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What is the link between IoT and Trust?

I had the chance, very recently, to participate to the latest event organized by Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals in collaboration with the Paris-Dauphine University’s Trust and management Chaire on “Trust in complex alliances”:

  • Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals: Founded in 1998, the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP) is a professional association committed to elevating and promoting the profession and discipline of alliance management.
  • Paris-Dauphine University Considered a “Grand Etablissement” since 2004 and EQUIS accredited since 2009, Dauphine is recognized as one of the premier European teaching and research universities in the organization and decision sciences.

The debate was animated by Fabien Blanchot (Vice-President of Paris-Dauphine university); the round table participants were:

One of the subjects that we debated on was the importance of trust in complex partnerships and alliances.

Trust is difficult to have and is built throughout the time but can be broken very quickly leading sometimes to disastrous situations for both parties.

It is commonly believed that IoT is a new technology that is part of a new world of science fiction, or that it’s still far off in the undefined future. In fact, IoT is a buzzword that describes the rebranding of the existing machine-to-machine (M2M) market currently in existence in a more open, consistent ecosystem and global landscape of actors (manufacturers, software providers, system integrators, developers, etc.).

Co-creation, co-development, cross expertise collaboration will be where the differentiation will happen. The technology is an enabler, the collaboration the accelerator

The IoT will connect everyone and everything into a seamless network, which Jeremy Rifkin calls the “Intelligent Third Industrial Revolution infrastructure—the Internet of Things.” IoT will “usher in a fundamental reordering of human relationships, from hierarchical to lateral power, that will impact the way we conduct business, govern society, educate our children, and engage in civic life”.

On the opening day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, in 2015, John Chambers, Executive chairman of Cisco Systems, speaking at a session entitled “The New Digital Context”, stated, “I’ve seen this movie before. Today we are at an inflection point. Take what happened with the Internet in the 1990s, multiply it by five to ten-fold and that’s what you’re about to see and the benefits are going to be seen by every single person. In short what you’re going to see is every company, every country, every citizen, every home, every car, every wearable will become digitally connected. That information flow is going to allow you to change things”.

It will be difficult for those who want to succeed in the IoT landscape not to collaborate.

Is IoT a technical subject: no, it’s not.

The Internet of Things is very often understood as a way for companies to accelerate:

  • their differentiation by provide unique value propositions to their customers and partners at an acceptable price.
  • their financial performance
  • their employees, customers and partners’ satisfaction

All of this is true, but the final goal should be to deliver an exceptional customer experience. “Trust” and “Brands” will be at the core of IoT differentiation.

When you choose a product, for sure you choose it for its functions but very soon behind that you choose the brand and the trust you have in this brand is an important criteria of your buying habit.

Trust is a core element to drive differentiation, growth and profitability

During the debate, I highlighted how we have built tools, leveraging best practices in our EcoXpert partner program to build and orchestrate trust between Schneider Electric and our System Integrators partners:

  • Channel Policy: that clarify the rules of the game and the lines not to cross
  • Commercial Policy: that clarifies both the duties and the rights of each party.
  • Local operational channel managers: that localize our global guidelines

Trust is a core value of what the EcoXpert brand stands for. One of the value we bring to our end user is to be able to “choose with confidence”, thus the peace of mind given to our end users is the result of mainly 3 ingredients: Clear rules, competency and business requirements.

Here are some of the subjects we talked over during the debate:

 Trustworthy Channels and Ecosystems

Partners and associate ecosystems are key components of any channel strategy to enhance growth and differentiation. Effective partnerships can only operate if trust has been built between the different parties.

As stated previously, contracts, policies and written agreements are very often used to clarify the needs, the rules, the expectations and the deliverables to build trust throughout the time. As bizarre as it may seem, an important component of those contracts is the “escape” clause very often used when trust is broken between the parties. Ironically, it means that an effective way to build trust is also to clarify how the situation will be taken care of is the trust is broken.

Trust as a tool to cross the Technology chasms

The Internet Of things will blur the differentiation lines between all the available portfolio for connected buildings, connected grids and so forth. Manufacturer are digitizing their portfolio to answer to the new financial and technology constraints as well as the evolution of end-users needs and expectations.

Digitization is impacting both hardware and software providers as well as the partners who leverage those components/products to deliver differentiated solutions to their customers.

An area of differentiation will be the capability for a software and hardware to provide the conditions for his partners to not only built trust between their company and their partners but also between the different partners.

I highlighted in a recent blog: IoT FALSE BELIEFS two false ideas we all have when thinking about digitization:


Digitization will require a blend of very different expertise to deliver the expected benefits to the end-users. Some partners have taken the choice to expand their expertise, some others to excel in a specific area of knowledge. Even though, both will need to have the conditions to build partnerships with one another in a trustworthy environment to differentiate themselves and be more profitable than their competitors.

Alliances, partnerships and IoT

Alliances are crucial for companies competing in the IoT space. This is due to the speed at which innovations are taking place and the fact that the IoT market will structure itself as the IT market has been organizing itself in the last 30 years. This is true not only from a technical standpoint but also from a go to market and co-competition type of relationships between the different actors.

As stated by Steve Steinhilber, author of Strategic Alliances: Three Ways to Make Them Work (Harvard Business Review Press, 2008): “Alliances and partnerships are not about dividing the pie that is not growing but instead building incremental value and extending the size of the pie in order to grow as a result.”.

The importance of giving back: from IoT technologies to Alzheimer’s Association

Initially, I did not set out to write a book. I had merely wanted to find a book on the Internet of Things, but instead discovered it did not exist.  I did find a lot of commercial and marketing books but very often with a lack of strategic guidance, or anecdotal reference to what companies are facing. None of the technology books and blogs expanded on the IoT, beyond the pure technology element, in a way that would help companies understand how to transform, leverage themselves and supersede their competition.

I have witnessed so much confusion and trepidation around the IoT with more questions than answers.

Two years ago, I said to myself: How am I going to do; I wanted to give back so much but did not know how to do it… So, I then decided: just do it, let’s start and do baby steps. I wanted to explain the new rules of the game and give simple and pragmatic steps to not only survive but succeed with digital transformation, to provide the readers with the essential knowledge to understand these new rules.

Digitize or Die was born.

The rules of the game in business, which have applied for decades and established the current enterprise landscape, are changing.

  • On one side: Analog companies, holding tight to their well-established analog businesses and market share, are trying to understand what the IoT holds, and asking themselves which digitization strategy best applies to their business.
  • On the other side: Digital competitors, waging bets on what the future landscape will look like, are striving to corner market share that until recently was virtually unattainable.

There is still time to ‘digitize to profitize’, but the window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

I wanted to guide the readers and help them understand what the IoT may hold for them, as well as define a digitization strategy so they can put together an action plan to adapt and succeed.

 I wanted to give them the knowledge to understand what lies behind the fancy acronyms and digital mirage and give a simple, step by step method to assess where their current portfolio is today but more importantly what needs to be done to digitize it.

I wanted to share what I knew and learned with the readers but I also wanted to give back some of the royalties to meaningful causes.

I decided to donate back to:

  • Alzheimer’s Association (org), which provides care and support for all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
  • Fondation de France (org), which supports projects in complex fields, such as education, research and social integration.

If this books changes just one life, then it is worth the pain, effort and passion it took me to put it into your hands.

You think you know a subject up until you write a book about it. Sharing what you and your interviews have in their brain is an incredible experience and journey. It’s as much an education journey for the readers as it is for the writer. For that reason, you should also try….

Check up my website to know more: