How Might IoT and Data Sharing Lower Data Center Cost?

This is the last of my series of blogs based upon the workshop we ran at the Kolding Solutions Center entitled “24 Hours Putting the Internet of Things Under the Microscope.” In the interests of representing the full scope of the discussion as well as the diverse backgrounds of the people that attended, I thought you may be interested in some of the thoughts from marketing.

Andreas B Iversen works at In2media, an independent digital agency founded in 1994, Copenhagen, Denmark. The agency describes itself as digital pioneers. It has always been working with technology and since inception, it has been inspired by the many possibilities the internet has created for both businesses and users. When it comes to introducing new technologies, In2Media has strong credentials and experience.  Digital Marketing 2

“We work with a lot of different industries optimizing the way they interact with their customers and employees – we have digital tools in that area to help them,” said Andreas. “Our company was one of those behind the concept of Mobile Pay, just to mention one example”.

You read more about Mobile Pay in my blog “Trifork’s Five Step Approach for Successful Application Development in the IoT Age.” It describes the journey which the company’s CEO took to develop and deliver a mobile payment App for Danske Bank. The product has been rapidly assimilated and already has in excess of 2.5m users.

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I asked Andreas to talk a little about the work and thinking which the group he led did during the workshop, especially as it related to Schneider Electric and our software solutions for the data center industry: “We started out by focusing on the core business around data centers,” he said. “Then, how can we tap into the optimization of data centers. And then move into the next layers of Schneider Electric’s customers’ every day businesses.”

These days, there is a lot of instrumentation in data centers, as well as information that can be drawn from places such, e.g., Intel microprocessors: “There is a lot of operational data already in place which can be shared,” said Andreas. “When one data center shares and then another data center shares, they can start benchmarking and really start finding out how they are performing.”

Andreas and his group suggested that this could be a job for Schneider Electric, which he says could provide that information for free. At the same, if the customer wanted some consultancy or some services in order to help them optimize their data center, that could be provided as a paid service.

“In terms of data and analyzing data, you can have some predictability,” he continued. That’s something that is dear to my heart, if you read my blog about predictive maintenance for data centers. Andreas said: “You could say, this data center had something go wrong – we can help make sure it doesn’t go wrong for you too. You provide a subscription model for predictive services; you could send out technicians to the site before the breakdown happens!”

One of In2Media’s strengths is being able to help strengthen the relations between clients and users. In their view strategy, concept, content, technology and process should all come together in a unified form. Their starting point is insights and understanding for the needs of both clients and users. So he’s keen to see how new business models could develop which present savings for the user, but generate income for the service provider.

“In terms of efficiency,” Andreas speculated, “We could take a percentage of savings. If you don’t make savings, you don’t pay us anything. It’s a shared risk, but If it helps the customer get lower cost of ownership, they’re (end customer and service provider) both happy.”

And you can’t ignore professional rivalry being leveraged to benefit a whole industry: “Making the data public and getting access puts on peer pressure. You want to perform at least as well as your peers. The group could start to build a dialog about how to optimise. You also create the possibility of third party developers creating even better tools or plug-ins.”

This ties in well with the thinking of other participants in the workshop, when they suggested that gamification could be a great way to engage the data center industry. But is doesn’t have to stop there. As Andreas said: “Once we find a model that will work to optimize data centers, you can take it into other industries with a little adaptation. Schneider has a one hundred year’s legacy working with energy it provides trust and a huge potential to broaden out into other industries.”

On the whole, I felt that “24 Hours Putting the Internet of Things Under the Microscope” has been an interesting exercise and I feel privileged to have gotten insight from so many smart people in a single room. As you can imagine, there is no shortage of ideas in large organisations like Schneider Electric. However, the objectivity of people from outside our industry and without our immediate sphere of experience is to be greatly prized. I will keep you abreast of developments leading from the event, but in the meantime, if you have questions or want to know more, please leave me a comment below.

Happy Christmas – and my best wishes for 2016!

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