It’s an exciting time for those in the Internet Things (IoT) sector in Europe, for a wide range of companies, from small startups to companies already in revenue and growing all the way up to large multinationals. IoT now connects more and more devices which creates more opportunities for those who can deliver good business solutions. Cellular connections are predicted to reach 8.9 bn in 2020 and by this date customers are predicted to also own over 3 connected devices each. A recent IoT conference hosted by Dublin City University’s Alpha Campus and Irish Tech News demonstrated the large amount of collaboration between companies of all sizes working in the IoT sector. Will Ferguson, from up and coming Irish company VT Networks-IoT, explained why IoT enabled devices present the opportunity to deliver a transformative technology to how we do business. “We believe knowledge is power. In order to meet humanity’s coming challenges, whether it’s food production or pollution levels, we will need to have the right information to make decisions that will better our world. That means connecting the physical world to the digital world, making critical data available for analysis.” Exciting innovations are becoming more and more possible now that the price of sensors and monitors has fallen, opening up more opportunities for what is possible.
Transit solutions and more for our digital identities
Smart digital identity solutions are becoming more and more in demand as we expect more and more seamless connected experiences during our daily lives. These digital identity business use-cases require various types of IoT technology. The Oyster card for the London underground revolutionised people’s attitudes towards cashless transit systems. Now, with technology like G+D’s Secure Ultra High-Frequency Technology for example it is possible to scan simultaneously over 400 UHF tags within a ten metre radius in under 1 second. The potential improvements in travel times by removing bottlenecks is significant, and will speed up transit times in public transportation systems globally.
IoT will bring more opportunities with more efficient 4.0 factories
In Europe, Germany are one of the leaders in raising awareness around the importance of preparing for Industry 4.0, with smarter factories. With increases in the number of IoT connected devices it creates the ability to connect legacy machines as well as new hardware, to report back, in real-time, on their status, and effectively predict when parts need replacing, before mission critical breakdowns occur. It will become possible to have predictive maintenance as a standard feature so reducing costs, and increasing the speed and flexibility at which manufacturing can take place. Business opportunities will then increase for those companies able to effectively manage the data created using sensors. Data driven insights delivered by IoT sensors will offer major business opportunities for those prepared to gather the data and act on the information and insights it provides.
IoT risks and challenges, data security and effectively managing our digital identities
The explosion of IoT services provides risks as companies need to ensure secure devices, with a selected level of data disclosure. It is critical to manage what data you share with who, depending on the need and level of personal ID required. We are moving rapidly towards more globally connected digital identities. This has been enabled by more and more connected devices, building a wider and wider IoT. Driven by human desire to have more services quickly delivered to them, in a seamless, effective, and secure manner. The challenge in building this network is to ensure that just enough data is disclosed to ensure the right person is accessing the services they have requested, while at the same time ensuring the data is not disclosed to the wrong people, nor more information than is necessary for the service requested.
The challenge of competitive innovation from Asia and the rest of the world
Europe is leading the way in many areas of IoT innovation as it leverages insights from European funded innovation funds, and technologies developed by those at the forefront at Industry 4.0. However, at the same time, countries such as China, India, Singapore, Israel and many others globally are also investing heavily in R&D to support their own tech industries and IoT solutions. IoT covers a wide range of technologies and innovations but it is often a challenge for any one company to supply a complete full stack solution. Consequently, many companies have realised that working in partnership with others to focus on the aspects they do best is the optimal approach for their business. The challenge for European based companies is to identify potential IoT competitors or even possible collaborators both locally and globally.
IoT will soon become an integrated part of everyday life
Soon the ‘IoT’ will not be a separate term, instead it will become an ubiquitous and integrated part of everything that we do. With 50 billion connected devices estimated by 2021 we’re already on course to have an extremely connected world. As our communication systems become integrated with our payment, transport, and entertainment systems (and possibly everything else too) the IoT will become the backbone to our daily movements through our connected world. In this context those companies who are able to deliver seamless, smooth integrated solutions to daily human needs, will be the ones who succeed in Industry 4.0 [and Life] and beyond.
IBM working in exciting IoT partnerships with companies globally
In order to remain relevant and innovative IBM are a good example of a large, global multinational company who are actively looking for IoT companies to partner up with. As IBM operates as a UK & Ireland business, interesting IoT business partners for the whole area to look out for are PD Zenith, Bytes Software, Computacenter, CSI, EAMS, ECCS, Infosys Technologies Limited, Insight Direct (UK) Ltd, Intec Systems Limited, Integres Software Solutions Ltd, MACS EU, NJW Ltd, Peacock, Phoenix, SRO Solutions, and Synethes. If you’d like to find a specific business partner for your own company there is even a section on the IBM website to search for the best possible match.
Article written by Simon Cocking.