Personal Finance. Money. Investing.

As a set of technologies based on edge computing infrastructure and 5G or high-speed connectivity, it is rapidly becoming a reality with many real-world implementations. Statista estimates global IoT spending will hit 1.1 trillion dollars this year, predicting the number of IoT devices worldwide will shoot up from 13 billion currently, to more than 29 billion in 2030.  

Since it is based on “things”, its direct impact on the day-to-day work of senior management or finance departments may seem remote. But IoT can sustain AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning (ML) applications handling multitudes of data flowing from many types of sensors and devices, even when mobile. It opens up huge opportunities for everyone, whether supplying or using services.

For senior finance professionals, IoT provides dramatic new access to real-time data insights from every area of an enterprise. It delivers a level of transparency, immediacy and confidence unobtainable by any other means. This will transform asset utilisation and inventory management, no matter how large or dispersed the organisation is. Edge computing infrastructure ensures the old geographical barriers to the processing of data in remote locations no longer apply, democratising the use of advanced AI and ML tools.

On a more mundane level, finance departments will find record-keeping and reporting to become far more automated and efficient. Able to monitor and analyse data from sensors in almost every nook and cranny of the business, treasurers will, gain a much firmer grip on cost and performance, able to access a huge wealth of data at any level of detail.

With access to analytics solutions made possible by edge computing, organisations can react far more swiftly to events and opportunities. They can employ predictive and prescriptive analytics to extract critical insights from detailed information about inventory, specific financial flows, facilities, business units or assets.

Wider applications across insurance

In insurance and commercial banking, the ability of edge platforms to process and transmit data from 5G-enabled devices are likely to have a significant positive impact on the quality and speed of policy and credit approvals, providing accurate, verifiable data on everything from vehicle usage to agricultural, factory or mining outputs.

Telemetry is already well-established in the vehicle insurance sector and is certain to expand. With access to IoT data streams and the infrastructure to subject all this real-time information to advanced analytics, insurers will be able to offer policies that are far more closely tailored and much more flexible. This will extend to everything from consumer and health insurance to the underwriting of major extractive industry projects.

IoT in trade finance

In trade finance, data from sensors in ports, ships, and from containers and vehicles gives banks and insurers a new level of end-to-end transparency about the transactions, carriers and cargoes they are asked to fund and underwrite.

This will reduce costly delays and fraud whilst increasing insight into the efficiency of individual operators. All organisations engaged in trade will improve access to working capital. And the use of IoT technology increases the likelihood of small and medium-sized businesses obtaining trade finance and credit, based on rapid analysis of typical industry risk indicators.

Fund management, the markets and IoT

The direct use cases of the IoT are harder to foresee in fund management, investment banking and capital markets and are often confused with analytics and AI. There is, however, no doubt that companies operating in these intensely competitive arenas will have to accommodate themselves to the new volumes of data the IoT will generate from different industrial and commercial sectors. If they fail to build the capacity to analyse aggregated and refined IoT data, they will lose out significantly to financial institutions that have the infrastructure and the solutions in place.

Professional services 

For the professional services sector, access to streaming data and its analytics will enable firms to offer services and outsourcing on a near-real-time basis, eliminating unnecessary hours and increasing efficiency. In accountancy and financial management, the nature of auditing and consultancy is likely to change in industries such as discrete manufacturing, where sensor data will transform how organisations operate. Auditing in many sectors may well become a more continuous process, adapting to the constant flow of data.

The necessary IoT infrastructure – edge computing

IoT growth depends, however, on the expansion of edge infrastructure because it requires a platform with compute, low latency network connectivity and public cloud access. Without this, most use cases will struggle to get off the ground. In the UK, thankfully, the country’s edge infrastructure is advancing fast, bringing IoT technologies and services within reach of almost every business in the country.

Edge computing is vital because the IoT requires gateway hubs to process masses of data from sensors and devices. Because public cloud-based applications that orchestrate the IoT do not require all the data devices generate, IoT gateways are best-suited to edge data centres where they can filter out what is unnecessary and then pass on the critical information.

There are already live use cases in the transport and energy sectors, but large-scale adoption will follow once edge infrastructure platforms have fully developed their low latency connectivity, high-speed backhaul to the public cloud and local computing capabilities.

Applications focused on real-time and aggregated data analytics need connectivity that has either low jitter, loss and lag or has dedicated high bandwidth. Telecommunications companies have been the first movers in this market with 5G, but carrier fibre delivers more dependable waves.

As the IoT develops it will spread across a wide range of business applications that require different kinds of connectivity. This is where Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) networks will deliver major change. SASE gives visibility over applications and enables organisations to securely control traffic intelligently based on continuous assessment of compliance to a policy. Unlike traditional WAN architectures which lack the visibility and control required for distributed IT environments, SASE offers flexibility and the opportunity for ensuring secure access at the time it is needed, which standard MPLS connectivity cannot match. MPLS will have its place but is unlikely to remain a central technology.

Enterprise architectures must accommodate the IoT

There are also remaining challenges to overcome in integrating the multiplicity of IoT devices and workloads into an enterprise’s current architecture. The shortage of staff with the requisite skills is also a barrier for many organisations. This is most easily overcome by collaborating with partners that understand fully the developing relationship between edge platforms and IoT implementations.

For any decision-maker in finance or within a corporate treasury, the evolution of IoT technologies operating on edge infrastructure is a development they must think hard about. Many of their work practices are set to change because of it. And their ability to make effective decisions that propel their organisation to greater efficiency and profitability may depend on how well they adapt to the IoT. They need to consider how their organisation should approach what will be a major advance in capability. With the right infrastructure in place and the right partnerships, all finance professionals stand to gain more control from the Internet of Things, enabling them to transform their organisations.

The cooperation has been consolidated under the joint venture PDi Digital GmbH, an Austria-based entity, controlled at 70% by SES-imagotag, with Bossard holding 30%.

Cerha Hempel acted as Austrian legal adviser to SES-imagotag Group. Thomas Trettnak (Partner), Christoph Reiter (Senior Attorney), Florian Mitterer (Senior Associate) and Michaela Krist (Senior Paralegal) advised on the transaction.

