What will this market bring us in the next few years? Are there reasons for optimism?
During the last three years, I have had the opportunity to discover, know and analyse more than 50 Spanish companies in the exciting sector of the Internet of Things (IoT).
Some of these companies are globally recognized as pioneers of IoT. Others less known but very innovative, with great talent in their ranks. All of them have been weathering the storm and far from being discouraged, because the reality is being tougher than all the hype announced by analysts, are more excited than ever before future expectations.
As I wrote in my post “5 PROVERBS TO SAVE MY STARTUP”, nobody is a prophet in their land, but even so, I can not resist providing a few tips that I believe can help us use IoT as an enabler that drives the ICT sector. Would not it be fantastic if we finally met our desire to have a strong, dynamic, competitive and innovative ICT sector in our society?
And the stark reality is: "Spain is not a technological country, it is a service country". I think that the lapidary expression of Miguel de Unamuno, that “they invent it”, also applies to the IoT. But it is one thing not to invent and another is to become sellers of products, solutions or services of multinationals by all known.
We must use our ingenuity, talent, creativity, and customer orientation to design and develop quality, easy-to-use global IoT solutions.
If we are good sellers of foreign products, the language should be the problem. Our objective market should not be our City, our Community or our Country, our market must be the world.
Focus, Focus and Focus
I have insisted on many forums that in Spain we can not do everything on IoT. For example, we can be leaders in Smart Cities, but we will have little chance of success in Connected Cars, we must fight to find a gap in Industry 4.0 (also known as Industrial Internet or IIOT) but I fear we will not be number 1 in Wearables, although we could be innovative in Health services.
We must analyse our strengths and weaknesses to recognize where our opportunities are and what our threats are. Let us be references in our focus areas.
We know that there is not a single company in the world that can do everything in IoT, much less leading the IoT, so it is obvious that our companies and Startups have no other choice than to create or be part of reliable ecosystems and Collaborative projects in the focus areas to meet the challenges posed by IoT projects.
We must design new sustainable business models with our local partners, it is time to trust if we want to survive in this competitive and fragmented sector until the magic 2020.
It's time to real collaboration, put a logo on our presentations and our website is absurd if there is something else behind.
Given the size of IoT Spanish companies it is not possible to do everything and get it right.
We must specialize, whether manufacturing specific hardware, developing software or offering services in our focus areas.
To succeed in IoT, Spanish companies must be able to offer global and scalable solutions. We will need startup talent to focus on companies of a larger size than without giving up innovation and agility, being able to cope with large national and international IoT projects.
Expect to be outsourced by other subcontractors of a company that works for an end customer is not acceptable if we really want to change. It is a pending subject of our business model not only in technology, it is a deep-seated problem of corporate culture.
We should be able to have at least one unicorn in IoT. And I'm not talking about Telefonica, Banco Santander, BBVA, Iberdrola, Inditex, ACS, Ferrovial or Indra, but a company that provides a new IoTaaS model based on our strengths (which all or almost all know) Services and HW / SW IoT products from Spanish manufacturers. That is, we must think about having our Uber, Airbnb or why not our Spanish Tesla.
We must look for concentration of companies in the focus areas to achieve the size that allows the scalability that the IoT business needs.
Invest in Education and Training
The IoT is complex, although many try to make it simple. We will need many types of profiles and not just theoretical knowledge.
It is vital at both, the private and public levels, that the Public Administrations and Companies dedicate funds to continuously educate students and train employees in the IoT technologies.
“Investing now in IoT training will be key to ensuring a sustainable future for our companies, our country and our professionals.”
This advice goes to both Enterprises and Public Administrations.
In the case of Enterprises, it would be highly desirable to lose for once the fear of being the first to implement technology solutions. You must consider IoT a key element in the digitization process of your company.
Public Administrations, stop using your budgets as always, and think about investing in a more sustainable, intelligent and connected citizen.
To conclude, pulling on the proverb I think:
"We have the wicker, so we must have confidence that we can make a great basket in IoT".
You can read the Spanish version here.
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Thoughts ? Comments ?