IoT and edge computing are two of the most rapidly growing technology areas today. Jim White, CTO of IOTech Systems, a global company based in the UK specializing in IoT and edge software, gives us an update on the current state of IIoT and edge computing, as well as edge computing predictions for 2023. As we move into the new year, edge computing will become increasingly popular to power solutions and drive down costs while improving performance across the board. The field is rapidly evolving and is set to become even more critical in the future as more and more industries adopt IoT and edge computing technology.

About Jim

Jim White has over 25 years of experience in software development for IoT Edge systems, enterprise application integration, and mobile applications. Most recently, Jim was a Distinguished Engineer and Director of the IoT Platform Development Team within the IoT Solutions Division of Dell Technologies. He was the chief architect for Dell’s largest open-source effort to date, EdgeX Foundry™. EdgeX is an open framework for building industrial IoT Edge computing systems and is now a Linux Foundation (LF) Edge project. Jim will continue to serve as Vice Chair of the EdgeX Technical Steering Committee. Before Dell, Jim was a partner at Intertech, specializing in Java and .NET application development. Jim is co-author of ‘Java2 Micro Edition: Java in Small Things’, a author, and a frequent conference speaker.

Interested in connecting with Jim? Reach out on Linkedin!

About IOTech

IOTech develops market-leading ‘open’ edge computing and management software products for the edge software infrastructure market. Their software products are embedded into the edge solution offerings of major OEMs and Systems Integrators to accelerate the development, deployment, and management at scale of edge applications within their customer base. Their channel partners include; Schneider Electric, Accenture, Johnson Controls, Mitsubishi Electric, Intel, and others, and growing. They have established a strong reputation within the Industrial Edge ecosystem because of their early involvement and material contributions to EdgeX Foundry – the largest open-source edge software platform (10 million+ downloads) and their deep OT and middleware expertise within the management team.

Key Questions and Topics from this Episode:

(00:53) Introduction to Jim and IOTech

(02:00) Current state of edge computing & IIoT

(04:50) Edge computing predictions for 2023

(07:09) Evolution of edge computing

(09:00) Edge computing and security

(10:45) Role of hyperscalers

(13:01) AI and ML at the edge

(15:19) Kubernetes role


– [Ryan] Hello everyone and welcome to the IoT For All Podcast. I’m Ryan Chacon, and on this episode, we are going to get into some really great insights into edge computing and Industrial IoT forecast for 2023, and I’ll be talking with Jim White, the CTO of IOTech. They are an edge computing and management software company. There’s a ton of value here, so if you are watching this on YouTube, we truly appreciate a like and subscribe and be sure to hit that bell icon so you get the latest episodes as soon as they are out, but all right, before we get into it, here’s a quick word from our sponsor, Leverege. 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 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 to, that’s And without further ado, please enjoy this episode of the IoT For All Podcast. Welcome, Jim, to the IoT For All Podcast. Thanks for being here this week.

– [Jim] Ryan, thanks for having us. Really a pleasure to be with you, and thanks for allowing us to talk with your guests.

– [Ryan] Absolutely, yeah. So let’s kick this off by having your give a quick introduction about yourself and the company that you’re with.

– [Jim] Sure, so I am the CTO of IOTech Systems. It’s a company based out of the UK. As you can probably tell by my accent, I am not British. I’m trying to do my best, but our company’s actually a global company focused on IoT and edge software. My background is one where I came from Dell Computing where we were building IoT edge gateways, and I was the guy tapped to help co-found an open source project that’s known as EdgeX Foundry, so the leading open source edge software provider today, and EdgeX Foundry became a big part of IOTech Systems, and so that’s what attracted me to IOTech and that’s been my business now for the last five years.

– [Ryan] Fantastic. Very exciting conversation that I know you and I have planned here. And we’re gonna be talking about a couple different areas that are really interesting and kind of been very popular as of late for a lot of our audience. One is the edge computing world and the other is industrial IoT for a bit. I wanted to kinda set the stage for that by asking you to kinda give me a quick overview from your perspective of the current state of edge computing and the current state of industrial IoT. If you wanna recap kinda 2022 and what kinda happened then, that’s fantastic, but just kind of high level it for our audience so we can kind of set the stage that way.

