Libelium: A Global Leader in Precision Farming and Smart Cities


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IoT is providing new opportunities for the businesses all over the world. It is offering freedom to the businesses to connect and operate from anywhere, anytime. It has increased the process efficiency of businesses and also adding in the customer experiences.

With 10000+ developers in the world’s largest companies and with deployments in 120 countries, Libelium is satisfying every IoT need of its clients. There are many IoT service providers in the market targeting one specific vertical. But no one offers a portfolio of solutions for any IoT project as Libelium does.

Libelium is extending its IoT value chain, developing a complete ecosystem of partners that are joining the platform not only as cloud service providers or system integrators but also as hardware device partners or radio communication manufacturers. Libelium’s aim is to offer interoperability in the whole value chain, from sensors and devices to data management in the Cloud.

Libelium, Committed to the Interoperability of its Platform

Libelium’s commitment is based on the interoperability of its platform to connect any sensor, through any communication protocol, to any cloud server. Thus, the company has managed to build an ecosystem with more than 90 technological partners, including Microsoft, IBM, Telefónica, Ericsson, NEC, Telit, etc.

Alicia Asín, Co-Founder & CEO of Libelium, thinks that alliances with major operators and system integrators are strategic for the growth of the sector. They are the ones who manage IoT projects with smart cities and companies from different sectors and it is essential to coordinate synergies with those who provide the technology, and with others that facilitate installation, maintenance, connectivity and data storage. That is the key for private projects and city’s investments today to expand and scale each year without having to be slaves of a closed technology.

Libelium is focused on explaining the importance of testing scalability and reliability to avoid failed investments in IoT projects. The market is still in progress and there are many companies or cities that have started testing the IoT technology with Proof of Concepts, but it is really tough to navigate through the IoT Ecosystem finding who is who.

“That is why we created The IoT Marketplace,” says Alicia, “an e-commerce with kits ready to deploy for a particular application. With more than 60 final solutions in this store nowadays, we are making the IoT real. PoC are very important to be confident about the hardware, the software, and the connectivity to manage obsolescence in the large scale deployments. There are many players trying to make money selling IoT solutions that will not be sustainable in the future.”

Policy makers -in case of smart cities- and CIOs -in companies- have to deal with the fact that there will not be a unique wireless technology to conquer the market (not even NB-IoT, or other LPWAN alternatives like LoRaWAN or Sigfox). Libelium’s message to the market is: “do not wait for the ultimate technology as it will never happen”. Alicia feels that frozen investments in digitalization will never see the light if decision makers stay stopped waiting for the last cutting edge novelty. The key is being enough resilient and interoperable.

Libelium, Offering Services to the Smart Cities

Precision Farming and Smart Cities are the key vertical markets where Libelium is getting leader positioning. The Smart Cities sector includes solutions for noise level measurement, environmental care and water management, defined as strategic challenges in the 2020 Agenda. Libelium’s solutions are also being considered as useful tools in Smart Buildings (even airports or shopping centers) and Smart Factories, revealing the real holistic perspective of its applications.

Sales managers of Libelium are finding customers demanding final solutions, nor products or communication protocols. They search for real applications like setting up an alarm system for forest fire detections, developing a decision support system based on gas emission levels, installing water management systems to control quality and reduce the consumption or deploying an alert system to detect pests in vineyards.

The main sectors and applications of Libelium technology are the following:

  • Smart management of car parks in cities: free space detection and wireless communication to provide information to the user.
  • Monitoring of noise and air pollution levels in cities or other environments to establish alerts, reduce emissions and develop public policies according to reality.
  • Control of water quality in rivers, seas and fish farms to detect anomalies or presence of contaminants.
  • Optimization of electrical and water consumption systems to activate alerts, control consumption and open or close valves in case of system failures.
  • Monitoring agricultural crops and facilities to reduce water, energy or fertilizer costs, to decrease crop losses and to improve farmers’ working conditions.
  • Optimization of industrial processes such as logistical control, automation of manufacturing processes or building management.
  • Monitoring of body parameters easing universal access to a health care system for long distanced communities.
Libelium’s IoT platform

Libelium’s IoT sensor platform is open source, horizontal and scalable. This allows other products to be developed based on its platform without having to pay for patents or trademarks. The platform has been designed to implement solutions for agriculture, water management, smart cities or any other sector as it can integrate more than 120 types of sensors.

Thanks to the horizontal nature and scalability of Libelium’s IoT platform, any proof of concept or small project can be expanded and modified over time without having to carry out changes in the installation. It is very difficult to find another platform in the IoT market with this horizontal approach and with so many interoperability capacities. Moreover, Libelium’s solutions are very well positioned in terms of quality and price in the IoT sector.

