The Internet of Things – Wooohhaat?

The first time I heard the phrase “The Internet of Things (IoT)” (and that was not too long ago), my reaction was – “Wooohhaat the hell is that?! Speak English man!”

Now, my understanding of IoT is still very limited, and when I decided to write a blog on one of the new programmes we at Robert Kennedy College (RKC) launched through our exclusive partnership with the University of Cumbria (UoC), UK – 100% Online MSc Computer Science and International Business, I was happy to find that one of the modules in the programme was IoT.

Now, what can one actually write about a management programme in Computer Science and International Business? I certainly couldn’t think of anything, apart from information about the programme, which can anyway be found on our website. So, I decided to get a better understanding of IoT and pass it on to all those in the same boat as I, or who may be looking to do this programme with us.  

What is the Internet of Things?

We live in a digital world and have reached a point where most anything in the digital space can basically talk to other “things” digital and share data – we can share data through networking between our communication devices, between multiple and different apps and software. But until quite recently, this sharing was not possible in the physical world.

But now, technology has advanced to the point where we are able to build a network of multiple physical objects, connect it to the internet, to send, receive, and interpret data. And this is the Internet of Things.

I know it sounds complicated, but nowadays, we actually see it in a number of places and don’t actually realise it, taking it for granted. I saw it work at the end of last year and was impressed but did not know what I was looking at. 

My family and I were on holiday in Abu Dhabi and were lucky enough to be staying at W Hotel, Yas Island, and got an upgrade to a suite. The entire room was connected. As an example, every item in the minibar was detected and listed as removed on a screen. Housekeeping restocked as soon as we were out of the room and it was billed automatically.

People who use Google Home, Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa, or Philips Hue are already familiar with the technology. 

How does IoT actually work?

The working of IoT can basically be broken down into four sections:

  • Hardware – is what helps us connect digital items to physical objects. The hardware is what senses things and converts that to data. 
  • Data – is the information that the hardware collects. It is what will help us make sense of how everything is working, becoming the true universal language, the universal language of “things”.
  • Software – is what interprets all the information and enables the use of information. Software is what takes data from the hardware and extracts value for the end user. 
  • Connectivity – without connectivity there is no IoT. 2g, 4g, 5g, wi-fi, Bluetooth, without connectivity there is no exchange of data and IoT would have only remained a concept that some genius penned down. 

Is IoT practical?

The simple answer is – YES! This is not science fiction; it is already is daily use. It is cheap and easy to build – the hardware can be bought out of the box, the software is readily available (that is, for those of us too lazy or who don’t have the knowledge to make or create it on our own, but are good at marketing and selling). And finally, they are simple and easy to use, especially if you make it compatible with Google, Apple and Amazon. And because of cloud computing and networking, IoT can be done from anywhere, at a low cost, with minimal maintenance. 

In fact, most of us already use IoT today, from turning on our Philips Hue lights to a colour and brightness matching our mood, to automatically switching on or off our air conditioner and heating systems, to security systems that monitor our homes and alert us when there is an unauthorised entry. All this is done live, from the tips of our fingers, with your preferences backed up on the cloud and available across all systems.

The impact of IoT on industry

According to a McKinsey & Company report in 2017, the impact of IoT across industry will be approximately US$11 Trillion annually by the year 2025.

The impact on industry is already telling, especially in terms of cost savings. As an example, vertical farms, where the only human interaction needed is at the time of planting. Watering, trimming, and harvesting are all taken care of by IoT systems.

Another good example of IoT integration to reduce costs and increase profitability is the city of Barcelona, which was one of the first European cities to adapt smart city technologies. Simple implementation of parking sensors informing motorists of where parking spaces are available has increased the revenue generated from parking to over US$50 million per year. By having IoT systems in public lighting has enabled Barcelona city to reduce their energy costs by over US$37 million per year. And finally, their smart gardens have saved them US$58 million a year by just efficient water usage.

And as technology is always changing, the city of Barcelona has also incorporated these changes to have a direct and positive impact on the lives of its residents. The use of smart phones has enabled residents to receive instant alerts and updates from the city about employment, housing, administration, mobility, health services, security and utilities. 

A recent study (2018) of McKinsey: Smart Cities: Digital solutions for a more livable future distinguished 55 applications within the fields shown below. According to this study, these applications are capable to improve quality of live by 10 – 30%.

