On this episode of the IoT For All Podcast, Dan Cunliffe, CEO and Co-Founder of Pangea Connected, joins Ryan to talk about IoT migration. He begins by introducing himself, the company, and its founding story. He then high-levels migration IoT and its importance before discussing the challenges he’s faced in the industry. Dan then talks about revenue streams that IoT has enabled and some points of contention for companies looking to adopt. To wrap up the podcast, Dan and Ryan have a conversation about PTSN and its looming switch-off.
Dan is Pangea’s managing director and co-founder, a leading provider of global IoT connectivity and multi-award-winning IoT solutions. Previously the Head of Partners and Strategy at O2 UK, Dan’s been recognized for his team-first approach to leadership, resilience in the face of challenge, and commitment to helping businesses build robust IoT solutions. Combining the best intelligent mobile connectivity on the market with expert coaching and consulting, he helps partners optimize their profits, see revenue sooner, and secure more deals.
Interested in connecting with Dan? Reach out on Linkedin!
About Pangea Connected
Pangea is a team of creators and tech lovers who believe things work better connected. Retail, agriculture, education, transport, healthcare—every industry out there should benefit from the efficiency, safety, and sustainability of the Internet of Things. Many operators are hindered by their size, unable to focus their resources on providing IoT at its full potential. And many businesses don’t yet understand how IoT can help them. So like their namesake—the supercontinent that connected the world before separating into today’s continents—they’re connecting everything. They’ve built an IoT ecosystem based on our intelligent global IoT connectivity, best-in-class devices, actionable analytics, and award-winning IoT solutions. And they’re using it to bring data-driven decision-making, game-changing automation, and exciting new revenue streams to businesses across the planet.
Key Questions and Topics from this Episode:
(01:59) Introduction to Dan and Pangea Connected
(08:42) Migration in IoT
(13:34) Biggest challenges in IoT
(17:32) IoT enabled revenue streams
(20:14) Points of contention in IoT
(23:04) PSTN switch off
– [Voice Over] You are listening to the IoT For All Media Network.
– [Ryan] Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the IoT For All Podcast, the number one publication and resource for the Internet of Things. I’m your host Ryan Chacon, if you are watching this on YouTube, we would truly appreciate if you give this video a thumbs up and subscribe to the channel, if you’re listening to us on a podcast directory somewhere else, please feel free to subscribe so you get the latest episodes as soon as they are out. All right, on today’s episode we have Dan Cunliffe the managing director and co-founder of Pangea Connected, they are a very interesting company that plays in a lot of different spaces, retail, agriculture, education, transportation, healthcare, you name it. And they really focus on building IoT ecosystem based on intelligent global IoT connectivity, best in class devices, actual analytics, and IoT solutions to help companies make better data driven decisions, better automations, develop new revenue streams, you name it, for these companies around the world. On today’s episode, we talk a lot about IoT migration, kind of why it’s important, how to do it right, the challenges companies are facing in the space, how they help educate potential partners on why mobile connectivity is the way to go, they talk about some of the myths around mobile data and IoT, like it being slow, unreliable, insecure, and they kind of debunk a lot of that and tell you how to really be thinking about those items, and a number of different topics as well, talk about the PSTN and switch off, what does it mean, how to prepare for those of you who may be affected. But all in all, fantastic conversation, Dan is an excellent guest, so I think we’ll get a lot of value out of this episode. But before we get into it, if you out there are looking to enter the fast growing and profitable IoT market, but don’t know where to start, check out our sponsor, Leverege. Leverege’s IoT solutions development platform, provides everything you need to create turnkey IoT products that you can white label and resell under your own brand. To learn more, go iotchangeseverything.com, that’s iotchangeseverything.com. And without further ado, please enjoy this episode of the IoT For All Podcast. Welcome Dan to the IoT For All Podcast, thanks for being here this week.
– [Dan] Ryan, thanks much for having us and, yeah, we really appreciate the opportunity to speak to your audience.
