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IoT In Action: 5 Questions with Mika Rasinkangas, President, Chordant

Q1: How would you describe the current state of IoT?

It’s a mess! Everyone knows that it is fragmented and that you have as many opinions as you have people. It is also a hugely exciting space as you have so many people looking at it from different angles. IoT has been around for years now, but it is composed of many use cases and software tools to take advantage of the data. There are lots of different verticals with distinct development activities. There is no generally agreed one direction where things are going. It is widely accepted that there is quite a bit of value to be derived with the efficiencies of IoT that real time data can bring to services and use cases. Q2: Chordant recently spun out as an independent company to focus on offering a oneM2M standard data platform. How does this fit into a very crowded platform market? Chordant specializes in IoT data aggregation, sharing and monetization. When people talk about platforms, they tend to focus only on data aggregation and applications. Our technology uses the oneM2M standard. It is a key differentiator as it is not a proprietary solution where customers are locked into a single vendor forever, but ensures the open, standard-based ecosystem approach. Our complex technology infrastructure facilitates application development without the developer needing to understand all the underlying layers.

Data sharing is more than an open data portal. It means a controlled way to share any kind of data sets in real or non-real time. We see lots of value and strong interest from large companies who have the need to share data between different internal and external entities but do not have flexible means to do it. We then complement it with the data monetization capabilities to make the most of data assets for a compelling offer.

Q3: What is the most common thing that you are asked from companies trying to participate in connect their products and services? We deal a lot in the smart city space. People immediately tend to think that the customer is the city, but more often for us it is the large operators or city service providers. When you speak with the service companies it is all about efficiencies and using data in decision making. Take transportation. It is an old industry with some very experienced large companies in the ecosystem. The use of data is nascent, but these companies realize they can make things much more efficient and can back up their decisions with the use of right data.

The public sector side cares about efficiency, but also about economic development. If you can address these two topics you are solving a specific set of problems that makes the public sector dollar last longer for a big win. In some instances, it starts with simple data aggregation from many different legacy and new systems and sensors. You may also have third party mobile data or crowdsourced data. The power is in bringing it all together outside the individual silos for operational management and better decisions. This is where Chordant is solving customers’ problems.

Q4: What is the dumbest thing you have seen in the market lately? One of the dumbest things that we do internally is to describe Chordant as an IoT platform since we do much more than data aggregation. We are a broad operating environment for data. From a market view, public sector entities have well intentioned smart teams, but the procurement process tends to kill all sustainable innovation and scale. They mean well, but it is counterproductive to the results that they would like to achieve. Lots of smart people are handicapped by this process. Q5: What do the next 12 months look like for Chordant and for the IoT market?

For Chordant, we will see a major expansion as key customers are entering the execution stage. For the market, on one hand you have these giant companies where the IoT represents a small fraction of business. It is hard for them to justify the investment for the short-term potential return. They are not fully committed but they cannot let go either. Smaller, specialist companies with single use case solutions scale to a certain level but tend to be a silo of functionality. We will see how sustainable it is. Then you have the in between companies that are not deep specialists and not a large company. Difficult to see where they go.

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