In an upcoming move that may help to seal Verizon's dominance as king of the Internet of Things mountain, big data analytics are coming to all developers on ThingSpace -- according to Verizon claims made exclusive to Telco Transformation along with publicly available (if under the radar) information.
Last month, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), told Telco Transformation that it would soon be adding two new features to ThingSpace, the telecom giant's Internet of Things (IoT) platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering. The first is Marketplace, a one-stop app store for IoT developers and other Verizon partners. The second, which seems bound to tremendously enhance the mutual benefits Verizon and its IoT developers enjoy from each other, is the wide release of access to Verizon's big data analytics engine to all ThingSpace developers. (See Exclusive: Verizon Beefs Up ThingSpace With Big Data & App Store and Verizon's IoT Marketplace: One-Stop Shop for DevOps.)
Initially, Verizon designed its analytics engine to consume massive amounts of data generated by IoT devices and other machines, analyze the data at extremely high speeds and use scalable machine learning to turn raw data into usable intelligence. Late last year, Verizon commercialized the data analytics engine for ThingSpace, but that was a very limited deployment (and strictly for large-scale environments) that stemmed from a pilot rollout for the agricultural technology (Ag Tech) vertical.
In commercializing the engine, Verizon's wanted to help its business customers do the same -- gain actionable insight from the firehose of data unleashed by IoT. Now, according to Mary Beth Hall, director of Verizon's IoT Operations, the expansion of Verizon's big data analytics engine across all verticals represented throughout ThingSpace is "close."
In an interview with Telco Transformation, Hall enthusiastically -- if broadly -- noted that the cohesion of Verizon's analytics with ThingSpace and all of Verizon's APIs will lead to endless possibilities, as part of the company's "holistic" approach to IoT moving forward.
"We're excited about that, and we think it's a differentiator for us," said Hall, "because once you also put in our AOL advertising capabilities, [for example, and] you add [Verizon's other] APIs into that, you really can create and imagine the possibilities that a developer could have when you've got those APIs available [with] the other piece that's our differentiator: the data analytics."
Beyond that, however, when pressed, Hall and her colleagues expressly declined to offer much more in the way of details about Verizon's analytics coming to ThingSpace -- citing confidentiality issues and the desire to not "confuse" their current customers.
Nonetheless, the telco's own website explicitly offers some further clues -- because Verizon is ramping up its hiring for IoT analytics talent. Not long after Hall's interview with Telco Transformation, Verizon posted a job opening that grants additional insight into Verizon's IoT strategy.
For starters, the hiring announcement -- for a "consultant" for "IoT Data Analytics" -- specifically indicates that Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) will supplement data collected onsite through partner IoT deployments and ThingSpace IoT apps with data from "third-party industry data service providers" -- broadening the type of data available to Verizon's customers and maximizing its utility.
As for the job itself, the posting makes explicit that the incoming consultant -- along with the eventual hire's peers on Verizon's IoT Data Analytics team -- will work with prospects and partners across multiple enterprise verticals that specifically include not only Ag Tech but also education, energy, healthcare, research, smart cities and other public sector works and transportation. As part of that work, Verizon's new IoT Data Analytics Consultant will play a dual role in both business development and product management concerning IoT analytics solutions. The announcement appears to indicate that each vertical will have its own dedicated sub-team -- and that each vertical's sub-team will manage and offer its own Verizon IoT solutions.
To these ends, the announcement demonstrates how Verizon is prioritizing its IoT target markets. Having already started deploying IoT analytics solutions in Ag Tech; having further recently engaged in smart grid solutions as part of a smart cities endeavor in Charlotte, North Carolina; and while continuing to dip its feet more deeply into smart cities and public works with its recently announced Smart Cities project in Boston; Verizon has here outlined which sectors it will aggressively pursue in the IoT market with its latest ThingSpace and analytics offerings. (See: Verizon Fiber Rollout Will Make Boston a 'Smahter' City.)
Indeed, the announcement goes on to note that Verizon's new IoT Data Analytics Consultant will develop new early-adopter opportunities for cloud-based IoT platform solutions like ThingSpace -- suggesting that future IoT analytics pilot programs may be in the works.
While we await further IoT developments from Verizon, we do know that it's already tapping into data analytics.
"We've got the data analytics when it comes to certain products, so our Ag Tech solution already has them built in," explained Hall. "The Ag Tech part [is] in market now as a solution -- as a proof of concept -- but [now] we want to make it a more horizontal play."
While Verizon is looking to gain the upper hand in the IoT sector, it's worth noting that last week AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) announced it was offering integrated tools
for IoT developers in conjunction with Microsoft Azure cloud, analytics and visualization tools.
— Joe Stanganelli, Contributing Writer