In this episode of the IoT For All Podcast, Radix’s CEO and Co-Founder Michael Shoham joins the podcast to discuss device management and its growing importance in IoT. Previously device management was considered “nice to have” but now has become an industry standard. Michael talks about what device management is, its role in IoT, and the importance for companies to implement it.
Michael also shares insights on launching and growing a business within IoT. As a bootstrapped company in a new area of IoT, Radix had to overcome the challenges of educating potential partners on device management and proving its worth before being able to scale to where they currently are.
Michael Shoham brings many years of experience in business development, IT, and network projects extending before the founding of Radix. In 2019, Michael became the CEO of Radix VISO and has been growing the global operations there as an industry leader for Android TV, VR, IFP, Android COSU, and EDU device management provider. He holds a BSc in Logistics and Economics from Bar-Ilan University and an MBA from Derby University.
Interested in connecting with Michael Shoham? Reach out to him on Linkedin!
Radix delivers cutting-edge device management solutions. Their mission is to consolidate all the organization devices, related work processes and stakeholders in one easy-to-use management platform. Their all-in-one cloud-based management platform, enables users to increase administrative effectiveness, reduce operational complexity, save time and money, reduce customer churn, and increase overall satisfaction. Built bottom-up for Android, Radix’s platform provides an end-to-end solution for Android TV management including app management, device management, remote support, monitoring & analysis (telemetry), OTA management and much more!
Key Questions and Topics from this Episode:
(01:15) Introduction to Michael Shoham
(02:00) Background of Radix
(03:33) The role of Radix in IoT
(05:30) Radix and asset management
(08:57) The importance of device management
(12:18) When does Radix get involved in the solution?
(15:10) Challenges Radix has had to overcome
(17:33) Educating others on the importance of Radix’s offerings
(21:11) How to get started on the device management path?
– [Voice Over] You are listening to the IoT For All Media Network.
– [Ryan] Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the IoT For All Podcast. I’m your host, Ryan Chacon, and on today’s episode, we have Michael Shoham, the CEO and Co-Founder of Radix. They are a device management company with some fantastic offerings and very interesting story. So we dive into, as you might guess, device management a good bit in this episode, and the main focus for us is really to talk about how this is an industry standard now and not anymore, really, a nice to have type thing. You really need to be thinking about, really need to understand it, how to manage your devices when you’re deploying an IoT solution. But before we get into that, if 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 iotchangeseverything.com. That’s iotchangeseverything.com. And without further ado, please enjoy this episode of the IoT For All Podcast. Welcome Michael, to the IoT For All Show. Thanks for being here this week.
– [Michael] Yeah, thanks for having me.
– [Ryan] Yeah, it’s great to have you. I wanted to start off by having you give a quick introduction about yourself. Maybe talk a little bit about your background experience, give a little context to our audience on who they’re listening to.
– [Michael] So, my name is Michael Shoham, I’m the CEO and Co-Founder of Radix. So, Radix has been around for quite a while, and the current Radix is a spin out that was spinned out from the original Radix company around 2015. We’ve been focusing on device management solutions, mainly around Android for the past, well, more than a decade. And for the recent years, we’ve been focusing mainly on single purpose devices and Android TV solutions, remote management for these devices.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. Tell me a little bit more about the company’s background and kind of the story as being one of the co-founders. It’s always interesting to kind of hear how the company kind of came to be and the opportunity you kinda saw in the market to found the company.
– [Michael] Yeah, so, as I mentioned, we started off many years ago. I was part of a company that started out many years ago as a service company. We delivered solutions mainly for the education vertical, the education systems. And a few years back, I think about 15 years ago, we took a decision to focus mainly on developing solutions that made our life easier. And since we focused on Android solutions, Android devices, tablets that just came into the EDU sector, the education sector, we started developing solutions for remote management, remote administration, remote assistance, tools like that that will help your typical IT teams to handle the mass number, the huge number of devices that came in. And around 2015, we decided to spin out that portion of the company and focus only on that, and ever since, we’ve been developing solutions that we found are missing in the market, and that is device management for single purpose devices, mainly. And I’ll explain later what that means, and mainly for Android, although we support all type of operating systems.
– [Ryan] Okay, yeah, let’s expand on that a little bit, then, and talk more about kind of the offerings and the role you all play in the space as it relates to asset management and the single kind of devices that you just mentioned. Talk a little bit about what that means and just the overall kind of focus you all have.
