CEO of Vodafone IoT discussed how IoT technology will have a huge impact on the enterprise sector

Data is the reason that IoT is becoming central to businesses – but customers have not yet realised the value it can bring, according to Stefano Gastaut, CEO at Vodafone IoT.

Speaking at Total Telecom Congress, Gastaut said that today is the right time to launch IoT services and the technology is all there – but what is lacking is demand.

“The reason that IoT is becoming really central to businesses is not because of IoT in itself but because if you think that the new gold is data, you have three things to do with data – you capture it, and IoT is able to do that, you need to store it somewhere and the cloud is now accessible for that and you need to process the data and this is where AI and computing power helps,” he said. “So, today is really the right time for development as the three technologies are lining up and becoming accessible. The challenge is that – and we see this with large customers, as well as SMEs – the idea that data can transform the way you do business is something that is only clear to two percent of customers. That is why the take up so far is not as fast as we would like.”

Gastaut was joined on the panel – titled ‘The telco’s essential role in the IoT future’ – by Richard Cornish, Head of IoT Solutions at Telefonica, and Eric Torres, Business Operations and Solution Engineering Head at TCTS.

Cornish agreed that data was the key to harnessing the IoT.

 “The majority of telco businesses are focused on IoT but IoT is not about things, it’s about data,” he said. “In my current role, I am trying to adjust business to look more at the value it can provide in the data ecosystem. So, if data is the new gold, as a consumer or as an enterprise, where is my bank account for that data, where can I safely store my data and trade it for better value and service? At Telefonica we want to enable that for our enterprise customers but also for consumers.”

Despite the value data could bring to telcos, Torres highlighted concerns around security, stating that consumers are more worried about the security of their data than the security of their devices.

This was an issue that all three panellists agreed must be resolved, with Cornish seeing telcos as having the opportunity to become data champions.

“Data is generated in devices, on networks and in applications, so there are egress points for being able to touch the data and that is key,” he concluded. “Therefore, the real opportunity for monetization is your right to process and manage data so having the tools, capabilities and trust of consumers.”