November 2019 IoT news

By Pilgrim - November 12, 2019

This is my eighth monthly IoT update. 

It’s fascinating to observe our customers' IoT journey: Often they start using DevicePilot to address a very specific internal need, often quite technical, such as increasing operational visibility or digesting sensor data into actionable information. But as their business matures (as the internal firefighting subsides and the growth picks up) their focus starts to shift more externally, onto the experience that they’re delivering to their customers - often with metrics that are more commercial than technical.

For example, a bike sharing scheme might start by tracking fault types and how often bike docks are broken, but later it might define a service-availability metric such as:

“Over any given week, 95% of racks must have at least one bike available 95% of the time”

Then it can manage the whole business to hit that goal consistently. Not hitting it in any given week might be for a technical reason (broken docks), but equally could be for a purely business reason such as not having enough bikes in circulation, or bikes too-often in the wrong place.  It’s about measuring and improving the core value that the business is delivering.

We experienced that step in the journey at my last company AlertMe as we started to serve large corporate customers – one day they suddenly turn to you and say “OK, now that we understand what good looks like, let’s define it in a Service Level Agreement and make that contractual and auditable”. We’re seeing early DevicePilot customers go through this stage now, using us as their tool for defining and measuring the truth, which seems like a great “growing-up” moment for them and us. You might like to read more about the three "layers" of management here.

Controversy over what was truly the first IoT device! I previously mentioned the Carnegie-Mellon ARPANET-connected Coke machine from the early 80’s, but now I see John Romkey’s alternative claim for his connected Sunbeam toaster in 1989. Although it's a later date, it might actually be the first use of Internet Protocol with a Thing.

In the summer I mentioned that we're working on major new analytics capability and now I can start the "reveal"! In the past, to keep our product simple, we chose to hide much of the power of our underlying streaming analytics engine but now – with lots of input from our customers – we've found ways to expose more of the power while preserving ease-of-use (we hope you'll agree). The new capability is in alpha release with a small set of customers and we'll be releasing it gradually through the end of the year, but meanwhile I can explain that it’s about delivering business value from IoT by combining streaming and relational analytics.

We've written-up four examples of it in use:

Let us know if you’d like access to the private alpha. Meanwhile, other new DevicePilot features include:

  • Domain invitations - enable everyone in your company to securely access your DevicePilot account by inviting @companyname (OAuth preserves security).
  • Easier working with time such as filtering on business hours and selecting whole time periods such as “last calendar month” in dashboards.

By the way, if you’re a DevicePilot user we'd really appreciate a frank review on G2, thanks!

At the recent IoT World Congress in Barcelona the strong theme - on the stands and in the hallways - was Partnership. As well as partnering with other vendors who provide complementary IoT technologies, vendors are now also looking to partner with Systems Integrators to provide customers with a single point of delivery for an IoT project. SI’s were noticeably absent from IoT shows a few years ago, so maybe this new focus is evidence of the next step of ecosystem development. On this note, our partner Libelium recently announced its pivot from hardware provision to systems integration.

Our own partner ecosystem has grown a lot recently - we now have 27 announced partners with lots more on the way. New announcements this month include Netio the Czech producer of smart power sockets, Parkdroid the smart parking presence sensor provider and WSS the provider of wireless perpetual sensors that power condition monitoring and predictive maintenance IoT projects to the mining and other heavy industries.

At our partner Disruptive Technologies Smart Buildings workshop last month, one of the many fascinating insights was JLL’s observation that in a commercial building, per square foot per year, you’ll spend around:

  • $3 on the building
  • $30 on utilities
  • $300 on people

This shows how vital it is to factor people’s happiness and productivity into the IoT equation. And speaking of DT it was good to spot a Siemens employee making a big DT order - I'm sure I'm not the only person who finds something really appealing about seeing a large number of small things, all the same (?).

As those of you who are already DevicePilot partners will know, partnering for us is about much more than just badge-swaps: we regularly refer new customers to our partners and receive referrals from them, because we fill each others' gaps. And often we’re brought into a new partnership by a customer that's also their customer and wants us to work together to deliver a complete, well-integrated solution. A great way to cement such partnerships is zero-code integrations between the solutions, making it super-easy to connect DevicePilot with other systems with just a few clicks. At the last count, we have something like 25 integrations between DevicePilot and IoT platforms, device platforms, analytics platforms, CRM tools and comms networks.

New DevicePilot zero-code integrations include:

  • Panoply which enables you to plug DevicePilot insights straight into any of more than 50 BI tools
  • EMnify who provide global connectivity for around 3m devices/1,000 customers, with a core network spun-up on-demand in the cloud just for you, how cool is that? Our integration makes all your EMnify network metadata (metrics such as connections, data transfer volumes etc.) stream magically into DevicePilot, where you can correlate with your application-layer device telemetry to diagnose problems, do cost-benefit analysis etc.
  • 1NCE the first fully-fledged IoT network carrier in the world to offer fast, secure and reliable connectivity services at low cost based on an IoT flat rate
  • Eurotech who provide industrial IoT gateways and Everyware Cloud.
  • Simple HW who provide simple-to-deploy SigFox sensors and have a new product launch on Thursday.

In other news: DevicePilot is now open for business in Australia and New Zealand  and has now appointed a reseller Hawatif for the Middle East. I was recently interviewed about “PropTech in the era of the Instant Economy”. Particle just raised $40m to make IoT easy and connect the next 15bn devices. Researchers found a way to significantly increase WiFi range for IoT devices which only need to send a tiny amount of data. Customer Winnow just raised $20m to continue their war on food waste.

And finally, since Blade Runner is no longer in the future, help your children bring-on the android apocalypse by backing the excellent Marty II project. Or are we already there?

Looking forward to talking again in December,

-Pilgrim

CEO, DevicePilot

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