According to Ketan Parekh, Head of Financial and Insurance Services at Fujitsu UK & Ireland, Fujitsu recently revealed that 71% of financial services leaders believe that technology is vital to the future success and health of their organisation. Below Parekh discusses with Finance Monthly the prospects of fintech innovation in 2020, and the benefits for Financial services companies therein.

Every year new technologies are transforming the financial services industry, with technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and blockchain completely changing the services that banks can provide to their customers. For example, Metro Bank is using a selfie technology to allow consumers to open current accounts online, whilst Facebook will soon let you send payments via WhatsApp. With so much innovation on offer, there is a huge opportunity for organisations to take advantage of new technologies to improve efficiency and customer service.

Our recent research of the sector also revealed that over half (55%) of UK financial services business leaders feel their organisation has been a leader in technological innovation over the last five years. And while many embrace the positive effect of technology, there are some risks associated with this rapid innovation. The explosion of new technologies combined with the rapid pace of change and ever evolving consumer demands means some organisations can be left playing catch-up and falling behind on innovation.

Investing in the future

It was recently uncovered that more than half (56%) of UK financial services business leaders worry their organisation could miss out on the benefits of technological innovation, because they haven’t planned radically enough. The truth is - organisations with the right foundations in place will be those to take advantage of what technology has to offer.

With no signs of innovation slowing down, it’s vital that the financial services sector builds on its existing strengths. Although significant steps have been taken already, to succeed in the digital age and bring innovative solutions to the market, business leaders will need to make a sizeable financial commitment. Now is the time for them to put the right plans in place to ensure they are prepared to tap into the innovations to come, and this includes making investments in digital technologies a key priority for the business.

Although significant steps have been taken already, to succeed in the digital age and bring innovative solutions to the market, business leaders will need to make a sizeable financial commitment.

Customer first

Financial services leaders have been faced with no small challenge. Currently, over half (55%) of financial services business leaders admit they are not able to predict what customers will want from their organisation in the future. Today their customers are hunting for convenience, and seeking innovation, new digital services, low rates, speed and security.

Take retail banking for example, where some banks are now beginning to roll out systems that learn the behaviours of their individual customers, and can recognise in real-time the ‘signature’ abnormal behaviours when these customers are influenced by scammers. It’s clear that financial services organisations are innovating but these organisations must ensure that the technology they offer actually meets the demands of individual customers.

Keeping the top spot

Financial services leaders have been faced with no small challenge. Their customers are asking them to innovate and provide new digital services, alongside threats in the form of data governance, protection and public trust. Yet one thing is clear - financial services leaders must continue to put the organisation at the forefront of innovation.

It’s now the time for them to put the right plans in place to ensure they are prepared to tap into the innovations to come. When organisations ensure they prepare, plan and put the customer first, successful technological innovations are possible. This way organisations will be able to stay ahead of competition and keep the UK’s financial service organisations at the forefront of innovation.

In 2010, people owned 12.5 billion networked devices; whilst it is estimated that by 2025 this number will have climbed to more than 50 billion.

While the IoT has already impacted sectors such as manufacturing and healthcare, it is still a nascent technology in the world of banking. Research has found that banks have still not implemented IoT technologies within their organisations or in their products or services. In the long term, however, this is set to change. Reports have shown that 40% of financial services businesses are currently experimenting with IoT and big data.

Given the wealth of statistical data which can be gathered from a range of devices within an IoT network, the applications of IoT and big data can go hand in hand. For example, retail banks can combine IoT and big data to offer increasingly personalised services to customers. Rather than providing a ‘one size fits all’ approach, banks can create personalised offers to customers by using IoT capabilities to analyse various aspects of its customers’ behaviour - including the regularity in which they visit merchants or purchase from them - and offer bespoke budgeting plans or financial products relevant to their lifestyles. Furthermore, the data from wearable payments technologies, for instance, could be used to help build detailed customer profiles and enable fraud detection. The same data could also enable banking institutions to build partnerships with brands that can push relevant deals through to banking customers in the area, enabling even closer relationships with customers and providing more useful perks.

The benefits of IoT services within the financial sector aren’t just limited to retail banks. Insurers can use IoT capabilities to aid interactions with customers and to accelerate and simplify underwriting and claims processing, as well as default prediction.

The benefits of IoT services within the financial sector aren’t just limited to retail banks.

It can also help insurance companies to determine risk more precisely. Automotive insurers, for example, have historically relied on indirect indicators, such as age, address, and creditworthiness of a driver when setting premiums. Now, data on driver behaviour and the use of a vehicle, such as how fast the vehicle is driven and how often it is driven at night, are available. These new data sets can help insurers provide premiums that more accurately reflect their consumers.

Another application of IoT within the financial sector that has the potential for huge implications is in trade finance. International trade flows are currently expensive and predominantly paper-based due to the inefficiency of the supply chain in moving goods. IoT within trade finance can be used to make these processes quicker by tracking movement, supply and demand. This can significantly improve the efficiency of the process by reducing the cost and risk for the enterprise. However, in order to have any meaningful impact on trade finance, there would need to be a large scale, global adoption of IoT - allowing every part of the ecosystem to be accounted for and creating a seamless process.

If key issues around cybersecurity can be overcome, the IoT presents a huge opportunity for the banking sector. And there will certainly be disruptors willing to provide that access - so the time is now for banks to start thinking about technology development that will take advantage of this before a competitor gets there first.

Authored by David Murphy, Managing Partner, Financial Services EMEA at Publicis Sapient.

According to Gartner, there will be more than 20 billion IoT devices by 2020 and as many as 75 billion connected IoT devices by 2025. Unfortunately, the safety and integrity of these devices are still widely ignored, and there are more and more cases of them of being hacked and used as part of a botnet.

“Things that were once the plot for a science fiction movie, such as household appliances being hacked and turned against humanity, now became a reality. IoT hacking can be extremely effective, producing DDoS attacks that can cripple our infrastructure, systems, and way of life,“ says Daniel Markuson, the digital privacy expert at NordVPN. “If you have multiple devices connected to the same network in your home or office, and a hacker gets access to one device, they could break into all of them.”

