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Internet of Things: from connected devices to decision making & customer experience

Having heard a lot about Internet of Things for the past few months, we have decided to have a quick interview with Bernhard Jäckel, Head of Project Business Development at POST Luxembourg, to untangle what all the fuss was about.

Is IoT a new revolutionary topic?

From smartphones, laptops and tablets to wearables, sensors and consoles, the typical digital consumer now owns on average 3.64 items. Making us hyper connected beings, who want to receive quick, already digested information, everywhere, at anytime.

During the last few decades people have been more and more connected to each other; the result of this being that distance is no longer a barrier to communicate, or to do business for example. The Internet of Things is not the beginning of a new trend, but truly the continuity of this connection wave, and a current that will last, and evolve.

What does IoT mean to you?

The amount of data that is created every day is huge – and so automatic and transparent that people do not even notice all the data created by their “things”. These data can and must be handled, in a smart way. Raw data cannot be used “just like this”, it has to be operated, processed, and transformed into useful information. These information have to be interpreted, and can be combined with other data, in order to ease operational or strategic decision making processes for example.

IoT can be found in many sectors such as:

  • Air pollution monitoring
  • Smart parking management
  • Buildings analytics
  • Smart water metering
  • Banking payment tools
  • Food ingredient recognition…etc.

… enabling providers and users to optimize their resources.

Above all, it is important to see beyond connected devices, towards the huge amount of data produced, and how it can be used to generate or develop, new services or even foster innovation.

What ICT know-hows are needed in the IoT area?

All the data produced by connected devices need to be stocked somewhere. These data being valuable, they also need to be secured until, and after, they are processed into a real and useful information.

For a fully end-to-end IoT solution you then need connectivity and storage experts, in addition to either a consulting unit to translate processed data into ready-to-use conclusions or, business applications to automatize – when possible – the data processing.

What is the future of IoT?

In the past, you had to collect data yourself: target people, hire a consultant or allow time to study collected data. It was very expensive, in terms of resources, time, money, know-how…etc. Now, it has already evolved. The know-how is shared (with many softwares and platforms to automatically analyze data), the complexity, and data collecting itself, are handled by technology. Making data production and analysis faster and faster, cheaper and cheaper.

In the future, decision-makers will have access to a lot of data provided by the environment, or their clients. Part of the challenge will be to get these data, and to process it, before their competitors. Big data analysis will then be used to make obvious how to react to a situation in real-time, or even forecast its next developments. It will have a big impact on many business models and on economic development.

In the end, the focus will not be on the connected “things” themselves, but on the hidden information they contain and provide, and on the improvement of customer service they enable – indeed, if you have very individualized information on your users/customers, you may make decisions to better answer their needs.

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