large capital companies engaged in developing the Internet of Things, the total
comes to 17 competitors. Although the IoT can be segmented into Home, Business, and Industry, it is
Apple and Google who are receiving much of the publicity. In Leon Spencer’s article on the IoT, the
forecasted $7.1 Trillion market value would be divided between Apple and Google, who are focusing
initially on the Home and Business segments (Spencer, 2014).
Although this is not true, it is not entirely false. Neither truth nor falsehood matters in this case as the
entire article mentions only two companies from the host large capital corporations actively working on
solutions to answer the IoT demand. With continued publicity for their Home segment efforts, Apple
and/or Google will become the reference brand just as the iPhone is for mobile telephone models or
how Google became a verb for searching. Dominance in other segments will be important to monitor as
expectations for services maybe dictated by what applications users utilize in the Home segment.
Traditional strengths are going to govern the initial stages of the IoT industry. For example, GE has a
large, historical installation base for a diversified field of industrial goods. GE, therefore, developed its
strategy to create its Industrial Internet in tandem with Predix, its Big Data analytical software, to
capture the manufacturing and health care markets. Similarly, IBM is developing its Smarter Planet and
Smarter Cities initiative to capture the enterprise market. Meanwhile, Cisco is developing its IoT offering
to deliver services into places such as manufacturing floors, energy grids, healthcare facilities, and
transportation. On a more personal level, Google is grooming it Nest acquisition in order to better
penetrate the home market and attract users will multiple smart devices.
Without extensive excellence in the field, the following SWOT diagrams, although not focused on IoT, do
reflect the positioning each company is taking in the IoT industry. Although the SWOTs look at the whole
company, it does accurately reflect how the companies are approaching the new market with how they
are segmenting the market.
Culture of innovation
Diversified product portfolio
Strong revenue growth
Low Debt Rating
Substantial Debt Burden
Increased demand for commercial airplanes
Global Project Opportunities
Key acquisition strategy
Environmental and other government regulations
Projected labor cost increases
Open source products and services
Quality and customer experience are the primary objects
Access to the widest group of internet users worldwide
Strong patents portfolio
Culture of innovation
Relies on one source of income
Growing number of mobile internet users
Obtaining patents through acquisitions
Driverless electronic cars
Growing into electronics industry
Google fiber cables
Growing number of mobile internet users
EU antitrust laws
Competition from Microsoft
First mover in cloud computing solutions for enterprises
Strong competency in acquisitions
Integration of products and services
Expensive service and software solutions
Focus mainly on large enterprises
Expand services and software divisions
Increasing demand of cloud based services
Increasing competition in the cloud computing market
Slowing growth of world economy
Geographically Diverse Business
Economies of scale lower cost and increases margin
Diversified into many segments and tapping sophisticated
Market leading position brings many benefits
Robust financial performance
Known for its strong R & D division
A culture that experiments produces better long term values
Declining storage networking market
Weak presence in BPO technologies/markets compared to
Expansion through Strategic Alliances and Acquisitions
Smart grid infrastructure could increase demand
Wi-Fi Home Calling and mobile broadband
Data intensive applications
The use of cloud servers is lowering sales and especially
profits margins for Cisco's core business.
Open Source Competitors
High competitive rivalry
Each of the companies mentioned have a storied history of success. Each of them has grown to employ
over 50,000 people. With the exception of Google, all of them are approaching the market from a
business-to-business point of view. GE, Microsoft, and IBM have all pitched their ideas to entire
municipalities; GE extends into its sweet spot as it develops the Industrial Internet. On the metropolitan
level, even Google has deployed Google Fiber in Kansas City.
Where Google differentiates itself, however, is by how it targets that market segment. Analysts believe
Google’s acquisition of Nest is a direct attempt to extend their reach into the connected home. The Wall
Street Journal reports, “Mr. Fadell (Nest’s cofounder) said he sees Nest fitting in Google's vision of a
connected world that spans from pocket devices to automobiles to homes” (Winkler, 2014). With
Google’s presence in the general consumer’s mind and its popularity of wearable devices, the extension
of its connected home offering is going to strengthen Google’s presence as a fundamental tool in today’s
digital age. Additionally, as of June 2014, Google opened its Nest labs to outside developers. (Barr, 2014)
The following table demonstrates GE’s strengths, which come historically from industry, investing and
divesting into fields of business, invention and innovation, a diversified portfolio of business. Google’s
newer foundation is not a detraction from its strength as a competitor; it simply means they have
GE’s Strengths Google’s Strengths
1. GE Health Care – Global leader in equipment
development and manufacturing
2. Industrial Diversification
3. Native Products to equip with data sensors
1. Native Skill of Data Analysis
2. Google Fiber
3. Main Stream Consumer Portfolio (Chrome,
Android, Gmail, Google+)
1. Health care is where much of the IoT will be
implemented. Forecasts suggest a full 15% of IoT
growth will be health care related. (Gartner,
2. Globally, the IoT will be involved in all of the
same areas GE conducts business.
3. Aerospace, resource extraction, and
transportation are all areas that will require
regular maintenance of equipment.
1. Google search engine code and the information
they compile on user searches is their primary
source of income.
2. Unlike IBM and GE who partnered with AT&T,
Google owns its own data transmission network.
3. Google is a highly recognized brand name,
delivers products and services at low prices, and
has a loyal following of millions.
PESTLE Analysis - What are the advantages and
impediments of the Internet of Things?
As the IoT will solve several problems, increase efficiencies, and increase safety, it does come with a
host of issues to consider. As the Internet accelerated globalization, it created a number of issues arising
from the same capabilities. Although the IoT will increase productivity and generate opportunities for
the IoT designers, programmers, network designers, it will contain some sticking points that
governments, labor, and society may contest.
Political: If the IoT is developed to manage a municipality, it could be considered a public-private
partnership. In stable nations, the robust respect for business will recognize the sovereignty of each
entity, but in less stable parts of the world, the partnership may be nationalized.
Economic: Consider the adage, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” Considering the positive
economic and ecological impact the IoT may have, the increased productivity and automation of work
will change the future job skills requirements. With any change, improvement or not, follow-on
adjustments have to be made. Civilization’s adjustment to the IoT will vary in degrees of acceptance.The
change in economics has similar learning points in relation to reports of climate change.
•Allowing one nation's company to control the
flow of information
•De-centralizing information analysis,
management and utlization
•Increasing productivity and increasing the
global GDP by $15 trillion over 20 years
•Integrating product lines
•Evolution of collorabtion and innovation
•Shift in labor skills
•Fear Factor: People's acceptance of
transmitting personal data, loss of control
•Allowing the machines to predict owner's
habits/ think for them
•Evolution of personal habits
•The language by which all manufacturers will
use to ensure proper communication between
• Productivity and automation increase
•Transmission and utilization of sensative
(personal and corporate)
•Increased efficency will save natural resources,
locate ideal locations for renewable energy
Social: To quote a Discovery Channel article, “Evolution can be fast, but not fast enough to keep up with
the rate of human-caused climate change” (O'Hanlon, 2013). The simile between climate change and
technology change derivefrom the point that most things are not ideally suited for quick change.
Physically and mentally, the preparation for change always takes time for the vast majority of people.
Although the IoT may deliver cost savings for companies and the end consumer, it will impact
employment, social exchanges, and spending habits.This may seriously impact the reception of the IoT.
The Opportunities for Service Providers
The “sweet spot” identified by most of the IoT service providers are based on the business-to-business
segment. Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, and GE have all delivered solutions to cities to manage some aspect of
their daily tasks or infrastructure. They all knew they had to do something big. Referring to the
Economic section of the PESTLE, the IoT is expected to increase productivity, decrease cost, and add to
the global GDP. The following is a sample of IoT implementations.
The company that will succeed in the market will be the one that allows for the most access and
functionality. Microsoft’s Windows operating system for PC is the global leader due to the amount of
programs written for the platform. Google’s Android operating system for mobile devices is the global
leader due to the amount of applications written for the platform. Since more and more work will be
done over the Internet, becoming the service of choice for the Internet of Things will be highly
dependent on if users can get the most usability. By partnering with developers, the association will
effortlessly increase the product’s value.
Cisco July 2014, Invests $30 Million in IoT center in Barcelona
Cisco and Intel March 2015, Challenge Up, a joint Internet of Things (IoT) accelerator for start-ups from the Europe,
Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region
IBM December 2010, Opened a Smart City Operation Center in Rio de Janeiro
IBM and AT&T February 2014, AT&T will manage sensors' communications and tracking happening over the cellular
network and IBM will use its analytics platforms
Microsoft March 2015, Announced Azure IoT Suite that combine business intelligence capabilities (Power BI)
using real-time data (Azure Stream Analytics) with Azure Machine Learning capabilities
October 2014, Orleans Parish installed Azure to consolidate emergency services into one terminal to
improve response time
Google March 2013, Kansas City becomes the test ground for Google Fiber, Gigabit speed Internet
connectivity, moving Google into the Internet delivery market
Google and Nest October 2014, Google acquired Nest to stay ahead of competitors to control the next generation of
smart devices, including appliances and household devices
The Market Opportunities for Many Smaller Developers
Similar to developers for mobile telephone operating systems, an entire industry is likely to sprout up
due to the opportunity to deliver applications. Literature and advertisements from IoT service providers
uses universal language about unbeatable security, improvement of efficiencies, extending asset life and
versatility. Except for Google, what IoT service providers do not mention is the compatibility with any
device or the opportunity for 3rd
party companies to write programs for the platform.
The list of activities represents large contracts that preside over a large physical area, but the service still
comes down to the individual user. The operator will want ease of use and functionality across the range
of their devices. With potentially dozens of devices to manage, if even one device is not compatible, or
uses a differently structured graphical user interface, the disruption could slow the user’s integration
into the operating system.
Based on mobile telephone experience
Apple and Google have strong following of their products. Google, with its search engine dominance, its
mobile OS dominance, and its move into the home with the acquisition of Nest, it is positioning itself to
be the choice of millions of consumers. Those same consumers work in local and national government
as decision makers who will be required to decide which company will be the backbone of their
network. Their Home market experience may influence expectations and choices for their company.
Woo the User
Although GE will connect devices that make the world work, is it addressing the market of the people
who do the work? Having a fundamental, underlying network connecting millions of people and product
is one thing; having a network that connects into people’s lives, brings them joy and satisfaction is
something else completely. Although the B2C market may not be the focus, creating informative market
messages will go a long way to inform people of the relevancy of GE, the Industrial Internet, and Predix.
Is the Home segment experience being over represented? No, in the sense of how users will interact
with the IoT: smart phones and tablets will be a common medium of utilizing IoT data. Although the
segment GE is pursuing is business-based, that does not mean the clients expectations of an interface
will be a dull, lifeless, and confining GUI. Also, the interface must be attractive with commonalities
across industries. The lessons to learn from the consumer are to listen to their feedback. Apple and
Google have created intuitive interfaces that require no instructions to become an intermediate user.
IoT Service Provider Activities – Supply Chain Analysis
Benefits if the IoT deliver value in three key areas: Pervasive Visibility, Proactive Replenishment, and
Predictive Maintenance (Mondazzi, 2014). The table from Opportunities for Service Providers
summarizes activities by those companies looking to get a foothold into the IoT market. Through these
activities, each of these companies addresses the key areas of the IoT’s supply chain benefit.
For example, IBM and Microsoft are delivering the capability of Pervasive Visibility and Predictive
Maintenance as authorities can better manage their municipalities. Google is delivering Proactive
Replenishment on the consumer level (Google Fiber), and this type of activity transferable to other
industries with which GE has dealings.
Supply Chain Improvements for Manufacturing and HealthCare
Industrial companies are looking to add analytics to two major areas: assets and operations
optimization. Classic macroeconomics state, “a facility is operating at 100% utilization if 85% of the
machines are working.” This rationale is based on the need for repair and maintenance of equipment as
it breaks down since actual one-hundred percent utilization is possible only in short-terms before parts
fail. What a Smart Factory would able to achieve is a higher utilization rate through better forecasting
and sequential planning to minimize downtime, thus boosting equipment utilization.
Pervasive Visibility, Proactive Replenishment, and Predictive Maintenance will all be factors in managing
the operations of any kind of Smart Facility. Visibility into the workings of equipment could have a lot of
meaningful applications such as improving production time and costs. For example, unanticipated
downtime of equipment could have knock on effects reaching both horizontally and vertically in the
supply chain. The ability to manage the expectations of a production cycle and greatly improve the
quality of the product and extend the life of the equipment, saving on reinvestment costs.
Business works best with predictable variables. A steady stream of material is need for inputs to deliver
a consistent output. Consequences of fluctuations require extra energy. Visibility can deliver
consistency, optimizing performance.
