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Entrevista a Dr. RICHARD SOLEY



By Francisco Maroto 

CEO at OIES Consulting

IOT Advisor for IOTS


Dr. Richard Mark Soley is the Executive Director of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and is responsible for the vision and direction of the organization. In addition to this role, Dr. Soley is Chairman and CEO of the Object Management Group (OMG®) – an international, nonprofit computer industry standards consortium -- and Executive Director of the Cloud Standards Customer Council – an end-user advocacy group.

I had the pleasure to interview Dr. Richard Soley last April 10th. He was at Singapore where he was a speaker of the IOT ASIA 2015 event.  This is a resume of our interesting conversation.


Question: Richard, You're traveling around the world and attending many conferences and IoT events, talking with many companies, analysts and industries. What do you think has changed in the past year in the IoT market? How do you see the future of IoT and the Industrial Internet?


You know Francisco, IoT is exponentially growing all over the world. There is nothing special in technology when you talk about IoT; the idea of taking data from sensors and do some predicting analytics with human interaction has been around forever. But, the intersection of very low cost computing, actuators and sensors, and easy to use high quality big data and real time predictive analytics, has contributed to the growing usage and enormous interest in IoT, that we have experienced for the past 2 years.

We have recently seen some very successful uses of IoT in several technologies that prove that its usage is becoming more and more significant in areas like Manufacturing, Healthcare, Device Integration and even in consumer devices.

You know, there are a lot of names in this market place that US and Japan government call “Cyber-physical system”, in Germany they call it “Industry 4.0”, and it is also known by“ Internet of Things” (IoT) and the “Internet of Everything” (IoE). We are very careful when we use the phrase Industrial Internet -What we are talking about is the Industrial revolution in the 19th century that moved human work to machines, and the Internet revolution in the 20th century that move human connectivity to the machines. By bringing together Internet technology and Operational technology and applying Internet technology to the Industrial revolution, that´s precisely what we mean with “Industrial Internet”. When we are talking Industrial Internet, we are not talking about consumer IoT, but applying IoT in industrial settings in Manufacturing, in Healthcare, in Power generation, Distribution and Transmission, and so on. These industries have been operating and applying IoT in industrial settings and that is what we call “Industrial Internet”.


Question:  We’ve been saying and listening for some time that The Internet of Things has the potential to transform industries. Gartner Hype Cycle for emerging technologies warned in August 2014 that IoT reached the Peak of Inflated Expectations. With 157 members, the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) represents large and small industry, entrepreneurs, academics and government organizations. What strategy is the IIC following to encourage industries to implementIoT solutions today?


Francisco, let me first answer your question about the Gartner Hype cycle.  I agree that it is a Hypeabout IoT technology. But on the other hand we are constantly seeing IoT in real applications and real case studies - Real systems that have been built in the Smart City space, in the Manufacturing space, and many othersthat take advantage on this technology. What the Gartner Hype cycle is bringing up ois that there will surely be some disillusionment because of its activation energy requirement and the investment required to succeed inIoT, but is not a fail technology. It is a technology that is actually being increasingly used in the market of today. We will see; the shape of disillusionment will be very short. We will soon see the ability of this technology to make a significant difference and experience the impact it will have in Manufacturing, Healthcare, Energy, Transportation, and many other areas.

In the IIC, our job is not to develop and invent technology, but to apply IoT in these industrial settings to provide transformational business outcomes, find new disruptive products and services that changes the way business is done. We need standards particularly in the semantic space and we feed this information to the standard organizations - but the IIC is not an standard organization itself. The IIC brings together companies that either want to make an IoT product or make use of IoT technologies in the industrial space. We help them building test beds, prototypes, demonstration systems, and, to find those disruptive products and services, andhelp them creating transformational business outcomes jointly.

The reality is - nobody is going to own the ecosystem, because it is any ecosystem;It is about connecting the value chain, the supply chain, the service chain , so it is all about connecting companies and organizations.We have together to do things together; and  that is what the IIC does; we bring together players, share the same vocabulary and security paradigms, build uses cases, but most importantly; wehelp them building test beds, prototypes and demonstration projects to discover where you can apply IoT technologies successfully in an Industrial settings.


Question: We are increasingly convinced that The Industrial Internet will have a huge impact in nearly every industry. However many people thought we continue talking about future scenarios. Maybe you can tell us how close this future is with some real live examples…


Youknow,I hate those presentationsthat start by talking how many billions of devices or sensors will be connected. I do not care how many connected devices there are.What I care about is transformational outcomes that have to do with connecting those devices, whether they are sensors or actuators, and that’s where the IIC comes together andhelps achievingsuccess. 

Our first Testbed; the “Track and Trace testbedhas now been running for a few months. It was realized jointly by some IIC members: Bosch, Cisco, National Instruments, and TechMahindra. The goal was to manage handheld power tools in manufacturing and maintenance environments. This "management" involves efficiently tracking and tracing the usage of these tools to ensure their proper use, prevent their misuse and collect data on their usage and status. This test bed has been running for a few months now and achieved successful results. There is a second phase for this test bed which will be the tracking of tools from 1 meter resolution to 3 millimeters resolution.

