During Mobile World Congress 2023 in Barcelona, IoT Stars gathered the biggest players in IoT to discuss how to bring the pieces together and start making an impact that will shape the industry. IoT Stars, a community of IoT professionals focused on sharing knowledge and experiences, welcomed entrepreneurs, developers, engineers, investors and press from the IoT ecosystem.
For the eighth annual installment of the event, IoT Stars brought together some of the top experts to discuss how to make a lasting impact.
The Internet of Things (IoT) industry is a dynamic and rapidly evolving landscape, with fast-falling pieces that need to be positioned intelligently in order to realize IoT use cases that generate value.
The pioneering work has been done as all individual IoT components are available as of today. Cellular connectivity is provided by innovative MVNOs like Soracom and IoT Creators. Or connectivity can be realized by building private networks using existing hardware from companies like RAKwireless and MultiTech in combination with software tools from Monogoto. Easy-to-implement antennas from Ignion and off-the-shelf hardware with advanced sensing capabilities from Kallipr are within our reach.
A panel of experts discussed how we’re making an impact as an industry and many agree that our biggest impacts lie in our customers’ success. Gerhard Loots from Kallipr shared a water utility business case that saved 250 million liters of water, and a rail track company that increased efficiency by $25 million in six months. “That's not about our win. It's about their win”, he concluded.
Christine Perey, who moderated the panel discussion, believes that sharing our successes is what will have the biggest impact on the future. “We don’t want competitors to know about the advantage that we’ve gained through the adoption of new technology. We have great success stories, but can't talk about them. We can't give data and yet the data is the thing that's going to really convince the next customer. So how do we address that?”
The IoT impact and use cases are clearly there — and there are many more examples — but they’re just not always being shared. Nicolas Lesconnec from Soracom believes one reason for this is that proven use cases are often not specifically IoT success stories. “IoT is just one of the Tetris blocks. I love to speak about the IoT success story, but from the customer’s point of view, IoT is just one tiny part of it.”
IoT antenna supplier Ignion is providing solutions that simplify hardware development and pave the way for the creation of maximum value. “How we measure impact is simply by success, by the value that we can bring, and by what customers tell us,” says Jaap Groot. “At the end of the day, 30 million+ antennas for products that are communicating today over networks... for us, that's impact. Nobody wants to talk about it: ‘It's my big secret how I designed my device. It's so special that I don't want anybody to have this.’ We have to talk about success stories.”
Daniel Quant from Multitech, which fulfilled a hand sanitizing solution of 6 million units last year, warned that “when somebody in a segment does something disruptive, it doesn't take long before other companies follow.”
In order to show the innovative use cases that are shaping the future, IoT Stars invited leading companies to showcase real products that are on the market today.
Monogoto set out to simplify connectivity, recognizing that innovation lies in simplifying processes for developers. Itamar Kunik called it ‘the network for developers, by developers’ during a demonstration of a hybrid LTE solution the organization created using RAKwireless’ 5G small cell. Jose Marcelino from RAKwireless added that private network solutions empower developers and organizations with a firmer grip on their own infrastructure.
Successful and practical use cases are already available, enabled by the building blocks created by IoT partners that are leading the way in innovation. So isn’t it time we stopped keeping our successes to ourselves? Instead, what if we recognized a collective responsibility to share our impacts, in order to develop the IoT market?
Leonard Lee held a fireside chat with IoT Creators' Afzal Mangal, who called on the IoT industry to think beyond impact, and instead on how we can create maximum value. “We usually think of IoT impact in terms of business impact,” said Mangal. “But is this the impact that we imagined 10 or 20 years ago? I think most of us signed up for IoT to discover maximum values beyond monetization, costs, and profits.”
One example took place just a few weeks ago: Two main highways between the Hague and Utrecht were closed because of a bridge on the verge of collapse. Thanks to a network of sensors placed on the bridge’s structure connected to IoT Creators’ cellular network, authorities could monitor cracks forming over time and identify whether structural faults justified its closure. With large amounts of pedestrian foot traffic, trains, and vehicles crossing the bridge each day, Mangal believes “this is maximum value creation with IoT because it goes beyond saving costs.”
There is undoubtedly great potential for maximum value still to be discovered. "There are a lot of things possible today, because there is a lot that we can do with IoT," concludes Mangal. Could it be that the biggest impact IoT can have, lies beyond economic factors?
We believe the biggest impact comes from close collaboration within the industry. The right partners can provide you with the all essential building blocks to realize solutions that solve real problems. IoT Stars created in 2023 the IoTetris as an example of how IoT companies can work together to assemble the essential blocks to build the IoT stack that leads to maximum value.
IoTetris is already available to play, so go ahead and give it a go. And to continue the discussion, be sure not to miss our next IoT Stars networking event. We’re rounding up the key players from the world of embedded development on March 14th during Embedded World in Nuremberg, and it’s sure to be just as insightful.