In this episode of the IoT For All Podcast, Inpixon Chief Operating Officer Soumya Das joins us to share his expertise building indoor tracking solutions at Inipxon. Soumya talks about Applications where indoor tracking solutions and indoor intelligence can really boost and support ROI, as well as some of the major considerations companies should keep in mind as they plan or develop indoor tracking solutions for their own operations – including connectivity options, new technologies in the space, and some of the most prevalent trends affecting the indoor tracking space.
Known throughout his career for innovative, product, and strategic marketing coupled with meticulous execution, Soumya Das implemented a complete rebranding of Sysorex to Inpixon within his first six months as CMO. Evolving into a COO role in February 2018, he will continue to trailblaze Inpixon Marketing, while also leading the Sales, Program Office, Regions, and Channel Alliance teams to success.
Within the last five years, he operated as CMO of multi-factor authentication company SecureAuth, wherein he conducted their re-launch into the Identity Providor (IdP) brand. Prior to Inpixon, his role as EVP and CMO at Identiv fostered their repositioning into a single, consolidated security technology company.
Interested in connecting with Soumya? Reach out to him on Linkedin!
About Inpixon: Inpixon is an indoor data company. Our Indoor Intelligence™ platform and patented technologies empower users to harness the power of indoor data to create actionable intelligence. We specialize in capturing, interpreting and visualizing indoor data to make indoor spaces smarter, safer and more secure.
Our solutions are leveraged by a multitude of industries and disciplines to do good with indoor data. This multidisciplinary depiction of indoor data enables users to increase revenue, decrease costs, and enhance safety. Inpixon customers can take advantage of mapping, positioning, analytics, sensor fusion, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to uncover the untold stories of the indoors.
Key Questions and Topics from this Episode:
(0:54) Intro to Soumya Das
(3:25) Intro to Inpixon
(9:41) A Few Inpixon Applications
(13:23) What kinds of challenges have you come across?
(15:52) Differences between major connectivity options?
(22:09) Are there any technologies that you think will have a big impact on the indoor tracking space?
(23:38) Are there any trends you’ve seen in the indoor tracking space that you think our audience should note or be aware of?
– [Narrator] You are listening to the IoT For All Media Network.
– [Ryan] Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of the IoT For All podcast on the IoT For All Media Network. I’m your host, Ryan Chacon, one of the Co-Creators of IoT For All. Now, before we jump into this episode, please don’t forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform or join our newsletter at IoTforall.com/newsletter to catch all the newest episodes as soon as they come out. Before we get started, if any of you out there are looking to enter the fast growing and profitable IoT market, but don’t know where to start check out our sponsored leverages IoT solutions development platform, which provides everything you need to create turnkey IoT products that you can white label and resell under your own brand. To learn more, go to IoTchangeseverything.com that’s IoTchangeseverything.com. So without further ado please enjoy this episode of the IoT For All podcast. Welcome Das, to the IoT For All show. Thanks for being here today.
– [Soumya] Thanks Ryan. Thanks for having me.
– [Ryan] Yeah, it’s great to have you, I’m excited about this conversation. I’d love to start off by having you introduce yourself to our audience. Maybe talk a little bit more about your background, your experience, you know kind of how you got to where you are now and just anything you think will be relevant for our audience to understand.
– [Soumya] Sure thing. My name is Soumya Das, friends call me Das, make life easier. I’m the Chief Operating Officer at Inpixon. Prior to this my career has been around security, content management, knowledge management. Mostly working in security, I’ve been involved with physical security and digital security coming together in the world of IoT where we talk with the people placing everything on the internet. What we call these days digital twin, you know trying to bring these two worlds together and how do we secure individual’s presence and be able to authenticate that you are who you say you are or the things are authentic.
– [Ryan] Right.
