IoT Blog
IoT Blog

MWC 2016: IoT Hype vs. Reality

by Dan Martensson, VP, Cloud & Connectivity Services
Last year, when I posted about MWC 2015, we were finally seeing IoT picking up pace after many years of potential.

In my view, this year’s IoT insight following MWC2016 in Barcelona can be captured in one word: “hype”… so what do I mean by that?
  • IoT was literally everywhere at MWC, some of the big system integrators used it on all of their demos even when they really had little to do with IoT. I even saw Virtual Reality (VR) positioned as IoT.
  • There are so many new players in the IoT field. However, I don’t think all of them have grasped that IoT is more than just a buzzword.
  • The escalating value and number of acquisitions in the IoT space over the last 12 months has massively increased interest.
So, is this all bad?

I would say “no”, surely not, since all of this attention elevates the industry and the ecosystem. The more we talk about IoT possibilities, the faster the business transformation to IoT happens and the closer we get to the “subscription economy” of the connected future.

But what gets lost in a lot of the hype is what companies need to do today to deploy IoT, because reality is a far cry from how the Internet of Things was being pitched at MWC 2016.

All of the companies that I met with at MWC certainly want to move into IoT by connecting their products and utilizing today’s technology to enhance their value and offerings, or optimize their service organization. Regardless of their industry, though, they all run into the same basic tangible challenges, such as “what should we do with the data?” and “connectivity is not built for IoT needs…” and “how do I secure the correct device for my sensors?”

So it’s not all about the fluffy stuff you saw or heard about at MWC 2016. It’s really about breaking down the barriers to businesses realizing the benefits of IoT. Let’s not get lost in the future, let’s take it in steps and focus on solving the real issues for customers and organizations that are entering IoT. Mitigating pain points with a tiered approach is key to the IoT vision.

There were some really good, tangible examples at MWC2016 of how customers can do this. For example, the eUICC demos from @GSMA in Innovation City solving the lock-in problem with carriers today. Additionally, the Smart SIM from @SierraWireless that is built to mitigate the QoS issues in today’s connectivity solutions from the carriers. These are items that are available today to help customers get into IoT—without the costly and distracting hype.

And yes, as always…lots of meetings, generally poor food during the day, but Tapas in Barcelona in the evening! I’m already looking forward to MWC2017!