The business world is growing faster than ever and technology is playing a vital role in revolutionizing industries. In recent years, IoT has emerged as a game changer and its influence has brought forward many inevitable evolutionary developments. Technology is helping organizations in several ways, including the most essential, customer safety and security.
LIBELIUM is a leading company in IoT technology as well as making its impact on people’s lives and assuring their security globally. Alicia Asia is the organization’s CEO. She provides her best knowledge and insights in the welfare of the company and its customers. Alicia’s grit and unique business approach has had an undeniable impact on LIBELIUM and its remarkable progress.
Following Alicia’s story in her own words:
Before finishing my University Degree in Computer Engineering, I decided to undertake my own business project with my business partner, David Gascón. This was the time of social networks and smartphone app startups, hardware did not look like the easiest path, but we really wanted to create value in our region and overall have a positive impact through technology. That was 12 years ago and we now have a leading company in IoT technology with customers in more than 120 countries, but the most rewarding thing is that most of our projects are aligned with SDGs. In fact, “making an IMPACT” is the core value of Libelium.
The IoT technology offered by Libelium is very horizontal and has very diverse applications: from sensors for precision agriculture, for water management, for smart cities, for industry and even for health. Our success lies in the interoperability of our technology and its compatibility with the world’s leading cloud platforms.
There are many professional profiles and they are all equally valid but I believe that skills and abilities such as leadership, communication, persistence and constant sacrifice are very important for success. We recognize that new generations look for easy and quick success. However, we have to demonstrate that the companies with the strongest foundations are built on daily effort and constancy. I also think that humbleness is a very important – and often neglected – attribute; without it you lose the ability to listen and learn. Only if you are humble enough can you say everyday “OK, we can still do much better.” Finally, leading a company is like riding a roller coaster, some days you are celebrating an award and the next your warehouse is burnt down (a true story for us) but neither success nor disgrace are permanent, it is important to always bare this in mind to keep on working.
Women can be what they want to become, but that also requires ambition. In some companies, equal access to management positions is questionable. But in many cases it also happens that the women themselves give up these positions of responsibility as the burden of family becomes incompatible with their professional career. So I guess the salary gap starts with imbalanced domestic and family tasks that are why picking your life partner is so important. Companies have to support stronger women that want to promote and make policies to allow everyone in the company – not only women – to balance life and work. My advice is always look to the long term when making decisions and never settles for less.
For years I have participated in councils of Professional Associations and Directives in which I try to promote activism for the equality of women. Not from a feminist point of view because I am not in favor of undeserved equality quotas. But because I really believe that the participation of women’s views in work environments are very valuable and productive for companies. This year I have received the second Women Innovators Awards granted by the European Commission and I am participating in all the activities proposed by the institution to convey the need to provide role models for women to shape the future society.
Diversity is fundamental in a company environment: cultural diversity, generational diversity, diversity of studies and professional careers and, of course, gender diversity. Women have a very different perspective on conflict resolution, decision-making and team management. And companies that do not have women in their managerial positions miss the opportunity to face organizational challenges in a more productive way.
Change has to come from the educational stages. If the young women who today have to choose their university studies do not opt for technical, scientific and technological careers, opportunities are being closed to lead the companies of the future. In the productive sectors where there are more men, the absence of women does not come from the absence of opportunities but from the lack of vocations.
Our strategy is totally horizontal. We connect any sensor to any cloud platform through any wireless communication protocol. We have focused for years in creating the most versatile platform in the market and about 3 years ago we started the shift towards delivering end solutions. Since we do not have the domain expertise in any specific vertical, we approached that by partnering with other companies. In this twelve year trajectory, we have created a great ecosystem with more than 100 partners that have allowed us to extend our sensor platform worldwide. As a result, we have created The IoT Marketplace with off the shelf IoT solutions: there are +100 kits from +50 partner’s worldwide. When we started the business someone told me “Every time you sell, ask yourself how many companies are smiling at you – the bigger the number, the stronger your roots”. I think it is a perfect way to explain the power of being a horizontal platform versus an endogamic, vertical company.
I try to keep abreast of technology market trends through specialized blog articles, TED talks, professional congresses and social networks. In addition, being surrounded by good professionals generates a shared knowledge with interesting sources of information.
At Libelium we work tirelessly for the growth of the company. Our technology has an impact on people’s lives and we want to continue improving in order to solve the main challenges faced by humanity in the coming century. Such as making cities more sustainable, preserving natural resources, avoiding climate change, and generating enough food to feed a growing population and offering universal access to health services.