– [Soumya] You know, who they are, they are. So this has been my knack, or zeal in the industry as you may say, working with different companies. And I came into Inpixon because of this whole area does not have any emphasis on locational context. So adding locational context to overall IoT, you know in all cases for people, for places and for things it puts it in a whole different light, right? And giving you the locational context makes so much sense. So I joined with Nadir, Nadir Ali our CEO, and it’s been four years, over four years now that we have been with Inpixon.
– [Ryan] Fantastic, how big is the company, by the way?
– [Soumya] We have just about 200 people.
– [Ryan] Oh wow, that’s fantastic. How you guys have been doing through the whole pandemic and things like that?
– [Soumya] It’s been tough.
– [Ryan] Yeah.
– [Soumya] Like everybody else, we learned quickly how to go in a lockdown and work from home.
– [Ryan] Right.
– [Soumya] Distributed team. You know, we have a global presence in India, in Germany, in Canada, and in US. So we have been spread, you know, all along, but, I must say, you know we took this chance to grow and better ourselves. You know, the team grew over, I would say around a hundred percent, we went through an acquisition. We acquired an RTLS company– Okay.
– [Soumya] Nanotron in this time. So, pandemic or no pandemic, Ryan you know?
– [Ryan] Yeah. No, that that’s, that’s fantastic. It’s, you know, love the size of the company. You know, it seems like you guys are getting through the pandemic. Fine. I mean, in a good way. I mean, it’s, it’s been tough for everybody, but you know it seemed like you guys have kind of clear lane on how you’re navigating through and I’d love to kind of expand a little bit more on kind of what, as a company what you all do, and kind of the role you all play in IoT. I know you kind of alluded to it in your intro there but just kind of expanding on it for our audience to get a better idea of kind of, of of what you all provide to the industry.
– [Soumya] Right. And very high level, I’ll say Inpixon turns data into indoor intelligence and most of the data that I’m talking about is, you know about people, places, and IoT.
– [Ryan] Okay.
– [Soumya] And how we, you know, what we do with that intelligence, what our customer does with the intelligence is they create a smarter, safer and secure indoors, right? By smarter, I mean–
– [Ryan] Okay.
– [Soumya] It’s more intuitive, more responsive a better experience and economical, right? Where you have all these different IoT gadgets are used maybe digital signage, maybe HVAC, you know what have you, right. They make it more smarter, right. And safer, it’s more clean, more organized, more compliant, more eco-friendly. So in clean, for example.
– [Ryan] Okay.
– [Soumya] You can prioritize your sanitization, you know knowing which areas in the heat map you can see are more used. You can see, you know you can prioritize your staff to do the cleaning that way. You can organize better because you have a map and you can view where, where things are. You can be compliant by making sure that you’re having the distancing and, and, you know staffing occupancy is in the proper way, right? So we can say for insecure and authenticated access auditable being able to do prevent things from happening because we have a better camera and an RF integration coming together. So the entire, you know, space, you know, indoors imagine it’s be speaking more smarter and digitized.
– [Ryan] Right.
– [Soumya] All the sensors and gadget that you already have been using or you want to use in the future, can be seen on our indoor map. You know, we can then enable you to get a position of devices and gadgets. You know, if, for example, a tracking device is on an individual or if mobile phone is on an individual, we are able to look at that RF frequency and place that individual. Right?
– [Ryan] Right.
– [Soumya] You can say, if it’s a known device or an unknown device for security purposes. So if we create geo-fencing around your premises then we are able to allow you to put rules around those. Who’s allowed in that particular geo for, you know, area versus who is not, and send alerts. So overall, you know, the digitization and connecting with the internet of things, like I say, you know, people, place and things you know come together.
– [Ryan] Right, right. So, so let me ask then if, take me through kind of a typical customer engagement, if what is, what stage of their IoT kind of like, or journey are they usually in when they reach out to you? And how does this work as far as which pieces of an IoT solution, do you all handle? Are you doing all the way from hardware to the software side? Or are you able to integrate in with the existing hardware and just basically interpreting and utilizing the data in your platform to be better utilized by the end user? Kind of where, where do you fit in the spectrum of things on that side?
