Are you in a fog or a cloud? Get ready for more complexity to come

So what is the difference between a fog and a cloud? Well, actually bandwidth is part of the answer and where data needs to be situated.

Slow connections are driving the cloud closer to the actual asset that has the information, the cloud needs. “Fog computing, or edge computing” is getting closer to those local computers and devices to solve this bandwidth problem we all will be having it seems.

Solutions are looking far more to the how and where we store data and how we are setting about how to access it.

Fogging solutions are coping with the problem that sensor loading is creating altering what goes to the cloud and why

The reason why I’m interested in this, on a dedicated site discussing platforms and ecosystems, is that this fog computing is attempting to solve multiple problems at the edge where innovation lies far more for us to understand, where the devices and their users generate the insights and raw data.

So those wanting to collaborate around platforms need to be able to communicate both in human and machine related understanding, at all the edges. It is the connections within distributed infrastructure that will partly drive platform participation and build the ecosystem effect as the data will generate the insights required as ‘fog nodes’ will increasingly manage the language, data and protocols to allow this connecting universe.

As we connect new kinds of things to the internet we create new business opportunities. Examples like pay-as-you-drive vehicle insurance. lighting-as-a-service and machine-as-a-service and this all need those different open structuring, requiring greater levels of collaboration but we also need increasing interoperability of what ‘talks’ to what, increasingly, in real-time.

A key insight here is the value of managing and controlling these fogging nodes becomes potentially the new battleground of intelligent devices or controllers. These nodes become the true ‘gatekeepers’ in connected networks, they dictate nearly everything going on. Continue reading

When a platform becomes an operating system

In the last post Paul wrote about Bosch, and its focus on the industrial internet of things (IIoT).  Bosch, GE and other industrial companies are attempting to create industry leading or at a minimum industry standard platforms to link industrial organizations and create standards, with the hope that new ecosystems and new solutions are built on top of those platforms.

Each of their goals is to capture, manage and exploit information generated from thousands of activities and sensors throughout the industrial platform.

Here we can the see opportunity and the challenges associated with an IIoT play:  building a platform and managing the data of an industrial giant means managing (and harvesting) a tremendous amount of data.

But it also means plugging into or interfacing with other systems and platforms, as none of these companies can create a holistic platform or replace all of the platforms and systems in a large company.  Bosch, GE and others can create really powerful and important platforms in sections or functions, but must integrate and share data with other platforms.  While they can create really powerful and compelling platforms, these platforms are by necessity limited to specific capabilities or functions.

Now for something completely different

Let’s examine then, the power and flexibility that an Amazon, for example has in its quest to build platforms through its AWS offerings.  First, it is focusing on business to consumer (b2c) or in many cases a category that Paul has coined:  consumer to consumer (c2c). Continue reading

Bosch Software Innovations will drive your connected device business

Bosch and its viewBosch takes connected devices, open platforms, and interoperability for IoT solutions to drive your business, built from their own deployed experiences. They are focusing on knowledgeable development & deployment to provide a single integrated set of ‘connecting’ solutions.

Bosch is highly focused on the design, development, and operating software and system solutions for the areas of mobility, city, energy, manufacturing, agriculture, health, home, and building, which is the core of their manufacturing offerings. They are consistently connecting all of their 270 manufacturing plants into this “connecting design” in a progressive fashion.

Bosch has a clear goal “to have each and every electronic component connectable to the internet“. To do this you have to think scale, offer platforms, clear application solutions based in the cloud and understand intimately the hardware and software within the solutions. Bosch is well positioned to deliver on this. Bosch has taken a highly unified view on their approach to this, actually, the more I dug into it the more I was impressed.

Continue reading

Bosch: A Leading Platform Exemplar of Digitally Connecting

bosch-software-innovation-office-plsHow are organizations dealing with digital transformation and especially IoT? The key has to be one where sustainable success is central.

One company that really has become fully engaged in their digital transformation is Bosch, it is well on its way to being a world-leading IoT solution company, offering its expertise, solutions, and knowledge back into its own products and through this expertise also connecting this out to others, to explore and exploit through Bosch’s platform and cloud solutions.

