SAG_Twitter_MEME_Plug&Play_Jan17.jpgUsing the Internet of Things (IoT) opens up a multitude of new business opportunities, limited only by your imagination.

It also opens countless opportunities for streamlining as well as cost reduction; this has driven the bulk of IoT adoption as it usually means doing what you already do, but better, faster, more accurately and more cost-effectively.

It is the game-changing new business opportunities, however, that are the enormous pots of gold at the end of the rainbow - and these need totally new digital business models to deliver the true benefits of the digital world.

This is not the easiest thing to do. There are many IoT protocols in use and which to choose? Who owns the data produced or pooled from many sources or enterprises? Attaching a digital sensor to a device is easy now, but what update capabilities should be allowed for? How will security be kept up-to-date? How will updates be paid for and retrospectively? Should existing “dumb” machinery receive the gift of enlightenment? And finally, who owns the IoT within the enterprise: the IT department or the operational departments? Turf wars can hinder progress for years.

Wouldn’t it be great if some ingenious company came along and took care of all that for you; a company with a plug-and-play solution that allows you to build a portfolio of new and better services for your clients? Simply plug into an already analyzed, real-time data stream and play with the results. Results that can save you money, save your clients money, alert emergency services to accidents in real-time and have a positive socio-economic impact. Ahh! Digitalization… You have to love it!  

That company is Octo. In Octo's words it all starts with a very powerful [1] sensor a bit bigger than a mobile phone chip in your car. It takes information from the accelerator, the GPS, measures the speed, where and when you drive, the movement and rolling of the car and uses context information such as the weather, from Google maps.

Analyzed in real-time in the cloud[2], break-downs, accidents and fraud can be identified and emergency services can be immediately notified, as can fleet management and insurance companies too. Over time, the behavior of drivers or the time of day the car is driven (in the rush hour or not), or the performance of the car itself, all result in an accurate driver risk profile. For example, identifying dangerous build-ups of traffic pollution in cities and re-routing in real-time can benefit everyone.

Vehicle telematics are sent to the insurance companies who can then accurately identify the individual driver risk and charge the appropriate premium. An initial premium discount of 15% is normal, but it can easily get bigger, and the insurance companies have simultaneously increased profits by around 18% - all based on this new digital business model. That is a real (time) win-win situation.

Octo is a data and analytics company and its software platform is a major part of its business. Innovation is key to its success, and its clients’ success. Extending this platform further within the insurance or fleet management industries - and extending it to many other industries and governments - is their future, and ours.

Other current areas of exploration include agriculture and tractors or excavation machinery. Analyzing not just the motor but other components such as tires; rented for a whopping €5,000 year their usage and possible defects are of interest to both manufacturers and users for better design, maintenance and longevity.

These are great examples of digitalization saving the planet by saving money and saving lives. There is no conflict between business, the consumer and environmental protection initiatives: markets, enterprises, customers, governments are all aligned and heading in the direction of sustainability.

This is why I come to work in the morning. With pride.

At Software AG, we don’t just sell software, but we co-innovate solutions with our clients. In Octo’s words: “The platform is our business - our business is to maintain and build the platform. This is the reason why we collaborate with Software AG in extending to new things... that is the co-innovation aspect.”

This customer example brings together many of the themes I have covered in my blogs: a commercial enterprise having far-reaching benefits for everyone; co-innovation as the way forward in today’s software market; a digital business based on innovative software platforms (theirs, based on ours); and a company from outside a specific industry making a lasting change to the future possibilities of that industry. And, of course, extending the benefits of their software platform to many industries and opening uncountable possibilities for cross-industry innovation.

[1] This chip has the power of 1500 DMIPS or the equivalent of 1500 VAX 780s (for us mature folk). It has six CPUs and two GPSs, there are different drivers, and there is a video module.

[2] Currently 320,000 signals per second are analyzed from nearly five million cars worldwide.

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