Harnessing the power of Big Data with IoT
Elpida Bantra

IoT Consultant at CANCOM

Can you tell me a bit about your background and your current role?

My passion was always to solve problems and help others, this is why I am excited about technology and I believe that can really improve our lives and make miracles happen. At the same time, I believe in the power of information and in data driven decision making. This is why I chose to study mathematics & computer science and I have worked in different software companies as a data scientist, software engineer and IoT Consultant.

What is the need and the challenge of processing, analyzing, and using Big Data in decision making?

Big Data is characterized by the 5 Vs: variety, veracity, velocity, volume, value, and these indicate all the things that could lead into a number of challenges that could pop up while dealing with it. Imagine a big volume of different types of data coming towards you with a great velocity and most of it being junk, how easy do you think that it is to process it, analyze it and use it in real time? Imagine for example numerous bank transactions and you trying to respond in real time to problems like fraud detection. In a digital world where the internet is booming and we have information hence data explosion, trying to address challenges like security, live responses, forecasting, and risk minimization is a constant race with time and lack of talent. This is why there is a huge need for data scientists globally.

What are the pros and cons of IoT?

The Internet of Things is a savvy way of combining the power of computing, data science and business needs. Automating parts of manufacturing, discovering patterns in the production line, and predicting errors before they even appear can lead to a better understanding of our business, improve performance, and decrease cost. On the other hand, setting these types of systems for a company’s digital transformation and then the maintenance of these systems can be expensive and time consuming. On top of that, we often meet overpromising and overestimating ROI (return of investment) in industry 4.0, while there are no blueprints of customized and agile solutions. IoT is a new area, IoT systems are complex and even experts cannot easily predict a system’s output before they build it and test it, so sometimes expectations differ to reality.

What are barriers and challenges to develop successful IoT projects?

For me, the key to success here is to build strong and diverse teams! The best way of solving a complex problem is to break it down into smaller pieces and deal with each piece separately. Now, imagine if a piece of this problem is called data science and it involves data collection, cleaning, storing, processing, analysis, update, and weighting. You need a number of people with different skills to deal with this part of an IoT system. So, the scale of this system becomes fast enough to build a startup around an IoT project in order to support it. A company should work on talent acquisition, systems & processes set up and related preparation before they even undertake an IoT project, otherwise they will not have the time to solve all these problems after taking a big IoT project and are under a deadline. Customers do not trust companies that do not have successful business cases to proceed on assigning a project to them, and a company does not hire employees unless they do not have projects for them.

What are the digital transformation opportunities in the industrial IoT?

It depends on a company’s vision and strategy I would say. If you want to grow or not be obsolete in a few years or be beaten by your competitors you should go digital, like today, now.  Covid19 led to a further booming of digital solutions. If you do fine and you think that this is enough and there is no risk of staying as you are, you can stay as you are. A small team of passionate engineers managed to eat alive a huge competitor a few years ago and became an industrial leader just because they had a strong core, they believed in what they did and because technology gives you opportunities like this one. I am talking about the Facebook and MySpace example.

How business can be benefitted by IoT?

If science is numbers, technology is machines and business is people. So, businesspeople can be greatly benefitted by enhancing data driven decision making, by forecasting the future and getting ready for it, by automating manual processes to invest more time in thinking and visualizing instead of building and testing. We can get inspired by different solutions and use the power of technology to fix things. People suffer, Earth suffers, animals suffer, we have now the tools and the power to do better instead of using cheap patch solutions!

In your opinion what is the next great innovation?

I think that we expect to see great things in the near future, things that we have seen in Sci-Fi movies. 3D printing of food, clothes, and products, auto driving and robots  are only a few of the things that we will see everywhere in a few years. I see an eco-friendly and human centered revolution in technology, I see people passionate to defend their values, I see entrepreneurs and volunteers ready to change the world, so as a tech person, as a visionary, as a Greek geek, as a dreamer I am looking forward to this futuristic future.



Prepared by,
Stanislava Angelova
/Editor at DiTech Media/

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