Defining the use cases for IoT…

Yesterday I laid out a preliminary business case for the Internet of Things. It is an early business case and will change, one of the initial things you have to do as an architect is evaluate the value of what you are trying to implement. Using the concept of Transactive Energy, and establishing a Microgrid within the context of what a building represents, may provide organizations with not only significant cost savings but could potentially become a revenue stream for the organization. The value of a building that doesn’t cost you anything, and gives money back is tremendous.

As far as use cases, those are the next things I would consider as I start building out a stronger business case (beyond the straw person one laid out yesterday). Use cases within and around IoT devices are where things get interesting. I would like to break the use cases out into four distinct categories. As I believe the four categories will allow for easier mapping of use case, to technology to implementation.

The four are:

· Personal

· Professional

· Organizational use

· Organizational provide

So personal, well there you go. That includes what and how do you interact with the wearable and consumable IoT technology around you. The concept of information devices (weather, connected thermostats etc…), security and comfort devices (home security, home outlet control, home video feeds) and finally within personal one more category car automation. Personal can be broken into categories, which are push, which pull and which are override information devices. Push means it hits whatever device you are personally carrying. Pull means you go to an application on the device and ask for it. Override is one that hits all your devices at once when triggered.

Professional is anything you need or consume from an IoT perspective to get your job done. Cellular phones are the devices that may slide between personal and professional. It is difficult to guarantee that a device is one or the other, so the assumption is both. Professional use cases would include connectivity to business process you need to complete your job. The ability to log in from anywhere and complete business or mission transactions.

Organization use represents IoT devices and IoT use cases for the organization to consume. This includes the initial business case, use cases from yesterday. How do we reduce costs? How do we provide services? These use cases would focus on leverage automation to improve process.

The last use area is that organization provide, as IoT (and beyond that cloud) matures there rise of brokers will occur. The broker is one provision and organization may have for other organizations. The concept of end point and more broadly end to end security, provided by a broker. This could be the broader City Cloud Broker I have talked about previously. Where a regional, municipal or national government provides broker services. Why would you want to have broker services from a government agency? Unlike a commercial company the government would have a vested interest in the success not only of the service, but of the consumers. Imagine the value for small business if the city marketplace offers incubation services. If we reduce the risk (cost basis) of starting a new business (small) by 10% or more by providing services out of the Cloud/IoT City Broker, then the number of small business starts will increase and the number of failures will decrease. This becomes a revenue stream for cities.

Use case

Technologies require

Desired outcome

Feasible today?


1. Personal device home messaging notification

Home automation hub,

Based on the criteria user establishes the system notifies them of messages (push) they have set-up to be pushed to them.

These systems are available and work today.

As these systems improve it opens an even greater integration opportunity.

2. Boiling a shopping list

Integration of email, data from appliances, data from appliances to create new shopping list

System integrates with the store you are using, to match items on sale with shopping list generated from various sources

System (integrated) does not exist today

This is a huge growth area for Supermarkets. Like the concept of home notification, you will be able to reduce time shopping and save money.

Just the first couple of easy use cases. The first exists right now, takes maybe an hour to set-up and configure to get the information you need. The second is use case that results in a new market and new way to solve an old problem. Make shopping easier!


Architecting IoT futures