Now for the cons of IoT

The “force” cannot exist without the “dark side” (Star Wars reference), and now that we have ranted and raved about how wonderful IoT is, here are a couple of its more obvious drawbacks. 

The biggest and most obvious disadvantage of IoT is data security and privacy. As mentioned earlier, creating an IoT device is not too difficult or expensive to make, and in their rush to become the first mover and trendsetter, most manufacturers tend to overlook the security aspect of IoT. Keep in mind, in most cases, you will have to enter your personal information, and in some cases, even your credit card information to effectively use your IoT enable devices. Now, these devices usually work in a network and are on the cloud, so if there isn’t firewalls and security, your privacy and data can be at risk. 

Another unexpected drawback, if you can even consider it that, as it is caused due to the increase in efficiency due to implementation of IoT, is to increase in the short-term unemployment. With the increase in efficiency, the workforce required to do a particular job will be streamlined. While this has the positive impact of reducing costs and the turnaround time to job completion, it also has the unintended consequences of leaving a large percentage of the workforce either unemployed or having to be retrained in a new job skill.

A good example of the massive impact IoT is having on the retail industry is Amazon Go. The evolution of how everything from merchandising and stocking, supply chain management, human resources, and billing, in the retail industry is just amazing to see.


Finally, the importance and potential future impact of IoT cannot be understated, especially in the era of social distancing. The judicious and responsible implementation of IoT will free up humanity to do what we do best – create, innovate, learn, socialise and moving on to the next “big thing”. Which is why IoT, as a study module, is integral to a number of programmes offered by Robert Kennedy College

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the programmes offered, application process, and for more information on any discounts we might be running in this rather strange period of our lives.

All you want to know about Sustainable Leadership

“Denmark based renewable energy provider, Ørsted, revamped their business model completely by being a fully renewable power provider. The company moved from being heavily coal intensive to using renewable sources to produce energy. Their carbon emissions have reduced by 83%.” 

“Kering SA, the French firm that owns several consumer-facing brands like Gucci, Alexander McQueen, YSL sources 40% of its products from certified sustainable sources. Also, 60% of the company’s board is composed of women showcasing gender equality”.  

“Neste, a Finnish company, has more than 50% of its investments into the development of renewable biofuels”.

“Lyft recently announced that all its rides will be carbon neutral.” 

These are just a few examples of headlines showcasing corporate sustainability accomplishments. From sustainable food to sustainable energy, we look up to our leaders to lead towards a sustainable world.  

What is sustainable leadership really? Let’s explore together! 

What is Sustainability? 

Sustainability can simply be defined as the ability to sustain (Sustain-Ability). The UN World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainable development as the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. 

Sustainability encompasses 3 interlocking aspects:  

  1. Environmental: Environmental sustainability is about the environmental impacts associated with business while ecological sustainability is about its impacts on biodiversity. 
  1. Social: Social sustainability deals with the social impacts of a business – how are people and communities affected, internally as well as externally? 
  1. Economic: Commercial and economic sustainability is a reflection of a company’s ability to carry on business and generate profit to sustain its viability. 

All the above three interlocking aspects are intertwined with the regulatory sustainability aspect that requires organizations to comply with government regulations and law.  

When translated to the business context, sustainability is increasingly being realized as the new normal. Businesses understand that they cannot just selfishly operate for profits. They use resources from society and nature, and therefore owe some responsibility towards society. The elements of the triple bottom line – People, Planet, and Profits, are inter-reliant. Society depends on the economy and the economy depends on the global ecosystem. The ultimate bottom line is the health of the eco-system. 

The concept of corporate sustainability is still developing and is debatable. Sustainability should be understood as a concept that has been socially and politically constructed that reflects the interests and values of those involved like the business owners, social groups, and other institutions.  

Sustainable Leadership 

Sustainability is a wide-ranging concept with universal applicability. Businesses have always been about profitability at the expense of sustainability initiatives. While there is no denying the fact that most for-profit corporations run for maximizing return on investment for shareholders, the contribution of sustainability in enhancing or detracting bottom lines can no longer be ignored by businesses. 

Sustainable Leadership embraces the triple bottom line concept and can be defined as the mindful actions and behaviours of the leaders that embrace a global worldview. It recognizes the connection between the planet and humanity and through personal and organizational choices creates positive environmental and social change. 