– [Ryan] Absolutely, looking forward to it. Let’s kick this off by having you give a quick introduction about yourself, and kind of just background information about your relevant for our audience to get a better sense of who they’re listening to.
– [Dan] Yeah, no problem. For those of you who have not heard of Pangea, we are a global IoT connectivity and solution provider, we currently have services in about 54 different countries, but we can access global connectivity all the way from, I suppose, you know, connecting little sensors with small amounts of data that tell you, you know, very, very kind of interesting things around telematics, right through to people who are fortunate to live on luxury yachts, and need and need those connected as well. So, we work into a market which we call here in the UK, a channel, so we are specifically focused on channel, we don’t sell to end users, we don’t sell directly, and we focus very, very hard on just delivering IoT products, we don’t sell sell things like broadband or even stuff I guess, so we’re quite unique in that sense, I think, very, very focused on IoT only and being channeled only.
– [Ryan] Love that, that’s fantastic. So tell me a little bit about kind of the overall founding story of the company, anytime I can have a co-founder on and on, I’d love to hear just kind about what the opportunity you saw before the company was started, you know, what you were seeing happen in the market, what you know, you kind of felt was needed in the space and then kind of how everything kind of came about.
– [Dan] Yeah, sure. I mean, so those of you picked up the accent, I’m originally from Cape Town South Africa, but I’ve been now in the UK almost 15 years, and my journey sort of into technology was through a wifi company, and then sort of into the big global operator called Telefonica, some sort of, listeners might know that, and I started the wholesale channel for Telefonica for their broadband business, and what sort of sparked me on through that was, I really enjoyed the relationship building of a channel business and working through partners, we eventually sold that business that I was running to Sky, which is one of the kind of tourist rider here, and I was left with the choice of taking another job in or two, or do you know what, like backing myself to start a business, I’d always been keen, I’d always been keen to start a business and think about other things and, it was a weird time because this is 2014, and there’d been a lot of talk about M2M and and IoT, but very sort of 3G, almost 4G style back then, and, so my co-founder is Chris Romeika, and he and I both are sort of engineers, but he continued more down the technical path, and you know what, we kind of looked at it and thought, you know, how cool would it be if we could plug broadband or fiber connections into the back of a van and drive it around? Which is not possible of course, it’s not possible, but if we could plug multiple networks into something that could move, it could be awesome for many, many markets, you know, and so, we started thinking about that and the natural inclination was, do you know what? Like we know channel, we know how to work with these guys, let’s call a couple of them up and let them know what they think about our idea, fortunately a lot of the guys were quite positive about it, a lot of our now our customers are quite positive, and the other reason why I think we started to do this was, and go with me on a journey just for one second, Chris and I, about two weeks before deciding, yep, we’re gonna start Pangea, we almost started a tequila distribution business. We sat down with a guy who met us in London Bridge here in London, and he showed us this incredible tequila called Padre Azul, which we tried and it was fantastic, but then I thought to myself, there’s no recurring revenue in tequila sales, it’s gonna take a while to get like a recurring revenue sale on the back of that one, so we thought, no, we gonna go down the the IoT route, and start helping a channel create connectivity options. So yeah, that’s how we got going, and I remember it took a couple of months to get obviously the first things in place, and I remember our first invoice was like 300 pounds. It was super, super nothing, and it was, but I remember that to this day because I think it sort of inspired me that someone was willing to pay something for the services that we’ve created.
– [Ryan] Yeah, it’s a huge kind of, yeah, it definitely proves out kind of what you’re doing in some capacity, and I think a lot of times that first customer, regardless of how big or small, is a huge first step, not just in the growth of the business, but just in like the overall morale of realizing, okay, I’m on the right path, I’m doing the right thing, we now, we just gotta grow it, you know, and find the next one and the next one, and, so, that’s fantastic.
