Smart Systems on the Rise

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New York – Harbor Research is a San Francisco-based consulting and research company which covers smart technologies. They have written extensively about how smart systems are creating new modes of collaboration and decision making, and how this is impacting specific companies. Their most recent report, The Emergence of Smart Business: Machine-to-Machine (M2M) & Smart Systems Forecast 2010-2014, may be of interest to investors keeping an eye on the smart systems space.

Not too long ago a telephone consisted of a box with a handle, which, if correctly plugged in the wall, allowed us to call someone located elsewhere who happened to be around their own plugged box. Today, our telephones travel with us in our pockets, give us the time, weather, location, stock market movements, and yes, they allow us to speak with someone, if we choose that ancient form of communication over texting, twittering, or any other digitally-based tool.

Critics of smart systems abound. They highlight risks involving privacy, malfunctioning, attacks by hackers, and the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots. Nevertheless, smart technology is expanding so firmly that some experts believe it “will drive the largest growth opportunity in the history of business”, according to the report by Harbor Research.

Harbor Research has introduced the concept of “Pervasive Internet”, which they define as the use of the Internet to accomplish global device networking to revolutionize business by unleashing entirely new modes of system optimization, customer relationships, and services delivery. According to their most recent report:

“The Pervasive Internet is a global technological opportunity of unprecedented proportions. The technology behind the Pervasive Internet will ignite an era of Smart Systems and Busi­ness that radically transforms customer service, resource allocation, and productivity in gen­eral. In this new era manufactured objects, general infrastructure, people, and businesses will be connected and communicating constantly. As the world becomes connected, societies and governments alike will be able to respond to the needs of both citizens and assets in real time…  But the next phase will be much more profound. It includes shared and secure Internet ac­cess for device interaction—in many cases with no human intervention at all—as well as network-based services such as status monitoring, usage tracking, consumable replenishing, and automated repair. These new services are based upon the convergence of networks, em­bedded computing, control, content, and sensor feedback”.

The main questions addressed in the report are:

  • What key forces are impacting adoption of Smart Systems, M2M, and connected product solutions?
  • What devices and applications are driving intelligent device networking?
  • What are the business models manifesting in each major vertical market and venue?
  • What is the size and growth opportunity?
  • What managed services are developing by vertical market?
  • Which enabling technologies are gaining ground?
  • How will software architecture and tools evolve over the next several years?
  • What issues and hurdles are there in the market impacting adoption of Smart Services?

The report ultimately integrates forecasts and findings into analysis of business models, channels to market, and customer buying behavior – both at the OEM stage and delivery chain as well as in the context of end customer segments.

For more information on Harbor Research or its products and services, please contact Mark Ritorto, Senior Analyst, 415-615-9400 X21.

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