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Internet of Things: Have We Passed the Tipping Point?

Sogeti Labs
October 03, 2013

BVpeW6LIMAAWaalOn October 3 and 4, the Sogeti Executive Summit 2013 was held in the Amstel Hotel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. At ten crowded round tables some one hundred executive representatives of Sogeti’s most important clients from all kinds of industries are gathered together to immerse themselves in the topic of digital ‘Things’ in a broad sense. After Luc Francois Salvador, CEO Sogeti Group, and Hans van Waayenburg, COO Sogeti Group, had given their welcome address, Michiel Boreel, CTO Sogeti Group and the ‘Godfather’ of Sogeti’s VINTlabs, introduced the notion of ‘Things.’ Thanks to continuing advancements in technology, we are rapidly building a so-called Internet of Things where people, process, data and objects are becoming interconnected in an intelligent way. In his stage-setting keynote address Menno van Doorn, Director of VINTlabs, explained how the Internet of Things is all about the consumer side and the industrial side of smart and connected cyber-physical systems that are part of tangible man-made artifacts. How exactly we will leverage this link between our physical world of things and the digital world of data remains to be seen. The first relevant question simply is: ‘have we passed the tipping point?’ To get a clue from the audience, the following poll was held, the percentages being the results: Regarding the Internet of Things, my organization is:

  • 19%        Not doing anything
  • 10%        An interested bystander, following developments carefully
  • 52%        Conducting limited experiments
  • 16%        Doing significant investments
  • 3%           Considering it as part of business as usual
Then, the first two speakers took the stage: Steve Mills of IBM (his view being: ‘The Future Is the Internet of Things, and It’s Already Here’) and Sarah Rotman Epps of Forrester Research (her view: ‘There Is No Internet of Things – Yet, but opportunities already are exploited and it’s coming in many different flavours)’. Being fed with the insights from Steve and Sarah, five tables were invited to develop arguments for a board of executives to aggressively invest in the Internet of Things. The other five were asked to argue in favour of being conservative and prudent instead. Pierre Hessler, Capgemini Fellow and Chairman’s Delegate, started investigating some of the arguments against investing heavily. These included: privacy issues, low technology maturity, joblessness, an ROI problem in low-margin industries, integrity and confidentiality breaches, security problems, lack of standards, and data overload. Group CTO Michiel Boreel collected the arguments in favour, being: the potential huge savings of predictive and preventive maintenance coupled with business processes, significantly lower operating expenses, opportunities in mobile commerce, customer centricity, operational excellence, value chain competetiveness, and the government orders you to do so, for instance in the case of waste management. Conclusion: the discussion is still open and concrete business cases should be figured out. It was exactly what Sarah Rotman Epps hinted at based on the enthusiastic evidence that Steve Mills had given.

About the author

SogetiLabs gathers distinguished technology leaders from around the Sogeti world. It is an initiative explaining not how IT works, but what IT means for business.


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