IoT in trends and VUNK IoT Challenge

Lately, the Internet of Things (IoT) has become a global hot topic, and we can see it in an increasing variety of industries. Why is it such a big deal? Telia's IoT Area Manager Toomas Kärner writes about IoT trends and causes behind them & invites people to VUNK IoT Challenge!

The answer is somewhat simple, but looking closer, things become more complicated. The Internet of Things generally refers to all kinds of devices that will now be connected in different ways, hoping that as such they can be more valuable for people.

The rapid development of the Internet of Things is propelled by two big causes: on the one hand, there are competing manufacturers who wish to make their products look better, adding connectivity to the products as a new function. On the other hand, people are looking for completely new values or opportunities based on connected devices, which would completely transform the current focus in business.

Adding connectivity to obtain an advantage over competing products sometimes results in bizarre solutions, which might not actually make the product more valuable for the customer. Unfortunately, in a situation where a solution is created that makes the product only seem more special, the end result is that while the customer is perhaps excited about the idea at first, they do not actually end up using it.

Slightly less known examples are a kettle with WiFi connectivity, or a toothbrush with Bluetooth. Modern televisions are another simple example: they have connectivity capability, but only a fraction of them will actually be connected to the network.

The best example of how the Internet of Things is changing the world can be found if we look at solutions where things have been connected to the Internet so that new value is actually created for the customer. In this way, new business models are even created; for example, Rolls Royce with its aircraft engines and changes in their business model – they are not simply selling an engine, but the service life of an engine, which is tracked in real time.

Second, there is the Nest thermostat, which learns how to heat people's homes in the most cost-efficient way (price and weather information + large computing capacity in the cloud). These are products that are based on the IoT, and these products do not have connectivity simply as a meaningless extra.

What Telia is seeking through the IoT Challenge is those ideas that would actually add new value to connected devices.

Our job has always been to offer connections and connected devices to people, which is why we have connected more than a million devices in Estonia. Currently, all of these devices have their own role to play: a set-top box will show things on the TV, a router connects a home to the internet, a SIM card connects to a mobile network, etc.

However, now we would like to look at this world from a different perspective – what new things could be created based on the features of these devices, considering that they are already connected. We could find ideas that give completely new opportunities for people without them having to purchase new things. New ideas and opportunities could reach thousands of Estonian homes and pockets quickly and inexpensively.

It is also possible that some company's current product may well change significantly with these new opportunities, if we add the possibility of being able to use real data in real time, or of controlling something in that way.

All of us are familiar with mobile parking – easy! The parking service moved online, and we are very happy because life is simpler compared to buying and scratching tickets. If cars become connected too, they may well start to park themselves. So, looking around us, we can find new ideas in completely unexpected places that simply have not occurred to anyone before, or it has not been possible to realise such ideas.

Through the IoT Challenge, we help to seek out these ideas, discuss them with the relevant specialists, and also to implement them if they are necessary. Read more on the VUNK IoT Challenge and sign up!

Photos from VUNK IoT Challnge: Idea Hunt Vol 1. More here! 

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