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What Language Will the Internet of Things Speak?

The Internet of the future will be heavily shaped by a few key trends, from hybrid and personal clouds, to new visualization and analytics techniques that will solve challenges in the domain of Big Data. But perhaps most noteworthy of all is the expectation that new companies and applications will realize the concept of an Internet of Things.

By 2020, the global internet will have 100-billion connected devices. But no longer will the majority of these devices be comprised of computers and smartphones. Instead the future envisions a web of connected washing machines, fridges and vacuum cleaners.

Companies such as Microsoft and Cisco have heavily invested in projects related to bringing the Internet of Things into fruition. They have partnered with key institutions such as the Industrial Internet Consortium and the Allseen Alliance, both dedicated to standardizing how things will connect and communicate.

Today the Internet of Things is a far away prospect in its infantile stages of conception. We see more and more devices becoming connected, such as TV’s and Alarm Systems, but connectivity on an industrial scale is lacking. One of the primary causes of this predicament stems from the lack of a common, industrially-applicable framework for the connection and communication of the myriad of ‘things’.

Allseen Alliance has released AllJoyn, a free software originally created by Quacomm but given to the Allseen Alliance for further development. It is designed to operate in any device, regardless of the manufacturer or operating system, and mediate direct communication via wireless linkages (i.e. Wifi or Bluetooth). The basic idea being that objects broadcast what they can do in the immediate vicinity. Ideally, upon entry into a defined space, your future smartwatch should be able to access and command all connected devices located therein.Thread

The Thread Group, supported by Samsung, ARM and Google’s NEST has another perspective on how the framework for the Internet of Things should look like. Most notably, Thread explicitly distinguishes itself from being ‘just another standards body’ and bases its framework on existing standards and adds software for functions like security, routing and setup. According to the group this is imperative to minimize battery usage in devices which will have to deal with a multitude of active, broadcasting devices. Thread’s de facto sponsorship of the Bluetooth Smart brand has allowed it to capitalize early on the Internet of Things, as do its partnerships with Google and Samsung.

As the horizon draws near, companies are rushing to create the foundations of an increasingly connected global economy. The Internet of Things represents only one of the trends we expect to be realized in our lifetimes but it is taking measurable strides, being driven by a host of companies and interest groups representing a broad and diverse range of potential users. An environment of near total connectivity brings forth many challenges that will have to be confronted in the economic, social and ethical domains. Luckily, all efforts to develop a framework for the Internet of Things are open, exemplifying the level of collaboration and farsightedness that will be necessary in this awesome undertaking.

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Audience Network – A Step in Facebook’s Bid to Dethrone Google in Digital Ad Sales

The recent launch of Facebook’s Audience Network puts the firm in direct competition with a number of established cross-platform ad providers such as Google’s AdMob and Yahoo’s Flurry. Audience Network allows advertisers to buy ad space within Facebook apps using the same targeting and measurement tools available to general Facebook advertisers. The ads come in three standardized formatas: banner, interstitial and native. With Facebook’s focus on being a cross-platform platform, the Audience Network aims to deliver, “relevancy for people, yield for publishers and results for advertisers”.

Facebook Cross-Platform Platform

Facebook’s Concept of a Cross-Platform Platform

Audience Network is only one of the ventures Facebook has launched in its quest to broaden the scope of application for its trove of targeting data. Facebook’s earlier launch of Atlas, which allows for the placement of ads within third-party websites, is in direct competition with Google’s Doubleclick and represents a significant increase in the potential avenues for Facebook ads. Atlas differs from Audience Network insofar as the former does not require an existing Facebook Ad Campaign, and the latter acts only as an extension of an existing Ad Campaign.

Last week Facebook also unleashed the like button on Android and iOS developers, allowing them to customize and integrate the Facebook like button into their websites and apps. This move will only increase the amount of targeting data Facebook has at its disposal, which has become more valuable as Facebook finds more and more applications for its use.

Google has three main avenues for digital ad sales on third-party platforms, they are:

  • AdSense – A publisher network anyone can sign up to, the biggest customer is currently Adwords (Adwords campaigns can be set on ‘Display’ mode which would then be passed to Adsense) Where you make monetize your blog or website
  • Doubleclick – A Google subsidiary which functions as a platform to display advertisement on third-party sites. As such its offerings consist of DFA (Doubleclick for Advertisers) and DFP (Doubleclick for Publishers). Where the big publishers and advertisers go
  • Admob – Mobile ad network which allows app-developers to monetize and promote their apps Mobile developers can sell ad space within apps
us mobile ad revenue share by company emarketer december 2013

The Trend That Falls Short of the Mark

Facebook is creating platforms which mirror Google’s offerings to publishers and advertisers, though with more valuable data. Interestingly Facebook’s first target was not Doubleclick nor Admob, but Adsense. In 2012 there was a lot of hype around the proposed launch of FaceSense which ultimately came to nothing. As such, the latest wave of third-party ad platforms Facebook has launched represent the second attempt to compete with Google directly in this segment, albeit with a noticeable increase in resources, determination and scope.

Challenging Google in this domain will be an uphill struggle for Facebook, whose market share in the digital ad segment currently stands at 7.8% as opposed to Google’s dominant 31%. The positive trend in terms of Facebook’s market share is insufficient to carry the firm to the top. Facebook’s primary concern at the moment should be to pursue Google’s broad base of media partners and get advertisers and app-developers onto the network.

Digital Ad Revenue by Company

Ultimately Facebook and Google have taken different paths on their long-term strategy. Google has released an operating system, Android, and hopes to create a carve out a defensible position in the mobile OS segment. Facebook, on the other hand, has opted to avoid fixing itself to one operating system and plans to take the role of the cross-platform platform, providing its network on all while making bets on none. It is this key difference in future outlook that will determine which company eventually wins out.

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