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Davra talks IoT with Francisco Maroto

The Internet of Everything

Firstly I’d like to introduce our guest Francisco Maroto (Paco), we are delighted to have the chance to speak with him. Paco has several years in the M2M and Telecommunication industry. Today he’s the CEO in OIES Consulting. He will answer a couple of questions about the Internet of Things‘ industry and help you to understand more about IoT.

Is IoT the evolution of the Internet? What is the internet of things?

According to the definition in Wikipedia, The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to serve several billion users worldwide while The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure.

IEEE Computer Society considers The Internet of Things (IoT) an extension to the current Internet that enables connections and communication among physical objects and devices.

A few months ago a new term that’s currently somewhat in vogue is the Internet of Everything (IoE), which recognizes the key role of people, or citizen sensing (such as through online social media), to complement the physical sensing implied by IoT.

My opinion is that IoT should be a new network able to connect billions of devices and objects with different rules, protocols, security, self-management and connectivity requirements and extend the Internet will be an error. It is like national highways and motorways. You can drive on one or the other and there are ways to move from one to another, but both are different.

What Countries are investing the most in IoT?

 Instead of answering by country, maybe it would be better answered by region and also differentiate between “IoT for consumers” (wearable, smart home, connected car); “M2M industrial” and finally the smart Cities.

In Europe, Germany and UK are the main investors but I see growing investment in the Nordic, Central and South Europe. On the other side of the Atlantic we have the US, Canada and Brazil and finally, China, Japan, South Korea and India is where M2M & IoT is flourishing.

What’s the difference between M2M and the internet of things?

With so many buzzwords about IoT and M2M it is not surprising that confusion exists not only between people outside the industry but between some professionals within the industry. Some use both terms interchangeably, whereas others are adamant that they are not to be confused. The general conclusion is that the Internet of Things is a broader concept, which will evolve from M2M and other technologies. Simply put, Machine-to-Machine is where “Machines” use network resources to communicate with remote application infrastructure for the purposes of monitoring and control, either of the “machine” itself or the surrounding environment. The potential interconnection of smart objects and the way we interact with the environment is what The Internet of Things is envisioned to be, where the physical world will merge with the digital world. In an attempt to explain the relationship between both concepts, Matt Hatton (Director at Machina Research) compares M2M to the plumbing of the Internet of Things. M2M is what provides The Internet of Things with the connectivity that enables capabilities, which would not be possible without it.

What are the main IoT verticals and who are the biggest players?

The main verticals are where the money is, where despite not having a new business model established, the use of IoT implies process improvement and cost savings eg Manufacturing, Utilities, Oil & Gas, Security, Retail. On the other hand, there is the issue of Regulation (Smart Meter, Smart Grid, and Automotive). Healthcare is the vertical where many players have high hopes for growth, but given the characteristic of data privacy, scale adoption will be slow. On the IoT consumer side, The Smart Home is an eternal promise for many owners and it is possible that after buying Nest by Google finally see the democratization of the Smart homes not just for luxury homes.

Regarding the main players depends on who you focus on the still complex value chain: sensor and WSN vendors, Device vendors, Network Operators, IT vendors, Automation vendors, Energy/Infrastructure vendors.

What we are seeing is the formation of an ecosystem among big players of the value chain to support open interoperability standards and common architectures for connecting legacy devices to the cloud and enabling end-to-end analytics. The most recent, last week among Intel, AT&T, Cisco, GE and IBM, announced the formation of the Industrial Internet Consortium. Other companies are forced now to move quickly to create similar organizations and compete with this Consortium.

Regarding your question about Big Players in Verticals I analyze the deals closed and partnership movements in order to deduce which companies are the biggest players and which one will be the winners in each industry.

I think is obvious but Industrial companies like ABB, Siemens, Schneider, Bosch, Rockwell); IT companies like (Cisco, Qualcomm, Intel, Oracle, SAP, Google, Microsoft, Samsung…); Tier 1 Operators and M2M Operators, M2M device and Platforms vendors ( PTC, Gemalto, Telit, Eurotech,) and WSN like Libelium, …) are the main players. Nevertheless, I keep an eye on the most promising Start Up hoping one of them could be the next Google for IoT.

Is the world ready for the Internet of Things?  How can we deal with the Big Data issue?

I think, as happened with the Internet, IoT is still not ready for a worldwide scale. We must first settle in certain academic and research circles, evolve M2M in industries that can share data and gradually integrate into the world of consumption, once we can guarantee security, manageability and human control over machine autonomous decision.

