In episode 2 of the Let’s Connect! Podcast, Stuart Gavurin & Carson McDonald of OpSense join us to talk about what Real-Time really means in IoT, how real-time continuous monitoring works in the field, and what kind of outcomes users and implementers should expect.
Stu Gavurin is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of OpSense. His career includes serving in roles as an engineer, consultant and executive at technology-oriented consulting and outsourcing businesses with particular emphasis in business strategy, infrastructure technology outsourcing and systems integration. Currently, he is the CEO of both OpSense, and its parent company Mission Data. Prior to joining Mission Data in 2007, was a partner at Ernst & Young and a vice president with Unisys Corporation. At Ernst & Young for sixteen years, he served as a leader in the firm’s distributed computing and infrastructure consulting practice before serving as the Chief Operating Officer of the North American IT consulting organization.
Carson McDonald is the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of OpSense. Previously he served as a Principal Engineer and Vice President of Service Innovation where he led the company’s R&D efforts building competencies in IoT and mobile solutions. He is the chief architect of the company’s mobile video platform product which was used to create award-winning products such as Bravo’s Top Chef University offering that has had nearly 300,000 subscribers. Prior to OpSense, he worked as an engineer at Mission Data, IBM Global Systems, and Perot Systems.
Interested in connecting with Carson in real-time? Reach out to him on LinkedIn!
About OpSense: OpSense is an IoT platform built for food safety and quality monitoring for retail and foodservice industries. OpSense allows businesses to be compliant with governmental regulations and helps prevent inventory loss, improve refrigeration efficiency, and improve employee productivity. The company takes a consultative approach, getting to know its customers and their business process. They work to make things simple, minimize the time spent touching the solution and providing support when needed. Follow OpSense on Twitter!
Key Questions and Topics from this Episode:
(0:00) Show Introduction
(1:35) Stu Gavurin Introduction
(2:40) Carson McDonald Introduction
(4:00) What is Real-Time IoT, and Does it Exist?
(7:00) Monitoring Systems and the Internet of People
(8:00) The Software and Hardware War
(11:55) The Future of IoT is Ubiquity
(14:00) Recurring Revenue and the Pitfalls
- [Ken] This is the IoT For All Media Network. Hello friends in IoT, welcome to Let's Connect, the newest podcast in the IoT For All Media Network. I am Ken Briodagh, Editorial Director for IoT For All and your host. If you enjoy this episode, please remember to like, subscribe, rate, review, and comment on all your favorite podcasts and platforms. And to keep up with all the IoT insights you need, visit iotforall.com. Before we get into our episode. The IoT market will surpass $1 trillion in the next few years. Is your business ready to capitalize on this new and growing trend? Use leverage is powerful IoT solutions development platform, to efficiently create turnkey IoT products, that you can white label and resell under your own brand. Help your customers increase operational efficiency, improve customer experience, or even unlock new revenue streams with IoT. To learn more, go to iotchangeseverything.com that's i-o-t-changes-everything.com. Now let's connect. Today's guests are Stu Gavurin CEO, and Carson McDonald CTO of OpSense. And today, we're going to talk about real time continuous monitoring in IoT. We're going to talk about the meeting of the software and the hardware and how we can make that a lot smoother. And maybe even solve all of IoT and figure out how to make it ubiquitous, make it indoor plumbing, make it just work for everyone, because I think that's probably the future that we all want. But for now, let's connect. Stu before we get started, can you tell us a little bit about your background and sort of how OpSense fits into IoT? - [Stuart] Sure. I'll try and make this short even though I'm a little bit long in the tooth. I'm part of the old guard. Back in the eighties, I was an engineer with companies like Boeing and eventually had a career with Ernst and Young as a partner, leading what was at one point called the distributed computing practice. So that brings back memories of satellites and modems and other things that people, that now and think about IoT probably don't think about as much. But that whole world was helping enable companies to deal with the distributed problem, which is what IoT is about. Eventually became the head of a software products company called Mission Data where I met Carson. And there we have a variety of clients. We built their products out in somewhere in the food retail space, and they had some needs. Particularly, in monitoring their environment for their distributed workforce of associates that led us to the creation of OpSense. And then we founded it from there. - [Ken] Awesome. And Carson, welcome to the show. How, how did you end up working in OpSense and in IoT? - [Carson] Kind of like Stu, I've been around for awhile. I started off actually years, ago at IBM taking care of their parts of their system that handled communication between their printer technicians which was actually a quite impressive system. From there I can move on to different roles at places. One of which was real time embedded systems for a conveyor belt manufacturer that did conveyor belts, specialized conveyor belts in warehouses. And that was kind of where I got my introduction to what I consider IoT. I've spent the last 20 years or so at Mission Data. I moved on from doing primarily software development and architecture to a role as a vice president of RND, where I brought a lot of the things that our customers considered cutting edge technology. To them in a way that kind of met their business needs. And from there, I transitioned into the role of CTO at OpSense where I'm kind of responsible for a lot of things, including architecture and technology. A lot of the relationships we have with hardware partners and kind of a lot of everything because we're not a large company. - [Ken] Well, I think we're going to jump right in here and I'm going to start, with any luck, by starting a fight. Because, I know that at OpSense you guys work a lot on the continuous monitoring, up-to-date data and use a term that really drives me up the wall real time, because I don't think it exists. I don't know that