Polimi Moviri
The following post has been co-authored by Giorgio Adami. Every year MIP, Politecnico di Milan’s school of management, organizes a conference to present the results of its research on the Internet of Things market. Moviri was in attendance and we are pleased to report some of the key themes, discussed throughout the event by a large spectrum of experts and influencers, academics, venture capitalists and managers of the most important companies in the industry. First of all, just to establish common ground, Internet of Things (IoT) is an expression used to describe the phenomenon whereby popular and sometimes mundane objects are connected to, and reachable from, the Internet, becoming in fact nodes in the “Internet of Things”.  The evolution of IoT not only involves an efficient improvement of services or processes that already exist, but it primarily entails disruptive innovation.

Internet of Things today

Key data shared during the conference shows that the IoT market is growing. In 2013 in Italy alone devices connected to the cellular network have reached the number of 6 million, with an 20% increase compared to the previous year. At the same time, the value of the IoT solutions based on a cellular connection is estimated at €900 millions, with an increase of 11% compared to the previous year. These numbers are remarkable, especially when they are considered within the context of the general trends in the economy and the negative growth of the local ICT market (-5% in 2013). It is not usual to evaluate the trends in technology innovation with an observation window of only one year, but last year has been an exception. In 2013 three main events concurred to accelerate the technology development:
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is becoming a recognized standard. With its adoption in the Android OS and several other platforms (BLE is present in the Apple world since 2011), BLE aims to be the “official” technology platform for every IoT application in the Personal Area Network segment. BLE can overcome limits like the configuration of a mesh network, the compatibility between software and hardware of specific vendors and backward compatibility. These limits have slowed down the creation and the development of IoT applications.
  • Numerous platforms able to manage and develop application for multi-vendor devices were released, aiming to overcome the gap in the standardization.
  • GSMA has issued the first embedded SIM specs, i.e. specifications for a SIM integrated in the device while still in the factory. The bond between the physical SIM and the telco operator that owns and manages the SIM can be removed, so enabling the provisioning and administration of the SIM Over The Air.

Internet of Things means Smart Car

The automotive industry is the segment of the IoT market with the biggest opportunity for growth in the next few years. Under the European eCall regulation, starting in 2015 every new vehicle will have to be able to make emergency calls. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, Brazil and Russia have already released similar laws, while China and India are about to do that. Some new models are already equipped with optional equipment that is capable of monitoring the health of the driver, to communicate with other vehicles (V2V) and with other infrastructure near the road (V2I). Today  95% of smart vehicles are equipped with GPS/GPRS sensors to trace the location and the actions of the driver for insurance reasons.

Internet of things means Smart City

Smart City is a concept related not only to technology, but IoT is becoming the standard technology layer for each Smart City implementation. The adoption of the IoT paradigm allows the multi-functionality of devices, promoting the development of projects shared with different actors, in a scenario where the allocation of the costs is a key factor for success. Putting in place the so called Smart Urban Infrastructure allows the implementation of different “smart” applications that share the same technology infrastructure, with a saving of 50% and more in investment and operation costs. The main smart applications are dedicated to traffic and parking control, as well as to smart city lighting and waste collection. The implementation of a Smart Urban Infrastructure requires a model of cooperation between public and private actors and worldwide there are many successful cases of such a kind of cooperation, while in Italy there is still room for improvement.

Internet of Things means Smart Metering

Smart counters interconnected for real time measuring have been in use for years. In 2013 the Smart Metering segment has confirmed its positive growing trend.

Internet of Things means Smart Home & Building

Smart solutions for domotics and industrial automation are already in use; in 2013 significant improvements, focused on consumer benefits, have been introduced. BLE is the key factor for the development of IoT in the Smart Home & Building. More and more startups and as well as big actors like Google (as the recent acquisition of Nest Labs demonstrates) have invested in this segment. In, sum the close relationship between IoT and other technological fields like IT Governance and Big Data has proved to be outstanding. Moviri will continue to closely follow the development of IoT around the world, helping its customers to maximize the value of the data they collect, supporting new business cases and leveraging the Big Data competencies of its consultants.