– [Dan] Just a proof point, you know, you just need that little bit of, okay, someone is willing to do that, but equally it helps you test out your systems very quickly if they work on market as well.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. Yeah, it’s way better when you have somebody else being able to kind of pay for your services that allows you not only to provide them with something of value, but at the same time test and build out your offering. So that’s fantastic, it’s super interesting, especially going from the potential tequila route into IoT, very, very different, but.
– [Dan] I still have the original bottles in my cupboard from that day, they are like down, down to the last two or three milliliters, but that’s about it.
– [Ryan] Do you ever find out what happened to the company, like did somebody else invest?
– [Dan] They’ve done really well, yeah, they’ve done really well, they’ve done really well, they are more on the sort of very high end premium tequila side.
– [Ryan] Okay, gotcha.
– [Dan] You know, and I kind of think back to like, entourage or that sort of.
– [Ryan] Yeah, with Avion, yeah. Yeah, that’s funny, I’ve seen a lot of, this is totally a different tangent obviously than we usually talk about on here, but, yeah, it’s been interesting to kind of just see lots of different brands on, on how the alcohol front just pop up and come out of it, and you always wondered like where did they come from, and how did they get started? And it’s kind of tying into, what you, you know, the path you almost went down, which is, that’s kind of how they usually start, is somebody builds a great product and then finds people to invest and get involved, to then grow and build the business side of it, so, that’s awesome. So, one of the topics I did wanna ask you about today, is around migration in IoT, and if you could start off by just talking a little bit about, just generally what does it mean when we’re talking about IoT migration, and somebody mentions that, and brings that up into discussion, what does that mean? And then dive into a little bit further why it’s important, and the overall approach or advice you have for people who are focused on or having to go through migration when in the IoT side of things?
– [Dan] Yeah, so, IoT migration can probably mean a few things to certain people, if I try and cover them off a little bit, for me there’s probably three kind of key areas, it would be the connectivity side, so the internet in the IoT, the internet in the internet of things, the hardware, which is the thing, and then I guess the application, which is like the end result, so there’s these three kind of clear components to it, the application, if I kind of work from the top down now, the application migrations are really something that, because the application is the one that’s driving a lot of the information around what’s actually happening, and the outputs, I would say that migration along there has to be understood, like what is that application working on, like what is the code base, what are the cloud based products it’s using? Is it connected with Amazon or zero or something like that, and those these days you can, you know, migrate between different bases to get yourself moved to different structure, but the bit that I think is probably a little bit more interesting and where we, you know, see a lot of it is, down more by the connectivity source, so you’ve been working in Europe, you’ve been providing a great IoT solution for a vehicle telematics company, and what’s been happening is that, actually they’ve started to grow and they’re traveling into more countries, so you actually can’t be supporting them as much as you were before, because now you need to connect them in more and more, more countries. That migration story is really understood by looking at their connectivity source, it may be network A or network B, and you now wanna offer them options of increasing coverage, and to migrate that to say Pangea or another, we look at it from a bit technical, but we look at it at like what is the actual network identifier? It’s called an ICCID, what is that network identifier that we can understand and then look within platforms to seamlessly migrate you over, and the point that you need to know there is, once you understand that, it is vital to not just look at, oh, am I on the same network when I look at a migration? But I also have to be on the same platform, because if you’re not on the same platform, the customers end up losing service and actually the experience is not great at all, in fact, the experience will be quite poor. So for me, the way I’ve been doing with my team and the way we’ve helped our customers is really to offer them not only an ability to migrate network, but to migrate platform, like ubiquitous. So, yeah, quite a lot of thought processes I’d say going into it, but, I suppose for us it’s a bit second nature now the way we deal with it.
– [Ryan] Yeah, it’s definitely an interesting conversation because it comes up more and more, I feel like in discussions with customers, and I think it’s important for those organizations to understand that there are companies and experts who really understand this side, and have dealt with it in probably a lot of different capacities over time, and to not have to feel like they have to have all the answers when they’re thinking about the migration component, and trusting the company that they choose to work with to help understand and kind of get them through that, because it is something that I think is quite important to do well. So let me, go ahead.