According to NordVPN’s digital privacy expert, even though it’s hard to believe that a baby monitor or a seemingly simple toy can do significant harm, it’s no longer only computers or smartphones that are at risk of cyberattacks. Take a look at these crazy examples of IoT hacking and vulnerabilities recorded in history:

A thermometer in a lobby aquarium

It always seems that casinos are some of the most secure organizations in the world, but they can be hacked as well. A few years ago, a group of hackers used a rather unconventional method to break into a casino. They managed to access its network via an internet-connected thermometer in an aquarium and extract its high-roller database with all sensitive details.

Parents nightmare: hacked baby monitor

Baby monitors started as simple one-way radio transmitters and evolved into sophisticated Wi-Fi-enabled smart devices with cameras, infrared vision, and other features. However, as everything IoT, those devices can be hacked as well. Late last year, a family from the US experienced a real nightmare. A hacker got into the wireless camera system used to keep an eye on the baby and threatened to kidnap him. This case is not an exception. There are several reported incidents of strangers' voices being heard over baby monitors.

Hackable sex toys

Last year, researchers from a tech firm SEC Consult announced that the private sex life of at least 50,000 users had been exposed by a sex toy ‘Vibratissimo Panty Buster.’ Multiple vulnerabilities put at risk not only the privacy and data but also the physical safety of the owners. All customers’ data was accessible via the internet in such a way that explicit images, chat logs, sexual orientation, email addresses, and passwords were visible in clear text. But it’s not the worst part. The ‘Panty Buster’ toys could be hacked to remotely inflict sexual pleasure on victims without their consent.

A spy in your own home

Earlier this year, CNN managed to access a variety of camera feeds using a search engine for IoT devices Shodan. One of the feeds showed a family in Australia and its daily routine, while other cameras captured a man in Moscow preparing his bed and a woman in Japan feeding her cat. All of them seemed unaware of the fact they could be watched through a camera in their own room. According to CNN, none of the cameras had had security checks and were open to anyone who knew the right address.

Insecure home thermostats

In 2016, hackers left the residents of two apartment buildings in Lappeenranta, Finland in freezing cold for nearly a week by launching a DDoS attack on their environmental control systems via thermostats. Because both the central heating and hot water systems were attacked, the environmental systems were rebooted in their attempt to fight off the attack and got stuck in an endless loop.

Hackable medical devices

In 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed that St. Jude Medical’s implantable cardiac devices could be easily hacked. Such devices are usually used to monitor patients’ heart functions and control heart attacks. However, due to transmitter vulnerabilities, hackers could control shocks, administer incorrect pacing, and deplete the battery. And it’s not the only time when the FDA issued similar warnings. Earlier this year a new alert was issued on the security of Medtronic insulin pumps,  which hackers could remotely access and control.

The spying doll Cayla

In 2017, Germany banned an interactive doll ‘My Friend Cayla’ because it contains a “concealed surveillance device.” According to the researchers, hackers can use an insecure Bluetooth device installed in the toy to listen and talk while a child is playing with it. This interactive doll opens ways for hackers to use its cameras and microphones to see and hear whatever Cayla does. The Cayla companion app also encourages children to share their parents’ names, what schools they go to, and where they live.

Backseat driver of your jeep

Back in 2015, a team of researchers was able to take total control of a Jeep SUV.  By exploiting a firmware update vulnerability, they hijacked the vehicle and made it speed up, slow down, and veer off the road - almost a scene from Fast and Furious. Luckily, this time, it was a team of researchers and not a real hacker. Four years later, we are still dreaming about autonomous cars and but many of the previous vulnerabilities still haven’t been addressed.

How to stay safe?

Internet-connected devices make our lives easier. However, most of them lack the security features that are standard in computers, tablets, and even smartphones. That’s why, according to the digital privacy expert Daniel Markuson, before acquiring a new IoT device and bringing it home, you should always consider whether it really benefits you.

“Of course, it doesn't mean that, if something can be hacked, it will be. Many of these cases are still theoretical, but staying cautious can do harm. If you have a smart device at home or work, read more about it and use network security technologies. Strong passwords and authentication methods reduce the risks as well,” says Daniel Markuson, digital privacy expert at NordVPN.

The quality and efficiency of financial management services have improved by leaps and bounds after the industry finally decided to embrace the Internet of Things. But as impressive as the changes are, there’s still a lot more to do to meet the expectations of a more demanding client-base. Thus, it doesn’t take much to figure out that future innovations need to focus on more inclusive and interactive models that make the most of available technology.

It’s too early to tell what the future holds for the industry. However, these trends give us a glimpse of how wealth management could look like in the years to come.

A More Digital Industry

Looking back at how “traditional” things used to be for the wealth management industry merely a decade ago, the rapid and strategic digitalization of most firms and companies is nothing short of amazing.

As big and small companies alike prepare for an influx of younger and hipper clients, automation and digital integration become even more essential aspects of their marketing efforts. In fact, industry leaders are already carrying out groundbreaking centralized digital marketing strategies that are pushing the rest to follow their lead.

To thrive, organizations have to rethink and reshape their approaches and decipher how they can use technology to their advantage.

Robo Advisors at Your Service

Witnessing how successful chatbots are at offering 24/7 customer support for many companies around the globe, the financial services industry strives to do the same – if not better – with robo-advisors.

While this can be a huge hit-or-miss situation, it’s a risk worth taking for many asset management firms. Aside from software-based solutions being more cost-effective than traditional investment management, this development has the potential to catch the fancy of millennials who are almost always fascinated with what technology can do.

You can’t deny that digital assistants enhance and empower customer experience. Be that as it may, it's too soon to tell for sure if robo-advisors will ever become competent replacements for human advisors, especially in offering customized and long term investments proposals.

Sustainable Investing Becomes an Even Bigger Hit

The growing interest in sustainable investing is expected to swell in the coming years as more people are encouraged to take socially and environmentally-conscious investments.

Millennials have been leading the awareness campaign towards sustainable investing and its principles; and the overall response has been positive, to say the least.

At the rate things are going, wealth managers will have to pay more attention to impact investments and find a way to incorporate the ESG philosophy into their management approaches, should they wish to attract the millennial market.