Libelium has the widest certified platform in the market and its sensors have obtained a high performance in precision tests. This fact adds capillarity, for example, to smart cities projects where its sensors are able to complement other professional devices like special sonometers or gas sensors that offer the highest precision but not enough coverage due to their expensive prices.

Leader that is Navigating the Company Towards Success

The management of Alicia Asín at the head of Libelium has led the company to build 11 years of successful history. In the last five years, Libelium has experienced a growth rate of 20% year-on-year in its turnover, which has been motivated by an increase in the percentage of exports and also accompanied by a considerable contribution to the generation of employment. The three main drivers of Libelium’s growth are its capacity for innovation, its international orientation and the talent of its team.

Innovation is the term Alicia believes in! All the development carried out by the company’s R&D department is based on the objective of creating an interoperable device capable of integrating all types of sensors, reading them and sending this information in real time to the Internet, to any cloud platform and by means of any wireless communication protocol.

Libelium is designed for the global market, so from day one all technical and administrative documentation has been generated in English and Spanish. The company’s internal organization does not differentiate between geographic markets, the entire process management system is conceived with an international orientation.

Alicia believes that Libelium’s greatest asset is its employees. In this sense, at  Libelium, management and human resources development activities are a priority: training, communication, motivation, participation, individualized career plans, annual performance evaluation, variable remuneration by objectives, etc.

She adds, “We have begun a transformation, expanding from our impressive range of sensing hardware and trying to shift the focus onto our Meshlium gateways and supporting software services. It is a transition. We simply know that it will be impossible in the future to provide all the hardware needed for the variety of sensing applications in the IoT and that trying to do so does not scale. Instead, our focus is to provide the gateway services using our Meshlium hubs, and expand our software services too – all while fostering a cloud partner ecosystem that can support the third-party sensing hardware. It’s a significant evolution in the expansion strategy.”

Alicia’s Future Ready Approach for Libelium

Alicia says, “The constant challenge for Libelium is to continue growing until we become market leaders in smart solutions based on the IoT. We must always look ahead, but without losing sight of where we come from. In fact, the value lies in seeing our evolution. Eleven years ago we were only three people and now there are 60 and we have gone from 50,000 € of turnover to 5 million in 2016. We export to 120 countries that represent more than 90% of our total turnover.”

Libelium has devices measuring water quality in fish farms in Vietnam, optimizing the cultivation of cocoa plantations in Indonesia, checking air quality in the UK, monitoring volcanic activity in Nicaragua or helping to prevent pests in different vineyards in Europe. They have even reached space, inside the ArduSat space satellite. By 2020, technology investment to turn cities into smart cities will exceed $108 trillion. The other big market that Alicia sees emerging is precision agriculture for the amount of savings and production improvements that can be achieved.

In Smart Agriculture, for example, Libelium’s solutions are allowing customers to get precise ROI (return on investments) by saving costs in water irrigation or pesticides, improving productivity by reducing product losses and optimizing farmers daily work tasks by automating processes. “On this way, our technology has contributed to improve kiwi production in Italy, to produce the highest quality medical marijuana in US, to enhance cocoa crops in Indonesia or to prevent pests in European olives and vineyards, among others,” asserts Alicia.

Libelium’s technology for Smart Cities projects delivers innovative applications as monitoring traffic in Málaga (Spain), controlling mooring berths in touristic ports in Greece, driving shipping traffic in the Netherlands canals, reducing emissions in Nordic Smart Cities, controlling air quality with vehicles in Glasgow or managing winter highways maintenance in UK.

As Libelium has gained deeper knowledge on the growing IoT landscape they have realized that the only pathway is going from lab to reality. Alicia says, “Not in vain, we are putting technology in the hardest scenarios: rain forests and even volcanoes. It is the only way to be aware of market trends and to align expectations with customers. This is how we have realized that devices need more accuracy and we have incorporated it without loosing sight on easy installation and maintenance.”

After successfully leading her company for years, Alicia advices the young getting into the competition that, “It is always worth investing time in strategic planning before embarking on a major media deployment. I would suggest to work hard to get the business project off the ground and have an international perspective. Good ideas alone are not enough, you need a good business plan, technical knowledge and, of course, financing. It is not a path of roses and it is necessary to be clear so as not to waver in the face of difficulties. The professional career is a race of endurance, not speed. The goal is not to reach high and succeed in the first, but in constant learning and in carving out one’s own path, learning from successes and failures with humility.”

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