– [Soumya] Yeah, that’s a, that’s a great question. So I’ll go a little bit back in our history right, so we have been growing through acquisition as we bring in all these pieces together. You know, we started with doing like known, unknown devices doing security for the government. Then we brought in, you know a mapping platform, jive stream, and then be able to place those devices on the map to enable our customers to have better visibility. And then we, you know, went into acquiring RTLS company, Nanotron, to bring in IoT and all these gadgets are, you know, pieces of equipments that people use in the indoors. So let’s kind of unpack that RTLS piece, you know to get your point of IoT, right? So IoT, in our case, you know we have gone the full gamut, right? So when you go into a customer, we are not going in and saying, okay you have to bring in a mapping vendor to create a map. You know, we’ll just do dot, or we’re not saying, Hey we don’t have a platform. For us, it’s one platform, Indoor Intelligence Platform that binds all of these solution pieces together. So the customer might’ve be in a different maturity stage. They might say I just want to create a Asset Tracking Solution where I want asset tracker and help me with that, right? So we can say, okay, fine. We have a module that you can create your own form factor or you can take one off the shelf, right? Or the customer might come in a maturity curve where they will say I just want the chip from you, you know. I have my own system that I want to put this chip into. So depending on what industry you’re coming from and what your comfort level or maturity level is, within that you know, using the IoT we will be able to work with you. But the beauty of this, Ryan, is that, if a customer comes in a very embryonic stages of getting into IoT, we’re able to hold them through entire maturity stage, right? From a module to form factor, then to platform into mapping, the whole thing. Right, and that’s our vision, that we have and want to create in different industries, may it be in the commercial sector, helping smart buildings. Or in the industrial sector, you know helping manufacturing or mining. Where we, you know, all these areas we have customers.
– [Ryan] That’s fantastic, and what about from an industry perspective? Is there a certain industry that you all kind of play more in or, or maybe you stay away from?
– [Soumya] Well, we, we are staying a little bit away from retail and and transportation right now.
– [Soumya] You know, I mean, I feel terrible. I mean, I, I want to get everything back to normal and, you know, our customers come back and, and and when the retail, you know, starts to flourish and everything, but right now our focus is on more on smart buildings and creating enterprises in our safe area and also industry the customers who are doing in mining and agriculture manufacturing.
– [Ryan] So, so let me ask you this then if you could kind of bring this full circle for our audience and talk a little bit more about specific Applications or kind of the application of your technology out in the real world, what are some real problems people are coming to you looking to solve and how are you solving them with your, with your solution offerings to the market?
– [Soumya] Absolutely, yes, it’s a great one. So, you know, this pandemic resiliency, right? So post pandemic, or, you know, dealing with the pandemic the next gen smart buildings, a lot of workplace transformation going on, right.
– [Ryan] Okay.
– [Soumya] A lot of creation of companies are coming in and saying how do I integrate safety and employee engagement and facility management into one solution to kind of bring my people back, right? So we are, we are getting a lot of interest in that especially the utilization, like navigation, desk booking, hot-desking. You know, engagement. And a lot of interest in that area. In a more in asset tracking, it’s a lot of assets interests coming in.
– [Ryan] That’s a big one, for sure.
– [Soumya] Huge, yeah. But asset tracking, you know, but the tracker is not only meant for asset or critical assets, you know, to also carry those assets. And for visitor analytics I think those are the high interest areas that we are getting a lot of calls from.
– [Ryan] And when you’re working with these, these customers is there a common ROI that they have kind of coming to you saying, Hey, this is how I’ll be able to get past the pilot stage and scale. Here’s where I’m looking for, this to achieve, you know is there a common ROI that you’re seeing? Or is it run, to kind of the spectrum of different, different types of ROI that companies are looking to you to help them kind of get out of these solutions when they reach out and start discussing with you?
– [Soumya] Yeah. See, from the ROI standpoint, you know, the major investment for a company is on the infrastructure side, right?
– [Ryan] Sure.