Health Care Assets
The benefit to healthcare is not just patient care. Saving a life may be due to numerous reasons.
Certainly, the development and miniaturization of wearables will improve the patient experience, but
similar to the benefits to the manufacturing floor – equipment breaks down. Increased reliability
through the installment of sensors can prevent the malfunction of equipment at a critical moment.
In a report on the UK’s National Health Service, a 2014 report found 309 people had died due to
malfunctioning equipment, seriously injuring 5,000 more, with a total of 13,000 incidents (Steere, 2014).
In addition to the sheer altruistic value of lives not needlessly wasted, improving service would have a
massive impact on insurance costs, thus reducing malpractice lawsuits and overall costs in general. If the
average wrongful death settlement is $1.4M, the quantifiable savings could easily reach hundreds of
millions of dollars per year across an entire country (Murphy, 2013).
Health Care Operations
The wealth of Big Data derives from the ability to develop pattern recognition software. Although this is
a derivation of predictive tools from machinery maintenance, the same concept can be applied to
healthcare management and patient diagnosis. Ranging from managing patient flow time in order to
increase the speed of patient admittance can greatly improve the stratification of serious medical
conditions from lesser conditions. Additionally, and more importantly, predictive medicine could come
in the form of an algorithm that is connected to a patient’s monitoring devices and prevent an
Porter’s 5 Forces
The IoT is about to face a huge wave of growth. Declining prices of intelligent devices and components
will mean an increase in their presence. The industry is about to introduce newly affordable capabilities,
as well as foster new industry for developers. Considering these factors, all that has been said
concerning the companies involved and the market segments, the situation deserves to be summarized
simply. Using Porter’s 5 Forces model, a value has been assigned to each for with a weight of Low,
Moderate, or High. In order, the value rates the intensity of the force from light to contentious.
When considering the companies involved alone, it is possible to get an intuitive grasp of how
competitive the market will be. There are several large companies vying for market share; the only thing
lacking is incumbency. Since the market is still relatively new, no one company possesses a dominant
position in the industry, let alone in the Home, Business, or Industrial segments. This could signal a
volatile first generation of the IoT as the services expand and mature, and providers determine if the IoT
is worth the effort, or if they are capable of competing.
Threat of New Entrants – A set field of many competitors
New entrants to the IoT market would face several large companies in the field that are already
High start-up cost: Developing a differentiated service and marketing it to the segment.
Distribution of service: The challenge of delivering a service on any significant level would
require network planning, access to a client’s network, and robust security.
Hadoop software: At the core of the IoT is analytics. A meaningful aspect of using an IoT service
is optimization of a client’s business. The analytical possibilities that Big Data services provide
deliver information from sensors and transactions in areas such as logistics, customer service, or
farming. The software needs development, testing, and delivery.
Less competition, not more: With nearly 20 large companies vying for market share, it is likely
some of those companies will divest from the industry. This would entrench remaining
Power of Buyers – Buyers will have service provideroptions, but not the option to do without service
Initially, customers will be able to pick and choose from the numerous service suppliers. Since the
market will be local, regional, national and global, no one customer will impact the market too much,
but there will be the option to switch services.
Dozens of suppliers: Nearly 20 large companies have been identified as service providers. This
does not include the medium and small companies, or the niche suppliers.
Standardization of protocols: If the language becomes standardized, suppliers will have to look
for incentives to keep customers or install “switching cost” provisions in contracts.
Service importance: The IoT will become the normal cost of doing business. IoT services will
become a necessity in how people and businesses will operate on a daily basis.
Availability of Substitutes – Alternative services will persist to be a threat to suppliers
The possibility of customers switching service will be a treat, especially if switching costs are low. This
may mean customer retention may face a huge churn rate as customers switch from provider to
Large number of buyers: Households, business, local/state/national government create a sum of
billions of customers. Even a small percentage of billions of customers could mean huge profits,
even if churn rates are high.
Large scale purchases: Big business and government contracts will involve hundreds of
thousands of connected devices from printers to vehicles. Service purchases such as these will
involve network planning and likely long-term contracts.
Sales and service plans: GE’s diversified portfolio can be a “foot in the door” for IoT service
plans. The sale of machinery can come with a product warranty that can be monitored by its IoT
Power of Suppliers – Prominent names in the field with considerable R&D
For the companies in the industry already, they have completed trial sites and are capable of deploying
network service. Swaying the customer to contract with their service becomes the issue.
