26 Mar 2020

So what exactly is the “3-2-1 podcast”? It includes 3 interviews with IoT industry leaders recorded over the 2 days of Bosch Connected World 2020 in Berlin – all in 1 podcast.

Episode Notes:

01:40 Tanja Rueckert, CEO & President of Bosch Building Technologies

We discuss Tanja’s keynote, “Vision or Reality? Intuitive, Intelligent and Integrated Buildings.”

19:25 Dirk Slama, Vice President Co-Innovation and IoT Alliances, Bosch.IO

We discuss the 2 key themes of BCW 2020 – addressing Global Warming / Sustainability and the intersection of AI and IoT, creating AIoT. In addition, Dirk discusses the launch of Bosch’s AI Code of Ethics – a set of guidelines that govern how Bosch will use AI with its intelligent products.

25:10 Thomas Jakob, Regional President Asia Pacific, Bosch.IO

We discuss the recent rebranding of Bosch Software Innovations to Bosch.IO. What is it and what has changed?

02 Mar 2020

Find out how an open and pragmatic approach led the creation of a global LoRaWAN network that operates in 151 countries, has over 18,000 gateways and is supported by over 100,000 developers.

In today’s podcast, we are going to discuss one of the technologies that underpins the Internet of Things – Low Power Wide Area Network, or LPWANS for short. And more specifically, we are going to take a look at LoRa – one of the leading LPWAN technologies. 

I’m pleased to be joined by one of the global leaders in the space – Wienke Giezeman – the Co-Founder & CEO of The Things Industries – and the Initiator of The Things Network

01:20 What is The Things Network

05:25 What has led to your impressive growth – to the point where you are now in 151 countries, have a community of over 100,000 developers and have deployed 18,000 LoRaWAN gateways worldwide?

08:10 The Things Network has grown into a global LoRaWAN network – wouldn’t it have been easier to leverage existing mobile networks than trying to build your own? 

  • The “Moving Forward, Looking Backward” paradigm

11:00 What are some of the top LoRa use cases that are driving adoption?

16:40 How creating a collaborative LoRaWAN network led to the creation of The Things Conference – the world’s largest LPWAN conference. 

20:00 What’s next? The Things ________?

25:00 IoT has not lived up to the hype. What has held the industry back from reaching its potential?

28:00 Narrowband IoT, or NB-IoT, has exploded in China, but had sluggish growth elsewhere. What has hindered it’s growth outside of China?

32:55 What’s the best IoT solution you have ever seen?

34:00 Final question – about What is FEBO – and do you still eat there?

  • Spoiler alert – he’s a fan of “bamischijf

Find out more

Connect with Wienke:

The Things Network: 

The Things Industries: 

The Things Conference: 

YouTube Channel:


22 Jan 2020

Hear the latest insights on the global accelerator and venture capital industries from one of Silicon Valley’s leading players, SparkLabs Group Partner & Co-Founder, Bernard Moon.

01:15 Intro to the SparkLabs Group accelerators and VC funds – and how back in 2012 they came up with the concept to launch their first accelerator in Seoul

04:45 What locations are you planning for the launch of the next SparkLabs accelerators?

06:05 Overview of one of the latest SparkLabs initiatives – SparkLabs Frontier – which partners with universities to drive innovation

09:30 Many accelerators start in the US and go global. SparkLabs started out as a global accelerator. Did that make it harder or easier to raise funding and attract applicants?

10:30 The SparkLabs strategy is to grow slowly, but the model and culture works. Bernard cites how Edgar Chiu has turned SparkLabs Taipei into the leading accelerator in Taiwan in the first two years after launch.

11:40 Startups don’t come to SparkLabs for the money, they come to be part of the SparkLabs Ecosystem.

  • How does SparkLabs differentiate from the other leading accelerator programs, like Y Combinator, TechStars and Plug & Play?

13:30 What makes a good accelerator program?

17:30 An overview of the SparkLabs venture capital funds

19:50 SparkLabs has invested in over 260 companies, what are some of the highlights?

22:00 Silicon Valley has long been the home of venture capital – but many firms are now looking to Asia. Where does the Valley see the opportunities in Asia?

  • The next billion middle class in Asia

25:00 Overview of the recent launch of  SparkLabs Foundry – SparkLabs’ “Innovation as a Service” offering for the Fortune 500 – and it’s partnership with SRI International, one of the world’s leading research and innovation institutes.

27:25 Bernard just launched his 13th Annual Industry Predictions on VentureBeat – titled “2020: Our meatless, cashless, city-less future” – what are the highlights?

32:25  You live in Silicon Valley, but the other co-founders live in Korea, the UK and Singapore. How do you manage to keep everyone in contact – and on the same page – with regards to your investment strategy, expansion plans, etc.?