The Age of Better-informed Investors

There was very little interest in wealth management pursuits in the past few decades because the majority of the population basically had no idea what it’s all about. Thankfully, things have changed, and they continue to change for the better.

As information and resources on asset management and financial services become easier to access, people from all walks of life are opening up to the concept of investing and becoming more conscious of the state of their financial health.

The future shines bright for the wealth management industry.

Derick Fiebiger from 0chain explains its key benefits for your business.

Irrespective of what your opinion is, business executives have a duty to their organisations to assess relevant new technologies. Blockchain is an exciting new technology and companies the world over are evaluating whether blockchain offers a dependable, effective and valuable solution to their current challenges.

Seeing leading tech giants like IBM, AWS , Oracle and Accenture already on board and heavily invested in this new technology helps validate that blockchain is indeed more than hype and will transform many industries and systems in the years to come.

So what does this mean for me and my enterprise you may ask?

What are blockchain’s benefits for my business now and how will it help me innovate and stay ahead of the competition?

Blockchain’s advantages are many and as the underlying technology, applications and protocols evolve, more and more use cases emerge. At this stage though, the most important business benefits focus on increasing efficiency, agility, ROI, security, privacy and transparency.

The ability to easily access historical transactional data is particularly important for companies that have complex supply chains

  1. Transparency and Traceability 

Lack of transparency leads to delayed transactions, financial losses and situations that could compromise important commercial relationships.

Blockchain plays a critical role in tracing transactions and operations. The ability to easily access historical transactional data is particularly important for companies that have complex supply chains. It also helps with confirming transaction authenticity and preventing fraud.

As each transaction is recorded sequentially and indefinitely, you can easily provide an indelible audit trail for each transaction, operation or asset.

This accelerates reporting dramatically and enables you to access data regarding any potential issues in real time so you can fix problems as soon as they arise.

Furthermore, the audit process becomes much more efficient, faster and non-disruptive for the business.

  1. Security and Privacy

Security has become a massive issue for all enterprises and senior tech leaders are investing significant resources to prevent malicious attacks, stop data leakage and increase auditability and accountability.

Despite this investment, many companies only install low level security measures and pray solutions hold against malicious attacks. But, considering how many reputable global corporations have been victims of malicious parties recently, it’s becoming very clear that IT security not only has to protect confidential, sensitive data but there needs to be immutable records showing who did what, when and where in case something does go wrong.

Independently verified complex cryptography, definitive unchangeable records and decentralisation unite to make it far more difficult for hackers to compromise data. All these factors could revolutionise how critical information is shared, preventing fraud and loss of data.

With blockchain you can reduce data storage costs, store data in a more cost effective way and also eliminate many third parties that are now used for various transactions and trading processes.

  1. Efficiency and Agility

In order to navigate an increasingly complex business environment and fully leverage blockchain’s benefits, businesses need services with ample transaction capacity, near-instant finality and the ability to scale, all without sacrificing blockchain’s core benefits.

Think how much data your company generates and what’s managed on a daily basis. Countless transactions and operations happen every day inside and outside the company. Data flows to and from different parties.

With blockchain and tokenisation, you can reduce costs by storing and verifying all this data in a more efficient, secure way but also - transactions and data queries can be validated and completed far faster than traditional methods.

Furthermore, many companies still use paper heavy processes which are time-consuming, prone to human errors and offer little transparency. Blockchain streamlines and automates all these processes, enabling organisations to become more efficient and agile.

  1. Lower Costs

Reducing costs is a critical priority for many enterprises. With blockchain you can reduce data storage costs, store data in a more cost effective way and also eliminate many third parties that are now used for various transactions and trading processes.

This is increasingly important for companies with large IoT networks or business functions generating huge volumes of data every day.

Taking Control of Your Destiny 

Security, agility and efficiency are powerful blockchain benefits that businesses should be exploring. At the same time, there is an infinite number of tools, applications, and ideas that can be delivered through blockchains and it’s up to each enterprise to investigate how they can use the technology.

One thing to keep in mind if you’re considering implementing blockchain in your business is that this is not just an IT or R&D project. Blockchain, in many cases, is a fundamental business transformation operation which, if deployed and used properly, will significantly improve revenue and cost management. It will also cut across organisational silos and provide unique abilities for increased competitiveness and overall performance.

Regardless of whether you’re still on the fence regarding blockchain adoption or a passionate ambassador, one thing is clear - blockchain is here to stay and only the sky is the limit for the companies that are ready to take on board this new technology and leverage its full potential.


Derick’s Specialisms




Most of Nitin’s career has been involved with business model changes around disruptive technologies and M&A work in the TMT sector for companies around Silicon Valley. He has developed M&A strategies, conducted commercial/operational/technical due diligence and has assisted with M&A integrations and separations for his clients. He specialises in creating value from emerging technologies and helping his clients prepare and adapt to the next big thing. A veteran with over 1,000 transactions, he specialises in revenue synergies and has also led dozens of cost-focused consolidation M&A deals. His recent work includes helping CEOs, boards, investors and business leaders transform their business models by leveraging disruptive trends and M&A to pivot into new business models, utilising technologies such as SaaS, SDN, blockchain, open source, AI, IoT, AR/VR, drones and voice-enabled devices.

“As a Silicon Valley insider for two decades, it is a fascinating challenge to utilise my business knowledge, network of experts, consulting skills and experience in M&A deals to solve problems at the cutting edge of new technologies”, says Nitin. “I have built an expansive network in Silicon Valley with TMT sector clients who look to me to help them through difficult business changes, serving as both a trusted adviser and personal advocate.”

 What are the current key business and technology trends within the TMT sector?

I believe that today we are experiencing the equivalent of tectonic shifts in business that are primarily technology-driven and are impacting the fundamental ways we do business – and these trends extend far beyond the technology sector. These shifts can conflict with each other, making business strategy more difficult to conceptualise and execute today than it was in the past. Some of these shifts are as follows:

Each of these shifts is a transformation that presents an opportunity to get ahead of the game.

There are few absolute rules in this new frontier – companies need a data-driven approach to navigate the complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity, which has become profound over the last few years and is not likely to abate.

Traditionally, technology has served to enable or enhance existing business models or to create entirely new ones. More recently, we find ourselves in a place where there is a developed technology, but the ecosystems and business models around it are taking longer to evolve. Take, for instance, blockchain – here we have a viable technology, but it will take a few years to build scalable business models around it and monetise it. CEOs and corporate think tanks must devise new ways of adapting in such a landscape.

I have built an expansive network in Silicon Valley with TMT sector clients who look to me to help them through difficult business changes, serving as both a trusted adviser and personal advocate.

How is FTI positioned to take advantage of these so-called shifts and disruptions in the market?

FTI is configured differently than traditional consulting firms because we have an expert-centric approach to creating value for our clients. Most of our practitioners have deep industry experience, having operated businesses as executives and in consulting for several years, which has created a lot of credibility with clients and other executives. We are also an industry- and sector-oriented firm and taking a profitability view of the business is a highly valued and impactful perspective for our clients. We not only understand the sector, trends and structural shifts, but can also translate those into meaningful operational and tactical outcomes. Our clients tend to hire us for our expertise and experience rather than to simply add leverage to their internal teams. Given the highly sector-focused approach, we tend to formulate points of view on what is coming next, to ensure our clients are well prepared to adapt.

You have quite an amazing M&A background as well. What are key current M&A trends and drivers in the sector?

There is a lot going on in the M&A world. The last two years have been record-breaking, with unprecedented deal activity across industries, geographies, private equity and corporates. While there is some rumbling that M&A is slowing, I think that the big drivers are intact. For one, the US dollar has appreciated significantly against some developing market currencies, and that creates an interesting value discount. The 2017 tax cuts will continue to put more money in the hands of corporates, which will likely fuel M&A activity. The wave around digital business models is not cresting, and companies will acquire or strengthen their capabilities in this space. Incumbents will continue to consolidate to survive and create scale.

All these trends have put pressure on internal M&A teams and external advisers to create more value and to do it quickly. M&A integration has gone through a lot of change, and many professionals have still not adapted to the structural integration aspects and approach it ‘function-by-function’, limiting their ability to create value. There are several industries and sectors where the M&A wave is just starting – the scaling of technologies such as blockchain and AR/VR will attract preemptive strikes from bigger players. Private equity firms continue to be aggressive and are developing some unique strategies for deploying capital and creating value. When you consider all of these trends, I don’t think that M&A activity in the sector will slow down appreciably anytime soon.

The last two years have been record-breaking, with unprecedented deal activity across industries, geographies, private equity and corporates.

How do you go about keeping up with all the trends in the market while continuing to build skills and reinvent yourself?

This is an important aspect that has become critical if you want to stay current, relevant and excel. Learning patterns, adapting and creating value for the entire ecosystem around you is vital when working within this field. Gone are the days when one could read a few books or attend a couple of training sessions to grasp a new subject. Our clients are very smart people and they have access to a vast collection of materials and resources.

The way I have adapted is by learning from my network. For example, I learned about autonomous driving by speaking with approximately 50 companies across the value chain. By the time I spoke with a couple of dozen players, I started seeing patterns and trends that they were not able to see individually, such as partnership opportunities, M&A opportunities, market needs and disruptive trends.

After you’ve networked, it’s about building insights and getting into more details through targeted discussions around specific areas of autonomous driving. Clients value market insights and trends from external sources as validating. I did something similar with blockchain and IoT previously. One can always dress up their credibility with technical credentials, but this is usually less effective than learning from the field and building insights and skills from it. People are also curious about what others are thinking and doing, hence forming a cohesive, defensible, fact-based point of view often goes a long way.

Gone are the days when one could read a few books or attend a couple of training sessions to grasp a new subject.

It is widely believed that you are one of the most connected C-Level Executives in the TMT sector. How have you built such an impressive network?

Great networks are always built over time. It is easy to make connections, but it’s a lot harder to maintain them. I like connecting with people in general and I like exchanging ideas and facilitating with them – be it making introductions, sharing insights, learning from them, advising them or being helpful otherwise. Not all meetings have to be about getting something out of them – be genuine, take interest, help if you can and I guarantee that will deepen your relationships with them. I always tell people that if your relationships are strictly an outcome of your business, then something is not right, but if your business comes to you as a byproduct of your relationships, then you are doing it right. Remember, it is about the quality and strength of your network – not the numbers. It takes a lot of commitment to genuinely foster and maintain a network as it gets bigger. Your network is like a living organism and it needs to be nurtured in order to strengthen and grow. There is not one magical formula for this; everyone has different styles, but it is important to know what works best for you. The crucial element is to put yourself out there in the field.

You have received multiple awards for pioneering new approaches in M&A – please tell us about them.

The most important outcome is to innovate and adapt – awards are only a byproduct of that but, of course, serve as a validation and recognition of your contributions. Some of my work that has been externally recognised is creating a new framework for delivering revenue synergies in M&A, a new approach to managing M&A from strategy through integration by utilising Wargames - a new and unique way to assess blockchain and understand how to unlock its business model value. Additionally, I am currently working on building a new approach to assess and integrate platforms, which requires a different approach from integrating products or processes. When it comes to platforms, the bulk of value created is outside the company and delivered through network effects. Stay tuned for more on this topic.

How does one go about generating new business in today’s world? Has the approach to sales changed?

I think the best way to sell nowadays is to be visible in the right places, share insights and experiences to create a ‘pull effect’. You can no longer just show up and talk about the services your firm offers and wait for the client to bite on something relevant. More specifically, today’s clients judge your expertise by how well you understand their business, trends and context apart from your technical or functional area.

Today’s clients judge your expertise by how well you understand their business, trends and context apart from your technical or functional area.

My field is highly relationship-driven – the deeper you know your topic, the more amplification you will get from the network or relationships in order to get referrals. We don’t live in an age of long attention spans. If you meet the CEO of a company in the elevator, speak about business issues relevant to him. If what you’re saying resonates, you’ll have plenty of opportunities later to talk about how great your firm is.

You also sit on boards of multiple companies – can you tell us about them? How do you choose the companies that you join?  

Foremost, I need to genuinely believe in what the company does and that I can really add value. I am always happy to help talented people with my ideas, skills or network. A great idea is unlikely to succeed without great management teams, and resonating with these people is a key consideration for investing time.