Brand loyalty: Although the retail space comprises only 8.3% the IoT market (Newton, 2014),
Google’s name is very prominent in the field.
High fixed costs: Maintaining a data collecting network will limit the number of new entrants
into the field and eliminate some suppliers.
Buyer Incentives: Bundling IoT services with equipment sales.
Government restrictions or legislation: Could IoT services become a public utility or come under
some legislation that could alter the business environment.
Competitive Rivalry – Home, Business, and Industry segments each have their field experts
Of three segments mentioned, not one company is master, or viable competitor, in all of them. Home is
where Google is making its move; Business becomes a grey area that is mixed for all; Industry where GE,
IBM, and Cisco proclaim excellence.
Service differentiation (hardware): The main issue is the similarity of substitutes. GE’s
outstanding point will be able to offer service after its products.
Service differentiation (municipal): The main issue is the similarity of substitutes. GE, IBM,
Microsoft all have Smart City success stories. The municipal area may be much more
Smart Buildings: Managing the resources of a building is just as important as city management,
but mostly belongs to private firms. Rudin Management has shown credible savings through the
development of their DI-BOSS software. Smart Buildings will be highly valuable and the middle
ground between Home service providers and Industry service providers.
Conclusion and Recommendation
At present, General Electric needs to work through the current challenge of developing Predix and
establishing it as the industrial standard. The Internet of Things is a new field with much yet to be
defined, with territory it to be staked, with a lot for potential development. In terms of its life cycle, the
phase the IoT is in is the introductory/early adopter stage with its high investment costs and small
market size. At this early stage, there is a lot of room to develop the technology, the peripheries, the
partnerships, and the message.
Based on the positions companies are building, there are two ideologies to consider: Those that target
the fewer big customers that operate something large (B2B), or those that target the many smaller
customer that primarily look after themselves (B2C). A consideration GE will have to keep in mind is how
to address current B2B needs and prepares itself for the next steps and the challenges to come. It has to
assess the threat of current competitors that operate in its market segment and later address those
competitors that captured the personal space of consumers and consider if, how, and when the
consumer space it not enough and moves into the business space.
Companies that subscribe to either camp do so for historical reasons – how they historically approached
the market. In 2010, IBM installed an intelligent operations center in Rio de Janeiro that unites 30
municipal entities into one situation room. In 2015, GE installed its Intelligent Cities Platform in San
Diego to control over 3,000 city street lights. These examples demonstrate the perspective used to
target the fewer, larger customers in a B2B setting, based on their success of delivering solutions on a
large scale. A sample of segments where large companies should look to monopolize is the following:
Geographically dispersed companies
Centralized municipalities overseeing daily operations
State and national government overseeing daily or emergency operations
In comparison, in 2014, Google bought Nest. A diametrically different approach to the Internet of
Things, Google is targeting the general consumer by entering into their homes. With a presence in so
many aspects of people’s lives, from mobile to desktop to automotive to home living, Google’s data
gathering capabilities is becoming ever more ubiquitous and further ingrained into people’s lives.
The following four recommendations are put forward as a course of action.
1. Develop an “App Store”
2. Advertise and Define the Brand
3. Prepare for the inevitable contest between Home, Business, and Industry
4. Partner with health care equipment manufacturers
Developing an App Portfolio
As the mobile experience guided and helped define unified communications, applications on smart
devices will be how users learn to interact with IoT enabled devices: user interfaces that can be used on
a range of touch screen devices, and allowing universal access. Large and small customers will start
migrating to the IoT once they can understand its benefit. Since GE’s diversified portfolio of business is
widespread, having a narrow set of predefined applications would hinder the company’s ability to
adequately offer support to its customers. As part of the Industrial Internet offering, GE must develop its
suite of programs to support customers’ needs.
GE does not have the foresight, insight, or knowhow to develop all of the applications to manage the
billions of data points presently in place, nor the billions to come. Although GE has recognized the need
to capture information from data points, selling the analytics is only one possible aspect of IoT
salesmanship. Control and implementation of networked devices will become key, yet no one can
presently predict what those needs will be. In order to successfully fulfill those customer criteria, GE will
have to partner, purchase, or outsource the creation of IoT applications.
