“Be cool, not creepy”

The IoT Solutions World Congress has returned in full force after the pandemic disrupted activities last year. Sessions of the first day were infused with great energy and optimism but also gave some reality checks, as if a post-pandemic need to stay with feet firmly on the ground was hovering in the auditorium.

Ann Dunkin, CIO Chief Information Officer at the US Department of Energy, listed cutting-edge innovation projects undertaken by the US government to tackle the energy transition and made it clear that “IoT and OT are an important part of the landscape to move into secure.” Yet the challenges to meet are significant and involve bandwidth, efficiency in data analysis and privacy concerns. Collaboration between the public and the private sector is a way to overcome them, stressed the CIO.

The thing is that digital transformation is not plain sailing. Jessica Poliner made it clear that only 30% of digital transformation projects are successful. And the reason for that is “a lack of a common direction, a lack of talent and the inability to scale,” among other problems. To revert that situation, she advocated for the use of Equipment as a Service. “Equipment as a Service is a game changer,” she said. “By 2025, EAAS market will reach 131 billion USD in value”, she added.

Stuart Bashford, Chief Digital Officer at the Bühler Group, which plays a vital role in food processing and stands that two billion people in the planet are eating food produced on Bühler plants, made it clear that “the hardest part of the digital transformation is the strategy.” He also stressed the importance of organizational behavior: “Culture change is sustained by winning the hearts of your employees,” he put.

Later on, Juha Pankakoski, Chief Digital Officer at Konecranes, focused on Digital Twins and underlined that “in several cases, Digital Shadows, which are rough replicas, may be efficiently used instead of Digital Twins.” The panel about the Seven Deadly Sins of Digital Twins highlighted the need of “capturing and delivering value,” because “that’s the way to change management.”

The afternoon was devoted to smart buildings, as “the expectation of working in a smart building is becoming the norm,” said Matthew Marson, Global Head of Technology at Arcadis. Yet buildings are expensive and turning them into smart places, more responsive and more secure is a great challenge needing a “common IP-based infrastructure,” said Heinz Lux, CEO at KNX Association. In this sense, Kathy Farrington, from Google, explained how the company developed a Building Operating System to bring “productivity, efficiency, sustainability, security, health, wellbeing and safety as well as experience and brand to buildings.”

However, experts participating in different sessions clarified that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to smart buildings. Eventually, Sandeep Kapoor, Head of Intelligent Buildings at Arcadis, stressed the need to focus on the people not the technology, think before buying, try before buying, consider that intelligence is even more valuable than data and above all being “cool and not creepy.” “You don’t need to put sensors underneath desks,” he concluded.

Tomorrow, more food for thought on the program. Stay tuned!

By Anna Solana


Pedro Mier

Pedro Mier holds a degree in Telecommunications Engineer ing from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, MBA from ESADE and PADE from IESE. He is currently President of AMETIC (Association of Electronics, Information Technology and Telecommunications Companies of Spain), Shareholder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of TRYO Aerospace & Electronics, Board Member of the Premo Group and Committee of CTTC. member of Space Angels Network and Member of the Sc ientific Advisory