How are companies leveraging IoT to improve sustainability? Jeffrey Hausman, Chief Product Officer at Samsara, joins Ryan Chacon on the IoT For All Podcast to discuss leveraging IoT for a sustainable future. They cover the role of electric vehicles in creating a sustainable supply chain, ESG goals, the value of workplace safety, the challenges of implementing IoT for sustainability initiatives, and the technologies and trends that will be part of a sustainable future.
Jeffrey Hausman leads Samsara’s global product organization where he oversees the company’s platform, product vision, and development activities to help customers improve the safety, efficiency, and sustainability of their physical operations. With over 25 years of experience, he brings a proven track record for scaling large and transformative software companies. Prior to Samsara, Jeffrey led ServiceNow’s Operations Management Portfolio as Senior Vice President and General Manager. Previously, he held senior executive positions at McAfee, Symantec, Hewlett-Packard, and Veritas, and has served as a CEO and COO for privately held companies. Earlier in his career, Jeffrey worked as a consultant to Fortune 500 companies as part of Booz & Co. Jeffrey received his MBA at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and holds a bachelor’s degree in math and economics from Claremont McKenna College.
Interested in connecting with Jeffrey? Reach out on LinkedIn!
Samsara is the pioneer of the Connected Operations™ Cloud, which is a system of record that enables organizations that depend on physical operations to harness Internet of Things (IoT) data to develop actionable insights and improve their operations. Samsara operates in North America and Europe and serves tens of thousands of customers across a wide range of industries including transportation, wholesale and retail trade, construction, field services, logistics, utilities and energy, government, healthcare and education, manufacturing, and food and beverage. The company’s mission is to increase the safety, efficiency, and sustainability of the operations that power the global economy.
Key Questions and Topics from this Episode:
(13:50) The value of workplace safety
(24:32) 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 have Jeff Hausman, the Chief Product Officer at Samsara. They are a company that is focused on enabling organizations to harness Internet of Things data to develop actionable insights and improve their operations.
Today we’re going to be focusing a lot of our time on how companies can leverage IoT technologies to operate more sustainably. How the environmental aspect of ESG is impacting organizations, how IoT can help companies achieve those ESG goals that they have. Really good conversation. One thing I’d ask you before we jump into it is if you’re watching this on YouTube, give this video a thumbs up, subscribe to the 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 Jeff to the IoT For All Podcast. Thanks for being here this week.
– [Jeffrey] Well, thank you for having me.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. I’d love to kick this off with a quick introduction from you about yourself and the company you’re with, just to give our audience some context.
– [Jeffrey] Yeah, that’s great, Ryan. I’ve focused my career really on helping customers get value from technology, and I’ve done that in a number of different areas personally, from data analytics, storage, data protection, security, and most recently, workflows. And now moving into IoT. And the companies that I’ve worked at have been in a variety of those different industries.
Some of them bigger companies that your audience will be familiar with. ServiceNow, McAfee, Symantec, Hewlett-Packard. I’ve also worked at other early stage companies, and frankly, my passion is all about how do we help build and deliver products and help customers address challenges and get value. And what’s fantastic, and I’m so excited to talk about is how Samsara is doing that, and I am the Chief Product Officer at Samsara helping us to deliver solutions leveraging IoT to companies that are in the physical operations space.
So we can talk more about Samsara if you want.
– [Ryan] Yeah just from our, for our audience’s benefit, I think it’d be good to just talk about the role you all play in the space. Where, what area are you really providing solutions for people? Things like that. We’ve had connectivity companies on, end-to-end solution providers on, hardware companies.
So just where do you all sit from that standpoint?
– [Jeffrey] Yeah, so at Samsara we think of ourselves as an IoT company. We have pioneered what we call the Connected Operations Cloud. Which is really a system of record that’s helping these organizations that are running physical operations harness IoT data to develop actionable insights and the way in which we help them to take those actionable insights and improve their operations is centered around three key areas that are part of our mission.