Internally developing core applications for network security, maintaining core competency, and
developing insight into the industry should be a primary consideration. If it is core to the business, GE
should work to become experts in the field and manage the application internally. These applications
should allow for customers to reach their goals and teach GE how to better serve the customer.
Externally developed applications should be welcomed and encouraged. The possibility of an external
developer creating an useful application is highly likely. Often time, opportunities are exploited based on
an user becoming a business when there was a gap in service. The history of business is strewn with
stories of how needs went unfulfilled, propelling customers into the role of entrepreneur. Applications
are a new field of business and it is reasonable to believe developers will create apps that the founding
companies failed to see. Since each industry has specialized activities, GE should welcome the creation
of a consortium of developers to identify, trial, and implement a variety of programs to complement the
Brandings: The Divided Sides of the overall Industry
A question to consider is,“Win the land in which people live or win the loyalty of the people?” These two
approaches are evident from the positioning, acquisitions, and partnerships each IoT service provider is
taking. The approaches to the Big Data market stem from two approaches: the business-to-business
approach of GE, Microsoft, IBM, Cisco and Oracle, or the business-to-consumer approach of Apple and
Focusing solely on the B2B segment not only weakens GE in the cost of doing business, but by focusing
exclusively on the B2Bs, it will have to work hard to differentiate itself from its competitors and create a
brand and service that is distinctive. Being grouped with other providers could prove counterproductive,
especially while Google can come to dominate the Home market and become the reference brand for
another Internet service, again.
In a simplistic view of how the field is balanced, as GE, Microsoft and IBM battle for dominance and
market share in the B2B space, Apple and Google and can work in creating a duopoly in the B2C space.
When the time comes for continued growth, Apple and Google will be able to draw on its experience
and financial resources to become contenders in the B2B small and medium enterprise space, starting
with off-the-shelf solutions for small businesses and begin to scale up. It will use those learnt lessons
and gained resources, as well as its brand recognition and product familiarity, to more easily convince
business to use their service.
Although the IoT for business and industry may eclipse home usage by billions of connected devices and
have a greater value by trillions of dollars of assets under management, it will be mostly unspoken by
the general public, business journals, or investors. Most peoples’ interaction with the IoT will be through
their mobile device, car, or computer to control their home, car, or entertainment center. Perhaps the
value of each home user may range up to a million dollars of managed assets – which will pale in
comparison to the billions of dollars of equipment business control – but, it is what people will imagine
as the standard for service delivery.
GE will have to do two things: Differentiate itself from other Industrial Internet service providers, and
prepare for making growth moves into the Business segment.
1. Without differentiation, customers will see brand switching as a tactic to hold over GE.
Creating a service with irreplaceable value will prevent brand switching, increase loyalty, and
command a premium. The service has to be created, refined, improved, delivered and publicized
in a way that awes its user and creates excitement for future users.
2. In the inevitable battle for the Business segment, GE has to start making its name known now
as service provider that can scale from a global level down to professional SME level. This will
deliver the message that GE is interested not only in airplanes and heavy equipment, but the
network of thousands of companies with smaller investments. The space between global
corporations to the local SME contains a lot of people, a lot of companies, and a lot of
equipment to manage.
Partnering with Fellow Industrial Giants in Health Care
Siemens and Phillips represent the two remaining giant manufacturers of health equipment. With GE
included, the three manufacture the vast majority of the globe’s medical equipment. Each one has a
storied history of greatness and a strong reputation for quality. However, neither Siemens or Phillips are
as prepared as GE for the Internet of Things; neither are developing their own network to manage their
own devices, though they are working towards making their devices communicate with each other.
In a dossier by Siemens, the company noted a threat to the roll out of the IoT is the lack of standards.
“One obstacle impeding the growth of the Internet of Things is the lack of technical standards. These
ensure that all devices from all manufacturers can communicate with one another. A key technology for
connecting everyday objects to networks is radio frequency identification (RFID), in which data from a
chip is transmitted via wireless links.” The dossier continues, “RFID is no longer the only industry
standard, however. Sensors are now being connected via WLAN, Near Field Communication (NFC),
Bluetooth, and Zigbee. Market research firm Navigant Research reports that in 2012, almost 40 million
devices around the world were equipped with Zigbee. In 2020, that figure is expected to grow to over
200 million — a more than five-fold increase within just eight years. On the other hand, completely new
approaches are being tried too: researches at the University of Washington have developed sensors
without batteries that can engage in wireless communication with other devices. They use the
attenuation of radio waves as a signal path – a technology that could allow a significant expansion of the
Internet of Things.” (Rohling, 2014)
In a high-value market such as health care, no one would want exclude their products from the newest
generation of technology. Especially in a regulated, data sensitive, high-demand-for-quality industry
such as the medical profession, it would give health care providers, insurance companies, patients, and
families peace of mind that a hospital’s equipment was able to communicate with complete access and
accuracy to other medical devices, no matter the manufacturer. Allying the major manufacturers around
a common cause can be beneficial in several ways.