it exists. And so I always like to ask people what does real-time really mean in IoT? What is the, what is the benefit of all the work that would go into actually creating real-time if it was real-time? And how does does that work within what you guys are working on? - [Stuart] Yeah, so I'm going to start. So I'm going to confess that real-time has been a term that's been overused and incorrectly used for forever. And, you know there probably is nothing really called real-time. There is kind of on time. That's probably the best way to do it. But let's talk about continuous monitoring. One of the things that, you know, to join your fight on way IoT has been used for a long time has been you know, collecting data, analyzing data, you know, maybe doing, you know, some corrective actions. When we talk about real-time monitoring or continuous monitoring, we're really dealing with . So OpSense is purpose built for the food industry, with you know, a lot of brick and mortar that could be food producers, like, you know factories that make food. To groceries, to restaurants, even pharmacies nowadays, but let's just stick with others. And they have an obligation to make sure that what they have doesn't perish. That they don't can lose that inventory. And they need real-time monitoring. In the past they've used a lot of humans to collect data and maybe upload it, et cetera. So IoT for a long time was focused on feeding data up, collecting it, thinking about it. And maybe there's an . And for us, real-time monitoring is really applying business rules that is at the cycle levels that our industry needs, the domains where needs so that they know if they're okay or not okay, in the right amount of time. And somebody within literally the right amount of time has the action they need to do to make sure that they're going to eventually be okay. So continuous monitoring means you're listening as quickly as you need to. It could be every few seconds to every half an hour. And real-time means people are told what to do or know what to do on time. Hope that helps a little bit, Ken. - [Ken] It sounds a little bit like because you guys are so interested in the software layer and in that part of it, that for you, the people involved in these executions are as important as the machines, and sort of there's the layer in between them, the software, is really the core of IoT for sort of your vision of the way things work. Is that a fair sort of construction there? - [Stuart] I think it's right on target. I think our people don't care about our users as we would say, don't care about IoT at all. That's why it's called a monitoring system because that is a term they use. And we say equal, you know actually the people are more important. Our whole view of software is you give them a user experience and you know, abstract the underline that in a few seconds, they know what's going on and they know what to do. So that they can optimize their time or their efforts. So yeah, that's a long way of saying yes. - [Ken] So if we call it the internet of people, we could say that OpSense is done with IoP. - [Stuart] Absolutely. - [Ken] That is a bad, I'm sorry. Listeners, I know that you're new to the show and this is a little PSA for you. I should apologize in advance for every joke I'm going to make from here on out. I will not stop making them but you will have to listen to them. So I'm sorry. Moving forward. We, we just started touching a little bit on software and sort of that that's the layer that you find most interesting and are working with most often. But of course, so much of the IoT discussion is around hardware. It's around the sensor, it's around the machines that are being tracked or the the warehouse itself or whatever is the item. The processor, the SIM card or the ECM or whatever. So it seems like there's a perceived friction between software and hardware in IoT. And I don't think that's necessary if it exists and I'm not entirely sure that it exists. And so I'm curious about where and if you see a line between hardware and software and what is required for a functional IOT solution. You know is it IoT, if it's all hardware? Is it IoT if it's all software? Is it IoT only if it's the joining of the two? Can you please answer this totally ineffable question? - [Stuart] Carson do you want to try first? - [Carson] I think there's definitely a line. It's difficult to answer just because, you know if you were an electrical engineer you'd probably consider different things, software that that aren't necessarily considered software by somebody who's doing just software development. But yeah, I mean, there is a lot of I guess what I would say is a lot of the hardware is run by software for the most part. Like pretty deeply run by a software. The, so there isn't a whole lot of, there's there's not a real line there. Where the line usually gets drawn I think is where people feel comfortable taking their software development skills into that world, because you can get get stuck pretty quickly when you start working the, what people consider the hardware on a level, when you're writing your own firmware. Which is what I would consider, what an electrical engineer would consider their side of software on the hardware itself. So. - [Stuart] And then I think this is one of those fundamental, you know where the line is, Ken. So I believe because a lot of the infrastructure types actually do develop software either for their infrastructure, their platform, or their hardware. They sometimes misunderstand, you know the humans in the business process. I don't mean like they misunderstand them like they don't care, but they're not quite understanding what they need to consume and distill to do their jobs well. The information is delivered and it's even processed but it may be it's not quite what a grocery worker or food production person expects to see. So there's a little bit, we find that the hardware guys are very open to the discussion, once we talk about how we think about software versus what they do, as opposed to a real argument. - [Ken] Yeah. I think that's probably true. I like to try and start these arguments that aren't actually arguments cause reasonable people go it's a little bit of both and I'm not a reasonable person. So sorry guys. You're in the woods now. I didn't warn you and you're stuck. But that does transition beautifully into, I think a place that we definitely agree and is sort of a vision for future IoT and sort of where the industry probably inevitably is going. And I think that's a good thing which is toward ubiquity, toward the hardware just working and