Excerpt from the Office Automation IoT Special - Number 12, december 2015.
Internet of Things. In 2015 it was the major ICT innovation topic of the year, even though it has already been debated for some time now. Never, however, as in the past twelve months, has the topic attracted such wide interest and curiosity from potential corporate users of these applications and from those industry players who, being able to rely on certain specific experience in particular vertical areas, wanted to understand how it could be possible to combine this new technological paradigm with their business.
So, after twelve months of fervent activity on the part of the various promoters of the Internet of Things, it is worthwhile trying to understand whether the state of the art has taken concrete implementation steps. For this reason we decided to open the pages of our magazine to a diverse set of players that currently operate on the Italian market with an offer oriented to the Internet of Things. From large international technology players to systems integrators operating nationwide, from start-ups specialising in the topic to suppliers specialising in certain niches that have decided to upgrade their solutions according to the IoT rationale.
All respondents also provided, along with their opinions on the value of this nascent market, a detailed positioning of their offer, enabling the reader to immediately get an idea of just how articulated and complex the topic of IoT is.
But in addition to requesting an assessment of how potential Italian customers of the Internet of Things, companies and general governments, are moving on this issue, we also wanted to briefly address the complex issue of skills, in the belief that the deployment of IoT projects is central to giving 'life' to this new technology and that to do this it will be necessary to involve the channel of existing ICT operators and/or think of building a new one, not necessarily alternative to each other. This, in our opinion, is the real challenge that anyone currently proposing the Internet of Things to the Italian market will need to address in 2016. Below, therefore, are the three questions we posed to our interviewees and, in the following pages, the answers we received. Hope you enjoy reading them! (r.v.)
What is the current scenario of the Internet of Things in Italy and in Europe/worldwide. Based on your experience, how do you judge the interest on this issue of customers in this country and abroad?
The interest of Italian companies, in our experience, reflects the trend emerging from the market analysis and the data provided annually by the Internet of Things Observatory of the Politecnico di Milano, to which our company contributes every year. In particular, we note an increase in the utilities sector with smart metering and smart grid solutions. Above all, with regard to the energy and smart grid sector, in 2015 there was a shift from experimental projects limited to small geographic areas to the first Italian project on a regional scale called "Puglia Active Network".
Also in foreign markets, with different approaches depending on the country, there is great interest in the gas and energy market segments, with particular emphasis in the smart grid sector. Again abroad, moreover, the large multinational corporations are increasingly investing in 'custom solutions' designed to provide their hardware with a device with the main connectivity solutions (LTE and VDLS in particular), for which they make recourse to networking companies such as Tiesse, able to provide 'up-to-date' connectivity over time that works worldwide, combined with the flexibility of those who are present on this market in an organic and competitive manner.
In the context of such a vast topic as that of the Internet of Things, what is the position of your offer, and which are your main technological partnerships in this area?
Tiesse designs and manufactures entirely in Italy routers and M2M devices with traditional wired and mobile connectivity. We invest resources and means in research and development and are ready for the challenges of the new network technologies, an enabling and irrenounceable factor of IoT scenarios. Our products meet the demands of low latency, low power consumption, security, transmission flexibility in real-time, critical traffic priority and specific functionalities depending on the application solution. We work closely with all the leading chip sets for LTE mobile networks to develop the best possible solution, increasing price competitiveness. Before release on the market, our products are tested and validated by the laboratories of TELCO operators and by accredited component and system testing and certification laboratories.
The products in the Tiesse catalogue, in terms of everything expressed above, are high quality, usable worldwide and very competitive. Thanks to these characteristics, Tiesse, by virtue of its prestigious customers on the domestic market, has launched an internationalisation project, with priority in the USA, China and Japan, for distribution of the products in its catalogue, and intensified the focus on 'custom' projects and solutions, where a number of large international projects are already in the roll-out phase.
Compared to the traditional operators in the ICT channel, what is the impact of the Internet of Things in terms of the reseller/systems integrator profile? Is it sufficient to update their skills or is it necessary to broaden the horizon, involving other types of partners that are currently outside the ICT world?
The Internet of Things currently involves a steadily increasing market, both in financial as well as data volume terms, and there is an increasing number of companies with a non-ICT vocation that are structuring themselves with internal divisions dedicated IoT. Scenarios in which the role of the services and solutions aggregator is becoming increasingly important.
A channel is developing in which the roles of the different players - distributors, resellers, systems integrators and vendors - are more integrated and in which skills and the ability to aggregate will be success factors.
The situation is different for 'custom solutions' for which, as is always the case for components, as for example in the automotive industry, large corporations seek a direct and totally confidential relationship with networking companies large enough to ensure full competence in all the associated technologies, deriving from a consolidated 'installed base' at customers with large mission-critical networks, and small enough to be interested and reliable in ensuring a medium/long term relationship.