It’s helping people and these companies improve safety of their operations, the efficiency of their operations, and their sustainability of those operations, which I’m sure we’ll get into. We, one of the things that’s unique a little bit about us is we are a platform company, so everything that we do is based on a common platform and we can talk about that, but we’re helping to serve up tremendous volumes of data and insights from that data to help, for instance, organizations say, Hey, I’ve got a challenge with efficiency. I need to improve my cost structure. I need to run things in a better way. We can help you do that, right? Or from a safety standpoint, a lot of our customers span a variety of industries, by the way, and people are probably familiar with us in the transportation area.
Where we’re helping vehicles and drivers of vehicles to safely operate by leveraging AI and other technology to help them do that. But we also operate outside. The construction, field services, supply chain, wholesale, even public sector. So that’s a little bit more about us.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. Yeah, I think it’s always interesting to just hear the different vantage points you’d be coming into this conversation with because you have exposure to a lot of different industries, different problems, but it all seems to root around the ability to provide access to companies to collect, analyze, and interpret data in a more efficient way to make better decisions.
And too, one of the things you mentioned when it comes to sustainability, how are companies that you’re interacting with today utilizing IoT technology to operate more sustainably or improve sustainability initiatives they have going on? Like how, just at a high level, what are most companies doing and how should our audience be thinking about that?
– [Jeffrey] It’s a great question. There are a number of different ways that people are using IoT and the data from various different IoT sensors, if you will, to further their effort. A couple of examples that come to mind. Most organizations today, whether you’re a public company and you are trying to understand and report out for ESG purposes, let’s say your carbon footprint or you’re a private company, and I actually worked with a private company, met with them recently, Ryan, where they themselves are a private company, but they serve as a supplier to a public company and they have been asked to provide information relevant to carbon footprint.
So one of the things our solution does is we have something that we call our fuel and energy hub. It helps our organizations that are using the platform get a report and understand the details around what are the various different consumptions, if you will, or what are the various different emissions that my vehicles are throwing off.
How do I set baselines and benchmarks and targets, and how can I track our progress to reduce those and effectively report on scope one, scope two type emissions. So that’s one way that people are looking at sustainability. Another one that aligns with that, fuel is obviously an important driver of emissions.
A number of organizations are in this process of evaluating, maybe I should consider, and maybe it’s the time for me to move my fleet and transform and transition my fleet to electric vehicles. And in that case, we also have technology that’s helping people to understand. The same way that we can provide real-time data and logistics information and route understanding and whatnot, and we can do maintenance and things like that with fossil fuel, we can also help you to look at suitability based on the routing that your vehicles have, the profiles they’re driving, help you identify which ones might be suitable. We can also help you then do things like manage charge control, because there are a lot of things that organizations are looking at in terms of how do they operate and how do they manage, and how do they maintain these fleets of vehicles in mixed mode and in EV.
So those are just a couple different ways. I do have one customer example I think could be really important to illustrate this point. That’s a company called Summit Materials. And they’re company, aggregates company, they’re based in the United States. They have a goal of zero emission- net emissions by 2050.
Okay. And prior to using us and getting access to our data, they had inaccurate data on fuel consumption. So their ability to track what their progress was, what they were actually seeing in terms of emissions figures and how they were attaining was very difficult. Now with us, they’ve found a way to save 1.8 million dollars in annual fuel costs and therefore also reduce the associated emissions from that down dramatically.
So they’re well on their way to hitting their target, but that’s a specific example of how somebody’s using this data.
– [Ryan] No, I love that. That’s fantastic. You mentioned EVs, which is something that we haven’t talked too much about, but obviously, you connecting it to the sustainability side is fantastic. How, if we’re thinking about EVs, and this is something I’ve always been curious about is EVs as it relates to supply chain, and how do you feel either now or into the future,
EVs will start to play a role at more of a scale capacity for improving sustainability or just improving supply chain in general. How do you see this, that adoption evolving?
– [Jeffrey] First of all, I would say I think it’s a bit of an inevitability that EVs are going to continue to play an increasing role in the way in which transport works, the way in which supply chains operate, and frankly, the way that most organizations, whether they’re public sector or private sector, are operating and driving things going forward.
