10.05.2023 IT FarvesTalks IOT Tech

Making sense of IoT with Nigel Licops

Writer Samira Joineau
nigel licops iot luxembourg

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a rapidly growing field, affecting the way we live and work. It has the potential to revolutionize industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, or agriculture. The numerous benefits of IoT inevitably come with challenges, such as security and privacy concerns for instance. 

Farvest IT had a talk with Nigel Licops, IoT Connectivity Consulting Services CEO, to understand IoT and how it is deployed in Luxembourg.

The Internet of Things (IoT) represents a major growing trend in the IT sector, notably for its efficiency when it comes to changing the way we live and work. Could you recall what IoT is, and how it works?

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a network of physical objects or “things” embedded with sensors, software, and connectivity capabilities that enable them to collect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the internet. These objects can include anything from household appliances, vehicles, and industrial equipment to wearable devices, smart homes, and entire cities. The IoT is designed to make our lives more efficient, productive, and convenient by allowing us to automate tasks, monitor and control systems remotely, and access real-time data from anywhere, at any time.

IoT also includes technologies which are known as Machine-to-Machine (M2M). The term M2M became popular more than 20 years ago, M2M refers to the direct communication between two or more devices or machines, without the need for human intervention or interaction. M2M technology enables devices to exchange data and information automatically, allowing for seamless communication and coordination between machines. Wireless technologies are continuously evolving to enable more types of devices on the network and an increasing number of IoT Solutions to come to life.

Where does Luxembourg stand in terms of implementing IoT at national scale? 

Luxembourg has understood for a number of years that it has to become a high tech country in order to stand out in Europe and worldwide. There are numerous initiatives. They are pushing IoT and want to become in the coming years a “smart nation”. Back in 2017, Luxembourg launched the Digital Luxembourg Initiative – aiming to promote digital transformation and innovation across all sectors of the economy – which IoT is of course part of. 

Besides, Luxembourg is showing real support to ensure upcoming and future big actors are based in the country. There are many IoT initiatives in Luxembourg. Most major companies in Luxembourg are using IoT Technologies in a way or another.  

For instance, POST Luxembourg is providing connectivity to around 3 million IoT and M2M devices spread in the whole world. The type of devices are various from connected cars, POS, smart meters, and much more. It is not very known, but there is also a sigfox network which is covering the whole country. The city of Luxembourg has also deployed a network to connect buses and bus stops. There are indeed many projects in Luxembourg. Not only is it good to sell IoT solutions in Luxembourg, but being able to sell the solutions abroad makes your market exponential.

Can you share some real-world examples of how businesses have successfully leveraged IoT to improve their operations or create new business models?

IoT has been used by several businesses across various industries to improve their operations and create new business models.

Here are some real-world examples:

  • Connected Cars: IoT technology is used in connected cars to provide real-time data on fuel consumption, vehicle performance, and driving habits. This data can be used by car manufacturers to improve vehicle design, and by insurance companies to offer personalized pricing based on driving habits. This also provides connected navigation providing real-time traffic information to avoid traffic jams;

  • Logistics: IoT technology can be used to track the movement of goods, optimize delivery routes, and improve inventory management. For example, DHL uses IoT-enabled sensors to track the location and condition of packages in real-time;

  • Point of Sale (POS) and payment systems have been using IoT Technology for a number of years to spread remote payment almost anywhere;

  • Smart metering is another example of how IoT technology is being used in the real world. Smart meters are digital devices that are used to measure and record energy consumption in real-time. They are connected using the wireless network, allowing energy providers to collect and analyze data on energy usage and provide more accurate billing and forecasting.

And many more examples exist.

What are some of the ethical considerations that need to be taken into consideration while implementing IoT solutions?

It is an interesting point, as we talk more and more about ethics when it comes to technology. IoT solutions collect an important amount of data, coming from cars, motorcycles, homes, devices, among others. As they collect lots of data, it is hence essential for providers/integrators to scope and to ensure data privacy when designing such IoT solutions. 

On top of privacy, transparency is also very important. Providers and integrators need to be transparent with IoT product users on which data are collected, and for which purpose. This is part of security, and hence is required to build trust. 

Using IoT in order to improve the process or the efficiency, an important thing to include is the calculation of the carbon footprint of the IoT solution itself. The latter is indeed a connected object, using a wireless network relying on cloud services. As we speak, there are 3 billion connected objects on the wireless networks worldwide. And this figure is about to double from now to 2026. Meaning that these devices will inevitably impact global carbon footprint. So it is important to consider the carbon footprint when designing an IoT solution, as it is meant to last for years. 

There are multiple emerging trends in IoT, such as edge computing, 5G networks, or AI. How are they likely to shape the future of IoT?

The emerging trends in IoT, such as edge computing, 5G networks, and AI, are likely to have a significant impact on the future of IoT. Here’s how:

Edge computing: Edge computing involves processing data locally at the edge of the network, rather than sending it to a centralized data center for processing. This approach can improve the performance and efficiency of IoT systems, as it reduces the latency and bandwidth requirements of data transmission.

5G networks: 5G networks provide high-speed connectivity and low latency, which are essential for supporting IoT applications that require real-time data processing and control. 5G networks can also enable the deployment of IoT systems in remote or hard-to-reach locations, as they can support low-power, low-bandwidth devices that can operate for long periods on a single battery charge.

AI: AI technologies, such as machine learning and natural language processing, can help to extract insights from the vast amounts of data generated by IoT devices. AI can also enable predictive maintenance and real-time anomaly detection, improving the reliability and efficiency of IoT systems.

Overall, these emerging trends in IoT are likely to drive innovation and enable new applications and use cases.