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Created on 29.07.2019

Internet of Things – anticipating the future

The Internet of Things (IoT) will play a key role in payment transactions, making it a strategically relevant area in which to search for innovative ideas for PostFinance. Anyone with fresh new ideas is invited to contribute them via PostVenture 19.

An intelligent heating value which enables room temperature to be altered via an app? Or a coffee machine whose buttons allow you to automatically order the coffee variety entered in the web profile as per the defined order volume and have it delivered the next day? Whether it’s smart homes, smart logistics, smart healthcare or smart cars – IoT is entering almost every sphere of life and every sector, including payment transactions.  

Opportunities of an interconnected world

But what is the Internet of Things actually all about? “Strictly speaking, it’s neither about the Internet, nor things. It’s more to do with the provision of digital information that is collected in real life via sensors and its use for new applications and processes,” explained Dominic Bögli, of the IoT Center, which is part of the Group-wide Development & Innovation department and Swiss Post IT. It is based on ‘things’ (such as valves and machines etc.) which are made smart through the installation of microchips and sensors so that they can coordinate by themselves with other things and computers via the internet without human intervention. Companies use IoT to pursue the goal of aligning existing processes by means of digitization to create organization which learns and continually improves. Data platforms are fed with information via IoT. On the basis of data science, this enables new data-based products and services to be developed and even new business models to be created. 

IoT power for electricity bills

The B4U pilot project illustrates how IoT can be used in application and in the field of payment transactions. The joint initiative of PostFinance and the energy company Energie Wasser Bern (ewb) aims to make billing easier for property owners who charge their tenants for the electricity generated by their solar systems and also feed it into the network. The ‘intelligent’ part of this IoT project are the smart meters which are used as electricity meters and measure all power generation and consumption data and send it to the Blockchain where it is stored and used for billing purposes. This relieves providers of the arduous task of working out billing based on power that is self-generated, consumed and obtained from the grid.

Payments also made smartly

IoT payment (IoT in payment transactions) has long been on PostFinance’s radar as a relevant innovation project. Whichever sector you look at, companies are focusing on IoT and automated payment processes are ultimately being targeted everywhere. Perhaps health insurance premiums will be defined using the fitness trackers of health insurance scheme apps in future. Or maybe petrol costs incurred at the filling station will be charged directly via a microchip installed in the vehicle. Fabian Tanner from the PFLab and Innovation team underlined: “To continue playing a leading role in the field of payment transactions in future, it’s vital that we reflect at an early stage on how PostFinance can use its competences – in particular, the provision of rapid and secure payment options – in the field of IoT.”

Continuous growth in IoT

The IoT trend continues relentlessly. Estimates indicate there will be 50 billion IoT devices worldwide by 2020. The level of expenditure and investment on IoT in Switzerland is equally high. A new study recently published by Swisscom suggests that companies have spent around CHF 951 billion on it. A growth rate of 30 percent is anticipated over the coming years. 

PostVenture19: ideas on IoT are now being sought from everyone!

Anyone with any brilliant ideas about IoT payments is invited to submit them as part of PostVenture19. Through this programme, Swiss Post is looking internally and externally for fresh ideas to help the company develop its business areas. By adopting the principle of crowdsourcing and the open innovation approach, the Group is seeking to tap into the knowledge of people and companies to which it would otherwise have no access. The goal is to generate lots of exciting IoT cases.

Business ideas can be submitted between 19 August and 22 September. The jury will select the business ideas on 27 September which will be developed further as part of PostVenture19. 

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