Certainly, I just mentioned, we talked about the potential to reduce environmental impact by using these vehicles, and there are also a number of regulatory incentives and as well regulatory targets that are being put in place around the globe, by the way. I hear this when I talk to customers in Europe, I hear this when I talk to customers in North America.
We are not really at a point where all organizations are at this inflection point of we are commercializing and we are literally moving our entire commercial fleet to electrification. Most organizations right now are in a state of planning and preparedness. There are certain pockets, we have city and local governments who have stepped in a little bit more with fleets of passenger buses or vehicles within their fleets surveying the public utility that are electrified. But one of the things that’s important is for us to help organizations plan, and it goes back to that ability. How do I get foresight? How do I get understanding of the data to again know where does it make sense to begin to introduce these various different aspects of electrical vehicle- electric vehicles.
It’s heavily in lightweight vehicles much more so right now than heavy duty. But I see that coming, and I think there’s both the transition and I talked about suitability and evaluation of what you are doing, your routes, your driving behaviors, et cetera, the age of your current fleet. That might give you a sense as to which vehicles to swap out when.
There’s also a question around how do you operate these vehicles differently, and that’s another area that we are starting to look at and bring data to the problem. So how do you actually help an organization of drivers. Now, those drivers need to understand what it’s like to drive an electric vehicle, and I’m not saying that they don’t know how to drive it.
It’s more the eco behaviors, if you will, to drive that vehicle and how they drive it from max battery efficiency, et cetera. These are the types of things that we want to give them so that they can better and more efficiently take advantage of what these vehicles deliver.
– [Ryan] Yeah. Absolutely. It’s definitely an interesting space to follow for sure. We talk a lot about supply chain, but we haven’t talked much about EV and then obviously EV coming together on the supply chain to just improve everything from an efficiency standpoint, a sustainability standpoint, you name it.
I wanted to pivot a little bit here and ask you about something that for the first time, I think it was a few weeks ago, we started to cover, which is ESG initiatives within organizations. We talked about what ESG is, what it stands for, how companies are working towards these different initiatives and goals and the E in ESG for environmental is really interesting one to look at.
How does, I guess, how does, how do things like safety and other types of things of related to that play into that environmental element or aspect of ESG to help organizations hit their goal of, their ESG goals.
– [Jeffrey] Yes. ESG is top of mind for many organizations, and our solutions help with the environmental side we just talked about. I actually think a lot of our safety side, in many ways fits in with the social aspect because part of what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to make sure that, and all of our organizations that we work with are trying to run safe operations, Ryan.
They’re trying to make sure their employees are safe. They’re trying to make sure that their constituents and their customers are safe, and so our ability to help them understand what are behaviors that people who are driving should be taking into consideration? How do we coach them to be safer? How do we understand what’s happening in situations where there’s very complex, heavy machinery, might not be a vehicle per se, might be some form of heavy yellow iron equipment.
How do we help them to reduce accidents? How do we help them to prevent those accidents? By changing the behavior and the way they, that we actually help them by giving data and applying technologies such as AI and ML to the data we see. To give preventative notions of what people can do. So for instance, there are situations where we can identify, certainly based on data that’s coming off of sensors, is a vehicle speeding?
What is the following distance that a vehicle has? What is the, if you will, what is the situation around maybe harsh events happening, whether it’s harsh turns or harsh breaking or whatnot. How are we understanding whether or not an organization is adhering to speed limits and whatnot? And by being able to bring these together, we provide something that we allude to as proactive driver coaching where if you, Ryan, were driving, we could identify for you while you’re driving, Hey, here’s something that we’ve identified that might actually cause you or increase the likelihood that you get into a tough spot or have an accident.
And to the extent that we can reduce the volume and number of accidents, we are helping the social good. So I think there’s a tie-in there besides the E side that we talked about earlier.
– [Ryan] And do you feel like safety programs or the focus on safety and making that known that there is emphasis there is something that can be seen as a competitive advantage in a market where maybe it’s like a tight labor market. There’s lots of turnover. How do, because not every industry when it comes to, safety isn’t necessarily top of mind or a big driver to be a competitive advantage in the labor side of things, so in certain industries, I know it is. How is this kind of all coming together to provide value there?
