“There’s a new platform war raging but this time it’s not Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog facing off against Nintendo’s Super Mario brothers to own the lion’s share of a $15 Billion market it’s a new turf war to own the ‘God Platform’ the highest layer of intelligence that will tie together and analyse all of the data from all the world’s connected things – a market that many analysts estimate will create anywhere between $6 Trillion and $33 Trillion worth of new value.”
The Internet of Everything, the ability to use an increasingly broad variety of sensors that can turn any dumb object – from jet engines and chairs to cattle and crops into intelligent, interconnected devices on a network that can sense, stream and share a wealth of real time data and insights presents organisations with an unparalleled opportunity to develop new products and services, enrich existing ones and realise new never seen before extremes in operational efficiency.
Information as a Natural Resource
Today information or the ‘new natural resource’ as some organisations insist on calling it has the potential to rejuvenate every organisations fortunes but the key to maximising its value rests on your organisations ability to ingest, combine and contextually analyse the data streams from a wide range of devices that can number from a few thousand to billions depending on your business and this is why organisations including ARM, General Electric, Qualcomm, Rolls Royce, Siemens and hundreds of others are furiously building out Internet of Everything God Platforms that help them, and their customers, connect the dots.
Take the jet engine, an example from GE, if you want to maximise fuel efficiency then analysing one data stream will do little to help you move the dial but by combining and contextually analysing a variety of data streams such as the volume, density, temperature and quality of air being sucked into it, the speed and position of the fins and turbine blades, the composition, volume and burn rate of the fuel as it’s pushed through the different stages of the injector system, the speed, incline and yaw of the aircraft and even pilot behaviour you can realise dramatic improvements in fuel efficiency that gives your organisation an unrivalled competitive advantage. What’s also interesting about GE’s particular example is that during their initial pilot that they also discovered that different flight paths created different types of wear on the engine which gave them additional opportunities to advise the authorities and airlines on the best routes to take and, before I run the risk of sounding boring I won’t mention the fact that they can now also predict when an engine, or any one of its individual components is going to fail and dispatch the right maintenance crews on a needs only basis rather than having them stood up around the clock performing unnecessary, routine maintenance checks which has helped them achieve a staggering 82% reduction in maintenance costs.
Designing a Platform Strategy
God Platforms, even though they are still only just emerging are already helping multi national organisations gather more data and gain deeper insights into the inner workings of their organisations, products, services and customer behaviours and the returns, as one of the world’s largest energy majors we’re working with will attest to are staggering. The Internet of Everything is unlike any trend or technology you’ve seen before and it can have a dramatic impact on every corner of your organisations operation so it’s vital you craft the right platform strategy and it’s key that you have the right amount of ownership over the data that’s relevant to your business.
Today more and more suppliers are cottoning onto the fact that the data flowing from the sensors in their devices have a huge amount of business value and they want to own it so they can sell it on to their customers as Data as a Service and create new revenue streams for themselves but for those customers among you who have to buy a range of devices from potentially hundreds or thousands of third party suppliers – which is just about every one of you out there then these new business models can introduce unnecessary additional expense and complexity which will ultimately reduce your returns because if you end up paying each device manufacturer for the rights to access the data flowing off of their systems so you can combine it and analyse it in house you’ll undoubtedly end up paying through the nose, subsequently I’d encourage you to negotiate Data as a Service as a free benefit before you sign your supplier contracts and then you can then ingest these streams – whether that be directly or via APIs into your God Platform where you can combine it with all of your other streams and analyse it for maximum return.
This then leaves us with the question of how you take your first step towards creating your own God Platform and given the unimaginable number of potential benefits and use cases I’d suggest you first choose a small, contained ‘Platform as a Service’ pilot that will allow you to analyse streams of data from specific discrete devices that you’ve already decided will provide you with new, hitherto locked away data you’d find valuable – however you quantify valuable.
Every client I’ve worked with thus far has found value in all of the data they’ve analysed so if this is the same for you and the pilot yielded tangible business benefits then my advice to you is to start thinking big while still keeping it simple so given the fact that your organisation probably already realises the potential benefits of the Internet of Everything it’s time get some senior sponsorship and draw a line in the sand – design a One Percent Program.
Even 1% can be a big number
The concept is simple and the benefits, as Nissan, GE and our energy major are already discovering are deceptively easy to realise. The purpose of the program is to add 1% to your top line, by making 1% improvements, for example, in production and reduce your operational costs by the same amount – just 1%, for our energy major this meant adding over $4 Billion to their top line and removing $1.6 Billion from their bottom line giving them an additional $5.6 Billion in value, which, when the net income was calculated helped them increase their Earnings per Share by $1.20 – not bad but it’s made even sweeter when you realise that some organisations are now making not a 1% but an 18% difference but remember we’re still only at the start of our journey into realising the full potential of the Internet of Everything and even 18% is just the beginning.
The Internet of Everything will change the way that we, our devices and our planet interact with each other and create boundless new opportunity that our descendants will still be realising in hundreds of years’ time and organisations that embrace and use these new technological capabilities to their advantage will have every chance of relegating their competition to the foot notes of history.
About the author: Recognised in 2013 by the public as one of Europe’s leading emerging technology and disruptive innovation experts Matthew Griffin works with Her Majesty’s Government and Private Sector organisations around the world to help them foresee the opportunities and threats that emerging technologies and trends will have on business, culture and society at large. Twitter me @mgriffin_uk