To truly appreciate the power of Big Data and the Internet of Things, Richard Cornish, head of IoT at xChanging, a company that provides business processing, technology and procurement services, cites the extreme example of a car crash. “Think of all the other service providers who will need to react to that one event,” Cornish said, listing the local hospital, the insurance company, the auto repair companies as examples. What if the car was connected and your organization sat in the unique position of being able to outsource automatically all of those services for the end user?
“Think of that big fat pipe to the customer that I will take out to the corporate world … to the insurance companies, to the recovery organizations, and to the car hire companies.” That same business model can be used when someone falls down a stair, or walk down a street and have a heart palpitation. “If I own the technology,” Cornish said, “then I also own the ability to share data –with your permission— to various service providers.”
This model of providing associated services to a specific customer is of course predicated on the idea that the organization collecting the data is trustworthy.
“I think every organization entering into this space has to be two things: 100 percent transparent with what it will do with your data, and that you opt in at every stage to gain more trust,” Cornish said. “At the same time [the organization] must construct an ecosystem –from a technical architecture point of view– that is also there to protect the distributed data.” One way, he said, is to have disparate data sets so that any partnering organization only gets to analyze a subset of your data, not the whole.
When asked about privacy issues associated with this, Cornish said that countries in Europe with some of the strictest privacy laws today are actually causing global organizations to up their game —not only to uphold the law, but also to win over the skeptical customer’s trust. He argues IoT data should be cut into pieces to mitigate potential data breach exposure because an organization usually only gets one “Data Chernobyl” or “Deep Water Horizon” moment before they lose their entire business.
Cornish sees great potential with large organizations that have already taken on various Internet of Things efforts, except they’re still offering their customers an analog-world business model. Instead, organizations need to think about new integrated business models that align all that data and monetize it. Throughout his interview with Forbes.com, Cornish referenced the phrase Market of One, the title of a 2000 book by James Gilmore and B. Joseph Pine, as the ability to tailor marketing and services to individual customers.
For organizations to be successful with their Market of One IoT ventures Cornish said they will need four elements.
One is hyper efficiency. He said the big organizations are fundamentally “ill-equipped to operate in this new landscape.” One organization he consulted answered every problem with “go acquire something,” which is not a very progressive solution. Rather, big organizations he argues are well suited to monetize the Internet of Things if only because they already have the data — they just need to become hyper efficient with rendering that data in a meaningful and consumable way.
Two additional elements are safety and security, and consumer relationship. Again, Cornish cites an example with a car. Say you’re working late, you haven’t eaten, and your car is low on fuel. Out of that example, he said, come a whole host of options. An IoT service might for example train a CCTV camera on you as you walk to your car, or turn on the outside building lights for you. Once you’re in your car, such a service might direct you to a gas station near a drive-through fast-food restaurant. Not only does this provide safety and security for the customer, but also good customer service.
The final element is asset management. Cornish told the story of when he was developing a kinetic car device and his car had been stolen at the office. He told the police he was tracking the car and it was now sixty miles away. He said when the police drove him to his house, he was then able to display for them on his home computer where the car had travel—where it had stopped, and for how long. The police were then able to pull up images from highway cameras of the car speeding past. After a while the police realized that the map was also showing the locations of several recently reported burglaries – they were able to match the crimes with each stop of the stolen car. In fact, the bugler had even stopped at his own home. And with one CCTV camera they even had his image. The man was arrested a few hours later and several seemingly unrelated crimes where resolved. Cornish said while he was responsibly managing his asset through various IoT services, he really only wanted the company car back because his daughter’s homework had been left inside.
“I think a lot of organizations are slow to understand that if they don’t have this high-frequency trust and interaction with the customer then they’ll become irrelevant,” Cornish said. “I think this Market of One thing will be quite telling within the IoT landscape.”