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About this episode

In this episode of The IoT Podcast, we connect with Garima Singh – Global VP and Chief Architect at Ingka Group (IKEA) to break down the different unique value drivers for IoT across industries and explore if a one size fit all approach can truly exist? We get into the different digital transformation value drivers across industries, the main value drivers that non-IT companies are recognising when it comes to digital transformation and how the consumer (and sustainability) is shaping, re-shaping and changing IoT value drivers.

Garima brings 18 years of experience across telecommunications, investment banking, IIoT and automotive to the table for this episode.

Chapters…

  • 00:00 Introduction and Background
  • 02:05 Benefits of Working in Different Industries
  • 04:24 Value Drivers in IoT for Automotive
  • 07:13 Effective Strategies for Demonstrating IoT Value
  • 09:26 The Importance of Purpose in Digital Transformation
  • 11:31 The Role of Human Transformation in IoT
  • 12:31 Making IoT More Accessible and Understandable
  • 14:07 The Role of IoT in Sustainability
  • 23:53 The Role of IoT in Digital Twins
  • 25:47 Challenges in IoT and Data Interoperability
  • 34:12 The Future of IoT and Convenience for Consumers
  • 39:24 Conclusion

Thank you to our season sponsor, 5V Tech. Discover how 5V Tech can help you unlock your scaling potential in cutting-edge tech and IoT: Here

 

Tom White (00:01.078)
Welcome to the IoT podcast. Garima, welcome.

Garima Singh (00:06.46)
Thank you. Pleasure is all mine. Thanks for having me today.

Tom White (00:10.318)
Thank you for coming on. It’s been really, really good to have you here. I was really curious about your background actually, when we were going through the discovery call and finding out how you got into the wonderful world of IoT and change transformation. It’s really, really impressive. So as always, if you could tell us a little bit about who you are and what’s been your career experience in technology to date, that would be a great place to start, please.

Garima Singh (00:39.08)
Absolutely. So at the moment actually I’m actually going to start working as a global vice president and chief architect for Inca Group For those who don’t know that Inca Group is the parent company of IKEA

But I have a very long haul career in IT industry, which started in 2005. So I’m almost like 18 years now in industry, where I have been lucky enough to get opportunity to work with very diverse set of businesses. So for example, I started my career with telecommunication, then went on investment banking, then telecommunication and so on. But my majority of the career…

I mean, out of these 18 years, the majority of career has been in automotive with Volvo Cars and Volvo Group, where I have worked with digital transformation, but connected vehicles, autonomous drive, and electromobility projects. So yeah, that’s a little bit on my background.

Tom White (01:37.69)
Excellent. I guess one of my initial questions to that, Guruma, is do you think it’s aided your career and aided your personal development in getting this role, as you mentioned, that Inca group, the parent company to IKEA, of working in so many different industries, as opposed to, you know, predominantly you’ve done automotive, but you’ve been in banking, etc. Has that…

impacted you in a positive way over the years to see things in slightly different ways.

Garima Singh (02:09.924)
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, when you work, there is no one challenge that you can, that floats across the industry, right? I mean, probably there are very few. So every time you change a business domain or an industry, you are facing basically different challenges or different business challenges. So let’s take an example, digital transformation.

I mean, digital transformation in industrial segment is very different. It actually would solve different challenges. Whereas the digital transformation, for example, in investment banking is a very different value-driven approach that you need to take to solve the challenges related with banking. So what I like about working with the multiple business domains is that…

You are also learning, of course, the new business domain, like how their supply chain works, how the manufacturing works, how the customer acquisition works and so on. But at the same time, you also see different IT challenges. That means you get like a very broad perspective on solving probably the similar challenge, but with different solutions.

Tom White (03:14.774)
Mm-hmm.

Garima Singh (03:15.528)
or even different challenges with different solutions. So I think personally it added, I would say, a very diverse problem solving mindset because I’ve seen quite a lot of it work in cross industry.

Tom White (03:27.838)
Yeah, I can definitely relate to that from talking to lots of different people in the IoT spectrum that have come at this from different angles, you know, be that automotive or smart electronics or telco, for instance. Often, you’ll view a challenge or a set of challenges in a slightly different way because typically human behavior is to try and attack it in the same way. So if you’ve worked in different industries, you know,

often it can mean that you have a varied approach to the challenge or that indeed, as you say, the challenge can change. Talking about one of the topics, obviously, that you’ve had a long history in, as you mentioned earlier, automotive. So again, from IoT and change, transformation in automotive, what are the main value drivers within that in your view? And we’re seeing a rapid pace

of change at the moment, certainly in the automotive market, aren’t we?

Garima Singh (04:28.548)
Yeah, absolutely. I think in automotive, IoT has really played a big role. I think until 2006 something, if I remember it right, the automotive was so much about the car or the truck or the construction equipment, right? I mean, whether we are talking about the on-road vehicles or off-road vehicles, it was so much about the car itself because that was the biggest product that basically drove the digital, no, sorry, that basically drove the revenue.

for the company, almost 100% of the revenue. But what happened, I think, when IoT interrupted is like all of the sudden, people realized that, OK, with help of IoT, you could actually control your vehicle remotely. So for example, in the fleet management and site management projects, the fleet manager can sit in the office and send orders to different fleet or different trucks in his fleet.

They can also monitor if one truck is going to fail Then of course they can send like for example a backup So it was like you could also do you could really manage the uptime of the vehicles as well Whereas in the car industry more or less you can actually do a remote heating of your car. You can locate your car Where is it? What kind of trips are you making and so on? So I think IOT brought up a big revolution in automotive since 2006 onwards

seen it getting bigger and bigger. I still remember when I joined Automotive in 2013.

First, I started to work in basically the big vehicles like trucks and construction equipment. I could already see what value it actually adds there. But eventually, I also joined Volvo cars where, like I said, with the help of IoT and IoT technologies, we have just grown our features or connected features or connected functions in the car. So for example, first it was all about, okay, remote functions like remote heater, heater on, off, locate my car.

Garima Singh (06:29.328)
send this destination or route to my car. And then somewhere in 2017, I mean, IoT and connectivity played such a big role in shaping up the overall electro mobility experience for customer. Then came over the air updates where you can actually download the big patch of software to the car without cars being drawn to, driven to workshop.

So I’ve only seen it getting bigger and bigger. And today, when we are talking about in 2023, I mean, this is an era of connectivity where everything, not only car, but your home, your car, your phone, your health, everything is connected in this digital ecosystem.

Tom White (07:13.538)
Yeah, I think it’s quite amazing actually the advancement in automotive as you say, and Volvo in particular have really been quite ahead of the curve when it comes to both micro transactions but also the subscription model in how you actually purchase cars and that changing

kind of SaaS based model as it is in the automotive industry. So this is definitely a business that’s ahead of the curve of that. So in your view, kind of looking at both automotive, industrial and retail industries, the industries in which you’ve worked in and served for many years, what are some of the most effective strategies that you’ve employed personally within your teams to demonstrate the value of IoT to some of these industries?

Garima Singh (07:40.815)
Yeah.

Garima Singh (08:06.356)
I would say that particularly in IoT, of course, it has been like the main vital piece here is that, okay, what can we use IoT technology and the data mining, what we call it, like data mining from all the connected vehicles and what kind of digital products can we build out of that? Of course, that has helped us to be more innovative. So this is one core thing among, like if I can just summarize it, but in general, I think

like any sort of transformation we are talking about, digitalization. The first thing is very important to understand that what do we want to achieve with the digitalization in this particular business domain or in this industry. Because that, as I said in the beginning, it can be very different. Overall, I think non-IT companies, what I call it, where the software has not been the core product that you are earning money on.

Nowadays, the digitalization has created a new wave where even non-IT companies have a very strong focus on digitalization because of two reasons. One is that we want to generate revenue, which is additional revenue apart from what else are we selling, whether it’s a car or a truck or a mining machine. And these additional digital products can bring you digital revenue, but it’s also a reoccurring revenue, right?

