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IoT In Action: 5 Questions with Glenn Goldberg, CEO, Parallel Communications

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

I would describe the current state as ‘evolution.’ The technology surrounding IoT is not a mystery—particularly around sensors, devices and sending data. The story is now about integrating the business case with the technology. Businesses are now looking IoT and exploring how to apply it to specific use cases. Applications like automotive are a given and have been proven. In other industries, like e

nergy, it is about applying IoT to streamline critical processes, such as monitoring, notifications, mitigation, and automating workflows. IoT providers now have a distinct opportunity by taking the technology and applying it to specific customer requirements.

Q2: You have been supporting tech companies around the world for years. How have things evolved in IoT?

We are starting to see many more industrial use cases for IoT, particularly in geographically remote locations like maritime and energy production. The challenge is getting IoT-generated data to a central location. We are seeing more technologies that involve satellite and the transmission from the edge—and even space—to move IoT data efficiently and cost-effectively. This solves perhaps the biggest issue facing IoT providers: they have mass amounts of data, now how do they transport it, let alone monetize it? Satellite will play an enormous role in complementing the cellular subscription bundles that, save for at least one provider, have been priced out of proportion for the level of data that is being transported, assuming that coverage even exists.

Q3: What are the most common questions that clients ask? What do they need help with?

The problem that many providers have going to market is that the term IoT means nothing to an end user. The term is too broad. Vendors use it to encompass multiple solutions, most of which have little relevance to a customers. Providers have a tendency to talk about the wonderful aspects of IoT technology without directly relating the benefits to the individual customer’s requirements. Aligning the message to resonate with business needs is everything. IoT solves tangible problems and focus is important. We spend a lot of time working with vendors to fine tune their positioning, messaging and outreach to align with customer needs and channel expectations. Understanding—and ultimately serving—the needs of the channel is as important as focusing on end user expectations. Both entities are equally important for building a successful IoT-related business.

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

I wouldn’t categorize it as necessarily ‘dumb’, but certain solutions are perhaps too nascent for a broad marketplace. For example, Drones come up quite a bit, but there are still technology hurdles that need to be overcome, such as battery issues, and line of sight. But there will be a strong appetite for these solutions in certain markets, like Agriculture, but it still as lots of maturation ahead it. And of course, the regulatory environment continues to add friction.

Another thing that I frankly don’t understand is the rush to become a ‘disruptive’ technology in the marketplace. On one hand, investors love a good disruption story, because they think they’re getting into something that is potentially game-changing. But the reality is that customers hate disruption, and consumers hate it even more. It is better to speak in terms of integration, preserving those practices and behaviors that work, and speaking in terms of evolution, not revolution. Speaking in these terms actually accelerates adoption. Vendors should not assume that customers and users will change long-standing workflows and behaviors to support a single new technology.

Q5: What does the next year look like for the industry?

One of the most interesting developments is around LEO satellites and how it will impact not just IoT but other technologies. Real time data that provides weather “nowcasting” will be huge, particularly in the emerging economies and weather-sensitive industries, like agriculture, aviation, maritime, land management, and the insurance companies that manage risk in these sectors. The space industry will be a great compliment to all the other activities in IoT. Space represents a compelling new data source to the IoT world.

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