Will History Repeat for IoT Platforms?
One of the recurring themes in the communications and computing businesses is the deployment trajectory of new platforms.
And there are two big contradictory trends. More common in the computing or application sphere is the winner take all ” shape of new markets. That might not always imply that the “first mover” is the eventual winner, simply that outcomes now seem uneven or unequal. Somehow, in most app markets, scale is grabbed disproportionately by one firm, as in the tendency for the market leader to have market share as high as 90 percent.
The access or communication business never has behaved that way. Instead, communications markets tend to develop into oligopoly structures (two dominant providers), though many markets seem to have a total of three to five providers, albeit with markedly-different shares of market.
The question is what tends to happen when new platforms or technologies develop. And in that area, there arguably have been some similarities between computing and communications, at least in pre-internet eras. At least historically, the first mover has not necessarily risen to dominate a market. That can be seen in personal computer operating systems and mobile operating systems.
We now will see how platforms for Internet of Things communications will develop. As often happens, early contenders have stolen a march on traditional mobile platforms (LoRaWAN and others). But mobile operators are developing rival solutions based on existing 4G platforms, for example (narrowband LTE and others).