Globalisation and increased awareness have led to increasing social pressure in society that is contributing to a shift in the type of leadership of corporations. And sustainable leadership is not only something that can make business operations sustainable and eco-friendly, it can also help a company’s bottom line. Society judges the decisions of CEOs and looks for innovative solutions from the world leaders. 

Being sustainable is not merely a regulatory requirement for businesses to comply with. The corporations want to leverage their positions and increase profitability by supporting environmental and sustainability initiatives. Businesses want to look good and portray that they are not just about profits, but care about their impact on society, the environment, and the local community. 

Principles of Sustainable Leadership  

  1. Global Benefit: Gone are the days when corporations could get away with environmental damages and gender inequalities. Societies and the environment benefit when CEOs and companies prioritize sustainable leadership because environment, society, and governance (ESG) are added to the bottom line. Being responsible and adopting sustainable leadership makes money! 
  1. Understanding and establishing the system interconnections: A sustainable leader is foresighted in recognising the inter-reliance and impact of the three P factors (People, Planet, and Profits) on each other.  
  1. Transform from within: It is critical that more leaders integrate sustainability in their business strategies and can shift the company culture in the process.  
  1. Protect the environment and society: Business leaders need to pay attention to the impact their businesses have on people and environment and minimise it. 
  1. Lead by example: The only way others will follow and adopt your initiatives is when you hold yourself responsible in the first place for adhering to those initiatives (to reduce waste and increase efficiency, etc.).

It is interesting to find what initiatives different corporations adopt to become global leaders in sustainability. Here are the top 10 sustainability leaders of 2019 according to the GlobeScan-SustainAbility Leaders Survey: 

Source: The GlobeScan-SustainAbility Leaders Survey 

Here’s a great example of sustainable leadership: 

Walmart’s Sustainability Project Gigaton. 

Project Gigaton is a Walmart initiative to avoid one billion metric tons (one gigaton) of greenhouse gas emissions from the global value chain by 2030. This commitment is a cornerstone of Walmart’s approved Science-Based Target.  

Through Project Gigaton, suppliers can take their sustainability efforts to the next level through goal setting to reduce emissions in their own operations and value chain. Since the program was introduced in 2017, over 1,000 Walmart suppliers have collectively reported more than 93 million metric tons towards the goal.  

CDP recently awarded Walmart an A- grade in its most recent environmental scorecard ranking.  

Despite the global corporations’ initiatives towards sustainability and adopting sustainable business practices, the progress has been far from satisfactory.  A report published in 2019 at the United Nations by the United Nations Global Compact and the business consultancy Accenture finds that just 21% of CEOs believe business is playing a critical role in contributing to the global sustainability goals and that fewer than half are integrating sustainability into their business operations. The world requires more sustainability leaders.  

Designed for tomorrow’s leader, our online MBA in Leadership and Sustainability creates distinctive managers with a unique leadership-oriented career opportunity. Calling future leaders who share a vision of a sustainable future!  

When the world came to a halt and so did Tourism

My bucket list was full for 2020. I was looking forward to travelling for business and leisure. I did none of that so far, and I believe I will not be able to before 2021 either.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), tourism is the world’s 5th fastest growing industry, with one billion international travellers, $1.53 trillion in global revenues, and 5% growth globally per year. Much of that growth is coming from the emerging middle classes in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Mexico. 

Travel and tourism are among the world’s largest industries with a total contribution to the global economy of approximately 9.25 trillion USD in 2019.  

Year Direct contribution Total contribution 
2006 1,629.02 5,160.35 
2007 1,809.37 5,765.03 
2008 1,928.47 6,259.57 
2009 1,794.88 5,803.03 
2010 1,911.51 6,108.56 
2011 2,157.06 6,925.29 
2012 2,207.37 7,094.29 
2013 2,304.81 7,432.19 
2014 2,388.31 7,674.79 
2015 2,320.93 7,444.04 
2016 2,381.1 7,650.17 
2017 2,567.88 8,240.74 
2018 2,750.65 8,810.96 
The direct and total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP from 2006 to 2019 (in billion U.S. dollars)

The Current Tourism Situation

Until the end of 2019, the tourism industry’s growth continued to outpace global economic growth, bearing witness to its huge potential to deliver development opportunities across the world. This comes with its sustainability challenges though.  

But everything changed with the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19. With restrictions on travel in most, if not all, global destinations, tourism remains one of the worst affected of all sectors.  