– [Jeffrey] Absolutely. So if you think about, I talked about how we have a variety of different elements of data coming off of these IoT sensors, and we are able to help our customers create, and they can customize the waiting of this, but create effectively. Let’s stick with this driver situation, driver safety score. Right?
Help them get transparency. Help the drivers have transparency. One of our customers who’s in the field services arena, their name is Chalk Mountain Services. They, by leveraging this and implementing a safety program where they communicated with the driver, they shared and they were transparent about it, they used as a tool to help people improve their driving behaviors and reduce, if you will, problems, they saw a 86% decrease in preventable accident costs.
But to your point, at the same time, it actually created a more desirable workplace. Their drivers themselves said that they felt more comfortable driving for Chalk Mountain, so they saw a 15% increase in driver retention. So it really is a win-win where the company is able to decrease costs associated with payouts and issues related with accidents and insurance premiums.
But the drivers are also able to see benefit, and they’re able to feel more comfortable, and it really helps everybody. That’s the goal of what we’re trying to do here.
– [Ryan] Yeah, it’s interesting to think about it because there are relatable, I wouldn’t say relatable to safety, but if you really think about who your employees are or who the end users of these solutions are, and you’re really keeping their needs in mind with the things that you emphasize, the things you spend money on, you devote resources to improving, they notice, and they pay attention to that. And those are things that help keep people around, keep retention higher. And it’s something that I think for a lot of people is often overlooked in the value that IoT solutions can provide to when specifically built to benefit the labor force within an organization.
And this is a great example of that that I don’t think a lot of people probably pay close attention to.
– [Jeffrey] No, in fact, one thing I’d add to it is a number of our leading customers are also using this to create incentive programs to reward the right behavior, and that really is a fantastic way of using technology to help your employee base drive better engagement, drive better satisfaction, so to speak, as well as better outcomes.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. Yeah. It’s super exciting to hear these real world results that are being achieved with the technology that we talk so much about on the podcast, on IoT For All on our website and things like that. So that’s fantastic to hear. When it comes to the implementation of a lot of these different initiatives, are there any common problems or yeah, I guess just maybe common problems or challenges that the companies you’re seeing facing often or need to be considering thinking about?
And if so, what are the, what kind of advice do you have for them to overcome those challenges and not let that deter them from proceeding with downward, proceeding down that kind of journey of IoT adoption?
– [Jeffrey] I think the first thing that I would say is we take a tremendous amount of pride in trying to make our solutions easy to deploy and use. That includes any physical device that we are helping people to install. Literally, it is as easy as scanning a QR code on a device and following instructions.
Certainly there are ways to do this at scale for service providers that work with us and work with our end customers and whatnot, but we really pride ourselves on the installation experience and getting up and running is easy. And then the way in which we’ve designed our mobile application for an end user.
The way we designed our core dashboard in web experience that is used a lot by back office workers. We put a lot of care into how we do that and it, and the customer feedback loop is what drives both that and the outcomes. The second thing I would say is I highlighted we’re focused today on safety, efficiency, and sustainability for our customers.
But we have also always had what we call the customer flywheel. We work by the principle that our customers have challenges and they have those challenges that they’re aware of. We are technologists. We learn by going out and understanding what new types of things do they have. Are there new ways that they want to have experience be improved for a worker who is a mobile worker, a productive worker on the frontline. Is there something that they do where they wanna take the information that we have and integrate it with other systems to drive a benefit?
For instance, we have a marketplace. You, I think you’re aware of this, Ryan. We have a marketplace of over 230 third party integrations, OEM integrations, software integrations and whatnot. We have customers who take advantage of the data we have around where their vehicles are, the driving, the hours of service and whatnot.
Link that in with payroll and they can actually drive tax savings. We have customers who take the data and use the diagnostic information to align with maintenance so that they can facilitate better operation of those vehicles, let’s say, or other assets, and make sure they’re getting the most out of them and that they are avoiding unsafe equipment getting out there.
And there are many others. But that’s one of the key points I would say is we want to make sure that we work with third parties, we work with customers, we bring together to solve the problems that they bring to us.
