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IoT In Action: 5 Questions with Steve Brumer, Partner, 151 Advisors

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

A1: Challenging yet exciting, hard to put the pieces together. Still difficult on the monetization and commercialization.

Q2: Why is commercialization so hard?

A2: It is hard to find out who has the money to invest in the space. Is it in a specific vertical market or end user? Everything is fragmented and figuring out how to make money in a specific area takes a lot of work.

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

A3: How can you help me to make money in the space? What don’t they ask that they should? Can I go it alone or do I need to work with many others to implement the solution, product or service? Many folks build a product based on a perceived need and quickly realize that they are just one small piece of the puzzle. The answer is to never go it alone – it is impossible.

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

A4: Companies continually underestimate the difficulty and the length of the sales cycle, the solution development and deployment cycle along with ROI. They go in thinking it is easy. A proof of concept can easily take 3-6 months, and deployment can easily take 12+ months if everything goes very well. All because a company understands a market or customer does not mean that they understand how to build and deploy an IoT solution.

Q5: What excites you most about IoT today?

A5: IoT is at the point of making a profound impact on public safety and productivity. The money is in asset tracking, utilities and transportation. What is exciting today more than anytime in the past 20 years is that I am still learning about M2M/IoT products, applications and services. It is still a challenge in all aspects – technology, integration, etc. The idea that so many new people are coming into the industry is making it so much fun.

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