34:00 Let’s say SparkLabs doesn’t exist – and you wanted to start an accelerator today. Where would you locate it  – and why? (spoiler alert: it’s not Silicon Valley)

35:15 What do you know today – that you wish you knew when you started SparkLabs?

36:50 Final question – tell us something about yourself that we don’t already know.

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TBA 010 Bernard Moon

16 Jan 2020

Building a successful IoT business in Asia Pacific isn’t easy, but Bosch Software Innovations has done just that.

In this podcast, I speak with Thomas Jakob, Regional President for Asia Pacific, to find out how Bosch developed their impressive IoT solutions portfolio.

What I found most interesting is that while many tech vendors drive innovation by acquiring innovative companies, Bosch has built many of their own custom solutions – and partnered with start-ups to jointly develop others – to meet the diverse local requirements of the Asia Pacific market.

We hear about the importance of the “localisation” of solutions – Bosch in Asia Pacific is the perfect example of how it should be delivered.

(Note: In January 2020, Bosch Software Innovations was renamed Bosch.IO)

Show notes:

1:40 Intro to Thomas

2:50 Tell us about Bosch Software Innovations

4:20 Which industries does Bosch work with in Asia?

7:00 How Bosch is using technology to transform the agriculture industry

8:45 How Bosch sources innovation

10:00 Bosch’s new lift/elevator management solution

13:50 How Bosch has leveraged Smart Building solutions to IoT-ise their business

16:35 An overview of Bosch in China

18:40 The importance of localised solutions that meet customer requirements

25:00 What has kept the IoT industry from reaching its potential

29:25 What is the most interesting IoT market in Asia?

31:45 Name one solution over the past decade that has exceeded your expectations? And failed to live up to expectations?

35:20 The fun questions

  • Electric or classic cars?
  • German or Singaporean food?
  • Christmas by the fire or the beach?

TechBurst Asia



14 Jan 2020

You’re at an industry event and the presenter is forecasting HUGE market growth for industry X. You think, “Wow, that market is really taking off!”

Then, you come back to reality and remind yourself that you’ve heard it all before – headline grabbing forecasts seldom live up to the hype.

I have a love / hate relationship with market forecasts. I’ve created and analysed financial models for nearly 30 years. I understand why market forecasts are needed, but more importantly, why they MUST be questioned.

And since I spent a lot of time last year researching Smart City market forecasts, I thought I’d share my findings with you.

How long is a piece of string?

Last week, my article, “Lies, Damned Lies & Smart City Rankings,” discussed that while Smart City rankings are fun to read, they are NOT an accurate reflection of how “smart” a city is.

But what about Smart City market forecasts? Are they any better? In a nutshell, no. And here’s why.

According to the Harvard Business Review, there are four requirements to create a market forecast:

  1. Define the market
  2. Segment the market
  3. Forecast the demand drivers
  4. Conduct sensitivity analyses

Sounds simple, but it isn’t. How do you define the Smart City market? Which government agencies, solutions and use cases should be included? The truth of the matter is that there is no agreed definition of a Smart City and that’s one of the main reasons why the market forecasts vary so wildly.

Note: All the numbers quoted below are publicly available and issued in 2019 – I will list the sources at the bottom of the article. 

The Baseline: How large is the Smart Cities market today?

“The most reliable way to forecast the future is to try to understand the present.”  – John Naisbitt, author of “Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives”

Before we look at the Smart City forecasts, let’s look at the “actual” market size – the baseline data. You would think that removing the forecasting “guess work” from the equation would provide some consistency. It doesn’t. Because a “Smart City” means different things to different people, reports on actual Smart City market size are all over the place.

I found ten firms that listed Smart City baseline figures for either 2017 or 2018.

The numbers that should be based on “actuals” range from USD 71 billion to USD 900 billion in 2018 alone. That doesn’t mean they are wrong. It means they define a Smart City differently. But that doesn’t make it any easier for those that need the data.

Say, for instance, I run Sales for a tech vendor and need to know the Smart Cities market opportunity to set sales targets. Which baseline should I use?

This choice impacts whether the sales team can achieve their targets, and that has financial (over- / under-payment of bonuses / commissions) and operational (e.g. employee retention) impact on my business.

The Forecasts: How large will the Smart City market be in the future?

“No one can escape the iron rule that once you make a forecast, you know you’re going to be wrong; you just don’t know when and in which direction.” – Edgar Fiedler, Economist

Bad news – the randomness of the baseline figures leads to the exponential randomness of the forecasts. The forecasts below all come from 2019 press releases.

Again, they could all be “reasonable” depending on their inputs. The Smart City market could be as large as USD 3 trillion globally in the coming years, or as small as USD 190 billion, depending on which firm, if any, you believe.

