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News Link • Business/ Commerce

Data Is The New Oil, Who Is Going To Own It?

• by Guy Chazen

Deutsche Bahn, Germany's rail operator, prides itself on the punctuality of its trains. Yet it has no easy way of checking whether the clocks in its stations are showing the right time.

Or at least not until Relayr came along. The Berlin-based start-up advised Deutsche Bahn on the installation of sensors — rather like a wearable fitness tracker — that transmit data from the clocks and show when they need fixing.

"It's a Fitbit for non-organic material," says Jackson Bond, a Relayr co-founder.

Deutsche Bahn is not Relayr's only satisfied customer. Schindler, the lift manufacturer, uses Relayr technology to transfer data about the health of its lifts and so enable "predictive maintenance".

The internet of things, or IoT, is a hot-button topic in the tech scene right now. Hundreds of companies are trying to figure out how to harness the data being thrown off by cars, aeroplane engines and household appliances.

"IoT is a chance for Germany to use its engineering and industrial base and find digital applications for that," says Florian Heinemann, founding partner of Project A Ventures, which invests in early-stage companies.

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