From IEEE Spectrum:
Several interesting theories were batted about in a wide-ranging discussion about today’s hot technologies that took place last week at a quarterly salon hosted by the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto, Calif. The parameters of the official topic, how society will handle the issues of privacy and safety created by the coming wave of new technology, quickly expanded to include a lively debate about what is coming, when is it coming, and how the heck will people make money off of it.
The AT&T Foundry’s salon, tagged FutureCast, follows a standard format (this was the second such event I attended). The Foundry invites about 50 startup founders, academics, executives of local tech companies, journalists, and public officials “to vet, to debate, and ultimately to spark ideas that will set the course for [the] collective technology future.” The attendees mingle over drinks for about an hour, chatting with each other or looking at demos from a few still-quasi-stealth startups. Then they gather in a semicircle around moderator Andrew Keen and an invited guest of honor, in this case, David Hornik, a venture capitalist with August Capital. The discussion starts with questions directed at the guest, then widens to include the entire group. In reporting on this discussion, I am using only company identifications for speakers beyond Keen and Hornik.
The bubble: Replay of ‘90s or not?
“There’s a big difference between the giant pop of the bubble of the ‘90s and what we see now, which will be a hissing sizzle of deflation,” said Hornik.
“In 2000, all you had to do was say ‘We are the soup manufacturer of the Internet’ and you could go public. As long as you said ‘of the Internet’ you were worth a billion dollars. The people buying these shares were your grandma, retirees; public offerings went through the roof. But lots of these businesses weren’t businesses. Then people suddenly realized that ‘Internet’ wasn’t the answer to making money, and they sold everything.”
Companies didn’t just go down in value, they completely evaporated, Hornik explained.
“Excite@Home, for example, didn’t get bad; it disappeared, it went to zero.”
“What we see right now seems like the same kind of behavior,” he said. “‘Oh, it’s the Internet, it’s mobile, I’m selling shoes on mobile, it’s a unicorn.’” But, today, he said, the situation is different. “Instead of your cab driver and your grandma, there are professional investors—people like me who are supposed to be making wise choices with someone else’s money. When it doesn’t work, it will reverberate in a different way. Some companies will work incredibly, and the ones that fail won’t all fail at the same time.”
The Internet of Things
“The IoT is important because once we instrument everything, we will learn interesting things,” said Hornik. “As soon as we can instrument our children we will do that. In under 10 years, we will see processors in people, ingestible devices that track things that are important to us.”
But Hornik said he doesn’t yet see how companies will make money on the IoT. “I think we’re too early. Technology is not interesting for technology’s sake in venture capital.”Last year we had a different nominee, along with a special gift for our readers:
When the IoT does mature, Keen asked, will one company emerge as the Google of the Internet of things?
“It may already exist. It may be Tesla,” Hornik responded. “Tesla has instrumented their cars and has more data than any other car company. And now they are putting out batteries that can track what you are doing in your house.”
Or, suggested Keen, might it be Facebook? Does Facebook want to own the IoT, he asked a member of Facebook’s Technology Team?
“Sure,” said the Facebook employee. “That’s why I’m here.” Right now, the Facebook staffer said, his company has a billion people generating content for the service; imagine how big Facebook could be “when people have multiple devices in each home generating content.”...MORE
The Google of the "Internet of Things" (and Morgan Stanley's 96 page IoT report) SPLK; GE
If interested see "IBM Bets $3 Billion On Internet Of Things (IBM)" for more of our IoT links.