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IoT is to become ubiquitous in a broad context – 3M New Ventures

Thomas Andrae 02 Quadrat 02

Thomas Andrae
Director – 3M New Ventures, 3M

As Director of 3M New Ventures EMEA, Thomas Andrae is responsible for all aspects of New Venture’s European operations. Next to general management and supervisory functions, this includes strategy setting, due diligence, deal structuring, and post-investment collaboration with the respective ventures. Thomas Andrae brings almost twenty years of experience in consulting, strategic sales and marketing for major firms such as Andersen Consulting and Price Waterhouse. He spent a significant amount of his career in North America and Asia, leading complex supply chain and IT implementation projects for major clients from the banking, automotive and telecommunications industry.

Where do you see the IoT and its technologies creating the most impact?

Industrial applications, mobility, healthcare. And it will transform the insurance industry. A new range of fascinating consumer applications will arise, as well.

Where do you see the biggest challenges at the moment in terms of adoption of IoT?

Equipping devices/ products with sensors and communication links is one thing – and in the process of being commoditized. The future value will reside in the layer that will transform the sensor data into actionable information.

How do you see the next 5 years evolving?

IoT technology will become ubiquitous in a broad industrial context. The real value will depend on the quality of the above mentioned transformational layer. Consumers will see new contextual offerings from insurance companies, healthcare providers, etc. Consumers will see their personal environment becoming more connected and contextual, many new convenience focused applications will arise.

What are the most critical pieces missing today that will be needed to support this sort of computational ubiquity?

As I mentioned above: the transformational layer. And fresh and open minds to consider what’s needed and what’s not.

Will the IoT enable new business models or new business applications?

It certainly will. Just imagine a device/ a machine that is fully equipped with sensors, from left to right, from top to bottom. It will most certainly know when it is going to fail and will shut itself down. Does this device actually need insurance anymore? Imagine an aircraft engine detecting a turbine blade failure, sending this information to the destination airport where a new titanium blade is being printed (using laser sintering) and ready for installation before the plane even touches down?

Shout-outs: Any sites/people/articles or books that have inspired you lately?


  • Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy by Robert Scoble
  • Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (Incerto) by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • The-innovators by Walter Isaacson
  • Zero to One by Peter Thiel


The Industry of Things World team thanks Thomas Andrae for the interview!

Interview Partners: Thomas Andrae and Elise Orhan