Fig 1

In the first quarter of 2020, US$ 195 billion were lost in export revenues from international tourism with 180 million fewer international tourist arrivals (Fig 1). Potentially, there will be US$910 billion to US$ 1.2 trillion overall loss in export revenues from tourism. The industry is destined to lose 100 to 120 million direct tourism jobs globally (Fig 2). 

Fig 2

Tourism was at its peak owing to social media exposure, viral videos of exotic locations, Instagram travel posts by influencers and bloggers writing about their own travelling experiences to a new country. People have begun to cherish the interconnectedness and knowledge they gained as a global traveller. As a result, travelling is one hobby or interest that many have developed.

Post COVID-19 pandemic, tourism will continue to be among the worst-hit sectors. As I wrote this, many are still fearful, flights are still grounded and companies are being bailed out or facing bankruptcy, borders have been closed, few are travelling – there looms uncertainty on the future of tourism. With social distancing laws in effect in every country, the spread of COVID-19 has dramatically derailed businesses, communities, and livelihoods across the globe.  

HOW WILL TRAVEL LOOK LIKE?  – THE NEW NORMAL 

Travel and tourism has come to a complete standstill. Hundreds and thousands of people were left stranded in foreign countries, across borders, on cruise ships as countries closed borders for non-essential travel. Only a few rescue flights are operating to repatriate people to their home countries. The global lockdown disrupted leisure, business, and student travel. 

Governments have been trying to bring the revival process in phases. In Phase 1, only essential services like groceries, medical care, food take outs were open. Phase 2 brought more relaxation with opening of other non-essential services like barbers, spas, dentists etc. Phase 3 allowed opening of retail stores, malls, dining-in at restaurants, opening the national parks and allowing gatherings among close social circles. International travel still remains largely closed across the continents. The travel and tourism experts believe it will take greater effort to build that confidence back with the travellers before they venture out.  

So given these conditions, when things start to normalize and people eventually begin to hit the road, how will travel look like? 

REVIVING TOURISM  

The crisis has forced the industry to re-think tourism for the future. Because the way we travel will never be the same again.  

Small progressive steps need to be taken to bring the industry back on its feet. As the crisis evolves, world governments and industry participants, big or small, work to identify key priorities to facilitate a short term, medium, and long-term revival plan. These include the following considerations: 

1.     Lifting travel restrictions: International travel does not seem to be plausible at the time. Closed borders for non-essential travel, countries deemed unsafe for travelling, quarantine requirements imposed by several governments will act as the international travel deterrent in the foreseeable future. Slowly the governments have uplifted restrictions for domestic travel. Local travel will provide a chance for driving recovery and support tourism business.  

2.     Rethink Tourism: As it is rightly said, ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’. Hotels, restaurants, tourist destinations will have to rebuild and revamp their strategy and think innovatively to attract visitors and tourists.  

3.     Restore traveller confidence: People will tend to alter their mode of transport, drive rather than do air-travel; choose alternate accommodation like sanitized rental homes rather than hotels. Committing to the health and safety of customers, businesses will need to build travellers’ confidence.  

Beyond immediate measures to support the tourism sector, countries are also shifting to develop recovery measures. 

MAKE HAY WHEN THE SUN SHINES 

The measures we put in place today will shape the tourism of tomorrow.While it may seem to be the worst industry to build a career in right now, Tourism has always survived not one, but many economic crises.

As things improve slowly, the industry once again will witness millions of travellers flocking from one country to another, resulting in an increased demand for tourism professionals. We need visionaries and people with a passion to take tourism to a new level – you can be one of them through our 100% online MBA in Tourism that Robert Kennedy College offers in exclusive partnership with the University of Cumbria. 

Women in RKC – Marie-Theres Moser, MA Leading Innovation and Change, York St John University, UK

Continuing with our blog series featuring our female students, we asked our students to share their experiences with us – the challenges of getting back to school, of managing work and study along with family, and the unique challenges they faced being female students.

Ms. Marie-Theres Moser

Ms. Marie-Theres Moser is a graduate of our MA programme in Leading Innovation and Change (MALIC) through our exclusive partnership with York St John University, UK. This programme has been discontinued and has been reincarnated as a 100% online MBA programme in Leading Innovation and Change

Now, let us see what she has to say!

Who is … 

A short profile

Sahil Devasia (SD): Who are you, really?

