Next Big Thing AG: how corporates and SMEs can make use of IoT in every industry | #StartupTourEcosystem

Today we want to introduce our friends and partners, a popular destination of our IoT-oriented Startup Tours and an IoT-problem-solver for Nestim’s corporate clients – Next Big Thing AG. Together with Elisheva Marcus and Falco Schuett from NBT we explored the need for, and value of, applying IoT solutions to a changing business and tech landscape.

About NBT:

Next Big Thing AG is a Berlin-based IoT company builder. Since 2016, NBT has successfully launched numerous joint ventures through a programmatic approach, mentorship, seed funding, and engineering expertise – all while developing its own tech stack in blockchain and secure hardware. The three co-Founders Harald Zapp, Michael-Maria Bommer, and Maik Käbisch, bring serial entrepreneurship and seasoned business expertise to the new ventures. NBT has established a thriving ecosystem throughout Europe consisting of investors, startups, corporate partners, hardware and software engineers, and technology providers.

What are 3 major reasons why corporates and SMEs need IoT solutions?

#1 – IoT solutions generate value. This generated value includes: cost reduction, productivity increase, and process optimizations – such as supply-chain.

#2 – Markets are changing and traditional verticals are disappearing; IoT solutions allow you to better respond to market shifts, and to engage in new market opportunities.

#3 – New IoT solutions lead to a higher speed of innovation and a sharpened competitive edge, including improved user experience and reduced time to market. Old success patterns no longer fit new challenges.

What are the problems and obstacles corporates and SMEs face in implementing IoT solutions?

One of our main goals is to promote digital transformation and IoT-driven innovation for SMEs in Germany by building great companies. This collaboration fast-forwards progress. Alternatively, when corporates and SMEs approach IoT solutions alone, they face common challenges including:

  • Lack of IoT technical expertise and knowledge
  • Shortage of hardware, firmware, and software execution capabilities
  • Limited startup agility
  • Lag in innovation time and slow speed to market
  • Lack of experience with IoT business models
For which industries do you think the IoT is the most crucial solution?

Through increased connectivity and data insights, IoT solutions are popping up across an ever-expanding list of industries. Just to name some examples: in agriculture, IoT can deliver real-time soil insights which aid in crop-management for small- and large-scale farmers. In healthcare, IoT advances patient-monitoring, integrates medical devices, and leads to better hospital resource management.

With PropTech, IoT enables the housing industry to have smarter buildings, bringing environmental and residential benefits. Energy consumption stands to be revolutionized by smart trading and negotiation, creating entire new markets. Through its decentralized and transparent technology, blockchain enables new business models – building trust, empowering economies, and accelerating transactions. In supply chain and logistics, IoT allows for real-time data analysis and transforms track and trace, opening new markets.

What are the challenges in innovation that Germany is facing right now?

In general, Germany hasn’t fully dared to innovate, but the drive is there. Conservative thinking remains a hurdle. Additionally, there is a distinct talent or skill gap in IoT, blockchain, and software development. We see the need to turn more attention to the Internet of Services, and to make sense of big data from IoT devices. We are interested in how to use smart contracts and blockchain tech to trade data securely in a new markets, like for example in the Economy of Things.

What were your highlights in 2017?

2017 was a formative year for NBT!

We launched multiple ventures who have had exciting initial success with vibrant communities, partnerships, and funding. NBT’s CEO Harald Zapp and CTO Jasmin Skenderi were invited to numerous speaking engagements in Berlin and internationally, which you can catch up in our news section of our revitalized website.

NBT became a core member of the deHub for IoT, Germany’s digital hub initiative from the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy. Together with the Fraunhofer Institute and Factory, NBT is a central spoke of the IoT Hub. So when entrepreneurs and developers join NBT, they are in the vibrant startup scene in Berlin, at the center of research and technology, and able to grow within our extensive network.

Last summer, NBT formed a strategic partnership with Fraunhofer’s Berlin Center for Digital Transformation, a cooperation between the four Berlin Fraunhofer-Institutes. The goal is to accelerate technological innovation and promote knowledge exchange for IoT and sensory technology.

We also sponsored a whitepaper by IoT Analytics, a panorama of external innovation options for companies looking to transform with IoT.

There are great opportunities to join NBT and our ventures. Please join the conversation about future technologies via our social channels; you can visit our Blog, and follow us on Twitter, Medium, YouTube, or Facebook. Danke!