– [Jim] Yeah, sure can Ryan, so I think a lot of complexity in those questions. I always have to begin any conversation I have with almost any customer or partner or have you, “Define edge for me,” because everybody’s edge is a little bit different, so from an IOTech’s perspective, we are largely focused on industrial, in fact that’s where we got our start, is trying to provide what we called Industrial IoT solutions to companies, which meant really trying to focus on connect things in industrial spaces into the enterprise. That has changed a bit. There’s still a large part of our customer base, a large part of the people we talk to that are industrial-based today, but we’re seeing more and more needs emerge from this, what people are generally calling edge, and the reason we usually have to talk a little bit about what is your edge versus my edge, there’s different types, right? You’ve got edge computing from the standpoint of a telco, where you and I are carrying around our cell phones and we’re coming close to environments where that phone can be used as a device to alert people and, you know, that I’m present and I could use some information, all the way down to, you know, home edge where we’re talking about things that are happening inside your own home space, industrial edge which is an extension of IoT, so all that is coming to play, and the reason I say things have started to change a little bit is we’re getting into environments now which, even from an IOTech perspective, we didn’t perceive originally that these were gonna be large edge players. A couple of examples, you know, you look at something like retail environment. Retail store, they need IoT space? Well no, they don’t necessarily need IoT, but they are starting to bring together all sorts of different sensing environment equipment into things like the point-of-sale where you and I do our checkout, you know, and we don’t think of that as industrial, right? That’s not a sensor on some sort of factory line, but lo and behold, that is now very valuable information that those retailers need to make all sorts of decisions and help customers, so edge is expanding in a lot of different ways. So not sure if I completely answered your question, but took my best shot.

– [Ryan] Nah it was great, fantastic. Yeah, it’s a very exciting space. A lot is happening there, edge computing has become, you know, even more popular to power a lot of these solutions, help you drive down costs, improve kinda performance across the board, so as we’re now into 2023 and we’re kinda kicking things off, what is, how do you kind of view things going into this year, and I guess, you know, what we were hoping to do today is talk about kinda what the forecast looks like when it comes to edge computing and the industrial space, whether that’s together, a little bit separate’s fine, but I wanted to kinda talk through a number of different kinda points that I know that are on your mind for us to go through, but if you wanna maybe high level that for us and talk about what the forecast kinda looks like.

– [Jim] Yeah, I guess I’ve become infamous over some of the predictions I’ve made over the last few years. Some of them I think are turning true, others are not, or taking time. So what I see in the marketplace right now, first of all, a lot of things, as we all have seen in almost all of our daily and professional lives, have changed in the last few years with COVID, right? It has impacted a lot of the ways we see ourselves, see our environments, see our businesses, that is changing things considerably. Where a few years ago we were all going to an office and we were looking to provide IoT and edge capability in-office, hm, not so much anymore, but maybe we need it more now in our personal space, so there are changes in where we live, occupy our time and need space, so that impacts things. And then there are a lot of other exciting things going on in just the way that the technology is always being applied to things like environmental concerns, right? We are now very much concerned about saving our planet and saving resources. I’m not gonna say that those weren’t important two years ago, but I think it’s become more front and center as our world gets hotter, as our world gets more resource-constrained, and IoT and edge computing can really help in those spaces. So the impact of the last few years economically, socially, economically, I mean environmentally, all those things are bringing some changes about in our world that are putting IoT and edge capabilities front and center to help solve those problems.

– [Ryan] Right, right, right. What do you think about kind of, you know, the view and perception people have had about what edge computing is, how it works and what the value can provide to what companies really need, so it sounds like a lot of companies really want complete solutions, right? So how is kind of edge playing into that or how are things transitioning from maybe the way edge was thought about and being utilized or purchased into what really people need and want now that’s kinda working?

