Frontrunners share the power and pain of IoT technology
We sat down with Sprint, Audi, Grundfos and other major leaders to discuss the biggest challenges and the most impactful opportunities that could affect millions of human lives and fundamentally reshape businesses. Our Talking IoT with Ericsson podcast provides insights from frontrunners in IoT on global deployments, data security and standardization with advice for the new business models emerging and the IoT ecosystems available.
As IoT devices proliferate throughout the world, so too do many business opportunities. New sensor data not only helps organizations take better stock of their footprint to find new efficiencies, but it also advances digital transformation with new business models and potential offerings. The increase in IoT technology also brings challenges for managing this growth, including managing fleets of sensors and devices in a transparent way while maintaining security and reliability across borders and regional regulations.
Over the past months, I’ve had the opportunity to sit down with enterprises active in automotive, water management, manufacturing, communication service providers (CSPs) and integrators to mention a few, all leading the way with making use of IoT. We discussed the opportunities we are excited about, but also the challenges we need to address as an industry to improve ease of use, and increase adoption.
Below are the key takeaways from these conversations:
The new devices that connect and share data create a wealth of information about daily usage, user behavior and any bugs or troubleshooting along the way. This can help organizations become proactive about maintenance and improving their services, but it also creates an attractive target for malicious means. According to Ivo Rook, senior vice president of IoT for Sprint, security is something the industry needs to embrace, which can also be effective with AI capabilities: “We can utilize AI…all the stuff that we do to find misbehaving devices before they actually carry out massive attacks. It is no different than us utilizing IoT for preemptive maintenance; you can utilize IoT and AI to do preemptive curing of potential attacks.”
Not only will IoT leaders need to find ways to ensure privacy for users, but they will need to make certain the devices and sensors collecting the data cannot be used for harmful means as well. Henrik Norström, CEO of Brighter mentioned how the connected medical device maker chose cellular connectivity for its inherent security, as well as the collection of reliable and valid data.
During our conversation with Nishant Batra, EVP and CTO for Veoneer, we discussed the critical nature of securing fully connected, autonomous automotive systems in the future. Once a car is connected, it must perform as expected under all conditions and potential challenges. The automotive industry takes cybersecurity investment as a serious priority to maintain passenger safety.
Part of the opportunity with IoT technology is the ability to address many use cases around the world. However, the rapid pace and scale at which new IoT services need to be deployed are major drivers in ensuring global compatibility, no matter where devices were manufactured or will be serviced. Several of our experts highlighted the important role that CSPs play to remove complexity and streamline device configuration to facilitate an easy deployment.
Our discussion with Telia’s Head of Commercial Product Management for IoT Connectivity, Marie Sandå underscored how smart water pumps or other connected equipment will potentially end up in any part of the world, and this equipment needs to work anywhere, right out of the box. Simplicity, seamless end-to-end installations and standards aid in making sure these global footprints expand smoothly.
Standardization for IoT is still nascent, with several approaches in flux. The selection of the types of technology for communication and connectivity will be critical to ensure the right data from the right device reaches the correct destination within the required time limits.
Henning Löser, head of the Audi production lab, emphasized the importance of standards because the real-time communication required for automation in factories and industrial IoT applications will need to fit across production, as well as for each subsequent release.
Standardization will also help streamline new rollouts so that devices maintain the proper support, users receive a unified experience and all of the players involved will be compatible. “The more standardized things are, the easier it is for all involved stakeholders,” said Fredrik Östbye, the vice president and head of digital transformation at Grundfos, the world’s largest pump manufacturer.
New business models
CSPs, enterprises and other IoT players can uncover brand-new capabilities, take on new challenges and capitalize on untapped markets with the new information that connectivity brings to light. Grundfos’ Östbye shared that their connected water pumps offered their customers new water network monitoring capabilities. According to Östbye, “All of a sudden, we can innovate in completely new ways together with our customers, because our customers typically build our pumps into a solution. And if we didn't have those new features, we would be extremely commoditized.”
Because IoT technology affords unprecedented data on trends, transparency and control, the organizations that look to this functionality will be able to map new revenue opportunities or develop solutions for problems the market was previously unable to overcome.
Our discussions with these IoT innovators also revealed the collaborative shape that will need to take form in the industry. New setups like smart cities and autonomous vehicles need a variety of experts behind the scenes, and businesses can’t build it all from scratch. The best approach, advised Östbye, is to look to the IoT ecosystem for the right players to help. Innovators can ask themselves, “What kind of partners do we need to bring on board to build that instead of running away trying to get the bits and pieces together ourselves?”.
One thing rang true across our conversations with Brighter, Grundfos, Sprint, Veoneer and the other innovators: Cellular IoT connectivity presents the opportunity to make a real impact on millions of human lives. People will gain greater access to clean drinking water, intelligent medical devices, new vehicle safety features and more advantages to improve the quality of life. In order for organizations to be a part of the vast change, they’ll need to grab a seat at the table of IoT ecosystems to bring the best team together to tackle it.
To learn the full extent of the pain and the powers from IoT technology innovation, listen to our podcast.