The IOT360 Summits bring together global Internet of Things experts from different fields to share their professional experiences, best practices and to focus on new developments. Martin Spindler is a consultant and thought leader on the Internet of Things and the Smart Energy. He founded the Internet of People consultancy group and is a member of the Counsil, an international Internet of Things Think Tank. Martin was a speaker at the Open IoT Platforms – fostering creativity & entrepreneurship session of the 2014 edition of the Summit, discussing how art, creativity and entrepreneurship blend together with OSHW and the IoT. Here Martin shares with EAI an overview of the Internet of Things and identifies new issues to be discussed as a challenge for 2015.
As a top strategy consultant on the Internet of Things and Smart Energy, how would you define the next direction of the Internet of Things? Do you imagine any limitation for the future developments?
That’s fairly open-ended, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. With any new technological development, we see different stages of adoption with different use cases. We’re currently at the end of stage 1 about to enter stage 2, stage 1 being the experimentation phase where the groundwork for new technologies is laid. In this stage, there’s almost exclusively early adopters who know of and care about the new development. Stage 2 is where the roll-out for the necessary infrastructure happens due to excitement about the new tech. In this phase, the roll-out is mostly driven efficiency gains to be had, so in essence: how can we make existing behaviours more efficient. What’s going to be really interesting is once we enter stage 3, where the underlying technology has become ubiquitous and boring, and we’re free to experiment on new behaviours. With the web, stage 3 has brought us Facebook and Twitter – I can only imagine what the equivalents will be on the Internet of Things. So, is there ultimately a limit for future developments? I don’t see it. Barring physical limitations in chip size and information density, or legal limits due to security and privacy concerns, the underlying structural forces driving IoT are going to keep pushing.
How the Internet of Things can concretely improve the energy-efficient ecosystems?
Energy Efficiency at its core is a resource allocation and utilisation problem. If a consumer utilises resources in an inefficient manner, maybe the allocation of the resource to said consumer should cease. The internet of things can help this process in uncovering inefficient resource utilisation and shape resource allocation accordingly. Areas where we’ve already seen it have an impact are car-sharing services that allow users to book rental cars on the fly, assisted by Apps and RFID chip cards for authentication. Industrial users can save quite a bit of money in automatically identifying inefficient processes, behaviours and machinery. Companies like Cisco-acquired JouleX demonstrate what a bit of creative thinking with proper technology can achieve. But for me the most exciting development is the balancing of demand and supply on the energy grids – a necessity to increase our reliance on renewable energy sources. Nest for instance has a program called Rush Hour Rewards that incentivises customers to use less energy in peak demand times, those times in the day when it’s especially costly to produce enough electricity for everybody. With their IoT-solution they’re enabling customers to use less energy and save energy providers the upcoming investments into additional peak-production capacities. Look for those kinds of efficiencies that better information derived from Internet of Things applications can broker.
The IOT360 2014 was metaphorically an arena for the exchange of opinions and experiences among IoT experts from a variety of sectors. What issues would you like to be discussed during the next IoT360 Summit in 2015?
I’d like for IoT360 to focus less on framework discussions, FP7/H-2020 projects and legal environments but focus on actual lessons learned with regards to consumer roll-out and acceptance, technical hurdles with projects etc. If Europe is to keep its lead in the IoT arena (it’s arguable whether we even still have one) we need to enter open and frank discussions about the status quo, rather than talk about visionary scenarios.