The Internet of Things

Case Studies

Case Studies

IoT revolution to allow companies to go beyond core businesses

by Gianni Rusconi

With over 2.5 million black boxes installed in Italy alone, UnipolSai is unquestionably a pioneer in the Internet of Things. The Bologna-based insurer has 12 years' experience in the field, as pointed out by the company's Insurance Service Manager Giacomo Lovati. The black boxes installed by UnipolSai are used to gather functional data and reports in order to develop additional services.

Lovati predicts that a big leap forward in telematics technologies will take place next year, since virtually every player on the insurance market is moving ahead. “Nowadays black boxes are widely appreciated, mainly because of the reduction they bring to car insurance policies. In the immediate future black boxes are expected to enter houses as well in order to monitor household equipment, in the form of gyroscope bracelets monitoring the wearer's parameters.

Price-based considerations will be less and less important, giving room to service-based logic instead.

The spread of technologies, particularly IoT ones, will drastically change the insurance paradigm. UnipolSai offers policies that go beyond insurance claims, providing customers with real-time interventions at no extra cost.

The road to this paradigm shift is laden with obstacles, though. It is relatively easy, Lovati states, to imagine household white boxes designed to detect smoke, gas leaks and such anomalies. It is far more complex to create advanced hubs that are capable of interacting with different functional parameters. Even though we already have enough technology to communicate with objects, smart houses and home automation have yet to reach a broader audience.

There are market-related issues based on consumers' requests, and there are privacy-related issues. How can consumer data be used to create value-added-value services? How should normative issues regarding Gps location info be handled? There are architectural issues as well, coming from closed systems which control connected household devices such as smart meters and pay-TV set top boxes.

According to UnipolSai, solid integration between devices is required. This calls for standard communication protocols. Lovati says: “It would be ideal to have one single intelligent black box to handle all the household equipment and all the smart devices of a customer. This can be obtained thanks to a strict alliance between insurance, media and energy professionals.”

UnipolSai aims to maximize investments in digital technologies knowing that turnover increase is likely to be limited; however, core business opportunities may skyrocket. The IoT, connected devices and value-added services open up new opportunities concerning new products.

“Gathering user data allows us to closely analyze their habits in order to build an intelligent, structured informative basis” Lovati concludes. “This way we can create targeted and more effective marketing solutions.”