By Stan Schneider, CEO, Real-Time Innovations and Steering Committee member of the IIC
First, for those who are new to the IIC, let me give you an overview of the opportunity. The Internet of Things is an obviously hyped phenomenon. There are a bewildering array of IoT consortia, conferences, articles, blogs, startups, and more.
However, the IIC found and filled a huge market vacuum -- no other voice out there focuses on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The IIC has amazing momentum. After only a few months, it is already almost 100 companies. The IIC is positioned to be the authoritative source defining the direction of the future of the industrial economy. It credibly claims influence over trillions of dollars of economic impact.
RTI is no stranger to the standards and consortia scene; we are engaged with about 15 efforts in several industries. But across this range of experience, the IIC is unusual. First, its charter precludes developing standards. Instead, it focuses on developing technology and architectural guidance by building on existing standards and working through other standards organizations. This should permit faster progress with less politics. Second, the IIC includes a direct path to funding for members, known as the testbed program. The testbed program encourages members to work together to prove technology. It includes assistance in developing proposals, a "stamp of approval" process, and even help in sourcing funding. Finally, the IIC has more attention from both industry and government, more ability to influence, and more autonomy from its sponsoring organizations. It's a great combination.
One definition of a market is a set of entities with a) a common problem and b) a means to communicate. Developing a strategy and technology to capitalize on the rise of the IIoT is the common problem. The vacuum that the IIC fills, and the reason for the momentum, is that it provides the means of communication between industrial companies. The IIC is a magnet for forward-thinking companies in the IIoT space.
The IIC therefore represents a real market opportunity for small companies. It's a great place to meet potential partners and customers. It provides a venue for small companies to develop awareness and refine messaging. And, it gives small companies a voice in the direction of the developing guidance.
Of course, this also means that large companies are being exposed to a bonanza of new, relevant technologies. These range from relatively proven-but-unknown technologies like the OMG's Data Distribution Service (DDS) standard to cutting-edge startup concepts. Even the most established of these technologies have little current awareness. Until the IIC came along, there was no easy way to learn that they exist. That has changed.
The IIC has the rapt attention of the largest industrial companies, the most innovative technology vendors, and the highest level of governments. It is a unique venue that brings together industrial problems, solutions, and funding sources. There is no other organization with better prospects of changing the future of industry.