– [Soumya] To put theirs in, right. So some of those companies are not ready to yet implement ultra wide band sensors or, you know Bluetooth sensors and all that. So, so we start from scratch and say, okay, you know is it possible for you to work with your legal to allow us a sign-on page so that your employees or visitors will be using the wifi and allow us to look into their wifi signals because we can then, take the wifi signals and do positioning with it right? So it’s, it’s about working with the customer to configuring it out. Like, we are not going into their privacy, you know or their data, you know, that’s not what we are getting. We’re just getting the looking information and it is pretty secure. And it’s a relationship between, you know, the host which is our, our customer and their visitors or their employees. And if they can make that, then yes we are able to get solutions in a much lower cost, right?
– [Ryan] Sure.
– [Soumya] Higher ROI, because you don’t need those expensive sensor implementation. But the more and more I think as the price of IoT goes down, Ryan, I think, you know people will stop being reliant only upon the devices and being more on tags and because, because it’s more precise, more precise, right? We can use a wide band and give you a 10 centimeter accuracy the more the accuracy, the better it is. As, you know. So, so, you know, so, from a, from a ROI standpoint, we always try to work with our customer to really understand their need and and what they’re able to work within their infrastructure and their, you know, HR and legal policies.
– [Ryan] Right, so, so let me ask you this then. So what, what have you noticed, I guess, in the obviously just across IoT Applications and industries that IoT technologies are being implemented within, there’s a variety of different challenges that come up and that are also common across all industries but I’m sure as you, as it relates to indoor tracking and the data you can collect, through an indoor application of IoT technology, there must be some unique challenges that you have come across I mean, obviously the environments are always different, the from, from the structure of the buildings, to the layouts, to obviously the Applications and so forth. But, but from your perspective, what are the biggest challenges that you come across with indoor data applications of, of of the solution and what have you seen, or what, how how do you approach kind of solving those those challenges for your customers?
– [Soumya] Yeah, so one of the biggest challenges in the RF is very temperamental, right? Like you said, based on the building, you know how much iron bars are, how many glass walls and things like that. So RF behavior is very different. But what we have done, we have accentuated that with our software side, right? So we are able to get paths and highways within a building as we do the mapping to make sure that, the same with the GPS work, right? So we kinda of use this software, kind of see the probabilistic and deterministic movement of the data and be able to track them and add some AI into it, kind of massage it to, to give our customers a better understanding. So it’s a constant work that’s going on in creating, I think, you know in coming years will be even better than where we are. We are much better than we used to be before where you know, the wifi used to be 30 meter radius, right? And now we have ultra wide band that is going into 10 centimeters, and very soon, you know it will be going in less than an inch. So, so I think, you know, the the precision will help this industry grow and the customer will embrace this technology more and more. And the cost of IoT going down will help as well. So with the hardware price, going down, implementation becoming easy and accuracy being the factor that will pay off the ROI, I think rest will be done with the AI and the machine learning we have on the platform side.
– [Ryan] So, you mentioned the kind of the accuracy piece which plays a lot into the tech connectivity technology that’s being used and everything from RF, to ultra wide band, to wifi Bluetooth, cellular you name it, is applicable in the indoor tracking space. And it obviously depends on the Applications specifically but, I’d love it if you could kind of break down at a high level, trying to avoid getting technical just like if you’re talking to a potential customer and they came to you and said, Hey, I’ve been hearing about all these different kinds of connectivity technologies. You know, they obviously cost, the cost is different, they all want to have their trade-offs and I’d love it if you could just kind of expand on the differences between the major connectivity technologies that are used with indoor tracking solutions and where you see kind of the, the benefits and the trade-offs on the negative side with that, you know that you think are important that you use to evaluate which technology to use in a given Applications or solution.
