True, complete, end-to-end IoT solutions are needed for mass IoT adoption. Dave Smith, VP of IoT Solutions at GetWireless, joins Ryan Chacon on the IoT For All Podcast to discuss selling a complete IoT solution. They explore cellular IoT, AI and ML in IoT, what defines a complete IoT solution, why IoT solutions are often incomplete, how to increase the amount of complete IoT solutions, and the factors that will lead to mass IoT adoption.

About Dave

Dave Smith is the Vice President of IoT Solutions at GetWireless. He is responsible for technical advisement and thought leadership around products, solutions, and services. Dave is a tenured information technology professional skilled in LPWAN, IoT, wireless technologies, telecommunications, software development, testing, and embedded systems. David began his career at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and prior to joining GetWireless, served as CTO and Director for two innovative IT and IoT hardware manufacturers in the Twin Cities area.

Interested in connecting with Dave? Reach out on LinkedIn!

About GetWireless

GetWireless is a leading Value-Added Distributor of cellular solutions that connect the Internet of Things. By supporting a strong portfolio of embedded modules, end-device modems, intelligent gateways, and signal boosters, GetWireless is able to supply the most advantageous cellular solution for each new IoT application.

Key Questions and Topics from this Episode:

(00:50) Introduction to Dave and GetWireless

(01:56) Cellular perspective on IoT

(04:18) How are AI and ML being used in IoT?

(08:37) What is a complete IoT solution?

(10:15) Why are IoT solutions often incomplete?

(10:57) How to increase the amount of complete IoT solutions

(12:01) Selling a complete IoT solution

(19:07) What factors will lead to mass IoT adoption?

(21:03) Learn more and follow up


– [Ryan] Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of the IoT For All Podcast. I’m Ryan Chacon, and on today’s episode, we’re going to talk through what a complete IoT solution actually is. Give some perspective on the cellular landscape within IoT, as well as talk about how AI and ML are being used in IoT solutions.

With me today will be Dave Smith, the VP of IoT Solutions at GetWireless. They are a leading value added distributor of cellular solutions that connect to the Internet of Things. Before we get into this, we’d love it if you could give this video a thumbs up, subscribe to our channel if you have not done so already, and hit that bell icon so you get the latest episodes as soon as they are out. But other than that, let’s get onto the episode. Welcome Dave to the IoT For All Podcast. Thanks for being here this week.

– [Dave] Oh, it’s great to be here. It’s been a long time. What five days since we last saw each other?

– [Ryan] I know, I know, I know. Yeah. It was a good event down there in Florida, so I was glad we were able to meet in person and now we’re doing this.

– [Dave] Awesome.

– [Ryan] So let me go ahead and ask you to kick this off by giving a quick introduction about yourself and the company for our audience.

– [Dave] Oh, sure. My name’s Dave Smith. I’m the Vice President of IoT Solutions at GetWireless. GetWireless is a value added distributor for IoT and mobility. My area is focused on delivering what you would call complete IoT solutions, right? So that usually means some sort of end device or sensor, some connectivity to get it stated to the cloud in a cloud application.

So that’s my focus is delivering the entire solution to our customers.

– [Ryan] Fantastic. Is there an area that you all focus on when it comes to bringing solutions to market? Or is it pretty like vertical agnostic, use case agnostic, or what do you all focus on?

– [Dave] So GetWireless customers are all themselves resellers, so they’re systems integrators, they’re VARs at various times, and we have several thousand. So they span a lot of different markets. You know, some are first responders, oil and gas, agriculture, a lot of different ones.

– [Ryan] Okay. Fantastic. Um, so our conversation today, we have a few things we want to definitely jump into. I wanted to kick this off by just having you high level kind of talk through the current perspective on the cellular side of IoT. And just talk us through kind of how you see it, what’s been going on in that area and, and how it relates to what you have going on there.

– [Dave] Oh sure. So you know, cellular when it comes to IoT takes up about, hmm, LTEM and NBIOT. If you exclude China, it actually only covers about, I don’t know, 25, maybe 30% of the market. Right? Which is actually a good thing because there’s lots of great alternatives to cellular. The problem is if cellular has any sort of issues that make it more difficult, there are alternatives, right?

Some of those we’re seeing are carriers often struggle to price plans. Right, right? It’s difficult. They’re used to using your cell phone, you have a little sensor. It’s kind of hard to price that plan and, so they struggle with that. Also, the cellular network itself is actually not set up to carry IoT data.

Release 17 from the 3GPP just came out last summer. It’s kind of a first step, mostly with the next release. They’re gonna be reorganizing the cellular network to actually carry IoT traffic really well. And when that happens, you’ll see a lot of improvements in service.

