IoT cloud platforms and smart devices create new opportunities for the development of applications to process, analyze and visualize data in real time, and at the same time use open protocols to integrate them with ERP systems – the backbone system environments of all big enterprises.
As the technology is rapidly evolving, companies are motivated to stay ahead of the curve by adopting an agile approach in prototyping their IoT architecture and offering proof-of-concept solutions. With this approach, they can tackle in advance all integration challenges mainly represented by communication protocols, scalability and security, enabling them to deploy instantaneously, bringing innovation at a speed never seen before. In the past, only few companies were using sensors to gather data in their businesses.
In the context of a constantly moving and developing technical and technological landscape, mobility is the key and primary driver for great achievements and for surpassing the competition.
By harnessing the latest trends, not only in terms of mobile hardware, but also in terms of mobile software development tools, we innovate and bring new tremendous value to processes within enterprises. This leads to a huge positive impact on time and cost efficiency.
For the first time in history, a larger proportion of the population is living in urban areas and the UN predicts that up to 80 percent of people will reside in cities by 20501 . While this trend poses major challenges, it offers limitless possibilities for creating future services that ensure a high-quality, sustainable way of life.
Internet of Things – a trend or a business necessity?
The use of sensors and other ‘things’ has recently increased their popularity, triggered by technology development towards the cloud, Wi-Fi, smart devices, web and mobile solutions.
A significant part of companies are already exploiting the technology and allocating larger budgets for IoT.
Capturing relevant data using sensors is cheaper and more accurate than it used to be at the time when people had to measure information manually, since human error can often lead to imprecise data.
Moreover, sensor implementation is advised due to great scalability. Human data collecting capacity is greatly surpassed by the volume of information delivered by IoT sensors.
For data analysis, both large corporations and open-source communities have created dedicated platforms. The difficulty does not lie in collecting the data anymore, but in processing the relevant data in an optimal and productive timeframe. To avoid Big Data issues, only relevant content is carefully processed. This can be a value outside the normal range, a warning or a trend that can predict a failure.
Companies can now fix problems before they occur, with the help of sensor data. Focusing on predictive analysis, a risk is detected in its early stages and a solution that fixes the problem can be implemented before the crash. The approach is cost effective, as it is much cheaper to fix only the malfunctioning part, avoiding the risk of a chain reaction of damages, and reducing the down-time of a service.
Mobility – a game changer for large corporations
During the recent years, one of BearingPoint’s significant challenges in terms of mobility practice also became one of our flagships for innovation, while bringing the concept of mobility in the enterprise business to a whole new level. This relates to one of our major clients, a global leading player in the elevators/escalators manufacturing and maintenance industry. Together with them, we have created a vision not just of ‘improving’, but of decisively changing the way they conduct their daily activity. By cross-linking technologies like mobility and IoT with existing SAP systems, we have built the backbone for a state-of-the-art real-life process optimization.
More than 20,000 technicians and workers all around the world are now using their mobile devices as part of their daily activity, as an indispensable and reliable item in their tool case. Administrative activities like daily reporting or time tracking, which were usually time consuming and required their physical presence at the headquarters, are now at their fingertips through their mobile device and can be managed remotely, on-site. Thanks to latest trends in hardware/software and communication protocols security, any paperwork related to approvals or invoicing services is now easily handled remotely from the smart devices.
Another advantage is that technicians don’t have to carry heavy printed manuals, documentations and schematics on site anymore, because they can download and preview all necessary documents by request, directly on the device. Spare parts for replacing damaged ones can now be ordered in advance directly via mobile and, by means of a seamless system integration, a dedicated service provides the technician with the requested spare part at the locations of the maintenance work.
As safety comes first, the emergency system for people that get stuck in elevators has now been significantly improved by reducing the intervention time due to permanent GPS tracking of every worker in the field – including those closest to the incident who might solve the issue without any delay.
But this is not all, when mobility meets IoT, the Predictive Maintenance Process becomes an essential tool because it is much more time and cost effective to prevent than to repair. Thus, by means of high-precision custom made sensors installed on the equipment (elevators and escalators parts), data is constantly being fed to analytical systems that can detect even the slightest changes in performance; alarms are automatically triggered in the backend when numbers go out of range for a specific equipment.
At the end of the day, adding all this together, the time and cost savings are tremendous and go hand in hand with an immense improvement in overall efficiency.
We use concepts like ‘The Internet of Things’, ‘Mobility’, ‘User Experience’ as the backbone of an approach that will change the world in the next decade and beyond.
Smart Cities & Connected Cars – the future of urban living and transportation
Some of the most pressing challenges cities are currently facing are related to efficient resource management, infrastructure and personal transportation. In order to cope with this challenge, BearingPoint is working together with key players from retail, telecommunications, banking and insurance, and with leading companies from the IoT field, aspiring to define and perfect the Smart City. We are also partnering with governments, payment providers, telematics and infotainment providers2 in order to advance technical and commercial innovations.
