Aligning data for IoT: Scale, automate and monetize with goTransverse
While the Internet of Things has been a consumer-centric concept representing the data deluge benefiting the most innovative of enterprises in recent years, the discussion is beginning to shift to business methodologies as the IoT market finds its footing. What does it mean to glean insight from the billions of connected devices expected to populate the earth in the coming decade, and how are traditional businesses evolving for new opportunities?
Billing services has seen a natural transition to IoT monetization, having the data bedrock to extend subscription services and usage-based pricing. Today we hear from goTransverse President Michael Beamer, who explains his company’s journey into the world of IoT and why the market is bigger than just subscriptions. As an SaaS provider of billing services, goTransverse LLC has seen firsthand the successful methods applied to cloud scaling and automation, two key areas aiding in IoT prosperity.
Q: Being in the SaaS business, what lessons from cloud scaling have been and should be applied to IoT monetization?
Beamer: A couple of lessons come to mind. SaaS businesses have figured out how to build for scale, or popularity, from the beginning. They create a technical architecture that can grow quickly and has the flexibility to be modified as the demands on the platform change. They also iterate often and rapidly, and again, have the flexibility to do so.
How this translates to IoT monetization is really when it comes to usage (or data) collection, pricing and packaging. Most of the focus on IoT initially is on data collection, security, connectivity, decision making and taking action. As IoT matures, business models will evolve, if not undergo a total transformation—companies will experiment with a variety of pricing and packaging options to drive adoption and ultimately revenue.
If the magnitude of data increases as surmised, they need to have an elastic infrastructure to handle increasing loads and an agile and innovative approach to supporting possibly unforeseen business and monetization paradigms. This includes, in our opinion, agile monetization platforms such as TRACT by goTransverse.
Q: If IoT hardware is already becoming irrelevant and subscriptions aren’t a sustainable business model, how can IoT monetization be future-proofed?
Beamer: As the hardware environment evolves, IoT monetization can be future-proofed by SaaS organizations that continually innovate and rapidly adapt to changing market dynamics. However, there is no ‘Free Lunch;’ companies are launching products and services without a clear path to sustainability. As more IoT services rollout, monetization models will evolve to assure continued support and evolution of this arena.
We believe that a combination of monetization strategies such as one-time, recurring and usage- or consumption-based models need to be supported. Again, it’s the flexibility in packaging, dynamic pricing and subsequent revenue recognition that will allow these companies to flourish and adapt as the IoT landscape unfolds.
Q: What automation methods does goTransverse use for software development and customer service? How has automation contributed to IoT monetization?
Beamer: goTransverse utilizes agile methodologies coupled with very short and parallel sprint schedules to assure we can adapt immediately to new client requests or develop innovative approaches to monetization in advance of market needs. We also monitor usage pattern behavior and “smart triggers” on our platform that can indicate opportunities for us to proactively engage with our customers to maximize their revenue with their end customers. The same will need to be adopted for IoT monetization.
Q: How can IoT data collection become even more passive and integratable for end users, as business becomes increasingly data-driven?
Beamer: The collective ecosystem around IoT utilization is continually expanding its understanding of the combined utilization of machines/devices/interfaces, services and human behavior.
As technology has advanced, there are different types of data being collected. There is “in network” data as part of an operator-defined network such as AT&T, Verizon, etc., and there is the added layer of data available to browsers and search engines. The newer entrant that may become a major component of the ‘data chain’ is of course, IoT—IoT platforms catering to end-user devices are creating new streams of data to the benefit of businesses.
Each of the major groupings tend to utilize data discretely today. Businesses glean whatever user insights they can based on data they have available to them through predominantly disparate sources. It is quite conceivable that we will see a melding of the channels and even more insight into users, their preferences and target channels for reaching them.
There is a concept of personas that has been recognized in the Telco space and carries over to IoT. As a simple example, as a person, I can have three personas: work, off-work and vacation. If I receive advertising about vacation-type items while at work, this is an unintelligent use of the data being collected. If I receive a store-specific coupon while shopping off-work, this would be value-added.
For IoT monetization to really work, companies need to not just collect the data, but decide what is important and what action to take based on the information. If a company can align this information and action to the appropriate active persona, the opportunity to drive offers of value increases the chances of driving revenue.
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