– [Ryan] Fantastic. Yeah, it’s an interesting space to follow. You know, a lot of people talk about cellular connectivity and how it applies to and is beneficial for certain use cases. But the nice thing about the space, I think for, and when it comes to IoT is that there are options you can find connectivity that is more tailored to your use case and what without necessarily being overkill.

Like last week we were down at LoRaWAN Live talking about LoRaWAN solutions and kind of what that is good for, right? And cellular, the same conversations can be had around that as well as Bluetooth and other technologies. So very interesting space to follow.

So I appreciate you shedding a little light from your perspective on what’s going on there. Let me ask, as it connects to, the cellular side and then getting into more of the solution side that you really focused your time on, how are you seeing kind of the implementation of newer tech in like, let’s say AI, ML playing a role in IoT solutions?

We’ve talked about this before on the podcast here and there, but I’d love it if you could kind of talk about what you’re seeing as far as the adoption of AI, ML, where it’s coming in, the value it’s providing and so forth when it comes to IoT solutions.

– [Dave] Oh, sure. I can give you two examples. One for AI, one of the solutions that we’re considering bringing on actually is a smart waste solution, right? So you got a sensor and a bunch of trash cans. And you know, the sensor is empty full, right? My location, maybe they send that up to the cloud. Okay? So if you’re sitting in front of a screen, you can look and see all your empty and full trash cans.

That’s kind of moderately interesting, right? But this platform has an AI backend and it takes that data, it takes, past historical data, the date, the weather, all sorts of stuff, and integrates it together and says, look, municipality. If you take those people in that truck, on that route, on that day, you’re good.

And that kind of revolutionizes how they can manage their people and their equipment. So AI on that sort of side on the application side is really making a big difference now. And then on the other side, we’re working with some vibration sensors to use machine learning, which is really good at taking what we call time series data, right?

You take a sample every certain amount of time, it takes that time series data and it, uh, it predicts failures or predicts changes. We call them failures. So imagine if you are a refrigerator manufacturer and you’ve got a vibration sensor on your compressor. That compressor, you know, now is gonna fail in two weeks.

So instead of getting a random call at a random time from an upset customer that their refrigerator just died, that refrigerator manufacturer can reach out, schedule a call, come fix it before they lose a refrigerator full of food. That’s a complete change in paradigm for customer service. So machine learning and AI are really changing the game in that regard.

– [Ryan] In the discussions I’ve had recently, there’s been two kind of things that have been interesting to kind of talk about. One is how IoT is really enabling enterprise AI. Especially like when it comes to commercial enterprise solutions because it needs the data and the best way to get data is if you don’t already have it, is through something that pulls the data, which IoT is fully focused on, you know, bringing and making data available that wasn’t available before. And the other piece is on the ML side, is being able to push ML models as close to the edge as possible to handle decision making, handle analysis, handle different computations that need to be done and can be done more efficiently than having to send things back up to the cloud.

So it’s really an interesting space to see evolve and I know a lot of us, as we hear about AI and ML out in the world, it’s a lot of consumer focused applications and different kinds of tools, ChatGPT, you name it. But as it relates to enterprise and commercial IoT, it’s has a very prominent position now and I think as we grow into the future, for sure.

– [Dave] Oh yeah. I mean there are any number of uses for machine learning. There’s a company, I think it’s called AtomBeam, and they use machine learning, not necessarily to predict anything, but they use it to transport the data, which is really weird. So they’ll look at a sensor and they will look at the data it sends, and they can put a tiny machine learning model in your sensor and drop the amount of data that you send over the air by like 80%.

Now if you’re transmitting 80% less, your battery is going to last you a lot longer, right? And it’s lossless and it’s basically no latency. So it’s actually a really cool technology.

– [Ryan] Yeah. No, it’s super interesting for sure. Let me ask you this as we kind of talk more about the IoT solutions, which I know you spend a lot of your time kind of focused on, um, kind of selling and promoting and, and building and getting out there. What are some of the challenges you’ve seen, kind of just, I guess, high level in the IoT space when it comes to true solutions.

Now, you know, everybody, part markets a solution, but are there, like what would you define as a true kind of complete end-to-end solution and how is that kind of being handled right now in the space, because I think a lot of companies are pushing solutions, but are they really true end-to-end solutions?

Maybe, maybe not. And I think the industry could definitely benefit from more of that complete kind of almost turnkey ish feeling I solution that has the hardware, has the connectivity, has the software piece. Right? So how are you kind of seeing that as a challenge that the industry is currently dealing with?

