A nearly existential search for meaning and direction is hitting the tech industry and its major players in a way that they’ve never truly experienced before. Why? It’s a combination of factors including market maturity, flattened growth in key categories, and the lack of a clear picture about where things are headed.
One of the few directions most seem to agree on is the growing importance of the Internet of Things (IoT). Even here, however, the general fuzziness about what IoT really is, how to best approach it, and what the real opportunities are is leading to a lot of head-scratching and strategic adjustments.
Many companies, for example, initially tried to approach IoT with a more horizontal perspective, hoping to find solutions that worked across multiple industries and applications. Fairly quickly, however, most have found that they need to refine and focus their efforts across many separate vertical applications in order to find success.
In addition, while many companies see IoT as an opportunity to expand beyond their core strengths, most are discovering those efforts will likely take much longer than they first thought. Instead, they’re finding that creative applications of what they already do offer the shortest path to success.
For example, while connectivity and compute are clearly common characteristics across most all IoT applications, smartphone component leader Qualcomm is starting to find traction in IoT by creating an extended range of reference platforms using its components across nearly 25 different applications. From drones, to wearables, to smart meters and connected cars, the company has built and shared an impressive range of specialized designs, leveraging various members of its Snapdragon CPU and modem family of SOCs.
Qualcomm has found that many of the smaller (and even some larger) players entering specific IoT markets don’t have the in-house expertise to design the circuit boards they need to drive their creations. As a result, they’re starting to attract attention thanks to the extra effort of creating these vertical-specific solutions.