So that’s the main focus of the overall digital transformation. And this can be, of course, powered by technologies like IoT, data, AI. We can talk about different technologies. So for me, I think it’s very important what’s the purpose. Then the second thing, of course, with the help of IoT and technology and digitalization, we are also solving a lot of complex issues like, for example, sustainability, right?

So it’s not only generating businesses, but also helping out in climate and sustainability and circular economy aspects as well. So for example, preventive maintenance can help you to already predict that, okay, the vehicle is going to be down. So can we already do a patch so that it doesn’t get down, for example?

Garima Singh (10:14.064)
Or we can also, we have been using quite a lot of, like for example, for monitoring the CO2 emissions from different trucks, machines, as well as from the cars to support the driver eco-driving, for example, using again the IoT technologies. So I think it’s a lot around what are you using the digitalization and technology for.

especially in the non-IT companies. So for me, being a technology leader, that usually is a focus to really define very crisp and clear that what is the purpose that we want to achieve. The second is assessment from where, like from to to, like from where are we going to where are we going, and have a very clear transition plan.

And then the last, I would say the thing that I usually keep in mind being a leader is human transformation. Because a lot of time we talk a lot about digital transformation, data transformation and this and that. But if we don’t have all the right from up to ground level people with us and how do we transform and do a change making job there with humans, any technical transition is not gonna.

be successful. So I think how it’s important to also consider that in your transition plan.

Tom White (11:31.986)
Yeah, some really wise words. I think one of the key things that you’ve mentioned there is around how IoT can act as a plumbing, as it were, for a number of business objectives and aligning for those business objectives as well. So be that sustainability or be that the longer-term revenue that can be gained from it, et cetera, and making sure that it has its right place within that whole ecosystem.

So going a little bit further into that alignment there, because I think that’s really, really critical because still in 2024, IoT isn’t really the main street. It might be for us because we worked in this industry and that we on a podcast talking about it, but the average person on the street still doesn’t really necessarily understand it. How moving forward can initiatives

around IoT and with businesses align better? Is it just through showing ROI or is it further than that? Getting it out of the lab and into enterprise. What is your view on that? And making it more accessible and understandable for more both within businesses, but with consumers also.

Garima Singh (12:55.903)
Mm, right.

I would say it’s not like the today’s consumer don’t understand IoT. They might not understand every bits and piece of, you know, the IoT, the internet of things, what this is all about and how the devices are sensing and then since sensors data is being sent to the PLMs and PLMs to edge and edge to cloud and so on. Probably they would not understand all the details behind the scene, but I think IoT today has already become part of everyone’s life, right?

today, you have connected cars, you have even connected buildings nowadays. I think that the number of connected buildings and connected parking lot, for example, is getting bigger and bigger. Smart speakers, for example. So I see that the IoT ecosystem horizon has already expanded where even a normal consumers can sense that we are living in a digital world, right? Where the devices are getting more and more connected. Even your

utility devices in the house like your water pipeline or water meter or even electricity meter is actually connected where somebody can just patch it from remotely from somewhere instead of visiting your home. So I personally feel that IoT has already become part of everyone’s life. It is not into this niche category of automotive or industrial or something like this. It has really become part of everyone.

Tom White (14:07.406)
Hmm.

Garima Singh (14:23.624)
Now going forward, how I see is like, of course, the business, I mean, one purpose is definitely to solve that. Okay. We are basically generating more business for enterprises using IoT technology. But I think the bigger purpose here is that how can we make our consumers or customers life comfortable, convenient.

and how can we make use of IoT or any kind of technology to make it sustainable, which can also participate in reaching our climate goals. So I think that’s the bigger purpose.

Tom White (14:59.867)
Hmm.

Garima Singh (15:00.936)
And how I see it like now, at least if I look at, for example, if I compare it based on where IoT has been into this specific segments, now I see that even known niche industries are now getting huge benefits from IoT. Let’s take an example here, right? I see I was actually meeting one of the colleagues who works in the energy segment.

And that colleague was explaining to me that now they are using a lot of IoT devices and techniques in energy grids to enable the real time monitoring and management of electricity uses. And they’re reducing the wastage, optimizing the energy distribution, leading to the lower, of course, greenhouse gas emission, but probably also lower energy prices for us. Which was a news to me. And…

Tom White (15:49.314)
It was a good thing, hopefully.

Garima Singh (15:50.928)
Yeah, exactly. So you see that I think overall this technique has created not only like more businesses for enterprises, eventually now going forward, I see that IOT will create more and more value for the for normal consumers like us like humans and climate for a bigger purpose. The same thing I would say, if I’m not sure how much are you familiar with a lot of IOT powered devices are now being used in agriculture industry.

which was also unused to me, which I could never think of, let’s say four years back, that it could be used, for example, to monitor the soil moisture or crop health and yeah, to allow basically a precise irrigation and fertilization, improve supply chain so that you have a lower food wastage, for example. I mean, those things were beyond my imagination a couple of years back, but this is happening.

Tom White (16:45.65)
Yes. Yeah, we, I mean, I completely agree. You know, we’ve had people on the podcast talking about cattle monitoring systems, you know, for, for her say, you know, in Australia or the U S where some of the farms are the size of small countries actually. So how, how do you, how do you track that? And there’s so many different use cases, but I’m picking up a bit of a theme here. Garima that seems quite personal and passionate for yourself, which is around sustainability.

Garima Singh (17:13.329)
Mm.

Tom White (17:15.414)
that’s really key for us as a business within the podcast. So, you know, our parent company that runs this podcast, probably media, one of its core values is sustainability. So that’s a really interesting topic to delve in a bit deeper actually around the sustainability aspects of that. So some of the people that we’ve had, you know, previously on the podcast talk around, you know, energy harvesting when it comes to IOT or, you know, IOT being there for…

reduction of use of lighting systems, you know, we spoke about water, the smart metering aspect I think was one of the most famous original kind of early stage IoT projects where consumers were aware of it, right, we spoke about consumers earlier so they might be aware of it but actually the technicalities behind it as you correctly said. What does sustainability in IoT mean to you and you seem passionate around it so it would be interesting to talk about

bit more about that.

Garima Singh (18:13.768)
Absolutely, if you have heard IKEA’s mantra, the main mantra is like everything we do, we keep people and climate in focus.

Tom White (18:22.224)
Hmm.

Garima Singh (18:22.232)
So climate, I think, and not only IKEA, but I think all the other companies that I’ve worked with, they all have been sustained. Like sustainability has been our one of the core value. And I personally certainly believe in that as well. That’s my own core value as well. I would say some of the examples I already gave you, like how IoT technology has been now helping even in the meeting the sustainability goals is reducing food waste, reducing the, or basically optimizing the energy distribution.

the uses of energy distribution or renewable energy distribution in a very good way. But I can give you another example that comes from Sandvik, the company that I worked before. Where you know the Sandvik operates into basically three main segments. The first one is called machining where they’re producing cutting tools. The second one is basically the mining solution where we are producing mining machines.

And the third one is rock processing. Now I’ll take a machining example. In the machining example for producing this cutting tools, of course, we use certain materials for this, for producing these tools. Once the tools are designed, it’s produced, it’s sold. Now it has traveled to the customer. Once the tool edges are of course torn and it’s not usable any longer, earlier, of course, our customers used to contact the local recycling providers

to see that, oh, can you recycle them? Or they used, and there was like also a very manual process how you manage the recycling of these cutting tools, right? With the help of IoT and connectivity, last to last year, what we did is like, we started to actually track every tool that we are selling to the customers. We are basically asking the customers to sell it back to us.

so that we can recycle it. And I think Sandvik has a very high percentage of how much of how, how much are we producing versus it’s getting recycled. It’s I think above 70% of something, if I’m not mistaken. So can you imagine we are able to track the full life cycle of the product with help of IoT.