– [Dave] I think you’re spot on to say it’s a challenge. I mean, I live this every day. Nine out of 10 solutions we look at are, are not what I would call complete. So, you know what is complete? Well, my background is product development and manufacturing, so now I’m in distribution. What that means is I don’t have a slew of engineers ready to make anything

I don’t have. Right? So in distribution we need to take something from a vendor and then get it to our resellers. We don’t have the luxury of writing an API or something like that for any given use. So for me, if I can get the entire package, which would be usually sensors, the connectivity in a cloud application, and they all come together and they all actually work, then that to me is a solution. That is extremely rare.

About nine out of 10 that we look at are missing some key piece.

– [Ryan] And why do you think that is?

– [Dave] Because vendors don’t know what they don’t know, right? And they’re good at some things and not at others. So one thing we see typically, for example, is they use a cellular based, uh, sensor and then they don’t get the right certifications so they can run on the carriers in the United States.

So like AT&T and Verizon are not really interested in having a million devices roam onto their network because they were certified for, say, TELUS in Canada. So that’s a very common sort of barrier is the certifications not being right.

– [Ryan] And how do you feel like the industry as a whole or companies individually even can address this problem? Or what can be done about taking, you know, as you said, nine out of 10 not really being complete solutions to more companies, more of these solutions, really, truly being a complete solution. What do you think could help kind of achieve that?

– [Dave] Well, I think the economic success of the companies that are offering complete solutions will go a long way towards showing others what they need to do. There’s a lot of companies out there, they say, I’m a platform company, for example. They don’t even deal with connectivity or sensors. So you try and use their platform, you now have a lot of work to do to create a solution, but they’ll tell you that they have a whole bunch of solutions. Right? So until the companies that actually are starting to make complete solutions, they’re gonna start pulling away because when you can buy it and not have to make it, you’re gonna probably be more successful.

So that success, I think, will spur other companies to mimic them.

– [Ryan] Yeah, I had an interesting conversation at LoRaWAN Live last week with two members of of a team that just kind of stopped by where I was hanging out and were just telling me what they were doing, and they were pushing kind of the same, same agenda as company. In order for companies to really succeed in IoT, or at least for adopt help increase adoption solutions need to become easier to understand and purchase.

And the way to do that is to kind of remember that at the end of the day, the people buying these are still consumer in some way, they’re still, you know, they care more about their business than they do about the technology that they’re buying. And they want something to work. They don’t wanna have to worry about the fragmentation and all the different pieces and putting all the components together and figuring out, you know, what connectivity do I need?

What hardware do I need? They want to trust that the company they engage with has the partners to help build the solution they need or have the solution already. And it’s framed in a way that they can understand it. And I think that kind of comes off as a little bit more turnkey, even though there are customization pieces that need to go into these a lot of times.

But something that it, it’s, the things that they have to worry about are already kind of taken care of. There’s hardware that, there’s, I guess hardware options for them. There’s, you can kind of tailor the connectivity based on their use case. The application layer is there at least, you know, some large percentage of the way.

And the more of these solutions we can see out in the market and these more successes we can see, the better that’s gonna be for everyone. And I think for a long time, people have just focused on, like you said, the platform or the tech. But it’s not always the case where the company themselves that’s adopting this has a team of software developers that can do anything with the tools or the platform, right? They, they just want, they have the, the end user that’s gonna use it and they wanna know that it works and provides the ROI, but they don’t have the time to handle any of the customization themselves or things like that.

So, the more that companies are focusing on promoting true solutions, I think the better the industry is going to kind of grow. And I’ve started to see that starting in CES this year, it was less focused on technology with these enterprise and commercial IoT companies and more focused on, well, what are companies actually doing with that technology in the real world to solve real problems?

And that allows people to relate to it and see the power of it to more likely convince themselves that I can adopt this.

– [Dave] I think you’re absolutely right. And one of the issues I think is changing is up until recently IoT companies were selling to engineers, maybe if they were a little more sophisticated, they were selling to IT departments, right? But really who they need to sell to is the CFO. Right? Who doesn’t even care about the technology.

He or she is looking at it from a business perspective. What is this gonna help me do better or help me reduce costs? And can I use it outta the box? What’s my implementation timeline? I mean, they need to change who they’re selling to and that will cause them to sell the right thing.

– [Ryan] I totally agree with you. I think, uh, you know, it starts with either I, well I would say it starts with, but there are different ways to definitely think about it, but focusing on the end user, focusing on the person that actually is going to assess if the ROI is there to justify scale. And not, I mean, obviously to some degree, if you’re gonna be implementing in with a legacy system or into an existing process, the technology’s gonna have to be, you know, have to work together and integrate in well, so the engineers will play a role, but at the end of the day, like you said, the tech is not usually their focus.

It’s does this work in the way I expected to solve the problem in a way that makes sense for us to justify using it. And but, and each step of the way, you know, from the selecting the hardware to the connectivity to all the other pieces, that’s a difficult process for someone who’s not in the IoT space to make, feel confident they’re making the right decision, which usually means they’re going to be hesitant to adopt.

