Q1: How would you describe the current state of IoT?
A1: IoT is finally moving forward at a pace that is commensurate with the earlier expectations. It is not driven by specific IoT technologies but by the application of IoT in areas such as digitalization. When I started in the IoT business there were not enough strong business value drivers to support the wide deployment of the technology. Today we are seeing many applications emerging which utilize the data from IoT devices and networks. and are driving many sizable IoT implementations. The bottom line is that IoT is becoming pervasive. The industry has indeed moved beyond the days of endless RFIs and on to real companies implementing real projects. Like all great technologies, value is delivered by the application of the technology and the overall business or consumer solutions that are created.
Q2: Your work at ILS Technology & Telit resulted in one of the earliest successful IoT application platforms. How has this market evolved over the past few years?
A2: While there are hundreds of “platforms” out there, I am seeing a consolidation into fewer horizontal platforms. Most of the “platforms” available are closely associated with a specific vertical application. I do not see as many pure horizontal players in the market today or in the future. The application platform providers are under incredible pressure as the solutions coming from industry leaders such as Microsoft’s Azure IoT, AWS and operators like AT&T are diminishing opportunities for stand-alone platform players.
Q3: Tell me about your new venture, IoT Launch.
A3: IoT launch is focused on helping both product OEM and services companies create and implement connected products and services or to enable IoT enabled solutions into their environment. IOT enablement is still not mainstream, as an emerging technology that people want but it also requires unique technical disciplines. To implement an IoT enabled solution it requires different types of skills and working knowledge in areas such as connectivity, embedded hardware, regulated and non-regulated networks as well as Cloud integration. IoT Launch provides access to IoT experience, ecosystem, and execution skills to help OEMs and enterprise clients realize their IoT initiatives. We deliver more than typical consultancy advice. Our team has been in the IoT and Industrial IoT business since the beginning and we have seen it all. We are here to bring real business value and to help navigate the IoT journey. In the days of COVID, it is very difficult for new entrants to meet the many companies and people at trade shows and industry events. We believe that having access to a strong network of partners is vital and even more valuable in today’s world. IoT Launch can help our clients solve specific IoT challenges which confidence and the right resources. Bottom line, we know who to bring into help as appropriate. Unlike generic consultants, we can help from idealization all the way to deployment of your product or solution.
Q4: Where is the opportunity in the market today?
A4: Today I see a very large opportunity is feeding the hyperscale cloud companies with new IoT generated data. Many new market entrants will gravitate towards using the tools provided by Microsoft, AWS, and Google as the largest players in the cloud world. I agree that the development tools and resources of the hyperscale cloud companies are excellent however there are still identified gaps between the physical world of device and cloud ingestion. Once data is in the cloud or in a data model there are so many qualified development resources available to create application level value. That said, moving data from the device to cloud ingestion is the unique and honestly speaking the hardest part of IoT implementation. This point of convergence or integration between the physical world and the Cloud world is where the complexity of new standards, multiple vendors, and different technologies comes into play. For example, you can have great Microsoft Azure skills, but it can be very difficult to get data from the emerging low power wide area (LPWAN) enabled devices into the cloud. We see a need to help solve this gap and therefore shorten the time it takes to get solutions up to o scale and enable a faster time to value. With the market momentum and acceptance of IoT today, most people now understand the business justification of IoT solutions. The trick is achieving the business value faster and faster. As such I do believe that that the one of the biggest opportunities today is enabling planned large-scale deployments of LPWAN - licensed and unlicensed devices. The deployment of LPWAN devices and the use of their newly available data will result in the creations of unique solutions that were not previously affordable.