Big Data is having its own evolution and bubble. I do not conceive IoT without Analytics of Sensor/device data. However, the characteristics and nature of Sensor / Device data are not the same that social network data or other industry-specific operational data. The benefit of future IoT services will not be just because of the billions of connected devices installed, it will be because we have the right tools behind the scenes to extract, store, transmit, analyze and delete, among the mountains of data generated in real-time, those events and any metadata once they’ve been processed generating alerts or performing actions. In this sense, I expect Big Data technologies and policies are going to enable a lot of new bridges between IoT vertical and horizontal systems applications, processes and people.

How will the internet of things impact storage infrastructure?

I would like to think that Companies, Governments and Consumers will agree to define an IoT Data Strategy to optimize capture, store and delete the big amount of private and public data that will be generated by billions of devices and sensors. If we repeat the same schema that the IT industry is following with other types of digital data (pictures, video, social networks) and allow that the “same info” can be found on hundreds or thousands of storage infrastructure without control, then there will have a big impact. Of course, Data Storage technology vendors love the idea of never-ending growth of data and they believe they will be ready to support this growth. I prefer to believe that they will not only work on how to store more in less room and access faster and work in another direction (if they are already doing) eg something similar to an IoT-Content Delivery Network.

How do you see IoT, big data, and cloud converging?

I consider Big Data and Hybrid Cloud “as enablers of the IoT. As company and users go accepting and trusting in security-privacy, scalability, performance and manageability of moving and accessing critical/sensitive data to/from the cloud we will see IoT growing faster. On the other hand perceptions of what big data technologies can do are also changing. As I mentioned before I see Big Data analytics applications running in Hybrid Cloud infrastructure making sense to the sensor / device-generated data.

Are consumers too afraid to entertain the full potential of IoT? If so, why? And what do you believe needs to happen in order to change these perceptions?

Starting from the premise that we do not know yet what will be the full potential of IoT and that there is a majority of “No Digital Native” people, I perceive that these generations do not feel comfortable depending on machine decisions. Younger people, however, are embracing new technologies faster because they’re not scared to accept that technology can take over many low-level functions of daily life. They are also less scared to experiment and see if something works, possibly because they are unaware of the value of their private information and the consequences that their misuse can cause them.

IoT professionals think IoT fears are overblown, but enterprises, governments and many users are not as confident and certainly, news like “New revelations from fugitive NSA leaker Edward Snowden have exposed extensive U.S. surveillance on overseas allies, including a program that targeted 35 foreign leaders, even tapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone” do not help.

Change perception will be a long term process. I believe that three main areas need to be improved to change these perceptions:

  1. People and companies must trust in Governments, Equipment manufacturers, Cloud vendors, Software Vendors, Device Vendors to share IoT own data. IoT Data Governance and Security will be key.
  2. Open Data, IoT services and other benefits derived by new business models (Pay as you XXX”,)
  3. Make IoT easy to use, functional and practical.

Tell us more about yourself, your company OIES Consulting?  How is OIES helping businesses to grow?

When I finished my career as a graduate in Physical Science and before start my the master in Telecommunications, I worked as a software engineer in what is now called Industrial Internet and since then I have been involved in interesting projects related to M2M and Telecommunications in innovative sectors such Aerospace & Defense, Telecom and Computer Software and Hardware. I have an extensive international business development experience and a deep knowledge of Telecom, M2M Industrial and Internet of the Thing and Big Data with a solid technical background of the technology sector. I have had the privilege of consistently working as international business development, Industry Lead, Consulting Director and Program Manager in the sector at the forefront of the industry innovation in companies like Microsoft, Oracle, Amdocs, SAP, HP, Vodafone or Indra.

I always have an entrepreneurial spirit. OIES Consulting is my third company, I launched it in 2007 with a focus on Smart House/Smart Building and re-launched it again when I leave Microsoft last year. Our mission is to help companies grow and succeed through Innovation in Machine-to-Machine, The Internet of the Things and Industry Big Data applications.

OIES Consulting has a unique approach. We connect the dots among the fragmented M2M/IoT ecosystem providing talent professionals with a broad industry business networking and proved experience in Business Development Services and Advisory Consulting Services with strong knowledge and passion for the M2M and IoT.

Thank you very much for the interview Paco, great insight!  

Don’t forget to check OIES’ website.

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