And if they can work with companies who understand all the pieces and can help bring the right pieces together or already have the right pieces in place, it’s gonna help people feel more comfortable and confident they’re making the right decision to adopt these solutions, which gives them, I think, a better chance of success.

– [Dave] You’re absolutely right. A big red flag that I’ve seen all the time is one of the first decisions they make is, is this a cellular solution or a LoRaWAN solution, for example? Totally wrong time. That should be one of the last decisions they make after they’ve gone through and decided from a business perspective, what do they need and how does it need to work?

Okay, and then what fits? But what you’re finding is people start looking maybe backward down the telescope, right? And, and that’s a red flag. So you see you’re doing that, you should think again.

– [Ryan] Yeah, it’s, it’s interesting because you know, for the longest time it’s everyone’s pushing a platform, everyone’s pushing technology and, I’ve had this conversation with some people where it’s, you know, if you can think and build from the end user backwards, you have a better chance of hitting all the right things that are needed to deliver the solution that’s going to meet their ROI and not be something that just kind of can be finagled to make it work for what they need, which is not gonna be enough to justify the spend and to get to scale that everyone obviously is hoping a solution gets to. But I do think as more companies not only package their offering into something that feels like more of an out-of-the box complete solution, but also promoting those solutions, those successes, showing how the, the technology they have is being used in the real world. And it’s not just a chip or a modem or a piece of hardware, but there’s all the pieces are there, show they know how to bring them together and they’ve deployed before in something that’s relatable to their potential customer.

I think that is where we as an industry start to see adoption really, you know, hit a nice growth curve.

– [Dave] Yes, you’re absolutely right there. You need to think of the person, like you said, who is using your device. If, if you’re a business owner and, and you hear this solution and go, yeah, wow, I need that. I can save cost or time. But, but you know what? You’re gonna have to change the way your business runs too.

Right? And getting all bogged down in the technology is just gonna slow that down, so you’re exactly right. When they need to start showing these successes, as a business owner, you can say, okay, that’s what that other business did, and this is how they operate and use this really well. That right there helps them implement it successfully.

– [Ryan] Totally agree. Yeah, it’s a very interesting kind of space to follow to like over the about seven years I’ve been in this space just seeing the transformation in going from technology and platform kind of-ish focus to really starting to understand how buyers think and what they’re really looking for and becoming more complete.

It seems like some people are starting to pick that up, but as you said at the beginning, it’s still far away from where it needs to be if we want to see the mass adoption in certain areas of different industries that we’re all aiming for. So, where do you kind of see, or I guess, what do you see the biggest factors going forward that will contribute to us getting there in your mind?

– [Dave] Like I said, I think one of the things I’ve talked to with solution providers is, you know, when I’m looking at a new solution, you know, I say, who are you selling to? And then sometimes they really can’t even answer that. They go, well, I have, I have this great thing. Yeah, but who’s going to use it and, and how are they gonna use it?

So understanding that. So getting manufacturers or solution providers to understand really who they’re talking to and how it’s going to be used so that they can come in and talk to a business and, and not have to use technology words at all.

– [Ryan] You’re right.

– [Dave] Right?

– [Ryan] It’s that, yeah, that domain expertise and being able to relate to the actual person making that decision is very key.

– [Dave] Yes. Yes. And, and then on the flip side, the consumers or the users who are buying these systems focus on, you know, forget the technology again, that seems to be a common theme here, but focus on what you’re trying to do and what would help, right? And from a business perspective, there’s always time for technology and, and then understanding that you’re gonna be a smart shopper and you’re gonna get the right solution that’s going to match your needs.

– [Ryan] Yeah, totally agree. Fantastic conversation. Thank you for taking the time to kind of talk about this topic. It’s much needed. I’m having this kind of individually with people at events and kind of offline, so I’m glad we’re putting something a little bit more public facing out there. And you’re the perfect person to talk about it given the area that you spend most of your time focused on.

So, I do appreciate you taking the time to jump on here and, and talk about this with our audience.

– [Dave] Well, it was my pleasure, man. Always like talking to you and hopefully we can do this again sometime.

– [Ryan] Absolutely. I would definitely love to do that. And, uh, before I let you go, can you let our audience know where they can kind of follow up to, to whether it’s, discuss more about what we talked about, learn more about what the company’s doing, et cetera. Like what’s the best way to reach out?

– [Dave] Oh, couple different ways. Our website is uh, Or you can reach me at Happy to talk with anybody who feels like chatting.

– [Ryan] Perfect. Well, Dave, thank you again so much. Really appreciate the time and look forward to hopefully talking again soon.

– [Dave] Great. Thank you, Ryan.

Hosted By
IoT For All
IoT For All
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.