– [Soumya] Right, so this is a really good question, and I, we face this all the time, right? In the conversation it’s, it’s about our customer coming to us and really explaining what they’re trying to accomplish, right? You know, not all, if you are coming in with a specific set of known requirements, it will help us guide you better towards choosing the right kind of RF. And it, like, you talked about the spectrum, Ryan, you know we talk about RF, you know, wifi down to ultra wide band. If you create centric circles of, you know off the radius that each of these are covered or the ranges of the precision that will be, the lower or the better the precision, the higher the price. Right?
– [Ryan] Okay.
– [Soumya] That’s how it goes so, sometimes you would come in and say, I’m doing, you know indoor navigation and a Bluetooth beacon is good enough for my indoor navigation. And then I can collect the analytics from that Bluetooth you know, and be able to say how many people are in my premises are, and then, you know use the analytics to do the predictive analytics and so on and so forth, so. The ingestion of data, you know it’s based on the kind of requirement the customer brings. And that is, you know, not to say that the customer cannot grow on the maturity later but it doesn’t necessarily have to be, you know the best of precision to the, to the, to start with. Right?
– [Ryan] Right.
– [Soumya] So the conversation happens in a couple of levels. So one, is what kind of industry you’re coming from, and what are you trying to achieve? If you’re coming from healthcare, for example, and you’re trying to do a patient experience you know, you can do it with wifi, right? You can, you can use wifi and you can create a indoor mapping. You can create a path A to B. You can do point of interest and give them a, a blue dot on device, right? And they’re able to go around and track themselves as they navigate around the hospital, or the medical facility. And they’ll have a great experience right. Coming from the parking lot to the meeting, their doctor, that’ll be great. And that will accomplish with the very least amount of expense but now when the healthcare customer comes back and says, okay, now I, you know, that’s working fine but I now need to track my medical instruments, you know all across the floor. And I need to know exactly where they are and you know, do security, do audit trails and all of these things that I want to do with my equipment, then you need to be precise. Then you can’t just say I’ll put a wifi tag on that because you know 30 meter can be inside the room, outside the room. You really don’t know exactly what the, that location is. So then you go in and say, okay, if this is something that’ll work with the ROI, that’s, you know, saving patients’ lives, you know not buying an extra, you know, EKG machine, you know in all floors and what have you. And you say, okay, you know it’s okay to now go in and move into a more mature ultra wide band and, you know, positioning. So, we will put ultra wide band sensors all around the building, or the floors where they require and then use the tags to track and use our platform to ingest that data. So over time, based on the industry, and based on what our customers require we sit down and do a consultative sale.
– [Ryan] Yeah, I think it’s important for people to not be discouraged from the number of, like, connectivity options that are out there. I think a lot of people get overwhelmed when they get into IoT with so many different connectivity options, so many different pieces of kinds of hardware, you know different cloud providers, you know, it’s just, there’s so many components to an IoT solution that I think people who are not in this space often get very overwhelmed. And it’s important for them to look at that, not as something to overwhelm them, but something that actually allows them to create a very accurate solution to what is specific to them. And working with a company like you all is a very good first step that companies, that are looking to kind of venture down this path can take because you have the expertise across the board and they just have to put their trust in you to pick the right technologies, understand the right technology, explain to them why these technologies are the technologies you’re using to match up with their ROI match up with their Applications. And the, the, the number of choices out there is probably only growing, at least for the time being. And that’s a, that’s a good opportunity for companies to take advantage of those, that extensive list of different technologies that can be applied to their particular Applications and not think that it’s a ‘one size fits all’ type thing and it may not meet their, their needs accurately.
– [Soumya] Precisely, yes. You’ve said it well. I’ll, only thing I’ll add to that is that, you know having a partner like us to help our customers build and because, and that’s the vision like I mentioned to you in the beginning.
– [Ryan] Right.
– [Soumya] That we have brought in, you know, best of breed companies that we’ve acquired these technologies like, mapping, positioning, analytics, RTLS, all of this and because of this reason, because that, you know this will enable us to sit with our customer and choose the right technology and be able to configure the system that they then can implement and grow with.
