IoT In Action: 5 Questions with Nigel Upton – Former General Manager IoT, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Q1: How would you describe the current state of IoT?

A1: It is all relative. If you look back to M2M in 2010, we have come a long way. We have seen lots of progress and new technologies that were not even thought about before. It is like going from fixed line to cellular phones. There has been massive innovation around devices and connectivity, especially with LPWAN and 5G. However, if we look at the market against analyst predictions, we are far behind where we were expected to be. Millions instead of billions of new devices and a very fragmented market.

Q2: Why is commercialization so hard?

A2: It is because many companies want to control so much of the value chain. Partnership means giving up certain pieces, and people are slow to do this. Commercialization is starting to move faster. Putting sensors on devices is now happening in the manufacturing process rather than afterwards, and it is driving prices down and increasing adoption. For instance, we will see sensors being embedded in things like bicycles from the factory to make it easier to track them. “Sensorization” of the product will help drive commercialization.

Q3: What is the most common thing that you are asked from companies trying to participate in IoT.

A3: Can I talk to other companies that have gone through the same journey? There are not many out there. Many uses cases are from obscure countries and smaller companies. How about an example with someone in the home country with a company that is more known? There are not enough public references yet.

Q4: What is the dumbest thing you have seen in the market lately?

A4: Apart from references from companies that are mostly unknown, the dumbest thing is not partnering. Too many companies are trying to do it all themselves, especially large enterprise technology companies. As they become more educated on the market, this should change as it is very difficult to win without partners. IoT is a partner ecosystem business.

Q5: What is your favorite IoT use case?

A5: Women’s safety in India. It may sound obscure, but it is in the country with the world’s second largest population, and in a market that is hyper-aggressive on price. It addresses a real social issue with market demand. Implementation involves putting panic buttons on a lipstick tube that sends an alert using one of the world’s largest LPWANs and notifies security authorities. They can send a drone right to the location while officers are dispatched.

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