RERUM’s digest of the IoT Forum, organised by BDigital Events

IoT Forum, Barcelona, 3rd December 2014

The data is the oil of XXI century and the IoT will help improve the quality of life of people and economic growth. We must be able, despite their maturity, to develop new innovative products and services that solve problems real for society to understand the IoT concept and see its potential.

This has been stated by most of the speakers during the second edition of IoT Forum that BDigital Technology Centre organised on the 3rd of December 2014 in Barcelona.

In the event, which brought together more than 300 professionals in the technology sector in the auditorium of Mobile World Capital Centre, speakers and attendees have agreed that the IoT will grow when a service or killer application is highly demanded by the citizens.

Through more than twenty presentations and discussions, it has drawn the IoT advances at global and regional level and has disclosed strategies, products and services that governments and companies have already implemented both in Catalonia and internationally.

According to Gartner, a massive use of the Internet of Things is expected in 10 years. Knowing these forecasts, Jordi Puigneró, General Director of Telecommunications and Information Society of the Generalitat de Catalunya, said flatly that:

Catalonia will be smart or not be. Or we put in front of transformation and surfed the wave, or we are on the beach waiting for the technological tsunami we pull over.

So he explained to the attendees the new Smart Region strategy, led by the Catalan government, to position the region as an intelligent territory of reference at European level. The initiative has two objectives: to create an intelligent industry producing technology products and services – and with it, employment in the digital economy – and to place citizens at the center of this digital strategy region. Puigneró recalled that the people are linked to the territory, but also to networks:

Facebook is the third most populous country in the world.

The IoT, catalytic smart industry

From real cases such as the Swedish multinational SKF – dedicated to the design and delivery of industrial products – Menno Van Rijn, director of Bax & Willems has shown international examples of how the industry has already implemented solutions based on IoT. Through implementations of the IoT in the automotive, aerospace, Van Rijn has referred to the changes that are occurring in business value chains, increasingly connected and smarter. This fact is resulting in devices monitored 24 hours a day, in the detection of incidents at the same time as they occur or the identification of behavioural patterns useful for predictive maintenance. He concludes:

The IoT will reduce the life cycle of all processes in the value chain of business and cause moving from a traditional mass production (from Asian countries to Europe) to production back to Europe, more localized, efficient and sustainable.

The IoT, serving the smart city

The market for Internet of Things is maturing and will gain popularity when you start talking about their real applicability

This was exposed by Albert Vidal, CEO of Effilogics, in the session From the smart smart city region, during which there were discussions on real examples of how the Internet of Things is already serving the built smart city and how this will be done in the next 5 to 10 years.

Irene Compte, from Urbiótica, showed real examples already done in the company, currently working on real projects in Europe and Latin America. Among them, a comprehensive information service on mobility in the French city of Nice. Compte explained that Urbiótica has 10,000 devices distributed worldwide in different projects and manages 1 million useful messages every hour in order to improve the management of cities.

Also, Jordi Cirera, showed the Sentilo platform as the Urban Barcelona platform for IoT data. Cirera added that anybody knows which is going to become the standard, but we have to be ready for the future one. Sentilo wants to be an open platform available for third parties.

For his part, Josep Laborda, ITS Project Manager of the RACC, has shown how technology can assist in the management of cities in the mobility area. Specifically, the app Infotransit, related to RERUM’s Use Case for traffic management, allows the status of traffic as the number of connected cars that are circulating. Laborda pointed out the need for objects to be connected not only to their provider, but also to the managers of transit. That is how different companies and agencies shall cooperate to provide more useful and commercial services.

From another perspective, Alessandro Bassi from Bassi Consulting introduced in his keynote speech that the IoT is not only technology and that it will arrive to all layers of our societies, from the technology to the social perspective and how cooperative business can be more powerful with IoT services and products.

The citizen, star of smart cities

The discussions generated from the various conferences have revealed that the citizen must be the protagonist in the construction of digital cities, to avoid, according to Josuè Sallent, director of Barkeno Advisors, having only sensorized cities. Sallent explained that some projects implemented internationally have had to be canceled because of complaints from citizens who have stated that the proposed services went against privacy and intimacy. Precisely that’s the reason why in RERUM privacy is a key point of research, in order to offer tools that can protect citizen privacy in spite of having thousands or millions of sensors surrounding us in future Smart Cities.

In general, all speakers agreed that the benefit provided to citizens and perceived by them to be the center of any project based on the IoT and that both companies and agencies should evaluate the return on investment (efficiency, transparency, etc.) before they run any proposal.

All the keynotes and panel discussions (some of them only in Catalan and/or Spanish) are available here.