RiskTech Forum

SAS: The Internet of Things is wasted without risk-taking

Posted: 1 February 2016  |  Author: Oscar Lindqvist  |  Source: SAS


The true potential of Internet of Things will never be seized if it is merely used for improving the efficiency of existing business operations. The expectation is typically that an external service provider provides IoT as a package solution for improving the efficiency of their business.

While Finnish companies have extensive experience in data collection, the Internet of Things is not only about monitoring everything. The value and significance of data can only be discovered through analysis. The tricky, and simultaneously fun, part of the process is that it is difficult to predict the result before actually collecting the data.

This is exactly what is holding back the development of IoT today. During financially challenging times, companies are weary of investing, looking for profit for every euro spent.

Productive data analysis requires an open mind. While it is undoubtedly important to improve business efficiency and utilise data for maximising profitability, the greatest innovations are typically born out of business opportunities created in completely new markets or sectors. The most lucrative jackpots are ideas that cannot be foreseen before data analysis.

Let us discuss a few examples. Elevator companies provide services to large masses of people on a daily basis, which means they possess a large amount of data on the movements of their users. This data could be utilised in planning parking facilities, developing restaurant services or ensuring security. Another example could be a crane company with a hundred active cranes operating in the middle of a large city. This gives such a company a unique perspective on the city. The company could use the cranes, for example, for collecting data for traffic control purposes. The possibilities are endless.

Or maybe there are no possibilities. After all, you can never be certain of the results. In the academic world, not many researchers are able to achieve significant results. However, the few breakthroughs make it worthwhile to finance basic research. A publisher knows that ten publications can be published at a loss, as long as there is one hit to balance the losses.

It is certain, however, that if the opportunities are not explored, many innovations are never born. Large American corporations have a lot more liquidity to spend on finding those gold nuggets than Finnish companies do. For companies of this size, investing in data analysis is a much smaller risk than for Finnish medium-sized companies. Nevertheless, we cannot be lulled into maintaining the status quo. Creating new sectors, companies, services and jobs requires risk taking.

Utilising the Internet of Things in a way that supports and creates business is not an easy feat, which is why many companies are looking outside for assistance. We need a bridge between business and IT. Advice should be heeded right from the start. Other useful sources for ideas can be found in the experiences of others and by reading articles on the topic.