In focusing here specifically on Bosch, we can get a fairly detailed understanding of what challenges are being tackled to connect products, customers, manufacturers, software providers into a connected world where platforms and ecosystems come alive through technology and digital application.

It is a highly complex set of challenges to complete this digitally connected set of solutions but by studying Bosch in some detail and its approach into this, can give us a very detailed understanding as an exemplary example of what they are undertaking to take a leading position in the IIoT world, to make it fully interoperable and realizable.

This path is not for the majority as they are not as well positioned as Bosch but it does give a good understanding of the level of commitment one company has decided to take, to become a leading provider of platform services in manufacturing and smart solutions.

So why am I looking at Bosch relating to ecosystems and platforms?

Let me explain this, after a fair amount of research into them to provide a detailed (enough) understanding of why I think Bosch is a leading provider of platform digital solutions today I was impressed but will it have the ability to translate this over the long term?

Bosch is seemingly wanting to become the one-stop platform provider for manufacturing and connecting all the digital transformational needs and solutions. Can it? What does this mean, is it heading for a leading de-facto industrial platform? What will other organizations need to do in their digital transformation to sit on top of Bosch’s platform?

Bosch, are for me highly relevant in understanding all the complexity that goes into forming a platform, especially in the manufacturing world today and how they are setting about getting all the parties attracted, linking and setting the conditions for the growing participation in establishing of the ecosystem between parties that are wanted to connect.

Continue reading

Facilitating and Planning out the Innovation Ecosystem Thinking

econocom-comI am presently wanting to determine a framework for investigating and facilitating the thinking considerations we need when we consider innovation ecosystems.

Here I’d like you to consider this as an opening set of thoughts that need to come together far more, in ways that can be repeated and applied to the same basic question that requires a thoughtful thinking through.

It moves towards dealing with the question: “what do I need to consider for entering into an innovation ecosystem design?

It is clear work-in-progress and takes a series of my mind maps I have been developing and now attempting to put these into a structure that those wanting to answer this question can begin to explore possibilities and arrive at answers to their needs. Most of this is taking thoughts and beginning to structure these and build on this further. Still, we all should start somewhere in structuring this. I put some building blocks down recently and this continues to build out the thinking.

Firstly setting an innovation ecosystem into context Continue reading

Innovation Platforms: the future way to go.

platform-buildingWe need to shift our innovation thinking, it needs to be digitally transformed. We need to accelerate our activity and engagement and to achieve this, we need to widen out our communities and connect differently.

This is where platforms come in, “they offer new business models that allow multiple sides (producers and consumers) to interact…..by providing an infrastructure that connects them” (source: Platformed.Info by Sangeet Paul Choudary)

The more I read, discuss and research platforms, the clearer the future becomes for innovation to really advance and achieve its potential, one so often spoken about yet so disappointing in most of its results to date. Innovation calls for the need of a radical change. Technology and its growing potential can make the changes to dramatically alter this.

Actually, technology is transforming the very nature of the firm. Continue reading

Why experimenting with platform innovation is vital

innovation-experiementationWhy wait?

Paul Hobcraft and I have been writing extensively about the impact that emerging platforms and ecosystems are having, and will have, on innovation.

As I wrote previously, we are in the same position with platforms that we were with “dot coms” and ecommerce in 1999.  Then there were thousands of alternatives and experiments to try to figure out what would work.  Now, much the same thing is going to happen at the platform level.

There’s a reason Amazon, Facebook, Google, GE and others are trying to test out their platforms, and why other industries like financial services want so desperately for their own platforms to prevail.

Platforms are enticing because they lead to the concept of a required standard.  Anyone who controls a platform in an industry or market can dictate how the rest of the ecosystem adds value or in some cases connects to customers. Thus, we can expect to see a lot of companies claiming to have the definitive platform in this or that industry.  What’s more, some functions, like the ability to pay for goods and services within a platform, are already platforms in themselves, although they are narrow but important enablers to larger platforms.  Some companies and their platforms will thrive, some companies will build enabling technologies or the “APIs” that ensure tight integration for ecosystem players, but most will take a “wait and see” approach. Continue reading