The good news is that if you have an opinion about how large the Smart City market opportunity will be, there’s a forecast to support your confirmation bias.

With the wide range of Smart City market forecasts, it’s impossible to understand the current state of the market and the size of the market opportunity. But these forecasts do achieve one thing – they generate headlines. And speaking of generating headlines…

Ok, so which Smart City forecast gets the prize for being the most ridiculous?

That’s easy. It’s the one that reminds me of playing Snake on my Nokia phone in 2003. Confused? Let me explain.

“The old rule of forecasting was to make as many forecasts as possible and publicise the ones you got right. The new rule is to forecast so far in the future, no one will know you got it wrong.” – Ruchir Sharma, author of “Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles”

In June 2019, ABI Research forecasted the 5G component of Connected Cities would generate USD 17 Trillion in economic value by 2035. Why do I think this is so ridiculous?

  1. Firstly, 2035 was 16 in the future when they released the forecast. No one can accurately predict 16 years in the future. If you are old enough, think back to your mobile phone from 16 years ago – most likely a Nokia. Back when you were playing Snake on your Nokia phone – do you honestly believe you could have ACCURATELY predicted the market size for ANY industry today? Or the impact from market drivers such as iOS, Android, Uber and Netflix?
  2. Secondly, I find it hard to understand the basis for the forecast when the 5G mobile network equipment manufacturers and operators are still learning which use cases and solutions will drive value and how they will monetise 5G networks across ALL industries, let alone just the Connected Cities component. So, what does ABI know about the longer term that we don’t know?
  3. Finally, the GSMA, which oversees mobile operators globally, states 5G across ALL industries will add USD 2.2 Trillion to global GDP by 2034. I don’t like long horizon forecasts, but USD 2.2 Trillion for everything 5G by 2034 versus USD 17 Trillion for just the Connected Cities component of 5G by 2035 seems like a bit of a discrepancy, don’t you think?

As a side note, I put a reminder in my phone calendar for 2035 to fact-check this forecast, which was stupid. Who knows if we will be using calendars OR phones in 2035?

I still need Smart City forecasts – what should i do?

Here are four recommendations for you.

  1. Understand the methodology – ask the analyst firm what is included in their forecast. And, for good measure, use the forecasts above to ask them why their forecast is higher or lower than the others. Understand what a Smart City means to them.
  2. Focus on the underlying drivers – find out which segments (e.g. security, autonomous vehicles) drive the forecasts in the near term. Those segments should be relatively consistent, even if the forecasts are not.
  3. Fact-check the numbers – firms regularly revise their forecasts based on the latest data, so make sure your numbers are up to date. When I searched for Smart City forecasts released in 2019 only, I found three different forecasts from one firm above – with the largest being 60% bigger than the smallest.
  4. Re-read the press release – press releases can be misinterpreted and misreported. What starts out as a market opportunity of $X “by 202X”, meaning the cumulative value, gets reported later as “in 202X”, a single year’s value. I found examples of this in my research and I’m still confused about what the real size of the Smart City market opp for some of the firms above.

Remember, Smart City market forecasts – as well as Smart City rankings – and this article – should be taken with a pinch of salt. A large pinch.

I’ll close with one final quote, from someone far more knowledgeable than me…

“We really can’t forecast all that well, and yet we pretend that we can, but we really can’t.” Alan Greenspan, Economist & former Head of the US Federal Reserve





21 Oct 2019

I’m sure many of you are wearing an Apple WatchSamsung Gear or other gadget on your wrist right now. This market started to gain attention when the first Apple Watch launched in 2016 – and the market has advanced in terms of technology & sales since then – but the question is, what does the future hold for the smartwatch? Is it the one size fits all model of the large vendors? Or is it better to customise the smartwatches to target specific users or use cases?

In this podcast, we’ll talk to Omate’s Laurent Le Pen, a smartwatch industry pioneer, to find out how he views this evolving market.

Show notes:

01:30 Introduction to Omate

02:20 How did someone from France end out starting a device manufacturer in Shenzhen?

03:50 The market segments and challenges Omate targets – Elderly Care, Children, Lone Workers

07:00 Deep dive into the Omate’s Elderly Care solution

10:50 How Omate brought together the supply and demand sides of the market, including SafeMotionCredit Mutual Arkea and Medical Guardian, to launch their Elderly Care management solution in France and the US

12:45 Omate’s innovative Wearables-as-a-Service (WaaS) business model

15:15 The challenges in launched a wearables service in the healthcare industry

17:20 Omate’s Nanoblock children’s watch – and the importance of end-to-end security

21:10 The latest device and solution launches from Omate

24:00 What has prevented wearables from living up to the hype?