– [Ryan] Absolutely, no, that makes total sense. I think that’s a great way to think about it and put it out there for our audience. As we wrap up here, I wanted to ask you, so let’s look into the future here for a bit. What technologies, what trends do you see shaping the future in these spaces that we’re talking about?
Sustainability, safety, ESG initiatives, all this kind of stuff. Where, what do you think or what do you expect to see? What kind of trends do you expect to see? And if there are any new technologies or maybe newer technologies now that will likely start to become more widely adopted because of what it can do for these initiatives and applications.
– [Jeffrey] Sure. I have two right off the top of my head. One of them we talked about a little bit, and that is more and more vehicles going electric. If you look at the numbers from 2019 until now, there’s already a rapid shift, and we are starting to analyze, we have tools as you, as I described, that help understand how you could take that shift, how you could make that transition work for you and use that, if you will, to help people better manage their mixed fleets and their change in composition of their fleets.
So that is absolutely something that we will keep working on with customers. The other one that we, I touched on very briefly, but frankly is a critical trend to keep in mind is, how the role of machine learning and artificial intelligence is going to apply to the vast amounts of information that we have.
We have anonymized large aggregate datasets. We are using AI and ML models to help detect and understand what might be happening. For instance, in computer vision with videos. Right? That is being done to help our customers, their employees, understand safety in warehouses, in vehicles, et cetera. Those computer vision models are a starting point.
There are many other ways in which I can foresee our customers wanting to interact with and wanting to analyze the vast amounts of information we have that are aggregate as well as their own specifically to solve new types of problems. So the fact that we have massive dataset that our customers are ever increasing and the volume of data that they are pumping into platforms like ours.
How do you bring these together and how do you apply and use AI to help solve better ways of driving efficiency. If I could make it so that I could improve your maintenance programs, your routing, your general operation, why would I not be doing it? And so that’s absolutely something that we have a dedicated research team focused on how we can use some of these technologies.
But those are two, there are plenty of others. But let’s start with and finish with those two.
– [Ryan] Perfect. Yeah. It’s been a fascinating last few months talking to companies about where they think or as more talking to the experts of these companies about where things are headed. AI is wildly popular even outside of our world and understanding how AI technologies are going to be influencing organizations on the enterprise side is still relatively confusing to a lot of people outside, like they’re hearing all this stuff, they’re hearing ChatGPT, generative AI, they’re hearing all these different things about different models, but how’s it actually going to benefit or value them? And that’s what I’ve been trying to really pull the thread on with a lot of the guests, is just so that people start to really see that there’s a good connection between enterprise IoT and enterprise AI and the value that they both provide each other in the ability for IoT to collect the data and AI to analyze the data in a different way in or in a more efficient, more effective, probably better way, long term, and they rely on each other to some degree, so.
– [Jeffrey] It’s actually, it’s very akin to, look, our- we view Samsara as a technology company, but we are a technology company in service of how do we get the right information, insights, et cetera, that is actionable in the hands of people where, when, how they need it to go address and drive problems and solve problems.
And so it’s not, let’s go do a bunch of technology research. It’s how are we doing the research to drive an outcome, to your point, and that combination of the data that we’ve got along with the application of new tech and new techniques is what’s going to hopefully change how we can improve.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. Fantastic. Really love the insights you’ve shared today. Thank you for taking the time to do this. Prior to jumping off here, I wanted to just ask for our audience who is interested in learning more about Samsara, following up with this conversation, wants to reach out with any questions, what’s the best way they can do that?
– [Jeffrey] Frankly, one of the fantastic things we have is coming up in June, we have our Beyond User Conference. So that’s one thing that any users can participate in. But certainly also we have tremendous resources. Probably the easiest is to go to our website, samsara.com and get all manner of insights into solutions, technology, and whatnot to engage.
And I’m certainly happy to help support anybody who has any questions if they reach out through the various different channels that we have there.
– [Ryan] Perfect. Well, Jeff, thank you again for taking the time. Really appreciate it and excited to get this out to our audience.
– [Jeffrey] Likewise. Thank you for having me, Ryan.