Garima Singh (20:38.496)
of these small tools right from the origin, from the design to production, to supply, to sell, to the uses and then back to recycling. To make sure that we are actually recycling these metal tools and the material and the powder that is being used in these metal tools again. So this has helped us quite a lot to not mine extra, you know, cobalt and the other materials that we are using too.

Tom White (20:48.376)
Heh.

Garima Singh (21:06.9)
to produce these tools. So you see, I mean, in any, and now, I mean, of course, there are a lot of sustainability use cases in automotive as well for site management and fleet management. So what I’m trying to say that overall for meeting up the sustainability goal, there are very good use cases where we can be data driven to be able to enable us to be more recyclable, to have better monitoring.

Tom White (21:08.599)
Yeah.

Garima Singh (21:35.768)
optimizing the distribution channels.

Tom White (21:39.466)
I think, yeah, I think those examples are fantastic. And certainly from a, you know, you spoke about, touched on earlier, the circular economy, but the circular kind of motion of recycling and upcycling precious metals. I mean, this is widely spoken about, certainly when it comes to cobalt and lithium and other components inside mobile phones and batteries, et cetera. There is a finite amount.

of these resources in the world. There is, and so we have to get better at that, you know, recycling element and really bringing it back into play. So I think, you know, it’s great to see that. And I didn’t know the phrase about IKEA actually, about, you know, having such a front foot sustainability focus, right? You know, it’s, I guess it’s really good, but it’s also a, it’s much like,

Garima Singh (22:19.132)
Yes.

Tom White (22:37.498)
my business in the sense that you have to do the right thing because it’s on the tin, right? It’s what you say your business is and so on, which I think is both a challenge but the type of challenge you really should be taking. Does that make sense?

Garima Singh (22:56.322)
Yeah, absolutely.

Tom White (22:58.99)
So where do you think it’s all going then, Garima, in terms of, you know, at the moment, you know, and I’m forever on podcasts, you know, talking to people about the convergence of so many different elements of technology at the moment. And it seems that, you know, whenever you take a slice of technology over the last 20 years, you think at that particular time, it’s, you know, it’s growing at a rapid pace, but it particularly seems at the moment

EVs, automobiles, quantum compute, the IoT coming into the mainframe. And of course, the big topic that everyone’s spoken about last year, which are generative AI and the different forms of AI out there. It’s certainly an exciting time to be around, an exciting time to have these discussions. But where do you see IoT in the next three to five years in particular?

Garima Singh (23:53.788)
say that you know now you just talked about generative AI but if we just reverse it a bit what does generative AI works with? Data. Right? If you don’t have enough data no matter how good generative AI model you have built or you are reusing it from the chat GPT it’s not gonna help you until it’s actually fed with the right data and where would the data come from? IoT.

So I mean, I think there are terms that you have already probably heard about called digital twin. And also there’s a lot of talk in industry 4.0 right now to create like, for example, the digital twin.

of a car or a digital twin of whole assembly line of production factories, digital twin of the whole supply chain and so on. And I think going forward, how I see it in the next five years, IoT will become, it has already become, as I said, but it will, it will, I think it will be even more celebrated or more adopted, uh, in different value streams for gathering the data. So data acquisition from the hardware devices, I think will come from IoT.

That’s how I see that. And that, I mean, that’s where the IoT will play the most important role, creating the digital twins and gathering the data from the ecosystem, the digital ecosystem. So that’s one. The second that I actually, I think I’ve already talked about it, that…

Tom White (25:03.744)
Mm, mm.

Garima Singh (25:25.612)
It has already become a part of everyone’s life, but there will be huge increase in adoption of IoT in agriculture, in energy segment, in supply chain, in industry, 4.0, you just name it. IoT, I think, gonna be a core part of the whole data, gathering data management and connectivity part.

But at the same time, sorry to interrupt. At the same time, I’m also wondering that, lot of people think that of course, IOT is all about that you’re connected over internet, but there are also a lot of IOT communication, different communication protocols as well. Technically now, now speaking more technically, I see that in the next five years, there will be more technology added to the technology, to the communication protocols in IOT segment.

Tom White (25:47.498)
I think.

Tom White (26:14.09)
Yeah, I can completely understand and relate to that. So picking up on a couple of things that you said there, the digital twin element, I think for me is fascinating. So we’ve covered digital twins in the podcast on numerous episodes, but it’s interesting your view on that. So you believe that digital twins will become a lot more apparent and there’ll be a lot more twin versions beyond.

mostly the use cases at the moment in digital twins, which is the industrial warehouse, right? That tends to be all the smart city. And of course, one of the most famous ones in Europe was the Port of Rotterdam, you know, where that was one of the first kind of heralded as a large-scale digital twins. So, can you see that becoming more apparent and being more part of technology advancements that the twin is worked on before the real-life event?

Garima Singh (26:53.842)
Thank you.

Garima Singh (27:09.696)
Yeah, like I said, if you’re talking about a more, you know, enriched and a bigger horizon digital ecosystem, then digital twins is the only way to go that how I see it. For example, if you have to connect a city, but before you can connect actually a smart city, you have to start connecting buildings, you have to start connecting traffic lights, you have to start connecting, for example, road signals, but also you have to start connecting, for example, the cars, the way

the psychos and who knows even humans later. Now that’s the joke. But I’m just saying, yeah you know, now with the JNN AI you never know right. So how I see like digital twins right now, I would not at least say that it’s very well adopted. I mean we are using digital twins today in certain value streams. So for example, okay digital twin.

Tom White (27:46.89)
Yeah, well, maybe.

Garima Singh (28:05.812)
of a vehicle but we are only for example maybe doing a digital twin of the diagnostic part. For autonomous drive, yes the target is that we should have a complete replica of the digital twin when the car is especially driving so that you can remotely measure it but there is a way to go there I would say. Some people are ahead, some are working on it. So

Tom White (28:26.206)
Yeah, yeah.

Garima Singh (28:29.824)
We do have digital twin as a concept today. We know how to build it. But I don’t think that in industry right now, it’s very, very massively adopted. We are on a journey. So how I see it in the next five years.

Tom White (28:39.711)
Hmm.

Yeah.

Garima Singh (28:46.58)
I think there will be digital twin in a bigger context with a bigger horizon with a lot of data. And that we would of course collect digitally to be able to draw conclusions and even like add intelligence on top of that data, right? That adding prediction, that’s where Gen.AI will come into the play.

Tom White (29:04.498)
I think, yeah, I think that’s such an interesting way to describe it, with, you know, Gen AI actually being involved in the digital twin and enhancing the digital twin and a lot more kind of more comprehensive, I’d say, uses of digital twin rather than just one particular element. And the agriculture side as well, I mean, we’ve seen aspects of this, haven’t we?

Tom White (29:33.15)
crop harvesting and the investment that’s gone into that. And I guess purely, Karima, because, you know, we spoke about earlier, you know, the finite amount of precious metals from a recycling aspect, but equally, there’s a finite amount of that we can grow on and the consumption that we’re having as a human race is obviously going up. So again, you think that’s going to be another area in particular, that’s going to see a lot more advances and a lot more investment.

in IoT, is that correct?

Garima Singh (30:04.516)
Yeah, that’s how I see it. I think you formulated it exactly right. So I see that, of course, there will be a lot of digital twins connected. But then to be able to have digital twins, you need a connectivity. That’s the IoT, the data acquisition, right? How to gather the data. Then I also see that today what I have at least seen is that there are a lot of digital twins, but still very siloed. So for example, one connected building, one connected parking lot. But

how I envision future is like. We will also have a connectivity ecosystem of the digital twins as well because that’s where we would get the bigger gain.

Tom White (30:46.421)
Mm. Yeah.

Garima Singh (30:47.184)
because it’s very siloed, adopted, right? So for example, if you are getting into a parking building and if it is, let’s say the parking is actually operated by some company and if they are using IoT solution, then it’s only for that building and it’s only for that supplier. When you switch to another parking, then you have to have another account because it’s then operated by another parking operator.

I see that in future we need even a bigger ecosystem where we will have this connectivity among the digital twins.

But there’s a little bit of food there.

Tom White (31:21.238)
And I guess that’s, yeah. Well, I guess that’s where you get the synergy as well, right? So, you know, having, harvesting the data in the right way between lots of different digital twins and lots of different initiatives in order to refine the individuals. So that the outcome, the greater sum is, it’s taking into account all of this data, all of these different points of…

collection be using IoT for that, right? And at the moment you are right, it is quite disjointed. Even the smart home is quite disjointed. You still cannot walk in and actually audibly do everything that you can do without different devices harvesting and commanding different things. So yeah, I think it’s going to be a really, really interesting time. And I think with the emergence and investment of…

Garima Singh (31:57.746)
Hmm?

Garima Singh (32:15.572)
Mm. Yeah.

Tom White (32:17.379)
of AI compiling with this. Yeah, it’d be really interesting.

Garima Singh (32:21.52)
And I think you have touched on a very important topic. So far we have of course talked about a lot of benefits that we are getting out of IoT, certainly, but there are enough number of challenges already now, which is kind of prohibiting us to make a fast adaptation of the IoT into a lot of segments and breaking this silos. One is the data interoperability. So

the data, if you have one kind of sensor, for example, let’s take in a smart home solution. Let’s say that if you like, for example, your automatic door lock sensor from one supplier and your IoT powered lighting system from another supplier, you need to have two apps to operate it. And if you want to like, let’s say that if you are a software geek like me,

Okay, I want to rather collect API from both the suppliers. I want to create my own app so that I have one app and I can control my lighting and the door. Then just collecting that data and making that data understand is a big thing.

And now I’m only talking about the simplest solution. Now imagine how many sensors we have in the car and in the machines and so on. So data interoperability is a big, big challenge in IoT segment today, because there are very few standardization that has happened in this area. So.

Tom White (33:46.398)
Yes, and it remains to be seen of course about matter and what matter is trying to do. So yeah, I completely agree. You’ve got a very well-rounded view on this, Garima, so you know, it’s good to get your insights on this. And I’m looking forward to actually the projects that you’re going to be working on as part of IKEA and IKEA’s involvement with IoT, right?

I mean, we’ve touched upon the sustainability aspect, but I’m sure that’s gonna be very, very exciting indeed. So for every guest that comes onto our show, Garima, we ask a question. And the question that I have for you near the end of the podcast today is, what tech innovation or tech challenge do you face that you might see

Garima Singh (34:22.568)
Mm. Okay.

Tom White (34:41.48)
being resolved by a technological innovation. So if you had something in life, whatever it may well be, how would you like tech to fix that?

Garima Singh (34:54.58)
say exactly what I just spoke about. The data you should probably believe me. Because, I mean, as you know, I’m the co-author of three ISO standards in automotive segment. The whole purpose of writing that ISO standard, already in 2017, envisioning what world we want to live in, in 2020 onwards, right?

Tom White (34:58.158)
Okay, well that’s it. Question done.

Garima Singh (35:19.492)
So the whole idea was that ISO standard is to create a standard that majority of automotive can take so that me as a fleet manager, if I go and take, for example, 10 BMWs or 10 Volvos, I don’t need to have like 10 different apps just because I have 10 different brands of car in my fleet. Right. So I would say like, for example, me and my husband today, we, we are basically driving two different brands of the car, but today, and of course we share and exchange it.

We both need to have both the apps. Imagine the world if any app would just work with any of the cars. And we don’t have to have this distinguished ecosystem where the world is connected, but in a very siloed way. So I would say I would really like the technology to solve that problem for me. So add more convenience to the consumer’s life. Thank you. That was a great job.

Tom White (36:11.918)
Convenience to the consumer, get it. And that’s a worthwhile reminder actually for everyone in tech, right? Because it’s all about the consumer and it’s all about their convenience and their ease of use, whatever it is we do. Thank you for that. So a couple of quick fire questions. What’s one gadget that you can’t live without, Karima?

Garima Singh (36:22.768)
Absolutely.

Garima Singh (36:27.249)
Mm.

Garima Singh (36:31.364)
It’s a very simple answer, my phone. And overloaded with a lot of digital apps there.

Tom White (36:33.962)
Hehehehe

Tom White (36:38.226)
Yes, and they’re different from your husbands, of course, as you just said, yeah, so absolutely. In terms of books that inspire you, so what’s the best book that you’ve ever read or something that’s really got your attention and sort of said, you know, I wanna focus in that area?

Garima Singh (36:43.228)
Yeah.

Garima Singh (37:00.296)
I would say there’s a recent book that I’ve read, it’s called Leadership Agility. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this book. It’s quite a, it’s really good. I think it has a very positive impact overall on my leadership because it added a lot of perspective in how I think, how I operate versus you know

Tom White (37:10.112)
I’m not.

Garima Singh (37:25.952)
what are the different aspects of the things. So for example, there was one example in that book that how a new CEO starts at a new company and how he can actually lead in a five different way. And when he led into five different way, he got five different outcomes.

Tom White (37:28.482)
Hmph.

Tom White (37:44.386)
Wow, okay interesting.

Garima Singh (37:45.048)
Yeah, and I think this is one of the best books that I have read recently. It’s a book by Stefan and Joseph.

Tom White (37:53.622)
Okay, I have to check that out. I was talking to the former CTO for TomTom recently on the podcast and he had mentioned Ken Blanchard and some of Ken Blanchard’s famous books, you know, One Minute Manager and Gunhoe, etc. And I think, you know, some really good principles there. So thank you for sharing that. Really, really excellent. And my last quickfire question, what’s something that you’re passionate about, Garima, outside of work?

Garima Singh (38:21.753)
Software of course, but other than that dresses. If I wouldn’t have been into a software business, I think I would have definitely been associated with some kind of fashion brand doing fashion designing of clothes.

Tom White (38:25.159)
Okay, okay.

Tom White (38:34.374)
Okay, amazing. Well, the two are quite similar in a way, I suppose, because dresses are highly bespoke, they’re individual. They can be made in different ways, using different materials and so on and so forth, in the same way that software is, right? Yes.

Garima Singh (38:49.876)
Exactly and you can tailor-made it as well right the same dress can be can be worn by different person differently it can be styled differently the same dress so I think that’s what I love about it it’s very it’s very agile.

Tom White (38:58.034)
Yes, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Excellent. Garima, thank you so much for giving us your time today to come onto the IoT podcast. It’s been excellent to get to know you a little bit more and to share some of your experiences over your wonderful career in technology and good luck with everything that you’re gonna go on and achieve at IKEA. Thank you, Garima.

Garima Singh (39:24.316)
Thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me. I really, really had a great time doing this podcast. We had great discussions. Thank you.

 

About our guest

Garima is the Global VP and Chief Architect at IKEA, leading digital strategy, architecture, and engineering teams for the Ingka Group. She’s a tech enthusiast with a track record in successful digital transformation and product development. Garima began her tech journey in 2005 as a software developer and has since held senior leadership roles in various industries, including automotive and telecommunications. She’s won three Nordic tech awards and co-authored three ISO standards in automotive. Garima is a renowned keynote and inspirational speaker at international tech forums.

ABOUT INGKA GROUP

INGKA Group is the face of IKEA for millions of customers, operating IKEA stores and more across 32 countries. Their core business is IKEA Retail, running stores and seeing over 680 million customers in a recent year. INGKA Group also owns Ingka Centres, which develops shopping centers around IKEA stores, and Ingka Investments, focused on IKEA’s long-term sustainability and financial goals. Committed to sustainability, INGKA Group even generates enough renewable energy to power their own operations.

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