– [Jim] Great question, and we’ve seen this in the evolution of our business, when we were starting, faced a lot of early adopters who were looking at what I call the pieces and parts, right? Help me connect to this sensor. Help me get the data to this cloud. So they were looking, they were early adopters, they were figuring out a lot of it themselves. Fast forward now a few years, companies are, they’re done with that. The way I write about it and talk about it is, we are done playing games. Time to get real. Time to get serious here. I don’t want pieces and parts, what I want is a solution. We started to see an evolution of that here in the last couple of years, but now it’s getting real serious where companies are moving or transitioning from POCs and pilots, right, to learn and to experiment and figure out what’s working, and now they’re coming to companies like ours, say, “Pilot, POC, “may wanna do that just to prove something out “but I need to do that very quickly ’cause in, hm, you know, “12 months, I’m being asked to deliver solutions “that are gonna either go to our customers “or go to employees or what have you, “and these things have to work,” so they’ve gotten out of the playtime, and now it is go time, and that’s, I think, changing the marketplace considerably. It’s gonna put some pressure on the marketplace, you know, we’re gonna see some companies come and go, bigger companies are gonna make acquisitions, things of that nature.

– [Ryan] Yeah, absolutely. What about kind of, when it comes to the edge, about what, I guess as it relates to security as well? So, you know, that’s becoming a pretty important topic, so like OT edge security has become, you know, something real. What do you think about that as we’re kinda looking at this year?

– [Jim] Yeah, so I used to joke with my, going into customers, I would talk about obviously security is a concern, you know it’s gonna be a concern with everybody, anything that has to do with information flow today, and I would ask companies, “So tell me, what are your security concerns? “Tell me what you’re trying to protect against.” And I would joke because it was actually an answer I got from one of the CEOs I talked to, “I don’t exactly know what security is all about “in this space, all I do know is I want you “to keep me off the cover of the Wall Street Journal.” So security to them was, “Protect me from making big mistakes “but I don’t know what those potential threats “or mistakes are.” That’s also changing, right? There’s still that concern, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think any CEO wants to be on the cover of the Wall Street Journal and certainly we’ve seen in the press reports of people coming in and attacking things at the weakest points, but we have to go a little bit farther today. We actually have to have answers, and importantly, I as a CTO in a company like IOTech that’s providing solutions, we have to start to really understand the real threats, right, not just say, “Yeah, we’re gonna try “and help you keep off the Wall Street Journal,” we have to know where those weakest links are and try to provide solutions into that space, so companies are getting more wise, leaders are becoming more wise about what some of those threats are, and now it’s becoming more specific and they need products that address those specific needs.

– [Ryan] Fantastic, absolutely. So kinda shifting topics here for a second, but still talking about kinda this forecast, how have hyperscalers really kind of played a role into this in your mind, kind of, like what disruption have they brought to the market, and just kind of overall from your perspective there?

– [Jim] To be blunt, they haven’t. They haven’t really played yet, and they haven’t really been impactful yet. Some of them, you know, when we talk about, let’s talk about the cloud providers to be specific, you know, and we can identify ’em by name, it’s not like anybody doesn’t know them, right, the Googles, the Amazons, the Microsofts of the world, they took a very cloud-centric approach that is, we want all the data, we want your data, and we wanna help you facilitate to get it all up into our cloud, and they didn’t really understand OT very well, and then the companies who bought into that approach started to look at it and they started to look at their bills, and realized this is not gonna work, right? My Amazon bill of transporting all the edge data to the cloud and then working on it from there is not gonna scale ’cause it’s just an immense bill, and it didn’t really add a lot of value. I think that’s gotta change, and I think it is changing. We’re seeing one of the cloud providers, in particular as, you know, a cross-section of the hyperscalers, are looking at this saying, “Okay, so what we’re going “to need to do is we’re gonna need “to enter this space very much like,” well, we’ll look at some of the hyperscalers and what their business was and then how they adapted to something like mobile technology or you know, cloud SAS, I’m sorry, SaaS, or PaaS type of technologies, they entered it into a big way, trying to learn what it is they could provide as value, where it is they need to hand things off to you, but where they actually provided value. They’re starting to learn those lessons. They’re learning the lessons that they’re not OT providers, right, they don’t know operational technology, but there’s a place they can play, because they do know scale, and this is a big scale problem. Edge computing is a big scale problem, so they know scale, how can they apply what they do best into these environments and bring in the right expertise to help them where they maybe not are a specialist, and by the way, probably don’t belong? Not all of your data belongs in the cloud from the edge. It makes no sense to shovel it up into the cloud, so they’re learning.

– [Ryan] Okay, great. What about AI and ML? How do you think that’s like from a forecast standpoint, ’cause obviously that’s, you know, a big topic in how that needs to be in there, but does everybody really, does everything I guess need that?

– [Jim] Yeah, great question, again another kind of a joke, an aside I have with people is, you know, AI and ML’s part of the solution. I don’t know what the problem is, but we’re gonna make it part of the solution. That was kind of our approach, you know, as AI and ML became big, and oh my gosh, it is impactful, right? It can do so many things. What we’re starting to learn is, you don’t necessarily need that level of sophistication, that level of compute and analytics capability to do some really important, critical, and return-on-investment things at the edge. Simple rules engines, simple little analytics capability can return some big investments. So if you’re going to say I need AI/ML, know where and how that’s applied, especially when we’re talking about edge computing, and then think about that a little bit because it does put some extra requirements on you. You need some heavy-duty compute. So I see an evolution in AI and ML in that there are specific use cases, there are specific environments where AI and ML is going to be very important in edge computing. Example, visual inference at the edge, right? All these edge compute use cases have cameras all over everything, being able to detect what’s going on at the edge and get an understanding of that from an image usually takes AI and ML. But to determine that something is a little bit out of alignment, you know, your sensors can do a lot of that, and then you need simple if-then-else conditions that, hey, this value is not in range, let’s do something about that. That’s not AI/ML, that’s what I learned in my first days of undergraduate computing way back when, and that doesn’t cost me a type of funding I need to put together an AI/ML model, let alone the type of compute resources I need at the edge, so apply it with some understanding and some constraints and figure out what it is you really need and how to apply it, just don’t say, “We need AI/ML at the edge.”

– [Ryan] Right, right, right. Okay, fantastic. Last thing I would ask you, and this is just something I don’t know if a lot of people know about, but when we’re talking about Kubernetes, we haven’t actually really talked about that much at all, but it’s a pretty popular term around a lot of, you know, tech groups and developer groups. I wanted to talk about kinda how that plays in too to all of this, and you know, it’s very popular tool for people to be using and, but I just, from your thoughts, how does this kinda play into what we’re talking about here from a forecast standpoint?

– [Jim] Yeah Ryan, so once you’ve developed some sorta solution for your edge, that next question is, how do we get it out to the edge? How do we deploy, orchestrate, manage it, monitor it? How do we know it’s up and running? Kubernetes has been fantastic in the enterprise, let’s even make it more general. Cloud-native computing, CNCF community, has been fantastic at getting those kinds of problems solved in the enterprise, deploy, orchestrate, manage. But the cloud and the enterprise is not the edge. We are resource-constrained in many ways. We have needs that are not the same as the enterprise, for example, you know, the enterprise never has to connect on modbus sensor. The enterprise doesn’t have to have dedicated, you know, communication and security channels that, say, the edge does, so a Kubernetes solution is applying an enterprise technology and trying to bring that down to the edge. Can that work? In some cases, maybe, yup, take a look at it. But don’t try to apply enterprise technology wholesale without really looking at some of your requirements, and that’s the problem that we’ve seen in IOTech is, it’s okay to want to bring in your enterprise technology and thoughts into the edge to see if they might apply, but don’t expect them to solve all needs. There are unique needs in the orchestration, deployment, management that Kubernetes or CNCF in general don’t handle. Now that’s gonna change, right? The CNCF community, just like we talked about the clouds and how they’re adapting, same thing’s gonna happen, right? The CNCF community is a huge group of very brilliant minds and they are trying to figure it out. And we see a lot of things in that space, you know, there’s MicroK8s, there’s K3s, there’s a lot of technology in this space. In my opinion, they haven’t hit the sweet spot yet, but they’re working towards it, so we’re gonna see some things help us in this space, but as a user, as somebody who’s applying technology, be aware that the enterprise tools that you have don’t always apply, and you’re gonna probably have to look at some alternatives at the same time.

