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How Service Providers helped Paolo in 2020

mikeshaw747 ‎04-23-2013 12:40 AM - edited ‎09-02-2013 07:41 AM

Let’s have a quick recap on Paolo’s date:


  • His house’s energy usage was optimized by control systems
  • He was helped by the car concierge system to make his choice of store to shop in, and the route to take to get to that store
  • His shopping experience was assisted (highly assisted – he’d forgotten both the recipe and the list of ingredients)
  • He was able to remotely setup his home while he drove home – security, house temperature and hot tub (ever the optimist)
  • The cooking of the meal was assisted – the cooker told him what to do, and when
  • His date, Suzanne, had her health monitored and managed because she had a heart condition


Let’s now go behind the scenes to glimpse the services that helped Paolo execute what he is now calling, “the perfect date” (Paolo also lacks modesty).


Paolo’s Home

There are lots of smart devices in Paolo’s home, and because of this, Paolo is concerned about maintenance of all these devices.


A company called “SmartHome.com” provides a monitor box for inside his home, and a back-end application to manage the health of the smart devices.


SmartHome.com is a small company. They are great at maintenance apps, but they don’t want to be a service provider. So, the back-end portion of their home maintenance service is hosted by Brazilian telecom (Paolo lives in Brazil in 2020. He was born in Italy).


SmartHome.com also provides a call-out service to physically attend to any smart devices that should break in Paolo’s home.


The Sao Paulo Power Company provides the smart metering and smart power management. They created the smart power app and they host it on their own servers. They believe they are large enough to make this competitive.




In the car

The “car concierge” service is written and hosted by the car company.


Paolo’s insurance is “micro-charged”. An insurance app senses who is driving the car and where they are. It then charges for insurance services depending on the combined risk of those two variables. Paolo’s insurance rate can thus change from minute to minute. The route guidance app in the car will use Paolo’s insurance risk in choosing routes; if the insurance cost of a route is too high, it chooses another route.


The back-end portion of the micro-charging app is written and hosted by the insurance company.


An ISV called “Cyber-City” created the city’s transportation control system. However, Cyber-City is a small company. A specialized city management service provider called “CleanPlanet.com” hosts the Cyber-City application; along with other city management apps for water reuse and waste recycling.


In the store

The application that helps Paolo shop is created by the store’s IT department. While there are not that many stores in this chain, the owner/CEO believes that she can differentiate her stores through a smarter customer help app.


The back-end of the helper app calls out to other services. For example, it uses a cloud service from Southampton University Psychology department in the UK to perform buyer-type analysis. British Telecom hosts the Southampton University cloud service.


“RunYourStore.com” hosts the store’s helper app. RunYourStore.com is a specialized service provider. Not only do they host apps for storeowners, but they also provide a basket of cloud services for them too. This basket includes generic apps like payroll, expenses and email, but it also includes specialized services for stores like purchasing and delivery scheduling.


RunYourStore.com also runs a collaboration service for companies that work with stores. There are companies like architects, design consultancies and staff training experts. The collaboration service allows stores to plug into a “mosaic” of specialist companies with whom they can then effectively work on projects together.


Cooking the meal

The app in the cooker and its back-end helper app are written by the cooker manufacturer. The back-end part of the cooker application is connected to a massive database of recipes, overlaid with customers’ feedback gleaned from using those recipes. The back-end app holds information on its customers’ cooking preferences, which in turn allows it to make helpful suggestions to panicked cooks!


Suzanne, Paolo’s date, has a heart condition.  The medical device manufacturer writes the software for the monitoring device and the back-end to which the monitoring device talks. But a service provider hosts this back-end app. Not just any service provider - this service provider is a medical specialist providing ultra-high uptimes and adherence to all the required medical IT standards.



The most helpful and engaging mobile apps don’t “do their magic” in isolation. They talk to a back-end service.


This will be even truer in 2020 that it is today. Back-end “helper” apps in 2020 will be smarter in their analysis of data and more personalized in the help they give.


I believe there will be thousands of service providers in 2020. Some will be large, providing one-stop services. Others will be small, using the services of other service providers to get to market.


The service provider space in 2020 will be very vibrant and exciting.


 Author : Mike Shaw



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About the Author


Mike has been with HP for 30 years. Half of that time was in R&D, mainly as an architect. The other 15 years has been spent in product management, product marketing, and now, solution marketing. .

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