Quicker development of a standard language
Reduced development cost
Strong Corporate Social Responsibility
Standardization of code may reach into other fields
Partnering with Manufacturing Giants in Industry
Caterpillar, Inc. partnered with Uptake to manage the data analytics of millions of earth moving units
around the world. Although the largest heavy equipment manufacturer partnered with a different IoT
provider, this leaves other heavy industry companies such as Volvo, Mitsubishi, and Siemens in need of a
network to enable their equipment and carry intelligent signals from work sites. Being involved in the
manufacturing of equipment at the design stage can better integrate the intelligence components,
which could make the overall process more efficient, reliable, and easier to repair.
Other manufacturers could include John Deere, manufacturer of farming equipment. As much as
preventive maintenance and equipment service contracts are the initial focus of the Industrial Internet,
improved productivity could be a positive consequence by offering GPS guidance to farmers, or field
management planning for the best route to take for harvesting equipment. A GPS guidance system
could automate the machine’s navigation, freeing up the time of the farmer to tend to other matters.
With the continued development of driverless cars, large, slow moving equipment in open territory,
developing a program to guide them is an achievable feat.
Lastly, partnering with heavy equipment manufacturers also makes good public policy given their use in
the erection of buildings, bridges and roads. Not only do the sensors have to be embedded in
equipment, the very infrastructure that is built needs monitoring and upkeep. At the Association of
Equipment Management Professionals Asset Management Symposium, Chris Rezendes commented on
Intelligent Roads. He said, “We have 70,000 bridges in the United States and at least 30 percent have
national economic, security and natural disaster response implications.” To further the point,
“Intelligent road systems are another lucrative market. Right now the $150 billion transportation market
in the United States is almost “all dark,” Rezendes says, meaning almost none of it is wired and
monitored by sensors” (Jackson).
The Internet of Things is a market already in motion, yet no service provider has a strong market
presence. With a strong beginning, later entrants to the market will face a higher barrier of entry,
ensuring further success. However, those companies entering the market now are very strong and very
capable. Success will come through quality, collaboration, clearly defining the market segment, and
being sure the market segment clearly understands the offering.
The recent focus on the IoT is due to numerous forecasts predicting the size of the industry to double
within the next 5 years from 25 billion connected devices to 50 billion. The industry took decades to
reach its current connected level and is set to accelerate its growth. Even with this enormous potential,
there is still no common standard or leading market provider.
The four steps mentioned will begin to prepare for the next phase of the GE’s IoT. They are steps that
work as necessary, preventive, or as consolidative steps. The first recommendation is to build a portfolio
of applications that allow for users to take action on the analytics of data gathering. The second
recommendation is to define the brand in the mind of its customers, thus defending the brand from
poachers and make it easier to extend into segments in the future. The third recommendation
consolidates the health care industry, giving GE a strength it may need to utilize in future developments
of service delivery and innovation. The fourth recommendation reaches out to other manufacturers of
heavy equipment and offers them a service that will increase the attractiveness of the products and
keep them competitive. Also, partnerships in heavy industry will likely have a knock-on effect of
exposure to public construction or private facility construction. Both types will benefit from installing IoT
enabled sensors and continuing a service-based relationship with the owner.
The Internet of Things is an opportunity to extend the enterprise. Strictly selling equipment and parts is
morphing into a continuous conversation with the customer. The world will still need machines built,
but the next generation of growth will connect company and customer in new ways. With continued
daily dialogues, the ongoing engagement will provide companies new ways of driving revenue through
ongoing services. Analytics vertically extends the relationship beyond the sale and into providing a
service that will become more and more valuable, the service of providing the information needed to
make the right business decisions. Predix will make deriving Big Data analytics possible and the data
meaningful; the extension is creating an environment that will allow for even the basic user the access
to control the network of devices on demand.
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