I’m also attracted to disruptive technologies that could have a big impact on the business world. Some of the companies that I am a board member of include Pronto, a partner orchestration and automation platform; SmartBeings, an AI based smart speaker focused on enterprises; and Crosby, a blockchain-based asset tracking technology which is unique and differentiated.

What is your advice to CEOs and how do you adapt to changes in today’s world?

What is your advice to the Management Consulting community on how they should adapt to the changing landscape?

From refrigerators and lamps to door locks and heating, the Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionised the way we live and work, making a truly robust ecosystem of smart devices a reality. Here Leigh Moody, UK Managing Director at SOTI, walks Finance Monthly through the developments of a ‘connected home’ and how these present opportunities for other sectors.

Indeed, IoT has quickly become one of the hottest technology topics around, expanding into all manner of industries as the rate of innovation shows no signs of slowing down.

Within the home, IoT has turned everyday objects into connected products designed to make our lives easier, more convenient, and more comfortable. The likes of connected electricity meters and doorbells have already been around for some time, giving consumers a taste of the possibilities on offer.

And momentum in the industry is continuing to intensify, with the worldwide connected home market predicted to grow from its $24 billion valuation in 2016, to $53 billion by the year 2022.

Smart devices have certainly made their mark among consumers, but this isn’t the only place where IoT is having a significant impact. Connected devices are also quickly becoming more commonplace in industrial settings such as factories and hospitals, as well as in traditional office environments.

It’s an area that more and more device manufacturers are trying to exploit and one that has endless possibilities – especially for those businesses that can learn from what has already happened within the connected home.

IoT in business

As the Internet of Things has become more mainstream, vendors and businesses alike have taken inspiration from the smart home model and quickly realised that connected devices have plenty to offer a B2B environment.

From increased productivity and more accurate decision-making, to reduced production costs and a better understanding of customer needs, there are countless examples of how IoT is bringing value to enterprises around the world.

For example, manufacturing firms have started to deploy smart sensors in their factories for predictive equipment maintenance. This enables them to save valuable money in labour costs and lost revenue by proactively identifying issues before they become a major problem, rather than waiting for something to break down.

Similar ‘smart’ technology is also transforming vehicle management in logistics companies, with the data collected enabling businesses to become much more cost-efficient by reducing fuel spend and vehicle downtime.

Then there is retail, where IoT is being used at virtually all stages of the product journey. This starts with optimising the supply chain and using analytics to ensure the right products are in the right place at the right time, while also enabling brands to transform the in-store experience and connect with shoppers in a more personal way.

These are all hugely compelling use cases, but just the tip of the iceberg with regards to what the Internet of Things will make possible in the future.

So, it’s clear that IoT is set to gain substantial value within the enterprise over the coming years. But, in order for its potential to be realised, there is one key challenge that will first have to be overcome.

Solving the data dilemma

The main driver for enterprise IoT is that the large volumes of data created by connected devices present a huge opportunity. By leveraging the power of analytics – either on a small scale or across large deployments – businesses can gain additional layers of insight into their operations and make improvements.

This is exactly what the smart home enables. By using connected products to track energy usage, for example, consumers can learn where they are spending the most money and become more cost-efficient.

However, from an enterprise perspective, the challenge comes in being able to efficiently manage and control hundreds or potentially thousands of smart devices. Simply keeping track of the vast swathes of data being generated from devices in a range of different locations and from an assortment of vendors, is already a serious issue and is likely to be the biggest IoT challenge IT departments will face in the future.

What they don’t want is to have several platforms pulling in different data streams. Not only would this be hugely confusing to manage, the lack of coordination would create a fragmented picture of what is going on across the business.

Instead, enterprises need to have one integrated view of everything, through one pane of glass, to manage their IoT ecosystem as simply as possible.

Incorporating an effective device management strategy such as this would go a long way towards helping enterprises enable all that the connected future has to offer. IT teams would have full visibility into what is going on across every single endpoint, enabling them to maximise the value of the data being collected.

There may be challenges along the way, but developments in the consumer world have already shown the impact IoT can have on our everyday lives. By taking the concept of the smart home to the next level and putting systems in place to efficiently manage the data that is collected from a growing number of devices, enterprises will be able to innovate and take advantage of the tremendous potential the Internet of Things has to offer.

A recent survey shows 64% of organisations have deployed some level of IoT technology, and another 20% plan to do so within the next 12 months. This is an astonishing fact when you consider the lack of basic security on these devices, or any established security standards. Many companies are turning a blind eye to security issues, swayed by the potential benefits that IoT can bring. Here Ian Kilpatrick, EVP Cyber Security at the Nuvias Group, provides 10 key facts on IoT.

1. IoT - a cybercriminal’s dream

Any device or sensor with an IP address connected to a corporate network is an entry point for hackers and other cybercriminals – like leaving your front door wide open for thieves.

Managing endpoints is already a challenge, but the IoT will usher in a raft of new network-connected devices that threaten to overwhelm the IT department charged with securing them – a thankless task considering the lack of basic safeguards in place on the devices.

Of particular concern is that many IoT devices are not designed to be secured or updated after deployment. Any vulnerabilities discovered post deployment cannot be protected against in the device; and corrupted devices cannot be cleansed.

2. IT or OT

IT professionals are more used to securing PCs, laptops and other devices, but they will now be expected to become experts in areas such as smart lighting, heating and air conditioning systems, security cameras and integrated facilities management systems.

A lack of experience in this Operating Technology (OT) is a cause for concern. It is seen as operational rather than strategic, so deployment and management is often shifted well away from Board awareness and oversight.

Nevertheless, the majority of organisations are deploying IoT technology with minimal regard to the risk profile or the tactical requirements needed to secure them against unforeseen consequences.

3. Increase in DDoS attacks

DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks are on the rise, with 41% of UK organisations saying they have experienced one.

IoT devices are a perfect vehicle for criminals to access a company’s network. 2016’s high-profile Mirai attack used IoT devices to mount wide-scale DDoS attacks that disrupted internet service for more than 900,000 Deutsche Telekom customers in Germany, and infected almost 2,400 TalkTalk routers in the UK.

