As more devices and everyday items become web-enabled, the Internet of Things (IoT) will keep gaining momentum and becoming more crucial for your customers.
When everything from delivery trucks to warehouse lighting to point-of-sale devices gets connected through web services, you're likely to see rising demand for IoT, with a strong tie to big data analytics, particularly in retail.
But unlike operating systems, where Microsoft and Apple have market dominance, there's no single platform provider for IoT, which could muddy the development waters as multiple tech vendors attempt to rush into this space. Every IoT developer, it seems, is trying to build the "god platform" that provides the most generalized layer of intelligence and user interface functionality.
What will it take to play god for IoT? Here are a few contenders for the coveted spot:
Logitech: Device maker Logitech may have something of a head start when it comes to IoT. The company not only develops products for a range of consumer and business uses, but it's also created a software that can makes device usage easier, and comes closest to a potential god platform. Market reach is also another major factor in Logitech's favor, since the company's products are distributed in over 100 countries, with offices in Switzerland, China, Japan, and Silicon Valley.
Apple: Speaking of market reach, Apple is also in the race for creating an IoT platform that can save us from disparate technologies. The tech giant has several advantages, especially when it comes to already having devices in the hands of users. Those with iPhones and iPads can already use those products for some level of home automation like unlocking doors remotely, or controlling temperature settings. Several devices that are in development from companies like Chamberlin, Insteon, and Schlage promise to have an "Apple compatible" label on their packaging, making interactions between Apple devices and IoT technologies more seamless.
Nest Labs: Owned by Google (which paid $3.2 billion for it), Nest found its footing in the market with home automation devices, but it's quickly ramping up its developer program and just introduced a new "Nest Cam" for a consumer audience. With the power of Google now behind it, Nest has a greater chance of providing a god platform that can extend across multiple device types. The company also has yet to reach into the business market, but with increasing development, it's likely that Nest will at least explore that area as a expansion possibility.
Internet of Things Consortium: Even in a competitive technology space, one single company might not have the clout that a combined effort can bring. That's the thinking behind this consortium, which formed two years ago with initial participants like Logitech, SmartThings, Ube and Active Mind Technologies. When the consortium was announced, Ube CEO Utz Baldwin said that the successful adoption of IoT technologies is dependent on open standards for the provisioning and control of millions of devices. Since its founding, the consortium has attracted a stunning number of developer companies, so if it can fuse together the contributions of so many enterprises, it would be like crowdsourcing a god platform
In general, it will take time for IoT to become even more ubiquitous than its current levels, but it's worth watching these major players, especially since security is likely to be a major issue.
As your customers draw on IoT for more functionality in their enterprises, keeping track of these efforts could pay off in the long run, since VARs are likely to be resources for IoT-driven initiatives.
Who do you think could build the "god platform" for IoT? Share in the comments here.