– [Dan] I was gonna say when we, some of the early stuff when we started the business, there was a lot of talk about creating ghost IoT platforms, so what you would do is you create a sort of pseudo, almost like pseudo platform before migrating services onto alternative platform, and so you’d put everything into a place where it was, I suppose safe and sound, and kind of kept nice and understood, and then you’d migrate it to the end output, and companies like like Capgemini, Fujitsu, a lot of them were developing these sort of pseudo platforms so that they could be the step between migrations, those are a lot better now than what they were back then, those are other really cool ways in which you can approach it.
– [Ryan] Yeah, fantastic. From your perspective and kind of the work you all do across different regions of the world, different organizations, different verticals, what are some of the biggest challenges that you all have kind of come across in your kind of day to day existence since you all started the business?
– [Dan] To be honest like, I think, it’s weird, if you had asked me this even a year ago, I probably would’ve had a different answer, I think it’s sort of, as you’re moving through, if I think back, I think some of the big challenges was around, the education of what the customer actually needs, compared to what they think they want. And I say that with a positive statement, like I say that as as a positive thing, because I think we are expected to help that customer and just challenge them a little bit around like, is your thinking correct, are you sure that this is the right thing? Because I think this is a slightly better alternative for you long term. And today, what we’ve tried to mitigate a lot of those challenges is to just offer quite a wide variety of connectivity sources, so everything from like your low power services, narrowband, LTE and CAT 1M services, right through to like, you know, 5G and super super fast capability over there. But to layer on top of that is also like, how you can control the service, how you can control connectivity so that it suits your IoT deployment. So today we speak quite granularly with partners around like, look, where’s it gonna deploy, how often do you need to measure or monitor that specific outcome you’re trying to achieve? And the challenges have always been that a lot of the people don’t know, so we guide them quite a lot into understanding it. I had a great example of that actually, I had a customer who was trying to, yeah, it was UK based, and was trying to use narrow band for replacement, again a migration, right? For trying to get through smart meters, so changing out smart meters from 2G which is being turned off, 2G, 3G that’s being turned off to narrow band, which is a new technology and will replace that, and one of the things that probably didn’t come up in the conversation with him was, well what happens when the narrow band provider doesn’t have coverage for you in this huge deployment you wanna do? I mean he was talking about 100000 devices, and they had not concerted that, there are actually devices out there that can have both narrowband and the other one which is LTE-M, they could have them both, now you could offer a service that’s able to actually cover you for both technologies, hopefully that goes to plan, but it’s, yeah, it’s just interesting ways in which we need to keep educating customers as the technologies keep changing, ’cause they are.
– [Ryan] Sure. Yeah, I think the educational component is hyper critical to the industry’s success, I think it’s been that way for a long time, it’s one of the reasons why we started IoT For All was, we saw a lot of people very hesitant to get into the IoT space, because they didn’t understand enough of all the different capabilities, different technologies, you name it, and it’s changing so quickly that the content out there at the time was very technical or very dense, and so we wanted to kind of speak to a larger audience because we felt that was necessary for us, or for the industry as a whole to reach its potential, and I still feel like the educational component now is even more important, just to understand the different technologies, different capabilities, because there’s not a lot of information out there that is hard to kind of read through for a potential adopter to understand, just like you said is, how does this technology potentially influence the success of my use case? Or maybe they think that it’s not even possible based on what they’re reading, so, talking with the experts I think is super important, have you had conversations with companies around kind of the business side of it, the more of the revenue stream creation that IoT kind of enables? Because that’s something that’s really interesting to me to kind of understand how companies perceive that when they’re thinking of IoT, or are they just kind of thinking about it as a solution to an existing problem, but then once they learn about that revenue stream potential, they start to get a lot more excited about bringing this to the top of the priority list?