The growing percentage of the population migrating to cities requires a smarter way of managing the existing resources and companies are working on improving these processes through the use of predictive analysis combined with a smart grid of IoT sensors and big data, thus bringing us even closer to the true concept of smart cities. The common goal is innovation, cost effectiveness and sustainability.
An additional area which is strongly tied to the success of the Smart City, is to ensure an optimal usage of the existing infrastructure for both public and personal transportation, while considering the logistical needs of the cities. The fact that 80% of new vehicles are expected to be connected by 20203 is inspiring BearingPoint to thrive for facilitating the process of perfecting the Connected Car.
Multiple factors such as safer legislation, growing customer expectations, changing customer behavior as well as technological progress fuel the need for a better Connected Car. While the first wave of connected cars has focused on overcoming the significant challenges of delivering core connectivity for telematics services, such as emergency call, breakdown call, stolen vehicle tracking and teleservice, as well as enabling customers to connect remotely with their vehicles through a smartphone app, the future of the Connected Car lies in the ability to integrate perfectly with the Smart City. Strong partnerships and expertise in multiple areas, such as Connected Car architecture and technical design, customer experience and user interface design, market launches of digital services, digital service operations and support, Connected Car commercial models, telematics analytics, Connected Car data privacy and Connected Car commerce are required to facilitate progress.
The Smart City and Connected Car can benefit from a commerce platform, which enables OEMs and suppliers to deliver and bundle their services - packaging, selling and providing them to communities seamlessly. This platform covers the full customer journey using pre-integrated services and applications as a cloud service. It provides the market place to enable the seamless bundling of services for the customer from a community of partners, such as information, entertainment, telcos, insurance and automotive services companies, while maintaining separate billing, financial and profitability reporting. It also automates the complexity of different supplier charge models, thus being a unique and powerful asset in the world of connected services.
Driving innovation through the Digital Center of Excellence in Romania
In 1977, Ken Olsen, Founder of Digital Equipment Corp., said that ‘There is no reason why everyone should have a computer at home4.’ According to Christian Gurny, Country Leader BearingPoint Romania, ‘he was right, especially considering that Olsen emphasized on the home control operations in those days.’ In today´s world home control is fully integrated through smartphones or tablets, PC´s are unnecessary! Today’s connectivity and digitalization levels make us independent of any fixed hardware spoiling consumers with increasing expectations on usability and services. The pressure of finding the next game changer is tremendous; In the 80s, it was the Walkman, in the 90s, it was the LCD (Liquid-crystal display) and starting with 2000, it was the ‘iPod/iPhone/iPad’ that build the ground for changing the lifestyle of the global population. The corner stone for the next game changer will be a seamless, fast(er) and solid connectivity while increasing the comfort of the users worldwide.
According to him, this means 3 things: 1. improved 5G, 6G etc. connectivity, 2. to understand the client’s needs and 3. to influence the client’s behavior. The increasing digitalization creates the foundation for understanding the client to generate the demand and innovative solutions before even he or she is aware of them. Most companies and institutions have the data available. The challenge is the analytics, an area where industries and public institutions need to find the right tools, services and products to be able to generate growth in the next 10 – 20 years.
Looking at Romania, knowledge, tools and infrastructure are available for getting to the next level, but significant investments in innovation, infrastructure, grids, smart energy, etc. are still required. Politicians and people have to work together to boost entrepreneurship and support start-ups, by ensuring stability, a clear legislation, structure and a better absorption of EU funds.
We, at BearingPoint, have already started the journey and have established a Digital Center of Excellence in Romania, to drive innovation, entrepreneurial thinking and creativity.
1) UN – World Urbanization Prospect - Page 7, Paragraph http://esa.un.org/unpd/wup/Publications/Files/WUP2014-Highlights.pdf
2) Matthias Loebich – BearingPoint – Connected Car – Paragraph 5 - http://www.bearingpoint.com/en-us/offerings/your-industry/automotive/connected-car/
3) Matthias Loebich – BearingPoint – Connected Car – Paragraph 1 - http://www.bearingpoint.com/en-us/offerings/your-industry/automotive/connected-car/
4) P.R. Smith, Ze Zook, Marketing Communications: Offline and Online Integration, Engagement and Analytics,6th Edition (Kogan Page Limited, 2016), 23
CHRISTIAN Gurny, Country Leader, BearingPoint Romania
TUDOR A., Manager, BearingPoint Romania
NICU Z., Business Advisor, BearingPoint Romania
GABRIEL D., Senior Consultant, BearingPoint Romania
COSTIN T., Senior Technology Consultant, BearingPoint Romania
ANDREEA M., Illustrator, BearingPoint Romania