Internet of things solutions are constantly evolving and producing massive amounts of data at an unprecedented rate. In order for these products or services to be successful, they require a cloud-based monetization engine to handle the avalanche of information that IoT provides. But while most billing applications these days claim to be cloud-based, not all “clouds” are created equal.
So how can companies ensure that they are marrying their IoT initiatives with cloud-based billing engines that drive meaningful ROI over the long term? Here are four essential characteristics every company should consider:
1. Monetization from the start
In 2016, it was apparent that the monetization of IoT still tended to be near the bottom of a company’s IoT checklist. Still focused on IoT hardware, many companies had been fixated on how to bring their smart devices to market rather than how to make money off these products over the long term. The ability to quickly integrate and adapt IoT-specific business models is set to reach a major tipping point in 2017. To ensure that an IoT-device will not just be profitable months from now — but also years from now — a monetization model needs to be at the forefront of a company’s IoT plan. By doing so, organizations will be better suited to articulate ROI on an initiative and understand how it impacts the entire business.
Most IoT solutions are inherently elastic. With sensors everywhere, companies can see huge spikes in event volumes. As IoT solution providers monetize these events, they need a solution that easily adapts to these demands. This is where the elastic cloud comes in. An elastic cloud architecture dynamically monitors system demand against current capacity, automatically adjusting system resources to address demand. The beauty of this solution is that it allows companies using cloud solutions to only pay for what they consume when they consume it. There’s one catch: just because something is hosted in the cloud, does not mean it is engineered to leverage the benefits of elastic compute. As IoT companies evaluate solutions, they need to make sure they’re only paying for what they need.
The only certainty in business is that business will change. Translate that into requirements for a billing solution — companies need to rely on a solution that will be adaptable and flexible to their business. In evaluating cloud solutions, some service providers will offer you a “black box” solution that requires a company to adapt its business to the black box capabilities. These solutions are typically cheaper and can be implemented faster. Unfortunately, these solutions are unable to adapt to most businesses as they grow and become increasingly more complex. Ideally, a cloud-based solution should offer 90% or greater “out-of-the-box functionality” and provide a highly configurable and extensible product that allows for the solution to continually evolve and adapt to a company’s needs.
4. Technology abstraction
Like death and taxes, technology evolution is inevitable. It’s been happening for decades and isn’t slowing down anytime soon. The question is, how can companies prepare for what’s ahead? When deploying a monetization platform, consider a solution that is not dependent on one technology platform, one ecosystem or one provider. Seek out a billing platform that is cloud-agnostic, for example. This allows a business to have geographic flexibility and the ability to work across all providers such as Amazon Web Services, GE Predix, IBM Bluemix and others. In this model, companies are given the diversification and abstraction from technology allowing them to rest well knowing their solution will not vanish.
In summary, it’s important for businesses to know what to look for when making mission-critical infrastructure decisions that will last the test of time. Being able to identify and define the key characteristics of a cloud-based monetization engine will help ensure that a business is set up for success for not just today, but for years to come.
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