Working in the fields of machinery and logistics for many years, Bechtle IT systems home Stefan Schweiger first became acquainted with the Internet of Things in 2017, in a project that transformed a ‘product company’ into a ‘digital service provider’ after installing IoT sensors in each product. “I saw the transparency that the IoT can provide and the great potential of this technology for business,” says Schweiger. “Since then, IoT technology has evolved even more and will change many industries. IoT will become a commodity and a” must have “in every segment and if you think about artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain, you should also think for IoT. ”

Why are some companies struggling with the spread of IoT?
IoT is a real challenge and a very complex topic where companies have to master different areas. Has electromechanics, transmission and connection technologies, expertise and analytics in cloud and storage. Everyone wants to have more knowledge, but they need to guarantee a steady flow of data. Companies rely on physical products, such as sensors, and they need to know how to manage them once they are installed. Security is a critical issue to be addressed and, because of the scale, most companies are left alone. It is an organizational challenge. The need for IoT is often generated and seen by business, but IT departments need to integrate it into their current IT architecture or adapt it due to higher data generation.

How can Bechtle support customers on their IoT journey?
Bechtle is known for providing its customers with hardware and IT infrastructure (cloud, local, knowledge and related services). But in 2020, he decided to invest heavily in the IoT as demand increased. In the DACH region (Austria, Germany and Switzerland) we now have over 80 people concentrated in the IoT. We have expertise in digital product development, expertise in hardware and connectivity, and we have a unit related to analytics. As one of the few players in the market, we can combine IoT knowledge with the power of an in-house IT systems. We cover all aspects when clients want to implement and scale an IoT solution.

In the IoT lifecycle, many companies are left alone when it comes to deployment, management and deactivation, but our role is the ‘one stop shop’ for IoT solutions. This reduces the complexity for customers and helps them work with a supplier.

How is Bechtle using Microsoft’s IoT product suite?
We are a strong partner of Microsoft and a leader for IoT platforms. Almost all of our people are of Microsoft descent and use Microsoft technology. In addition to our ability to work with Microsoft IoT products, we are a good partner for project scaling. We work with clients on the physical side of IoT projects and know how to link data generated to Microsoft IoT products. This is a perfect partnership. I personally like Microsoft’s focus on IoT and the approach to using this technology to improve sustainability. We are now working together on a project on how to improve IoT sustainability for a very large food producer. The combination of technology and sustainability is a good cause and has real business impact for companies on a large scale.

What is the place of IoT in the future?
The players who went through this are now dominating the market and others need to follow suit. I think the IoT theme will gain a lot more traction and we will see an increase in implementation speed, especially with cloud technology which is a strong driver for IoT implementation. With more connectivity options and more reliable sensor suppliers, more consumers will implement large-scale IoT cases, putting pressure on their market peers. New sensors and connection technologies will enable more user cases and due to the increase in the number of suppliers, costs will be reduced. Calculating edges and fog will play a strong role in the IoT and make it more affordable. IoT, AI and blockchain will go hand in hand and provide companies with more transparency or enable new business models.

This article was originally published in The Summer 2021 issue of The Record. To send future issues directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.