Making the connection: boosting IoT through end-user engagement

Making the connection: boosting IoT through end-user engagement

KATANA spoke with Dr Srđan Krčo CEO of DunavNET, located in Novi Sad, Serbia, to learn more about the European IoT space. Read on to discover what’s new, what’s trending and how end-user engagement helps boost IoT.

A recent report from McKinsey & Company’s Global Institute finds that the market for IoT could reach $11 trillion by 2025.

To put that in perspective, total EU GDP was estimated to be €16.5 trillion in 2016.

The IoT era is ushering in a vast increase in the number and variety of Internet-connected devices. Personal smart devices, guidance and control systems, drones, smart labels, and different types of sensors pervade our work and daily life.

Companies have a great deal to gain from the much-hyped IoT.  Business leaders who tackle obstacles to implementing these systems and who invest in new capabilities early stand to gain the most from building competitive advantages, write James Manyika and Michael Chui in Fortune.

But realizing the full potential of linking the physical and digital worlds will require continuous innovation in business models and technology, as well as extensive know-how in end-user engagement.

Getting it right the first time

Harnessing the power of IoT requires a user-centered process that combines multidisciplinary expertise in a variety of social and economic areas. “Anyone who fails to properly involve users in the development and design of IoT enabled solutions, can end up with a product that doesn’t align with end-user and their societal, ecological, and ethical expectations,” explains Dr Krčo.

In 2017, the EC H2020 programme commissioned five large scale projects under the IoT programme, covering smart cities, self-driving cars, wearable technology for entertainment, innovations in farming and ensuring high quality of life in old age. The U4IoT project aims to help the large scale pilots engage with their end-users.

Moreover, it will enable Europe to take the lead in IoT user and market adoption, by supporting legal framework, user engagement, design, technical synergies, economic impact. It will tackle the barriers to IoT adoption, including educational needs, and skill building.

Unlocking the business potential with smart tags

Coordinated by DunavNET, H2020 TagItSmart is set out to change the way mass-market products are tracked and monitored. As Dr Krčo explains, the goal is to connect mass-market products with the digital world, by using context sensitive, printable QR codes. These smart tags act as sensors for temperature, light or humidity. Once attached to a product, e.g. a milk cartoon, beer crate, etc. these tags are able to convey vital information on the environment and the context of the product throughout its lifetime.

According to Dr Krčo, these smart tags will be the basis for a number of novel use cases enabling industry to transform their business models and offer new services to users, including, but not limited to lifecycle management/recycling, brand protection, home devices, dynamic pricing.

“We want to let mass-market products speak for themselves and use that information to build new services,” says Dr Krčo.

Privacy and security

One of the most vexing challenges companies that hope to capitalize on the IoT market currently face is protecting end-user data. A range of IoT based sensors and systems depend on access to data – those of the end-user that creates it, or of the company whose hardware collects it, even the software business that processes it, and all of them may want to claim their rights over it. Dr Krčo is confident that at the heart of building trust in IoT is open communication and transparency with end-users on how their data is used, protected, and controlled. Moreover, end-users must be assured that their data is collected, stored and used without jeopardizing their privacy and that they gain adequate benefits for providing data.

DunavNET is a research-intensive SME developing turnkey IoT solutions in smart city, smart manufacturing and smart agriculture domains. To learn more about the company visit dunavnet.eu, or follow @dunavNET on Twitter.

[This article is a part of our weekly series ‘Future trends’]

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