30:50 The fun round of questions, including Laurent’s side project, the Oclean smart toothbrush

Laurent’s details 


Twitter: @llepen @omateofficial

17 Sep 2019

In this TechBurst Asia podcast, I speak with Gerhard Loots, Telstra’s Global IoT Solutions Executive at the end of the Telstra Vantage event, to discuss the role of the service provider, or Telco, in the Internet of Things.

While most service providers see IoT as a lucrative new revenue stream, few have been able to capitalise on that market opportunity. Telstra, on the other hand, has expanded its IoT solutions and services portfolio to make sure it doesn’t miss the opp.

Show Notes:

01:48 How did a guy from South Africa’s winelands end out running the IoT business for Australia’s leading service provider?

02:30 Telstra has been in the IoT business for many years, how has the IoT solution portfolio and business evolved over the years?

05:48 What are the latest developments with Telstra’s IoT solutions and products?

07:33 How has Telstra moved across the IoT solution stack, branching out from connectivity to hardware, software and services?

09:50 What advice would you give to a service provider that is just starting out in IoT?

11:20 Telstra offers similar solutions that can run across many network types, including Bluetooth, NB-IoT, LTE, etc., and at many different price points. Where is the current market demand coming from?

13:15 Overview of Telstra’s Enterprise eSIM offering – and why it is attractive to manufacturers.

18:30 Why I think Telstra is now Asia Pacific’s “benchmark” for IoT solutions for a service provider

  • Choice (networks and price points)
  • New Revenue opportunities – moving across the IoT solution stack
  • The services opp with Telstra Purple
  • The eSIM offering

20:00 What’s next for Telstra’s IoT portfolio and solution offering

23:00 What has held the IoT industry back from reaching its potential?

  • Amara’s Law: We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.

26:28 What are the unique challenges and opportunities for Australia’s IoT market?

27:50 Which emerging technology enabler (e.g. 5G, blockchain, AI) is Gerhard most excited about?

29:40 The REALLY important things, Gerhard’s view on…

  • Surfing in Australia versus South Africa
  • Who makes better wine, Australia or South Africa?
  • What’s better, shrimp on the barbie or boerwors on the braai?
  • How well will Australia and South Africa do in the Rugby World Cup – who will Gerhard support –  and who will win


Telstra’s IoT offering:

Gerhard on LinkedIn:

09 Sep 2019

Ever wondered how the World Bank leverages the technology and innovation to disrupt the agriculture industry in developing markets? In this podcast, we speak with the World Bank’s Parmesh Shah to find out how they engage developed countries like Korea to drive disruption and innovation in developing markets like Vietnam, Kenya & Nigeria.

Show Notes:

01:10   Background on the World Bank’s Parmesh Shah – Global lead for a global solutions group that looks to find innovative and creative solutions for rural entrepreneurship and innovation

  • How the combination of being an agricultural engineer with an MBA and a doctorate in development studies led him to his role at the world bank

04:00 What is the World Bank’s “Disruptive Agriculture Technology Roadshow” – and what do you mean by “Disruptive Agriculture”?  

  • How does the World Bank work with the Korean government to help you reach your objectives?

08:15 Overview of the some of the Smart Agriculture solutions behind deployed across Africa

  • Hello Tractor – an Uber-like solution helping rural tractor owners get the most value out of their assets – and how this benefits farmers that cannot afford their own tractors. The new buzz word, Tractors-as-a-Service! 
  • Tulaa – provides smallholder farmers with quality agricultural inputs on credit and brokers the sale of their crop at harvest time. 
  • AgriWallet – a mobile business account allowing farmers to save, borrow and pay for income generating activities to increase food security and fight poverty

14:30 How the World Bank is leveraging IoT sensors to help rice farmers in Vietnam better manage their crops. 

17:00 What challenges to you encounter when trying to deliver Disruptive Agriculture in developing markets?

20:50 The World Bank’s three “labs” to experiment and drive innovation: BlockChain Lab – Big Data Lab – Disruptive Technology Lab. 

22:15 Overview of some of the Korean Smart Agriculture startups

  • Telofarm – sensors that you can stick into the plant’s stem – The Internet of Plants 
  • N.thing – indoor and container farming

27:40 What role does Korea play in the World Bank’s plan?

30:30 How to find the best #SmartAg innovators? Run a Challenge! More info at:

34:40 what will the World Bank do to keep the Disruptive Agriculture momentum going?

36:20 Let’s say it’s a perfect world and I can grant you one wish to help you drive Disruptive Agriculture in developing markets, what would you wish for?

38:15 How can our audience get more information about you and the World Bank’s Disruptive Agriculture initiatives?


Twitter: @ShahParmesh

World Bank Disruptive Technologies:

Disruptive Agriculture Initiatives: