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IoT In Action: 5 Questions with Vanja Samuelsson, Founder, Qoitech

Q1: How did you decide to get into the connected device space?

A1: Qoitech started in 2016 as a result of research and development related to 3GPP standardization and emerging 5G signaling requirements. We were looking at the impact of signaling on energy consumption and realized that the tools to do this effectively did not exist outside of what was being used by Sony’s mobile phone division. It became clear that there was a commercial opportunity and we launched Qoitech in June 2017. Our goal was to offer the functionality of expensive power analyzing lab tools at a price that that is affordable to anyone in the stack, even software developers. By making tools more accessible, we aim to gradually begin changing the mindset around the approach to energy optimization.

Q2: How does Qoitech view the challenges around IoT battery technology?

A2: Predicting real life battery usage with a specific connectivity technology is a huge problem. Many people make the mistake of talking about average battery life. If you buy a toy or something for your home, a two-year average life means that some devices will fail at one year and some later. In the IoT space, if half your devices fail before the average period, it will destroy the business model. We are changing the conversation to a focus on minimum battery life; to know with confidence that a device will last for a minimum length of time in the field. Almost no one is thinking like this.

Q3: What do you see in the industry that excites you?

A3: People are beginning to realize that they need to pay attention to battery hygiene factors. IoT is struggling to find the use cases with real value and developing quality products can be a challenge. As more solid use cases are identified, implemented and move to scale, product quality is paramount. You cannot afford to pay for truck rolls to correct problems or you will lose much of the economic value from the project. There is also a very interesting industry movement to small sensors that cannot be easily updated over the air due to bandwidth restrictions of certain connectivity technologies.

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

A4: Most people think that battery life has nothing to do with software and that it is all about hardware. The two disciplines are viewed as islands rather than an integrated approach to solution development. It only works well when viewed together.

Q5: How do you expect the industry to change over the next year?

A5: Over the next year people will realize that energy in IoT will become more important as you consider the specifics of the use case, environmental requirements, form factor, and cost. All these attributes are very iterative starting with a battery budget. Many of these attributes will change during the product development, and the interaction between these different variables will mature as it becomes an iterative process that is embedded from the beginning to the end of development.

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