IoT and Digital Transformation Need to Focus on Value NOT Money

Event-Driven Applications

Welcome to the VANTIQ Q&A Blog Series, where we bring the top IoT, real-time business, event-driven architecture and digital transformation thought leaders and ask the questions you want the answers to.

We are excited to have Rob van Kranenburg from the IoT World Congress joining us today, you can find and connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Rob van Kranenburg has spent a number of years as an Ambassador to the IoT World Congress, most notably as the founder of the IoT Council and IoTDay. In recent years Rob has also been asked to join the Jury TestBeds and the IoT Solutions Awards panel. Being an integral member of the IoT Council, Rob enjoys being a vendor neutral player in the IoT space and says “it is amazing to see the scope and depth of IoT ecosystems taking over every activity imaginable. We cannot leave the entire world running on the cloud and use algorithms from a handful of companies that are only focused on shareholder value. We must build IoT ecosystems that care not for money but for value. We need full resource management to mitigate climate change, inform ethical decision making, aid in long-term thinking, and better care for people, animals, machines and the planet.”

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

When it comes to smart cities, what challenges are you seeing? Do you see these challenges affecting other industries?

The main challenge is that we do not seem to really want it. This is quite logical as the industry and governments are currently in the business of scaring everyone.

In my view IoT is the best supporting toolkit for me (health), us (resources and knowledge) and the planet (full resource management as the only mitigation against climate change).

Yet, for 99.9% of companies it is all about control.

IoT should have happened in the sixties when love, peace, and trust were the key themes driving society.

Now the key themes are insecurity, safety, and fear.

Who is going to distribute themselves into an environment they are constantly being told they cannot trust?

The main challenge is we lack a progressive positive story on this technology.

I recently learned of a novel by Margaret Pierce that perfectly describes this utopia I envision. In the book it is called a ‘kenner’, all citizens have it and instead of being an instrument of control, it is a companion, a learning and supporting tool. The book portrays an open source village and a high-tech apparatus that is being used solely for peaceful purposes.

This utopia (very near reality), is a balance of the centralization of resources and enablers, and the decentralization of services. All data stays with the people and they expose themselves as attribute-based identities asking for services in a vendor relation management framework.

In order for people to begin to trust this technology and start to embrace it, we need to put the emphasis back on the person just like in Margaret Pierce’s novel.


What will be the most impactful use cases for AI and machine learning in the next five years?

Society itself (including you and me).

Currently our online identities are giving us individual pricing for any good or service based on fully commercialized algorithms. Think full dynamic pricing on any good, any service, enabled by item-level tagging, and ubiquitous visual recognition; leading to individual and dynamic pricing in everyday shopping. Public identity frameworks will become vital if we want to enable this vision to become a reality.

Picture a supermarket without fixed prices, coming to you in under five years.

Add this as one more reason to demand a new governance structure for society, away from parties and politicians. Decision making needs to be tuned to reality.

What predictions do you have for your industry? How do you see real-time event-driven architecture playing into them?

My industry, at the moment, is society, run like a business in several models across the globe. If we do not get society running on real-time data streams, we will face massive unrest and event societal breakdown.

I received an invitation (as founder of one of the largest IoT networks) to talk about IoT at Transformational Technologies #4: Implications for an Expanding Threat Environment. In the afternoon five breakout groups (senior intelligence, police/military, SOCA, CIA, MI6, Homeland Security, etc) came back with five scenarios of major threats: one was military, two were about DIY Bio, and two were about the ‘total breakdown of society’, because of the inability of current institutions to effectively deal with and embrace digital transformation.

It was quite crazy to see my own breakdown scenario of 2005 played back by these institutional analysts.

Is there anything else you are working on related to IoT/digital transformation that you want to mention?

Here at the IoT Solutions World Congress we run many Side Events focused on proposing solutions to bring back value that is now solely in the hands of the big tech giants as well as building new value on top of new infrastructures such as 5G.

A recent achievement of Andrea Servida and his team is the creation of the eIDAS (a set of standards for electronic Identification and Trust Services for Electronic Transactions in the European market), a digital signature for citizens. We plan to extend this to Digital Signatures for Services (banking, payment, energy, education, mobility, etc) and Digital Signatures for Architectures (virtual and analog enablers of connectivity). Eventually, our goal is to embed these signatures for people, services and architectures into a sustainable framework for access and identity.

That’s it for this VANTIQ Q&A, don’t forget to check out Rob van Kranenburg on Twitter and LinkedIn.


This year’s 4th edition of IOTSWC (IoT Solutions World Congress, 29-31/10/2019) – the global reference for industrial IoT and the annual meeting for industry stakeholders to establish new partnerships – will bring together the world’s leading suppliers of IoT, artificial intelligence and blockchain solutions, i.e. in beautiful Barcelona. For more information please click here.

Got someone in mind who is leading the charge when it comes to digital transformation? Are you that person? We would love to learn more about what thought-leaders in the IoT industry are doing to solve the challenges of today and share that expertise with our readers. Reach out to the editor at: [email protected] for more information.

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