Feature Article

October 15, 2014

Brendan O'Brien is Not Lost in a Blue Ocean at Aria Networks

First of all, for the record, it’s not the same Brendan O’Brien who played on Lost that talked to me last week. This Brendan O’Brien is the CTO of Aria Systems and he was all about the story of changing business models that IoT represents.

To be candid Aria is a billing system company, which normally makes for a very ‘Triple A’ conversation (authorization, authentication and accounting).  However, Brendan was not talking to me about billing. He was talking about business models and specifically the impact of IoT on the units of measure. 

You see, companies get stuck in markets based on how they bill and report revenue. Average Revenue per Subscriber and Customer Acquisition Costs have a tendency to be the same metrics in the same verticals.  

IoT enables more measurements and can deliver information that makes transforming things into services.  This reminds me of the discussions about changing markets from Red Oceans to Blue Oceans, which Apple has done so successfully in music, video and applications.

We discussed a number of companies that have utilized this innovation. So much of the legacy is moving to businesses that have adapted quickly before first movers leave them, selling today’s buggy whip equivalent.

In the discussion, I contemplated the issues facing cab and limo companies with the likes of Uber and Lyft in the marketplace.

You see, in theory these apps are just conveniences that Boston Coach, Checker and other car services should embed in their service.  However, the app bypasses their dispatch technology so the migration is painful.

On the other hand, as we constantly say over and over again, “It’s just software”, which should mean the barrier to entry or adoption is small.

This brings us to Brendan’s biggest point. Often the barrier to accepting the change is how you think you make your money. Aria Systems has lots of stories and case studies that suggest adaptation is possible.   If you see you are making modern buggy whips, it may be time to look at what you can do to change that with IoT solutions.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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