4. ... and ransomware attacks

There has been an almost 2000% jump in ransomware detections since 2015. In 2017, WannaCry targeted more than 200,000 computers across 150 countries, with damages ranging from hundreds to billions of dollars.

While most ransomware attacks currently infiltrate an organisation via email, IoT presents a new delivery system for both mass and targeted attacks.

5. Increasing intensity and sophistication of attacks

The sophistication of attacks targeting organisations is accelerating at an unprecedented rate, with criminals leveraging the disruptive opportunities the IoT brings.

According to Fortinet’s latest Quarterly Threat Landscape report, three of the top twenty attacks identified in Q4 2017 were IoT botnets. But unlike previous attacks, which focused on a single vulnerability, new IoT botnets such as Reaper and Hajime target multiple vulnerabilities simultaneously, which is much harder to combat.

Wi-Fi cameras were targeted by criminals, with more than four times the number of exploit attempts detected over Q3 2017.

6. The effects of an attack

The aftermath of a cyberattack can be devastating for any company, leading to huge financial losses, compounded by regulatory fines for data breaches, and plummeting market share or job losses. At best, a company could suffer irreparable reputational damage and loss of customer loyalty.

On top of that, IoT devices have the potential to create organisational and infrastructure risks, and even pose a threat to human life, if attacked. We have already seen the impact of nation-state attack tools being used as nation state weapons, then getting out and being used in commercial criminal activity.

7. Profit over security

It’s crazy to think that devices with the potential to enable so much damage to homes, businesses and even entire cities often lack basic security design, implementation and testing. In the main this is because device manufacturers are pushing through their products to get them to market as quickly as possible, to cash in on the current buzz around IoT.

Lawrence Munro, vice president SpiderLabs at Trustwave agrees IoT manufacturers are sidestepping security fundamentals: “We are seeing lack of familiarity with secure coding concepts resulting in vulnerabilities, some of them a decade old, incorporated into final designs,” he notes.

8. Can you see the problem?

Another huge problem is that once a network in attacked, it’s much easier for subsequent attacks to occur.

Yet, recent data shows just half of IT decision makers feel confident they have full visibility and control of all devices with network access. The same%age believe they have full visibility of the access level of all third parties, who frequently have access to networks; and only 54% say they have full visibility and control of all employees.

9. Turning a blind eye

Despite security concerns often cited as the number one barrier to greater IoT adoption, Trustwave research shows sixty-one% of firms who have deployed some level of IoT technology have had to deal with a security incident related to IoT, and 55% believe an attack will occur sometime during the next two years. Only 28% of organisations surveyed consider that their IoT security strategy is ‘very important’ when compared to other cybersecurity priorities.

10. Efforts to standardise

In the UK, the government’s five-year National Cyber Security Programme (NCSP) is looking to work with the IT industry to build security into IoT devices through its ‘Secure by Default’ initiative. The group published a review earlier this month that proposes a draft Code of Practice for IoT manufacturers and developers.

While there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel, it may not be enough. Regulators won’t force device manufacturers to introduce the necessary security regulations and practices before thousands of businesses fall victim to attacks. Turning a blind eye to the IoT security risks could leave your organisation permanently paralysed.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is all around us. From providing doctors with patient data in real time, to tracking vehicle performance, to automating building systems, IoT is transforming businesses and enabling organisations to create entirely new systems and services, engage customers and drive growth. Below Richard Smith, Regional Manager at SOTI, gives us a brief on the top three industries ready for IOT transformation in 2018.

Despite the huge rise in connected devices, there are still some industries that are hesitant to adopt new technologies, regardless of the business benefits. With nearly 20 billion devices[1] predicted to be connected to the IoT by 2020, it is essential that organisations invest in new IoT technologies to keep up with evolving customer demands.

With IoT’s growing maturity comes new approaches, business models, and solutions that will see organisations ramping up deployments and incorporating this technology into their products, processes and workflows.

Almost every industry can benefit from investing in IoT but the important thing to consider is that IoT cannot be deployed in silo. Connecting a business from a technology perspective is all about leveraging mobile (where the business information resides) with IoT. Mobility has taken functionality way beyond the four walls of a business but IoT stands to amplify this.

The communication between mobile and IoT allows even more information to be connected to back office systems even without the need for human intervention. As the adoption of this technology continues, these three industries are ripe for IoT transformation.


IoT has taken healthcare by storm. From wearables that track patient health, to providing remote care to patients who live in isolated areas, the shift towards the digitalisation of the healthcare industry has seen more healthcare workers getting connected and relying on mobile devices. The biggest benefit of IoT in healthcare is to keep patients out of the hospital by providing more effective home care. This is helping to reduce re-infections but also reduces costs, especially when it comes to monitoring patients with chronic illnesses.

Mobile devices are enabling doctors, nurses and other healthcare practitioners to monitor patients outside of the hospital; wearable devices track pulse rates and motion sensors and trackers protect more vulnerable patients. These remote patient monitors provide richer information in a timelier fashion. The ability to now track patients over a 24/7 period - compared to an hour’s assessment in a hospital room – can not only help to diagnose illnesses quicker, but can also measure the effect of treatment. If a medication impacts the patient’s readings, a doctor can be aware of this problem before a patient tells them.

This method of patient tracking not only reduces the complexity for the healthcare facility in offering an exemplary level of patient care, but also reduces the cost. Wearable devices are extremely cost effective and the accuracy of the data reduces patient time in the hospitals, which has another positive impact on costs.

As more and more medical devices become internet-connected with this evolving technology, it is vital that the healthcare industry ensures its compliant with data protection laws when it comes to the transportation of this data. Operators must ensure that medical grade devices are configured effectively, that passwords and encryption is in place and that the connection between the devices is secure to protect patient data from potential hackers.

Transportation and Logistics

Whether by air, ground or sea, transportation and logistics are essential components to many enterprises’ productivity, and access to real-time data is critical. There is a growing reliance on IoT and mobile devices to provide visibility into the supply chain right through to personnel, equipment and transactions that enable enterprises to better support peak operations in real time.

