By Catherine Duggan. The theme of the recent FutureScope event, organised by the Dublin Business Innovation Centre (Dublin BIC) was ‘Current Trends and Future Insights’. In this article in a two part series about the event, key takeaways and insights are highlighted about the topic The Connected World (IoT). The second article is on Data Analytics, the Cloud & the Sky.

The Connected World: Internet of Things (IoT)

John Phelan, FutureScope kicked off the proceedings by welcoming all attendees and giving some background about the event. “Bringing companies of all sizes is what Dublin BIC does 365 days a year.
At FutureScope we’re doing the same thing – only with an audience.” He introduced Michael Culligan, CEO of Dublin BIC who chaired the presentations and subsequent panel discussion.

First up was the keynote speaker Lauren Morris, of Vodafone. She explained how Vodafone are now offering different IoT solutions to various businesses and industries. She presented examples of how M2M (mobile/machine to machine) technology is helping companies track and improve customer and business relationships.

One notable example was how Vodafone M2M Services worked in collaboration with a Dutch bicycle company VanMoof. Vodafone developed an anti-theft and tracking device which is connected to a smart phone. The device is encapsulated in each bicycle and activated as soon as the bike is reported stolen. Using this technology the bicycle can be tracked down and retrieved.

Depending on the requirements of a particular product, creating and adapting M2M technology solutions to other industries allows for data collection, improvement of customer experiences, speeding up of the supply chain, and encourages innovation. “IoT is exploding. The opportunity is leveraging IoT to gain competitive advantage – either by reducing internal costs, or better connecting with customers or finding new routes to markets.”

Linda Doyle, CONNECT, pointed out that with the advent of IoT the traditional ways of doing business has changed: “It’s not business as usual!” In particular she highlighted the transformation in the automobile industry. Cars are now being kitted out with IoT technology that includes all types of checking and data collection devices. With IoT this information is now being linked to multiple digital markets, some of which include:

• Insurance
• Parts management
• Utilities (e.g. petrol reserves)
• Entertainment market

Brian Jordan Cisco spoke about the need to change the customer or workforce experience. His real world example was Adidas. He explained that this company has technology devices inserted inside their shoes – the ‘smart shoe’. These devices contain sensors and microprocessors which are connected to the owners’ smart phones enabling them to track and improve their training. As well as helping their customers, this technology also gives Adidas a competitive edge by collecting data about them. Brian also highlighted some upcoming and major IoT trends as follows:

• Machine Intelligence: at Pizza Hut in Asia robots are already taking customer’s orders.
• Augmented Realty: how we interact with technology in the workforce, apps for smart glasses and holographic displays/projected Images
• Consumer drones and robots
• The challenge of protecting sensors and/or physical hardware and software
• Security technologies such as Blockchain as a way of authentication
• Predictive context analytics (however this information must be used in the right context)

“As digitisation accelerates, cutting edge infrastructure will increase the country’s GDP, reduce spending and create jobs.” Brian Jordan, Cisco

The Spotlight was shone on how innovative IoT devices and technologies solved a real-world problem for farmers. John Larkin, Head of Technology and Marketing at MooCall told us his story.

Moocall Calving Sensor
An innovative M2M device has been created to alert farmers when their cows are about to calf. This physical device is fitted to the cow’s tail. When the sensors in the device detect certain tail movements a message is sent via SMS directly to the farmer’s phone alerting him that a birth is imminent.

Since the product’s commercial launch in January 2015 sales have sky rocketed, and markets outside Ireland have grown at a rapid rate. Innovation in technology in the agricultural sector is not usually known as mainstream; however it has huge potential for growth.

Paul Glynn, Davra echoed previous speakers’ beliefs about how IoT is transforming industries. He emphasised the importance of the Government “buy-in” and the need for the creation of new regulations to handle these changes.

David Maloney, CTO, Movidius, an Irish founded technology and leading vision processing company believes: “There are big opportunities in deep learning, machine-intelligence and computer vision. If people are prepared to think outside the box, that’s where people will be going in the future.”

When the speakers finished, Michael Culligan Dublin BIC chaired an interactive and lively Panel Discussion, on the question:

The Connected World – is the hype becoming a reality?

Listening to the speakers and delving into the different ways digital disruption is already happening in various industries, it’s crystal clear that The Connected World (IoT) is already a reality, and not simply hype. This belief is further clarified and verified in my next article on insights, spotlights and takeaways on Data Analytics, the Cloud and the Sky, FutureScope 2016, coming soon.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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