Libelium CEO talks Smart Cities and Smart Agriculture markets….
Alicia Asín is CEO of Libelium, which designs and manufactures hardware for wireless sensor networks for the Internet of Things market, with commercial deployments as varied as parking, traffic congestion, environmental monitoring, and precision agriculture. IoTWorldNews talked with Alica about calm Koalas, and the exciting potential of the Smart Cities and Smart Agriculture markets.
IoTWN: Hi Alicia, it’s a pleasure to meet you ! Libelium were quite an early mover in the Internet of Thing market. What first attracted you to the space?
We started Libelium in 2006 with my co-founder David Gascón, (CTO). Although the IoT was not well known, we saw there was an opportunity for wireless sensor networks. We recognized that M2M and the IoT would need an open source hardware platform to enable the market – and it had to be horizontal and modular. Over the years we have kept that focus and now we have a universal platform that enables the Internet of Things.
IoTWN: Libelium are an interesting company because they are active in many IoT verticals. For you, what are the most important IoT verticals in the near term, and why?
The verticals that stand out in the near term are Smart Agriculture, or precision agriculture, and Smart Cities – they seem to have the most traction and are dynamic. When the business case is clear, the projects can progress quite rapidly. Funding and financing of these two verticals can be quite different, however. Agriculture is privately funded, while municipalities are working with public money; but in both cases the ROI has to be clear. Retail is also another vertical with traction in the near term.
IoTWN: And looking further ahead, which verticals do you feel have the best long term potential?
Smart Cities have a lot of long term potential, but there are many stakeholders involved in the decision-making. There are citizens to think of! Infrastructure projects, such as roads, transport, bridges and of course management of water resources are very promising too.
IoTWN : And given the diversity of your deployments, what is the most novel IoT service that Libelium have been involved in setting up?
There are a few cases that are quite surprising, such as tracking stress levels of koalas in Australia, or having our technology deployed in the first privately funding nano-satellite launched into space, monitoring vineyards in traditional wine-making industries, or detecting airborne radiation in Fukushima.
IoTWN : So it seems we have massive market potential here, but what challenges do you think the IoT market need to overcome in the next three years to really achieve its promise?
The IoT market is still very fragmented today. From our view, we see revenue coming from many different verticals, with lots of interest from many, but still no clear-cut industry leading the way.
Challenges include funding and finance; also privacy, security and data liability. These are important issues, and so is the question of interoperability and standards. If the IoT is a new connectivity channel, there will be many new opportunities for partnerships with companies that can bring new services to network customers, as in the case of telcos and mobile network operators. At the moment, the market is noisy and overhyped in a sense, with the Consumer IoT wave overlapping the Industrial IoT. And, in the case of Smart Cities, citizens must have their say, and they will want transparency.
IoTWN: Thank you Alicia ! We’ll look forward to seeing you again in Palo Alto for the show in June !