– [Dan] Yeah, I mean I could speak for hours on it, but I’ll give you like sort of some of the rundown on what it is, so you know, every day my incredible team is out there trying to help telecom resellers or ISPs, or other solution providers get into the IoT space, or to get them into using us to support their deployment, and one of the big factors is that, let’s say you’re an ISP or a telecom reseller, you’re kind of, your business value on the profit you make is anything between six to 10 times that, so if you were to sell your business in the future or put evaluation to your business, you can get more finance, you’re gonna get about six to eight times the profit of that type of business, right? This is the business you sell, broadband, ethernet, cloud products, that kind of thing. When you start to overlay IoT products into it and you bring it into your portfolio and you have some success on it, that multiple increases to 18 to 22 times, so you’re almost three times more valuable by introducing IoT, and the reason for that, like that’s the most important thing, like the why, the why is because we just said it now earlier, right? But the technologies are expanding all the time, so there’s 2G, 3G turnoff, there’s 5G coming in, there are so many different options in which you can deploy the service that you have an endless amount of opportunity, but, probably the most important thing for valuations is the stickiness of these solutions. Once they’re in, they’re in for a very long time.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. Yeah, I think that’s.
– [Dan] And it’s a recurring revenue structure off the back of that, and people will invest good money in that type of, I guess business.
– [Ryan] I totally agree, I think even just at a high level it makes complete sense for a company to consider adopting, but as where we are as an industry, I think we are in a much easier spot to make adoption more quickly, adoption kind of wider spread because the capabilities that exist for a lot of these use cases that people may not have been able to successfully execute on over the past number of years. So, I totally agree with kind of everything you’re saying there. Let me ask I guess one other thing before we start to wrap up here is, are there any kind of points of contention or things that come up in conversations with customers, potential customers, partners of yours around IoT, the connectivity side, you name it, that they still are just kind of assuming the wrong things have been around kinda like a myth that they’re not really sure about? ‘Cause I know some people think about the security side, they think about the speed side, they think about a lot of different pieces of it, is there any kinda like main things that just keep coming up that people just really are completely missing the mark on, when they’re kind of, for what their assumptions are?
– [Dan] Yeah, I would, I’d probably think about it in, so we think a lot about our connectivity market in data amounts. Yeah, so sort of low, medium, medium high type style, and I think some of the misconceptions is that you need to, in order to make money in this market, you need to sell like super high volume and you need to be able to win these sort of bluebird deals all the time to go ahead. However, just a bit to your point earlier on about like, you know, understand where your place or where, what you’re studying today or what you’re kind of needing today helps you to sell an an adjacent IoT product. One kind of simple example is that, you know, a lot of companies still sell broadband, still sell ethernet, and a very simple IoT solution on the back of that is, a backup service using cellular, because it’s a completely separate network, it is a device connected through cellular and it can also be delivered on their network, what that does though is that it gives you, a product that, you know, everybody kind of needs, which is a backup on a different network, a completely different technology, but it is one of the most ubiquitous things that people provide, it is so commoditized. every buys broadband, where everyone has broadband, switches it or does something with it, but to be able to offer an Jason product, that means you definitely have a market that you can sell into. Weirdly the challenges that come on the back of that is, there is still a level of, which is waning, which is getting smaller, is the level of, I suppose trust in the speeds of cellular networks when compared to fixed network, and I’ve got some incredible like case studies on our website where people have actually gone with a 5G only solution for very high network brands as a way to be more quick out the blocks to load up pop up stores, to be able to be in a middle of a retail environment to make sales. So, I think that’s one of the misconceptions at the moment for sure.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. So as we’re wrapping up here, I wanted to ask you, this is something I’m not very familiar with at all, but it kind of came up in pre-interview discussions was about the PSTN switch off, for our audience who may not really know what that means or is, can you just kind of high level it for our audience and then kind of how companies can maybe think about preparing if this is going to influence them?
