Which economic model for the Internet of Things ?
By Philippe GAUTIER on Wednesday 28 April 2010, 10:50 - Web 3.0 / Internet of Things / Internet des Objets - Permalink
If things come to bear their “raison d'être" (see former post: http://www.i-o-t.org/post/3questionstoPhilippeGAUTIERbyDavidFayon), it may be necessary to give or teach them new ethical values, otherwise they will catalyze some (already existing) chaos in our economic systems ...
From inert objects to syndication of services
The current economic model is essentially based on individual ownership of
goods and use of services. Accordingly, the added economic value is mostly
gained through their consumption via selling, whether it is a primary
acquisition or replacement of obsolete or unusable property or
By giving objects the capacity of being “communicating actors” (1) and to
monitor their own uses and sharing, the Internet of Things will probably
emphasize their role as “economic agents”, which role will counterbalance that
of existing simple consumer goods.
Therefore, they will likely mostly be considered as vectors of economic
value creation in services and will challenge the current principles of
individual ownership: sharing an object will become easier and sometimes more
interesting than to possess it, conditions of sharing directly supervised by
the object itself.
In addition, as aggregators of new uses – mostly created through the
conjunctions of already existing ones - objects will increase that part of
economic value creation in services: sharing an object will potentially give
benefits throughout interoperability of different services that will be
associated with, which is not allowed when possessed.
Issues about “sharing”
Our economic models will then naturally have to be restructured on both
“sharing models” and the associated rules.
Rules are usually based on “compulsory values”: laws, regulations ... let’s
call it the “constitutive values” that operates top-down
through the organization or can be “interiorized” by autonomous actors:
behavior, culture, know-how, businesses... we will call it “behavior
values”, operating in the organization itself. Those last ones are
often partly organized consequently to the first… in theory.
The purposes of all those rules are to regulate conditions of interactions
between autonomous actors, sharing of economic values, etc. and – most
important for constitutive ones - to guarantee convergences of aims VS
It is therefore critical that “constitutive” organizations (states, NGOs,
governance bodies) should be ready to tackle the issues of current changes and
to understand how to possibly reply, if they want to be the “sharing rules”
Otherwise, facing the lack of anticipation from “constitutive” ones,
“transversal” and “behavioral“ organizations such as social networks, users or
citizens communities, companies, lobbyists... will lead up their own rules by
Whoever will be the initiators, they will lead the issues and responses
related to “sharing”: costs of realizations, maintenance … and then
What to do?
Considering the difficulties to predict what will be the reactions of the
above concerned organizations, and, if the point is to make objects “full
actors” in these new economic models, why not to preventatively include in
their “raison d’être” - that would be to say in their “associated software
intelligence” – ethical purposes and values ?
What kind of values, who will define it?
The challenging issue would be to settle it, which is a major project… but
also very exciting. First answers will take some time to emerge but there are
some interesting approaches and methods that can be used to that achievement by
helping us to foresee potential problems and anticipate accordingly…
Actually, an adapted approach will help us to better apprehend the upcoming
evolutions, instead of groping and betting on good evolution of a probable
chaotic situation. On the other hand, such an approach could also lead us to
consider… that existing “constitutive organizations” are not the adapted ones
to tackle the issues…
Philippe Gautier, march 2010