When it comes to emerging technologies there’s a natural tendency to proceed with caution. Nowhere is that more apparent than Internet of Things (IoT) projects that have the potential to add trillions of dollars in value to the world economy. However, many IT organizations find the scope of many of these projects to be somewhat intimidating.

KLM Application Screenshot
Speaking at the Mendix World 2016 conference, Hans Luijendijk, director of business enterprise architecture and strategy for KLM, told 2,700 IT and business leaders that rather than letting that happen the most important thing about any IoT project is to simply get started.

“Just do it,” says Luijendijk. “Look for low investment, high value projects.”

In the case of KLM that meant developing an IoT application to track where critical equipment for servicing its planes happens to be at any given moment. Designed in collaboration with the airline’s mechanics using the Mendix rapid application development platform, the application results in engineers spending less time looking for equipment such as generators.

All told, Luijendijk says that once KLM attached sensors to its equipment using the KPN LoRa Network, it took the team assigned to the project only a few days to build the IoT application using Mendix at a cost that was well below 25,000 Euros.

The return on that investment comes in two forms. One is KLM winds up saving millions on productivity lost because over 600 mechanics are no longer wasting time looking for equipment. More importantly, however, it means that KLM can get its planes back into service faster.

“There’s a lot of pressure to release the plane,” says Luijendijk. “You don’t want flights to be delayed. That impacts the customer experience.”

Most IT organizations these days are still studying IoT opportunities. But as is often the case with most things in life the race to deriving business value from IoT investments will clearly go to the swift.