This study investigates actors in the ecosystems of the Internet of Things (IoT). Previous research suggests that unstructured ecosystems make one of the greatest challenges for creating business models for the IoT. The present study concludes four contributions. First, the study reviews literature to develop a framework for role mechanisms in ecosystems and applies the framework to analyse data from fifteen interviews in six cases. Second, it identifies four diverse actor roles in IoT ecosystems: butterfly, ant and greenfly, spider, and the swarm of bees. Third, the study shows how actors take and make different roles in four emerging IoT ecosystems; product-, company-, industry-, and peer to peer ecosystems, which are structured in accordance with the identified actors' role behavior. Fourth, it suggests a new role pattern, role replication, where companies replicate their value designs and networks to other contexts.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Actor, Business model, Ecosystem, Industrial internet, Internet of things, Role, Role behavior, Role mechanism
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.4018/IJESMA.2017010104
Journal International Journal of E-Services and Mobile Applications
Citation
Leminen, S. (Seppo), Rajahonka, M. (Mervi), & Westerlund, M. (2017). Actors in the emerging internet of things ecosystems. International Journal of E-Services and Mobile Applications, 9(1), 57–75. doi:10.4018/IJESMA.2017010104