Entrevista a ROGER BOU
Director IOT Solutions World Congress
From 16-18 September, Barcelona will host the Internet of Things Solutions World Congress (IOTSWC). Directing affairs is Roger Bou, working alongside a high profile partner, the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), the leading global association in industrial Internet development. Created in 2014 by AT&T, Cisco, IBM, Intel and GE, its goal is to establish the bases and standards for industrial development in the Internet of Things (IoT) sector. The Congress will include live demonstrations of IoT solutions for each industry. One of the most relevant will be ‘Track and Trace Manufacturing’ by Airbus, which will showcase how the aeronautical giant’s tools operate by applying IoT technology, and the benefits offered in terms of productivity and job safety.
“IoT will produce an economic impact
equal to American GDP in 2020” Roger Bou
How and where did the idea of organising the Internet of Things Solutions World Congress (IOTSWC) come about?
The birth of the Internet of Things Solutions World Congress (IOTSWC) dates back to 2014 when the Barcelona Trade Fair began a cross-cutting innovation project to promote new congresses. This led to the idea of creating innovation capsules framed with the IoT (Internet of Things) concept, which add value for visitors and exhibitors at each congress. The first capsule created was in the form of a hotel room of the future for the Hostelco trade fair, following a competition for start-ups with IoT solutions for the hotel industry, and we continued with the SmartCity Expo and others.
We then realised the significance IoT would have for each industrial sector, and its need to connect with each sector to be able to rapidly develop its huge business potential.
Based on this, we undertook a study to examine the feasibility of a congress focusing exclusively on IoT, and detected the opportunity to create one that would become a global benchmark, able to connect IoT supply with each B2B industrial sector with high development potential: industry, health, transport and logistics, and energy and utilities. We made a business plan and after confirming its feasibility, we looked for the right partner to guarantee successful execution of the business plan. The result is the IOTSWC, a thoroughly global event showcasing a unique and differentiated proposal for all its potential targets.
Which partners do you have in an ultra-specialised sector?
Our partner is the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), the leading global association in industrial Internet development. This consortium was created in 2014 by AT&T, Cisco, IBM, Intel and GE to create the bases and standards for industrial development in the Internet of Things (IoT) sector. The consortium and its managing bodies are led by Richard Soley, chairman and managing director of the OMG (Object Management Group) association, founded in 1989 to develop the software standards and architecture in the USA.
We got good vibes in our first meeting, and a few months later we closed the partnership agreement, despite the fact that the IIC had other offers to undertake similar initiatives.
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)? What practical applications does it have now, and do you think it will have in the future for the industry?
The Internet of Things is a revolution similar to the Industrial Revolution in its day. A revolution that will change the way we produce and consume. It will apply to every industry, making them more efficient, far more productive, and safer for workers and consumers. Above all, it will improve people’s wellbeing and help to save lives.
I like explaining one of the case studies that will be presented in the congress, because it exemplifies the impact IoT will have on the health industry and on people’s lives. It’s a project HTC is developing in India, where the main cause of death is heart problems. As 68% of the population is still rural, and the healthcare infrastructure lacks resources to reach every town, the mortality rate from heart conditions is very high. To try and alleviate this problem, HTC has developed a manual device that allows cardiac health information to be gathered among the rural populations most isolated from healthcare services, with the aim of designing access routes in real time to facilitate physicians’ work in preventative and reactive treatment, which has increased life expectancy among the population. This is a very clear example of how IoT technology helps to save lives, to make the health model more efficient (cost savings and a better service), and to improve the country’s economy.
Will companies that don’t back industrial Internet lose a competitive advantage?
Definitely. With new the technology representing an exponential leap in business productivity, those that turn their back on IoT will be less competitive. Technological changes often involve new business models, and therefore cause disruptions because the market changes, with the companies more able to rapidly incorporate the new technology benefitting more, and recording faster growth. Conversely, those more hesitant to implement change, either due to a lack of knowledge or inertia within the organisation, will have more problems adapting to the new competitive environment.
We must understand that we are at a similar stage to the birth of the Internet, when companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon were created, all using this technology and focusing on a new business model. In turn, traditional companies like La Caixa, Iberia, General Electric, etc., have incorporated the Internet as part of their business models and customer relationships, through email, websites, e-commerce and social media. By contrast, companies that haven’t done anything are less competitive, and are even at risk of disappearing.
What is the market value of these tech solutions?
According to the World Economic Forum, IoT will produce an economic impact equal to American GDP in 2020. Beyond its market value, the impact of these tech solutions will be even greater in the social sphere and business models.
What structure will the congress have? What can we see, and who can we hear?
It is a global-level congress with an exhibition and demonstration area (Test BedArea). Speakers will include Richard Soley, chairman of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and Michael Reynor, an innovation writer and expert. There will also be Wall Street IoT investors offering a financial perspective. Above all, however, we will see companies from different industries (energy, health, manufacturing and transport, logistics, etc.), explaining success stories of IoT solutions being applied in their companies, and the benefits they have received.
The exhibition area will have two large groups of companies. Firstly, the multinational industry leaders, such as Intel, GE, Accenture, Bosch, National Instruments, Deloitte, IBM or Sigfox, and secondly, the innovative start-ups offering new IoT solutions for each sector they operate in. We will also have national pavilions such as the American (IIC), the Catalan (Government and Council) and other European countries.
Lastly, and significantly, the central part of the exhibition area will have a ‘testbed’ area with live demonstrations of IoT solutions for each industry. We are now able to announce that the first confirmed ‘testbed’ is the ‘Track and Trade Manufacturing’ by Airbus, which will showcase how the aeronautical giant’s tools operate by applying IoT technology, and the benefits offered in terms of productivity and job security. This ‘testbed’ will also include participation from Bosch, Techmaindra, National Instruments and AT&T.
What objectives does the congress have, both for exhibitors and visitors?
The event’s objective is to become a global IoT benchmark, a bridge between the IoT sector and different industries, and consequently the source of inspiration and information for managers and executives in the field about the possibilities IoT offers to be more competitive.
For this first launch edition, our goal is to put on a high quality event both in terms of the congress programme and the exhibitions, on a broad international scale, with over 70% of the companies participating being foreign. Our aim is to have 2,000 attendees.
Are there other similar events? What traits distinguish the IOTSWC from its direct competitors?
Yes there are and, in fact, each of the major companies attending IOTSWC (GE, Thingworx and Cisco) has their own IoT event. Other organisations are also preparing IoT symposiums, but IOTSWCis the first to have support from IIC; the only one in the world with a ‘testbeds’ area offering live demonstrations of IoT solutions for different industries, and thirdly, and of great importance, it has a sole and exclusive focus on industrial IoT.
As IOTSWC director, why would you recommend attending the event?
I’d recommend it for two different profiles of people. Firstly, for telecommunications and IT engineers who want to be up-to-date concerning cutting edge IoT technology and add value to their company by getting first-hand information about solutions showcased by different industries from around the world, gaining detailed knowledge of the technological implications of these solutions, and interacting with the main players in the global market. Second, for CEOs, CMOs, CCOs and any high-level executive with strategic decision-making power in the energy, industrial, health, transport and logistics sectors, and for finding out how IoT will affect their own sphere of action, what their competitors around the world are doing, and gain access to all this information and the best possible contacts to not get left behind in this revolution.