There are many success stories in Manufacturing, in Energy, in Transportation, in Smart Cities… and we are going to see many, many more in the next couple of years. We will be talking about those specific success stories at the conference during the IOTS World Congress. The IOTSWC event will be very much focused on case studies, and that’s the reason to go and see what has been done and what can be done.

It is not futuristic technology, it exists today!


Question:  Let’s now talk about Innovation and Collaboration in Industrial Internet.  In a privileged situation like yours; Do you think there is enough innovation in Industrial Internet being done by the big companies? Or do you believe that consumer IoTis more agile and innovative because of the many startups that are currently arising in this sector? Do you think we will see a bigger company offering an Industrial Internet solutions from devices, to connectivity and Analytics?


I think this market is same as any other; we constantly hear that big companies do not innovate, only small companies do. But the reality is that the big companies do innovate and small companies innovate too. The way the ecosystem works is not changing just because we are just talking about IoT -In some cases the small companies are becoming large companies. In the past 10 years for example; companies like Google and, in most case, small companies are acquired by big companies, and this leads to innovations in the big companies. But lots of innovations also come directly from big companies. The good news is that IIC is not only focused on big companies; it was founded for 5 big companies: AT&T, Cisco, GE, Intel and IBM.
Today we have 159 members and we keep growing rapidly. There is a good split between large companies, small companies, research organizations and universities, because we need all of them. I think it is more important to realize that is not just about big or small companies. It’s about makers and creators of technology, but also aboutmanufacturers, healthcare organizations, banks and other companies that will use this technology. Innovation comes from the vendors, but at the same time from the users.

Some of the innovation will fail; I am a real believer in failing - you learn from failure. Before we standardize things, before we actually roll things out to market, let’s actually build them, and see how it works and how disruptive these new products and services are. We know there will be a revolution in many different markets, for example automobile and jet engines that will be offered as lease products instead or selling them. The seller will have to do a better job to make sure the product is efficient and using IoT technology by tracking everything inside the machine. It will sense what needs to be fixed before it needs to be fixed, and eventually even allow to be fixed remotely. There will be obviously changes in areas like manufacturing, power generation and distribution –it will be exciting to discover its impact.

You are right; we are in a privileged position working with large and small companies, users and vendors, and finding new disruptive products and services that lead to creating the transformational business outcome that we are looking for. As mentioned we will see new business models where companies lease products rather than sell products. The seller has to do a better job insuring that the product is efficient using IoT.


Question: Will we see a company leading the IoT?


No one company is going to lead the IoT. No one company is going to control the ecosystem. In every conference I attend I am repeating this. In every conference someone asks this question, but there will not be an Apple that control the IoT ecosystem. The answers is NO, NO and NO. Because the value of the technology is to connect the value chain and the supply chain, and if this would be done by one single company there wouldn’t be a service chain to interconnect.

In IoT we find multiple protocols for connecting sensors and actuators, and there are going to be more. There is definitely not going to be a single one. When you look at the semantics of jet engines, healthcare devices, power generation systems, and financial instruments, there are all representing new ways we will be seeing in the coming years. Our job is connect all these different semantics, connect all protocols, connect all different APIS… This helps us identifying what to be done and how it should be done is by creating Test beds and experimenting, as I mentioned before. Bringing together vendors and users, large and small companies to collaborate and build up those prototypes and demo projects to see what can be done and which things are getting in the way when building a successful Test bed. We will have some Test beds that will not have successful outcomes but will be extremely important to learn what failed. Whether it was because of standards, security or something else, and fix that.

We do not think we have all the answers that’s why we keep exploring.


Final Question: What do you think will be the main difference between IOTS World Congress regarding other IoT events?. What would you tell people that doubt to attend this event? What they will find in it?


I think the most obvious difference is scale. There are already more people registeredfor the IOTS World Congress than the total number of people that assisted this week at the IoT Asia event here in Singapore. Fira Barcelona has the ability and has shown that they cansuccessfully run events at enormous scale like the Mobile World Congress. This is the obvious example, but they have already been dealing with IoTat the Smart City Expo with over 10.000 people.So, one point is scale, but another important fact is the direct and very close participation of the Industrial Internet Consortium, and the Steering Committee containing members of the IIC. We will all be participating in this event and, in fact, the IIC quarterly meeting will be hosted by Fira de Barcelona in the same facility during the same week in September 2015 before the conference begins.

I believe that there are components of the conference itself that makes it the single and most important event this year to see what is going on in the IoT market place. One component is that some of the best speakers will be coming from all over the world.Another component is that the exhibit forum will contain real case studies that come from the Testbeds, prototypes and demonstrations that we are building in the IIC. So you can actuallysee things working; some of those will be remote, but others will be seen right on the exhibition floor. I think is a tremendous differentiator that visitors can see companies showing their solutions on the exhibition floor in Barcelona in September.



It's been a pleasure talking with you today and hope to see you and continue our discussion in September in Barcelona.