Patrik Jud welcomes us onto the green sofa. He has invited us to the «Joint Innovation Center» at the Sunrise headquarters for the meeting. Pot plants, comfortable sofas and rugs create a living-room atmosphere. Large screens on the walls display how processes are digitized and the benefits they bring. This is where Patrik often meets customers and partners who require his expertise. «This inspiring environment is the perfect spot to discuss IoT,» he says. His blue eyes light up as he remembers his first big IoT story. That was in 2001. Back then, the trained electrician was employed at IBM as a business developer. One of his tasks was to develop an exciting exhibit for the Orbit computer trade fair. The result: a Porsche equipped with the technology to display up-to-date information about the nearest gas station and gas prices while driving.
The «Internet of Things» at Sunrise
The term Internet of Things, or IoT for short, refers to the interconnection of devices, animals and people to the Internet. Data is exchanged primarily via wireless technology such as Bluetooth, NFC, Narrowband IoT or 5G. Sunrise offers IoT solutions using data SIM cards that communicate with each other via the mobile network. These connections allow an object’s status to be monitored and to digitize, automate and optimize processes. For a taxi company with 50 taxis, for example, 50 data SIM cards are sufficient; an energy provider, on the other hand, needs up to several hundred thousand. The SIM cards are managed via the easy-to-use IoT connectivity management platforms from Sunrise. IoT is used both in the private and business environment. With the new mobile communications standard 5G, up to one million devices can be connected within a radius of one square kilometer. From July 2022, business customers will be able to order standardized IoT starter services directly in the web shop. This will allow smaller IoT projects to be started quickly or initial prototypes to be easily tested.
Patrik loved puzzles even as a child and found building networks particularly fascinating. Using his father’s old phones and cables – he was a post office worker – he established a telephone connection from his room to his brother’s. And when Patrik was given a remote-controlled car and discovered that wireless connections were much more exciting, it set the course for his future.
Save money and time with IoT
Patrik moved to the telecommunications industry in 2002. Working for the IoT industry leader at the time, he initially sold data SIM cards for business IoT applications. He remembers developing a solution for a real-estate service provider to save costs when purchasing heating oil. The application measured the level in oil tanks and checked the oil price, so that oil was only purchased when the price was low. In the event of high oil prices, the company’s own reserves were used. «Back then, data was still transmitted via SMS since it was the most reliable way to do it,» says the IoT expert. A lot has changed since then, but one thing has not – IoT solutions need to be well thought out. This means the added value must be clearly visible. «The art here is recognizing how IoT can save money or time or increase quality,» says Patrik. To this end, he interacts intensively with industry experts and partners when working on new ideas. An effective partner network is one of the most important success factors. In his 20 years in the industry, Patrik has relied on his network many times – even in some critical situations. During his time at Swisscom, for example, he received a desperate call from a large ski resort on a Saturday evening. The system that should have automatically triggered an avalanche that evening had a technical defect. The area’s safety was at acute risk. Thanks to his good contacts, Patrik was able to hire a technician right away who fixed the problem quickly.
Always have a plan B
Patrik has also advised against IoT solutions in the past. «When it comes to business-critical applications or life-and-death situations, I pay very close attention,» he emphasizes. There could be interruptions with mobile networks. He recalls a case of a Zurich taxi company that used one of the first scheduling systems. It was two a.m. on a cold Saturday night in December when the network outage happened. None of the 150 taxis could be reached and customers were waiting in vain – the financial loss was enormous. The reason for the outage: a scheduled software update on the telecom provider’s mobile network. After this incident, the taxi company introduced a plan B and the telecom provider has since then always coordinated with the IoT department before carrying out maintenance work on the network.
Patrik Jud has been the new IoT poster boy at Sunrise since February 1, 2022. How does he rate the system? «Sunrise is very well positioned with the IoT Connectivity Management Platform,» says the expert. In cooperation with a variety of partners, the company can serve its IoT customers with comprehensive solutions, enabling innovative business models. Plus: «Sunrise networks are fully equipped with the latest IoT technologies and 5G.»
As we part company, Patrik points to the life-size plastic cow standing at the entrance of the Joint Innovation Center. «I once worked with a professor on a project to determine the ideal insemination time for cows,» he says, smiling. In the future, the agricultural sector will also benefit massively from IoT solutions – like almost all industries.