MWC 2016: Goodbye wearables, welcome #IoT

IoT has been the most repeated word

Despite the issues Barcelona faced in terms of transport and security when it came to hosting this event this year, MWC has proved its resilience even with the CES event in Las Vegas becoming a staunch competitor.

For the first time ever, IoT solutions were exhibited under one exclusive roof and most of the flagships stalls, such as Intel, Cisco, Nokia or Qualcomm, dedicated key areas to IoT developments.

IoT is finally beginning its particularly virtuous cycle, in which companies are actively participating in new-born platform ecosystems and entrepreneurs are creating new business models which are feeding these ecosystems.

The battle in the network arena between Sigfox and LoRaWan, who are the main players, is accelerating the deployment of new infrastructures and start-ups are re-combining new technologies as VR and IA with IoT to solve specific problems in their verticals.

IoT is finally beginning its particularly virtuous cycle, in which companies are actively participating in new-born platform ecosystems and entrepreneurs are creating new business models which are feeding these ecosystems.

The battle in the network arena between Sigfox and LoRaWan, who are the main players, is accelerating the deployment of new infrastructures and start-ups are re-combining new technologies as VR and IA with IoT to solve specific problems in their verticals.

Brilliant new exhibitors, Libelium, who were recently featured in an article in FT, are enriching the transformational device arena by launching their marketplace in an intelligent movement that demonstrates the company’s ambition to dominate the device market from a horizontal perspective.

Another promising and very interesting initiative was that of the Graphene Area, in which we saw smart sensors made of graphene showing accurate measurements and a clever path of development for the coming years. We could soon be seeing even smarter ways to measure Co2 with the use of a graphene-related autonomous smart-sensor system.

We have also seen some slightly less intuitive IoT devices, such as Fitbits for dogs, or Bluetooth dog collars that shouldn’t even have been part of the event, but after last year’s wearable device craze, there were always going to be some last minute amateurs popping up out of nowhere with this kind of stuff.

Consumer IoT (including domestic and personal devices) has taken over the wearable device trend as every gadget needs to be connected and managed to be beneficial.

On the other hand, Industrial IoT and Smart City movements appear to be a new playground for companies and are pivoting into the IoT hype.

IoT pending subject: the search of new business models

IoT is on track to disrupt conventional business models and nobody can deny it. Once the world is able to interconnect everything and remotely manage IoT devices, value coming from data and new services will boom.

One excellent example of this, which was previewed in the 4YFN pavilion during the exclusive IoT day, was presented by Slock.it, who bagged first prize in the start-up contest.

Slock.it’s business proposal consists of renting, selling or sharing anything without any middlemen. Their IoT system, an ethereum-based locking system, allows the owner of a Slock set to set a deposit amount and a price they will charge for the use of their item, whether it be a house, a bike or an office space. Users find the Slock via the app and then make a payment via the Ethereum blockchain, thereby gaining permission to open or close the Slock with their phone.

This is just one example of how IoT will be key in changing many traditional business models. We’re positive that we’ll find plenty more sweet spots as different technologies converge.

According to Gartner, more than half of all new major business processes and systems will incorporate some element of the Internet of Things (IoT) by 2020.

There is still a lack of innovative pilots, solid business cases and professional approaches to this new industry that will change the way we live, consume and work forever, but one thing is for sure; for every interesting IoT project, there are ten investment funds willing to invest. The hype is here to stay and we have one year of hard work ahead of us in order to see what this ecosystem will deliver at MWC 2017.

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