– [Ryan] Yeah, fair enough, okay, great. Fantastic conversation, I really appreciate you taking the time. Last thing I wanted to ask you before we go is, for our audience out there who, I guess two things I wanna ask you, one is, for our audience out there who wants to learn more about what you all have going on at IOTech and just kind of generally follow up, maybe learn more about some of these topics, what’s the best way they can engage, reach out, any that kinda thing like that?

– [Jim] Yeah, appreciate the opportunity Ryan, so Always visit the company like ours website, we provide a lot of information out there. We’re part of LF Edge, Linux Foundation Edge Computing and the EdgeX Foundry, so from an open source participation, you know, we’re very active in those communities and so we actually find that a lot of people find us through those sources as well, so would love to chat with folks on those channels as well, so, Send me a note, love to hear from you.

– [Ryan] Fantastic, and last thing before I let you go, what are you most excited about going into this year? I mean we talked about a lot of forecast stuff on the edge industrial side, but just generally speaking, something we didn’t touch on, anything that people should really keep their eye out for?

– [Jim] Yeah, you know, it’s, I’m in the UK right now, I’m based in the US but in the UK right now, boy, isn’t it nice we can actually finally get a chance to meet face-to-face, talk to clients face-to-face? There’s an element of that that’s wonderful, but it short-cycles a lot of our work as well. I’m hoping to see acceleration in this market space, not just because we meet in person, but because I think people are excited to finally get back and into a groove which feels a little bit more normal than what we’ve experienced over the last two years.

– [{Ryan] Absolutely, I couldn’t agree more. I was just at CES and you know, there’s, I think they said about 115,000 people attended, it was, people just love being back in person even more. It’s, you know, CES might not be the best gauge because it’s a huge thing, but curious to see how more of the smaller vertical-specific and more niche events come back over this year as opposed to last year, so I agree with you. It’s exciting.

– [Jim] Zoom has been our godsend for the last couple years, but I think we could all use a less, “You’re still muted,” and more of, “Let me shake your hand.”

– [Ryan] Yeah, wow, totally agree with you. Yeah, you get a lot done. I think it’s a different kinda relationship too, you get through all, but–

– [Jim] Yep, absolutely.

– [Ryan] But so thank you so much for your time, really appreciate it, and I look forward to getting this out to our audience.

– [Jim] Ryan, appreciate your time and thanks for allowing us to speak with you and your audience.

– [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 they become available. Other than that, thanks again for watching, and we’ll see you next time.

Special Guest
IOTech develops market-leading ‘open’ edge computing and management software products for the edge software infrastructure market. Our software products are embedded into the edge solution offerings of major OEMs and Systems Integrators to acceler...
IOTech develops market-leading ‘open’ edge computing and management software products for the edge software infrastructure market. Our software products are embedded into the edge solution offerings of major OEMs and Systems Integrators to acceler...

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IoT For All is creating resources to enable companies of all sizes to leverage IoT. From technical deep-dives, to IoT ecosystem overviews, to evergreen resources, IoT For All is the best place to keep up with what's going on in IoT.
IoT For All is creating resources to enable companies of all sizes to leverage IoT. From technical deep-dives, to IoT ecosystem overviews, to evergreen resources, IoT For All is the best place to keep up with what's going on in IoT.