Non problems and no longer problems in IoT | Alex Deschamps-Sonsino

Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, who if there was an ‘IoT Person of the Year’, would have taken ownership of the trophy by now, talks for the third time at IoT Forum and covers some of the problems and non problems that she has observed in her position as High Priest and Uber Maven of the Internet of Things.

No Longer Problems

  • More money is coming into IoT from both angels and venture capital firms
  • Industrial design firms are starting to work with startups to help engineer products.
  • Lots of competitions, cash and incubators to choose from
  • Big companies understand this isn’t a fad.

Non Problems.

Things that are waiting to sort themselves out…

  • Interoperability implies corporations have vested interesting in working with their competitors.
  • Security WILL ALWAYS BE AN ISSUE as long as people have online accounts and passwords.

Real Problems

ONE: Incubators/accelerators are not necessarily attracting entrepreneurs

“It was great while I was there but there was no support afterwards”

“WTF did you think was going to happen!?!?”

People are going into incubators in lieu of an MBA or a course. Not entrepreneurs.

Idea to solve 

A 2 month residency with free access to manufacturing resources, talent, advice, NO MONEY WHATSOEVER.

Entrepreneurs will work this hard to their advantage.

TWO: Strong markets for consumer products take YEARS to build.

Totally opposite to existing popular startup narrative. We need to look to cottage industries model (Sugru, Tatty Devine)


We’re terrible at explaining the value of IoT to consumers and citizens – why so few customers for consumer devices and most smart city programmes are not funded with council money.

“We need to persuade consumers to buy this stuff for Christmas for aunty blah blah.”

Idea to Solve

UK government created Council of Industrial Designers after WW1. Started High Street showcase of British designers.

Let’s do this for IoT.

FOUR: it’s a goldrush so people are selling shovels. (Software Platforms, Hardware Platforms, Education Platforms).

Let’s not stop there.

We need to support consumer applications solving real problems (eg Kemuri) but aren;t shiny and entertainment based.

Idea to Solve

Someone start an IoT Investment fund with a bank please. Returns within 7 years, not 2. Seed and Super Angel investments up to £250k) will go a long way.


  • Think about what you know you should do with your investment fund or R&D.
  • Think about how many REAL entrepreneurs you know and how you are HELPING them, not just LEARNING from them.
  • Think about how many times you say, “Too risky”, rather than, “Why not?”

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