Transportation and logistics businesses are focused on maximising supply chain efficiency to sustain profitability and efficiencies. IoT has already begun to disrupt this industry through systems that are able to sense and respond to vehicle usage and changes in real-time, managing downtime to operate fleets at the lowest possible cost.

IoT provides the ability to track where vehicles are in their route, ensuring they are delivering packages and goods on time and being able to reroute trucks based on live situations such as accidents, road closures or weather conditions. With workers constantly on the move, visibility into where these assets are, and what they are doing can improve business operations.

With the announcement of driverless trucks, IoT will play a major role in tracking vehicles on their routes, deploying preventative maintenance, observing driver behavior and monitoring vehicle security with the goal of improving the bottom line.


Retail is one of the most fast-paced industries globally. According to Accenture[2], the IoT movement offers retailers opportunities in three critical areas: customer experience, the supply chain and new channels along with revenue streams.

IoT is already being used in retail, but 2018 will be the year where this technology really transforms the customer experience. We’ve already seen an increase in customer touchpoints – such as in-store tablets and online chatbots – but this will evolve rapidly over the next 12 months as shops become even more connected.

For example, we will increasingly see sensors being used for inventory management, allowing a connection to be made from back-end inventory to in-store and online. Also, the in-store customer experience is transforming to meet the demands of the digital consumer – as such, beacons will be used to push relevant messages at point-of-sale and sensors will be in operation to track patterns to develop better instore layouts

Consumers are now taking these features of the technology into account. According to our own research[3], 67 per cent of shoppers are more likely to shop at a store that integrates technology and over two-thirds believe retailers that utilise more technology enable a faster shopping experience.

What’s most exciting for the coming year is how extensive the applications of IoT in retail are. Robots will stack shelves, freeing up staff to add value to the customer, while smart mirrors will let customers virtually try on clothes and connected beacons will send out personalised offers to consumers immediately as they enter the shop.

Future-proofing IoT

This year will be a breakthrough in IoT usage and applications across a wide variety of industries. The ubiquitous nature of IoT will be evident and the technologies driving the usage will continue to emerge and evolve to meet the important needs of deployment, distribution and security.

SOTI MobiControl is an enterprise mobility management solution that secures and manages IoT devices, offering geo fencing functionality to track devices, allowing remote management and keeping both the device and connection secure.

As with any early technology deployment, the standardisation of IoT will be a critical consideration across all industry sectors, to avoid fragmentation and allow integration of all business operations that need to be built in.

Each industry will be uniquely impacted by IoT but essentially they will all experience a more streamlined business process because of increased connectivity, reliability and efficiency taking business connectivity to the next level.


From AI to all things IoT, Russell Bennett, Chief Technology Officer at Fraedom, discusses with Finance Monthly the top five technologies that are already making waves in the banking sector.

Over the past five years, technology has fundamentally changed how the financial services sector operates. Many retail banks already successfully cater to customers’ digital needs. Business banking is now beginning to follow retail’s lead – and here we outline five of the top technologies transforming commercial banking today.

  1. Biometrics and security

When adopting new payment methodologies, banks must strike a balance between ease-of-use, ease-of-access, and security. We’ve already seen that consumer payment methods using biometric authentication becoming mainstream and it won’t be long before corporate clients expect the same.

Extending this functionality into corporate cards has the potential to make commercial payments more seamless and secure. Mobile wallets that defer to personal attributes to make secure payments on cards offer a potential route forward.

  1. Artificial Intelligence

Automation is dramatically increasing the number of financial transactions in an organisation. However, while it can track and store more processes than humans can – and more accurately – it currently can’t provide the next level service many clients are coming to expect of their financial partners: planning and modelling.1

AI is rapidly establishing itself as the missing piece of the puzzle that takes the data flows created by automated transactions and knits them together to discover patterns. All this is important to commercial banks because patterns in spending and efficiency can potentially deliver valuable insights to help clients improve their financial health.

  1. APIs

Customers’ demands, and expectations are moving rapidly, so there is growing pressure on the banking industry to provide new, easy-to-use, frictionless digital services fast.

Application programming interfaces (APIs) provide the technology to exchange customer data with other parties in a simple and secure way2, facilitating rapid innovation in products and services. Creating new applications such as voice banking, P2P, loan processing and risk management and using APIs as building blocks, is now seen as the best way to keep up with the innovation challenges facing the financial industry.

Fintechs have dominated the API landscape by creating apps that have challenged and often surpassed solutions made by the banking industry.

To keep pace, banks now need to either invest heavily to develop this technology themselves or partner with fintechs in a bid to be more effective and efficient.3 By working together and taking advantage of APIs, banks and fintech firms can enhance the customer experience much more than either entity could do on its own.

  1. ePayables – Crossing over from the Consumer to the Commercial World

The use of different payment types is partly a response to the consumerisation of our financial experience. Corporate clients can’t understand why payments should still be a laborious process of raising invoices and purchase orders, requesting printed cheques or bank transfers and creating lengthy payment terms.

Instead, the immediacy of a card – real, virtual or embedded in an app – ties all the above elements together. It gives unsurpassed traceability and is easy to add to financial management software.

Historically, paying by using a card has been seen as a debt generator. However, using payment cards as a substitute for invoice terms makes them a useful tool both to enhance a company’s working capital positions and to improve traceability, security and the level of control that can be placed on business spend.

  1. Expense Management Systems (EMS)

An Expense Management Systems (EMS) is just one of many tools that can be brought together into a single financial view, helping businesses gain greater control over expenditure. Unlike written expense policies and separate transactional management software, an EMS embeds expense policies into the technology, allowing real-time reconciliation and approvals to take place.

Up to now, retail banking has been ahead of the game in embracing new technologies and digital disruption but corporate banks are now grasping the need to take advantage of the latest technologies to ensure commercial clients reap the same rewards - from workflow efficiencies through to intuitive, mobile first experiences, a trend that is only likely to accelerate in the future.

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Finance Monthly is a comprehensive website tailored for individuals seeking insights into the world of consumer finance and money management. It offers news, commentary, and in-depth analysis on topics crucial to personal financial management and decision-making. Whether you're interested in budgeting, investing, or understanding market trends, Finance Monthly provides valuable information to help you navigate the financial aspects of everyday life.
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