Internet of Things Expert: Alicia Asín Pérez, CEO of Libelium

Digi International
June 28, 2012

One of the best aspects of playing a role in the technology industry is getting to meet the innovative leaders who are making things happen. That’s why we are bringing you this monthly series: Internet of Things Experts. These are the people that inspire and motivate us everyday, and we hope they’ll do the same for you. Last month, we interviewed Nathan Seidle. Today we bring you, Libelium’s Alicia Asín Pérez.

Alicia Asín Pérez is the CEO and co-founder of Libelium, a company that designs and manufactures hardware technology for the implementation of wireless sensor networks. These networks are used by system integrators, engineering and consultancy companies to implement reliable Smart City solutions.

Alicia started Libelium 6 years ago during her last year in university. Although the Internet of Things was not yet a hot term, she saw an opportunity with sensor networks. “We had the young mindset. We believed that anything could be done– that anything could happen. We believed that sensors could be anywhere.” Her mindset has stayed the same over the years, but Libelium has changed. Alicia explains, “We now aren’t just talking about sensors. We’ve gone from hardware providers to sensor networks to platform providers that enable the Internet of Things.”

In her Opinno article,”The Internet of Things: the next tech revolution,” Alicia explains that the Internet of Things will be the next great technological revolution. So, we asked, what makes the Internet of Things so exciting? “The Internet of Things will be everything. The most exciting thing is that it’s going global in all of the markets and the technical advances have been amazing.”

Libelium published “50 sensor applications for a smarter world.” All of the applications on the list are notable, so we wanted to know what Alicia thought would make the biggest impact. She identified a few of the sectors that the Internet of Things will change, transportation, energy, security and environment control. She says, “It’s not only about having the technology for monitoring things, it’s about all of the changes the technology will make.” Alicia identified smart parking as one of the strongest applications, because it combines quality of life, saving money and helping the environment. She also said that the Internet of Things will solve some of the issues in trash collection. Then, she identified a broader use. “Many people are talking about smart cities and how they will save money smart parking, trash collection,  but there’s another interesting thing. If we can monitor anything we will be able to evaluate politicians’ performances.” Smart cities can quantify the effectiveness of public policy by demonstrating progress as things are done differently. “Transparency is key, and the Internet of Things makes progress transparent.”

Alicia finds that the most exciting stories come from customers sharing cases of how Libelium’s products are being used, like the Waspmote. The Waspmote is a cost effective open source wireless sensor platform that focuses on the implementation of low consumption modes to allow the sensor nodes (“motes”) to be completely autonomous and battery powered. These wireless sensors have been used for a wide range of solutions. Some uses of Waspmote include:

  • Food sustainability
  • Forest fire detection
  • Pollution
  • Controlling irrigation in agriculture

Alicia pointed out that “30% of water used is wasted through irrigation– a huge source of water waste. These sensors can fix that.”

Alicia’s passion and work in the Internet of Things is inspiring, so we were curious, who inspires her? “I’m inspired by a little bit of everyone. It was a milestone when IBM started saying ‘let’s make a smarter world.’ I’m inspired by the companies that constantly reinvent themselves, like Apple. They prove that it’s possible to innovate every day.”