– [Dan] Yeah, so for the audience, just high level, a PSTN line is generally the analog line in your home that either runs your broadband or you make calls over, I would be surprised Ryan, if you still make calls from a home phone in your home, you probably use your mobile. Yep, yep, shaking head. It’s a very small percentage who still do, but what I think is happening, particularly in the UK and other countries along the world are starting to adopt it, it’s the move away from an analog service being PSTN, to a digital service being fiber, and the point is that, in the UK we’re turning off the copper lines and replacing them with glass lines for full fiber connectivity. What is super interesting, what is super interesting and is a little bit kind of forgotten is that, there are hundreds of applications that use a PSTN line from maybe 30 years ago, like a cash machine, like an ATM, a lift, a door entry system, you may even have an E-pass machine, still using this older way of connecting, and in the UK particularly, we have until 2025 to replace everything. So we have millions and millions of things that were traditionally connected, we are using a PSDN line to do IoT things, to do like IoT telemetry and monitoring, et cetera, but they have to change, and why we are so passionate about it, is because we believe that in that space you should be replacing it with a cellular solution going forward, similarly to your home has been replaced with a cellular solution to make calls, we think we can offer some really cool options around, you know, why would you connect a lift with a PSTN line when it has to change? You would do it with a cellular solution. Why would you do a door entry system, why would you do an ATM, why would you connect it with a PSTN line? So, that’s one of the big reasons there is this PSTN switch up, it’s the movement from analog to a more digital environment, but many, many services don’t need to be on a fiber service to just do monitor.
– [Ryan] Yeah, we actually, no it does completely, it’s very similar to kind discussions I’ve had in the past around the sun setting of like 2G and stuff like that networks, and we’ve had discussions around kind of how to approach that, why, what to understand, what to do to kind of prepare, so, so it’s, yeah, it’s not something you really think a lot about because. I don’t know anybody who uses it, you know, but it is something that if companies do rely on or still use it, it needs to be discussed and understood because it’s gonna affect businesses, it might not be a huge number of people in businesses, but it’s still gonna affect people, so, super important to kind talk about.
– [Dan] Yeah, so countries like Germany have just finished their PSDN switch off, Australia finished it with their next generation network, Denmark is getting going with it, I’m not sure where the US is at the moment, but I’m pretty sure it’ll come as well, because as the demand from consumer is so highly driven by more rich content, video, et cetera, we have to go full fiber for everything at some point. However, there are tens of millions of devices that don’t need a full fiber connection to deliver what they’re doing, particularly in the IoT, yeah, and particularly in that work, so you’re gonna be overpaying for a product that you just don’t need, and that’s where actually delivering a cellular based service, particularly if you want backup, you have a multi network IoT connection in that, that’s where I think there’s gonna be a huge amount of opportunity for anyone who’s listening to your show, and has a business that is looking at what markets to attack, it’s a really interesting play coming up.
– [Ryan] Definitely, yeah, awesome. Well, Dan thanks so much for being on here. For our audience out there who’s listening to this and wants to follow up, ask questions, learn more about the company, what’s the best way that they can do that?
– [Dan] Yeah, loads of ways, please do go to the website, which is Pangea-group.net, so P-A-N-G-E-A, hyphen group dot net, we have LinkedIn as well, so you could search for Pangea Connecting Everything, which is a play on our name, and of course you can also look through our, as I said our LinkedIn, but also contact at Pangea-group.net is the best.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. Well, Dan, thanks again so much for taking the time, I was thinking as we were talking there’s a lot of other ideas we could probably build some content together around, talking about some solutions you’re working on, things like that. So, we’ll have to find time to sync up again, but for now, thanks so much for being here and really appreciate it.
– [Dan] You’re very welcome and thanks for the opportunity and I hope everyone enjoyed that. Nice one.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. All right everyone, thanks again for watching that episode of the IoT For All Podcast, if you enjoyed the episode, please click the thumbs up button, subscribe to our channel, and be sure to hit the bell notification so you get the latest episodes as soon as to become available. Other than that, thanks again for watching and we’ll see you next time.