February 13, 2019

Making The World Smarter Takes Time And Focus

Making the world smarter needs a “Think big, start small” mindset

At Tele2 IoT we are busy orchestrating a smarter world as we believe a smarter world is a better world. The world will be really smart when access to previously inaccessible and seemingly unrelated information is used to address both known and unknown needs.

Our customers and partners are busy as well, developing, launching and operating IoT solutions that are the enablers of this smarter world, consisting of a lot of “smart” concepts, e.g. smart homes, smart buildings, smart cities, etc.

But maybe we are trying too hard to be smart on a large scale? Two news stories the previous week remind us about the need to “Think big, start small”. On the one hand, we learnt that the Swedish government has decided that a national ticketing system for public transport is to be implemented in three years. On the other hand, we learnt later in the week that a national train traffic management system that was supposed to be finished this year, will be delayed another eleven (11!) years. Whereas the latter assumes a replacement of three current systems, the former assumes 20+ public and private regional public transport companies to arrive at a technical solution and pricing structure that will work across regions and modes of transport.

Time and time again we see that IoT projects that focus on improving efficiency and productivity in existing processes in a well-defined and controlled environment are more successful than the ones that try to realize a grand vision of something completely new to generate unknown revenues.

Still, to be able to achieve that grand vision you need to think ahead when you start small. To achieve that smart city you need to have smart buildings. To make buildings smart you need a way for systems and people within a building to interact. In all layers of the pyramid of smartness the principles of sharable data and platforms that enable communication in between function systems must apply. The same principles that can be seen in a standardised cellular network, and a smartphone with its app ecosystem, can be applied within the smart building and the smart city.

And, it’s the same with a smart ticketing system. By taking first a local and then regional perspective, six owners and nine public transport companies around Stockholm have joined together and realized seamless ticketing and travelling within the region. The foundation for this is a well-defined commercial agreement on co-operation principles, business models and pricing within a clearly defined geographical and technical (train & bus) system. Based on that, a ticketing system has been established that can be scaled to include an expanded geography and more transport operators. It remains to be seen if the same principles will be applied to realise the government’s three-year plan, but from an IoT perspective the learnings should be obvious.

To increase the scope of smartness you need to crawl before you can walk; make sure that the data sharing principles are solid in a controlled environment with a limited number of commercial and technical stakeholders before scaling in any functional dimension.

If you would like to learn more about how IoT can help your business, please get in touch.

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