– [Ryan] Right. I totally agree with you. Now, let me ask, what have you seen kind of, or I guess, what are you looking forward to seeing kind of going forward on from a technology perspective becoming available that will help specifically with indoor tracking solutions? Is there any technology that’s on the horizon or anything that you’re kind of keeping an eye out for to see how things develop to better provide solutions to this type of market?
– [Soumya] Well, when you say, you know, keeping an eye, that means it’s not yet on our truck, right? So I just want to make sure that our customers and our listeners understand that if I’m saying something you know, it is not something yet feasible, right? But we are working on it. One of the things that we are looking at is digital fingerprinting, right. Being able to look at an environment in a given space, and digitally fingerprint that space. So, then the need of these sensors goes down considerably. And you can usher in positioning in a much quicker and faster, right? Because you don’t need that many sensors anymore you can take, say, for example, our data and fingerprint a particular environment, and any changes in the environment then gives you the data that helps you in doing some positioning. So.
– [Ryan] Right.
– [Soumya] So, you know, more ways for us to, to be able to, you know position and give you better accuracy and and not surmount the huge scale of putting sensors in a given space.
– [Ryan] Makes sense. That’s great. So last question I want to ask you before we wrap up here is just from a general trends sense as it relates to the indoor tracking space and the safety in different industries, like retail and the workplace in general are there any specific trends that you’re seeing or anything that’s worth noting to our audience that they should be kind of thinking about?
– [Soumya] I think, you know, safety has got a different meaning after the pandemic. Right?
– [Ryan] Sure.
– [Soumya] When we are talking about social distancing or we’re trying to figure out the, the occupancy, you know limits have changed. So getting better understanding of the indoors, I think, there should be a really big take on indoor mapping. Right?
– [Ryan] Yeah.
– [Soumya] So that you are able to visualize– the space better. You’re able to communicate back and forth with the visitors and employees in order to direct them into the right direction, you know, at times.
– [Ryan] Right, right.
– [Soumya] But also, you know, on an ongoing sort of post pandemic world and I hope everything is coming back to normal but still we will have some of these procedures that will be in place, right? And, and having that digitized indoors like we were talking about earlier, the safer you know, smarter and safer indoor will enable our customers to provide that for our, our, you know, for our users out there.
– [Ryan] Right, that’s fantastic. I appreciate your time here today, this has been great. I think, you know, indoor tracking is a very, very popular space to, from a, from an IoT perspective. Like I, asset tracking is huge. We’re seeing it across tons of different industries. And as it gets in, when you move from outdoor and indoor, there are a lot of different challenges that people just don’t think about. And as you talk more about indoor mapping and those types of of technologies kind of working to be developed, I think, you know, you’re hitting on some of the major pain points that companies kind of maybe avoid going down this path initially because they haven’t been able to find the right solution but, working with a company like you all I think is very, very important to kind of seek out and, and kind of just at least, at least, you know, touch base to find out what’s possible and do a better job of understanding kind of the the potential for IoT solutions in the industry, in which, you know, an individual works and because these technologies provide so much value but oftentimes can be discouraging because of how complex they may seem. So if anybody out there is listening kind of wants to learn more about your company wants to touch base, you know, to kind of expand on this conversation as this is probably relevant to a lot of different individuals in different industries what’s the best way they can do that?
– [Soumya] Inpixion.com. I N P I X O N.com, come to our website, You know, we, have got a lot of information and more importantly, you can click and contact us and we’d love to engage with you.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. Well Das, its been a it’s been a great pleasure to have you on the show. I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me today and would love to have you back at some point in the future. Talk further.
– [Soumya] Absolutely. Thanks, Ryan. Thanks for this opportunity.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. Alright everyone, thanks again for joining us this week on the IoT for all podcast. I hope you enjoyed this episode and if you did please leave us a rating or review and be sure to subscribe to our podcasts on whichever platform you’re listening to us on. Also, if you have a guest you’d like to see on the show, please drop us a note at ryaniotforall.com and we’ll do everything we can to get them as a featured guest. Other than that, thanks again for listening, and we’ll see you next time.