being semi interchangeable. The software being user-friendly, functional. Rich at reporting and analyzing data at the edge. Cause I think that's an important function that that everyone's working on, but we haven't had time to talk about, but it's exciting stuff. So that's sort of a vision of the IoT that I have in the future, which is as important as and thought of as little as plumbing in a house. You expect it to be there. It's only a problem if something goes wrong, it's usually a pretty big problem if something goes wrong, but you hope that it never does. And that's sort of what I like to think of the IoT as becoming in the industrial space, in the retail space, in the smart city. As sort of the background software infrastructure of functionally all of society. And I'd love to hear your point of view on that and whether or not you think that's a realistic vision, how you see it. - [Stuart] Yeah, I'm going to start and probably Carson will add. So I think it's achievable but there are a lot of barriers in the way. So part of the issue now, is everybody's looking for a recurring revenue source. So software companies like ours build software as a service and people subscribe. Think of it as the old over the top question with the internet service providers. So here we are building an application that is using their infrastructure and the data that they're bringing. So you build this ubiquitous thing and it gets fed to us and we get to charge quite a lot of money for it. Let's just say, obviously not a lot, but you know, and the thinking underneath as you go through each layer of the infrastructure is why aren't I getting a piece of that recurring revenue? So I think technically it's possible, but I do think that there are these behaviors, every player has and that the end of the rainbow is recurring revenue. So the platform guys want, you know, their recurring revenue as part of it. The hardware guys want to make sure that their part has a sort of recurring theme. And besides, IEEE's standards or ISO's standards or the equivalent, we actually need probably a little bit of a marketplace, or agreement, or revenue sharing model that allows us not to ultimately pile on subscription fees that crush. So I think technically we can get there, but I think unfortunately there is a little bit of what I would say of everybody worrying about their slice of the pie, but maybe you're seeing it differently. But I think that is typically the human factor is harder than the technical factor. - [Ken] I agree. I think that the, that subscription fee is a looming sort of Damocles over the industry that we're going to have to figure out at some point. Or the financials are going to stop making sense if we're just offering efficiency. Carson what do you think of my admittedly very optimistic vision? - [Carson] I think I would probably I'm probably a little bit more optimistic about it in a way. I think technically there's really a very little barrier now. I think historically, the issues always come down to connectivity. And it's just been a problem you know, forever. I think we're getting closer and closer to solving some of that. What I think we've seen over the past few years is there are very large players in the field of what I would consider just you know, internet pipes, that could probably provide services that they're not providing. Maybe because they're looking to add new subscription services to existing platforms that they already have as opposed to just rolling them in to what most people would consider just back haul. I think we're getting closer to that being something that just happens because there's a lot of pressure to connect things that I think they can't resist forever. And not everybody wants to use proprietary platforms at this point. I think one of the things that's happened pretty recently that makes me feel more optimistic on this is the Amazon sidewalk announcement. That they're finally rolling that out. I think that is more towards a vision of what the future could be, where you combine somebody who's already making hardware with a somewhat long distance radio technology. Kind of open it up. I don't think, I don't know that they're necessarily completely open. But, you don't even have to do that. You know, it's a lot of just baking it into the hardware that you're already deploying and then even charging, you know charging extra for it as an add-on is even an option. I think most people would accept that. It would definitely reduce the barrier to entry for a lot of people. I think it's inevitable that it will happen. I think we've got all the technology that we need to do it. It's just a matter of time before the dam breaks and the first person really opens it up. - [Ken] I just want to say thanks to both of you for joining me here on Let's Connect. And I hope that my listeners have connected with you and as much as I feel like I have. So thank you both for joining me. And it's been a real pleasure chatting with you. - [Stuart] Oh, that's a pleasure. It would be great to get into another bit of hot topics with you at some point the future. This was a lot of fun. - [Ken] I hope we can. Thanks again to all of you listening out there. I hope you've enjoyed our discussion and if you have, please make sure you like and subscribe so you don't miss out on any of our episodes. We post every week and I hope you'll leave us a rating, review, and comment on your favorite podcast platform. If you'd like to guest, please click on the link in the description. And we also have a great sister podcast on the network called the IOP For All Podcast. So make sure you check that out. - [Ryan] Hey, Ken, let me jump in real quick and introduce your audience to another awesome show on the IoT For All Media Network. The show that started off the IoT For All Podcast where I bring on experts from around the world to showcase successful digital transformation across industries. We talk about and IoT solutions available in the market, and provide an opportunity for those companies to share a device to help the world better understand and adopt IoT. So if you're out there listening and haven't checked it out be sure to go check out the IoT For All Podcast available everywhere. - [Ken] Thank you, Ryan. Now get back to your show. And thank you all for joining us on this episode of Let's Connect. I have been Ken Briodagh, the editorial director of IoT For All, and your host. Our music is: Sneaking on September by Otis McDonald. And this has been a production of the IoT For All Media Network. Take care of yourselves. You are listening to the IoT For All Media Network.