In this episode of the IoT For All Podcast, we sit down with Erik Walenza-Slabe, the CEO of IoT ONE, to talk about the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the IoT space. Erik shares his insight on the IoT market as a whole, what the new normal might look like, some of his experiences working in IoT in Shanghai, China, and his expectations and advice on business models in the IoT space.
Erik has spent the last decade in China, supporting IoT initiatives and helping to build Shanghai’s startup community. Besides his position as CEO of IoT ONE, Erik is the Co-Chair of the American Chamber of Commerce Technology & Innovation Committee and is the Director of the Shanghai Startup Grind chapter.
To kick off the episode, Erik shared a little bit of IoT ONE’s background, from how it started as a database and grew into the research and advisory firm it is today. He also shared a glimpse into IoT ONE’s future, including the research they plan to release on the impact of COVID-19 on industrial digitalization in the medium-longer term.
The long-term impacts of COVID-19, Erik said, were at the top of mind for a lot of companies he’d worked with recently. And though he couldn’t offer any silver bullets – Erik said looking out 12-36 months in advance didn’t make sense, as things are just changing too fast – he did realize that an aggregate news source on short-term happenings could provide companies a great deal of value.
However, Erik did predict that in the medium- to long-term, the effects of COVID-19 would be pretty positive on the IoT industry as a whole. “Who’s driving digital transformation?” Erik asked, “The CIO, the CTO? Or is it COVID-19?” While companies have been forced to collaborate remotely, they’ve also been forced to adopt new technologies that enable that remote work. And once you adopt new technology, Erik shared, you create processes around operating it, you train people – and then it becomes sticky.
And while many projects have gone by the wayside, Erik said companies are highly focused on becoming more agile, and that’s one area that IoT has a lot to offer, including the data to enable people to make better decisions and modify operations on the fly.
Remote collaboration, training, and operations are where Erik said he had seen the greatest growth. As companies are grounded, sometimes far from the equipment they need to monitor, companies are investing heavily in the technology and skills they need to operate where they are – wherever that might be.
This sudden interest is even bringing companies to IoT where they weren’t even considering it before. An especially prominent example Erik said he had seen was in dashboarding, where many companies hadn’t invested before because, when they needed answers, they could go to the factory or walk down the hall to ask someone. But, when we get to the other side of this, companies that invested in their data will come out not only with new visibility into their performance, but a better idea of what to do with that data.
Interested in connecting with Erik? Reach out to him on Linkedin!
About IoT ONE: IoT ONE is a research and advisory firm focused on industrial digitalization. They help companies understand how IoT will impact their business and work with them to realize opportunities and manage threats.
Key Questions and Topics from this Episode:
(02:22) Intro to Erik
(03:43) Intro to IoT One
(07:25) What’s on companies’ minds right now when they come to you for help?
(09:00) How do you view the impact from COVID-19 on the IoT industry as a whole?
(12:05) Are there factors that large enterprises should be considering, but are not?
(14:36) How are these factors affecting new use cases? Any use cases companies should be considering or thinking about?
(17:23) Do you think COVID-19 will drive companies to think about IoT when they hadn’t previously?
(20:05) Has IoT adoption differed in China from the rest of the world?
(24:50) How has the “do it yourself” mentality affected other industries in China?
(28:54) What areas should IoT managers invest in, as far as monetizing IoT goes?
(34:36) From your experience, which business models have you seen to be the most effective?
(39:12) How are you seeing the early pilot stage being monetized, compared to other industries?
(40:08) What advice do you have for companies looking to launch their own IoT pilots?