Marie-Theres Moser (MTM): I was always interested in acquiring versatile knowledge. I never get bored. I enjoy dealing with many areas of business, socio-cultural issues and looking for ways to improve and apply them in my life. Personal development, education and the interest in current topics are part of my daily life. Therefore, I am always very happy to meet people with a history, a different cultural background and way of thinking. People and the way they shape their lives inspire me. This attitude is reflected in my private life, where I love to travel, share my time with friends, but also professionally when I meet clients. I enjoy this and it gives me meaning.

Getting back into education

Your story of getting back to do a Master’s degree

SD: What was the driving force behind your enrolling for an online degree? Who inspired you? What motivated you?

MTM: The Master’s degree was important for me to be able to meet all the demands of my new job. I had the feeling that I was still missing something, that I still wanted to learn something in order to be up to my job. Then it was clear that I would start looking for a suitable course of studies. It was important for me to be able to study regardless of location, to remain flexible and to be able to manage my full-time job in parallel.

SD: What were the thoughts/situations/people/challenges holding you back from starting (if any)? How did you overcome them?

MTM: During my Master’s I had a very time-consuming job, I travelled several days a week and therefore had to give up a lot of free time. To do a Master’s degree in addition to this was actually near-utopian. In conversations with my friends and family, however, I realized that I had enough ambition and stamina, and that my curiosity was taking me further and further. Therefore, I had confidence in myself and could overcome the fear of not making it.

SD: What surprised you the most when you started your studies?

MTM: It was amazing how well people from all over the world can learn, educate and support each other. Each in his own rhythm, each with his strengths and weaknesses.

SD: Do you feel there are unique challenges women face when deciding to get back into education?

MTM: Basically, I always had the feeling that I had to assert myself even more strongly than a male colleague. If a woman continues to educate herself and gets everything sorted out parallel to her job and family, then that deserves recognition. I think that is something very special.

Ms. Marie-Theres Moser

Getting the degree

The work to get the degree – what did you learn, how did you balance, what would you do differently

SD: Which programme did you do? Why?

MTM: I was enrolled in the MA Leading Innovation and Change, because I am interested in the connection between leadership, organizational culture and the impact on the innovative strength of companies. In my opinion, changing strategic orientations, reacting quickly in a changing economy is only possible if a company is not too rigidly positioned.

SD: What is the single most important thing you learned during the programme?

MTM: It is incredibly important to have fun with everything you do and spend your precious time on, then you can accomplish anything.

SD: How did you balance work and studies?

MTM: That was very difficult because I was very challenged professionally. You should not see studying as a burden, but as an enrichment. It is part of your free time, it creates parallels between your job and your studies – the one should benefit from the other.

SD: Any particular challenges to being a woman and studying online, or do you think all students face the same ones?

MTM: It gives you a high degree of flexibility and self-organisation which may be more important for women with family and children.

Life post degree

What changed, if anything?

SD: What’s new in your life since graduating / starting your studies? Any visible impact already?

MTM: I have the feeling of working more systematically, questioning circumstances and finding solutions.

SD: Anything you are doing differently now because of the things you learned?

MTM: My self-organisation and the prioritisation of tasks works much better since then.

SD: Do you feel that getting a Master’s degree or doing other online programmes can reduce gender discrimination in the work place?

MTM: In any case, it gives women the opportunity to educate themselves, to organize themselves without being bound by time and place. This is certainly important for women who work full-time, have a family and want to continue their education. I think most men do not have this double burden.

Advice for other women

Or other students, really.

SD: Imagine you could send a message back in time to your pre-degree self: what would it be?

MTM: Have more self-confidence, enjoy the time and don’t be so strict with yourself!

SD: Imagine you could send an object back in time to your pre-degree self: what would it be?

MTM: I recently bought a new coffee machine, this would have been good for the time during the Master. When I think of all those evenings, when I looked at my books tired and sometimes frustrated…

Closing thoughts

SD: Anything else you would like to add that could help with the goal of increasing women’s participation/access to a Master’s degree?

MTM: I enjoyed the Master very much and the possibility to organize everything online took away additional stress. It is a great way to gain additional knowledge and build a good network. Anyone can do it who wants to!


If you have been thinking about getting your master’s degree, proving to yourself and others that you CAN do it, now would be a good time to take the plunge. Have a look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything that could help.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the programmes offered, application process, and for more information on any discounts we might be running in this rather strange period of our lives.