Why the Internet of Things is about the Identity of Everything

While Gartner says 4.9 billion connected things are already in use, that actually means that 99.4 percent of things are still not connected. But that doesn’t really matter much because Internet of Things is a buzzword, trend, and hashtag with staying power, and it has “thing” manufacturers rushing to companies like Qipp to use their ALLTHINGS Platform to find ways to connect.

Qipp founder Stefan Zanetti, when speaking at an APIcon (the full video is at the end of the article), says that after more than a decade of research into connected things—years before it even had a name—manufacturers are flocking to him to ask “When can I connect this?” whether it’s a bike or a shoe or a guitar or even chewing gum.

“And that was really the point when we said: OK, guys, what do you really want with a connected product? You make good products but why would you want to connect them to the Internet of Things?”

Zanetti and his team found the same answer across the board: “They’re producing really cool stuff and they lose contact with the data when they ship the products,” as it goes into the hands of the distributer or third-party retailer. From the bike to the gum, “They all hope that they can bridge that barrier, that they can get connected to end consumers via their products.”

Manufacturers see these three opportunities in the Internet of their Things:

  • Service: Many products need support. IoT could ship support processes to transform companies from just production to a production and service business.
  • Upsell: People who bought their products are five to seven times more likely to buy another.
  • Improvement: They get feedback from the consumer.

What Qipp understood from this is that the most important buzzword that comes out of the Internet of Things is “Identity.”

The Identity of Everything Puts IoT Big Data into Context

If people are talking about the risks of the Internet of Things at all, it’s no doubt related to the identity theft that seems to plague our credit cards and the fear that it will happen even more in the Internet of Everything. However, identity is much more a part of our future than just our own individual identities. Those things need identities too.

Gartner calls this the Identity of Things: “It works under the assumption that business, people and ‘things’ are equal partners in delivering business value. More importantly, the trend identifies a key concept of “relationships” between businesses, people and things. There is an art to defining those relationships to ensure that policy and process can be articulated properly, and that the technology of things can be configured to reflect those relationships,” wrote Early Perkins.

Perkins gives the example of a consumer buying a car. That consumer has some sort of relationship with the dealer, with his or her mechanic and insurance company, even with the car itself and the increasing number of connected devices within the car—not so much with the manufacturer. We talk about the general concept of big data in the Internet of Things, but the context of each identity along the transaction line is the key to unlocking that big data.

Once manufacturers can not only follow consumer behavior patterns, but what happens to each identity at each point, they can harness the power of big data to provide better service, a better product, and room for a clearer upsell.

“If a thing has an identity. If anything has an identity, a unique identity...then it of course gets possible to attach any kind of useful information and service to that thing,” Zanetti explained. This is exactly the purpose of Qipp, which looks to apply social networking values to these things.

Be sure to read the next Identity article: BioID Launches PhotoVerify API for Live Image-based Verification