– [Michael] Yeah, so when you’re talking about device management, it’s a huge topic. I mean, device management is found everywhere, anything from managing a fleet of IoT static sensors all the way to corporate laptops and phones and tablets. It’s a huge segment, and we are somewhere in between, so we focus on managing solutions that are very advanced. They are computing device is mainly with screens and interaction with the user. However, they are not your typical corporate device, and they’re used for a specific mission. So if we’re going to like put that in and encapsulate that into what we’re focusing on, that is point of sales, mobile point of sales, digital signage devices, Android TV setup boxes, Android TV screens, anything that has an Android operating system that is embedded with a device that has a screen, interaction with a user, and it’s usually in a form of a fleet of many devices. That’s where we focus on.
– [Ryan] So, talk to me a little bit about some use cases where Android devices are being used kind of more in a fleet sense, as opposed to, obviously the everyday consumers thinking about their phone or other Android based products. Where does asset management kind of fit in? I assume it helps more kind of on the telco side, on the enterprise side of the equation. Just educate our audience a little bit about how, when we’re thinking about Android and these devices, how your solution kind of provides value to them in being able to manage those and know where those assets are.
– [Michael] Yeah, so, typically, when you think about an Android device or think about your phone, however, Android is the driver of almost any device today that you see around, so if you’re going into a supermarket, a grocery shop, you see digital signage devices on the wall, they are most probably driven by an Android device. If you’re looking at your typical TV set at home, it’s running Android. If you’re looking at a mobile point of sale device, something that looks like this, it runs Android, but it doesn’t run Android in a way that you do that with your phone. It has to be controlled and maintained and has to be locked down to its mission. So if you’re looking at your phone, you’re allowed to install whatever you want. You’re allowed to play with the configurations, reset it to whatever you want, but if it’s a mission-oriented device and it’s scattered around in thousands, and sometimes in millions, like in telco cases, you need the upper hand. You need to have someone overlooking and managing that in a central point of view, anything from over the air firmware updates, all the way to remote assistance, remote control. And this is where we are with our focus on devices that have a screen, an interaction with a user. So, this is especially something that you need to specialize in. It’s not your typical enterprise MDM-type of solutions, but more a solution that will tailor or lock down your environment to that specific mission. And if we talk a little bit about telcos and the Android TV initiative that they have right now, then if you take a typical TV operator today, someone that delivers TV experience to their customers, in the past, it used to be either a cable or satellite, and they had set boxes that were very, very static. That means that nothing’s changed there. It’s a very static device. The maximum that a support engineer will have to do is either do a factory reset, a reset or maybe a firmware update. But, today, this is a computing device. It’s a device that, by definition, allows user at home to install new applications, change things, and when there is an issue and the telco is not for prepared for that and there’s a support call coming in, you start by spending like half of the time explaining what you see right now on the screen. And in the past, they just need to tell them click two times down and one times to the right, and that will fix the issue. That device doesn’t look the same from household one to household two, and they need a solution to manage it centrally, of course, get alerts, you know, usage patterns, abuse alerts, someone who’s using it the wrong way, and so on.
– [Ryan] Right. That’s fantastic. So I wanted to pull out a little high level here for a second, and we’ve covered device management in many different ways kind of throughout the history of this podcast, but from your perspective, how do you view the overall importance of device management? You know, it’s becoming more of an industry standard these days. It’s not just a nice to have kind of feature, and you’ve kind of hit on a number of areas already of why this is important, but just like if you pull it out a little bit more high-level, how would you kind of describe to somebody who’s wanting to understand the value of device management on its importance and the role it plays?
– [Michael] Yeah, it’s a great question. So, if you’re, it really depends on who is the stakeholder here. If we’re talking about a device manufacturer, sometimes it’s mandatory for a device manufacturer to have their solutions remote-enabled, meaning that they’d be able to manage them out of the box. And for an enterprise device, it goes without saying, you can’t have an enterprise device come into your network without being managed in a way. So Apple is taking care of that. Google is taking care of that with the EMM solution. Windows, of course, has been managed for years. But when you’re talking about a unique device, a device that was built, such as at remote health or telehealth, these are Android-driven devices that are not part of the enterprise network. They’re not managed with any enterprise tool, but it has to have a management portion. There are no available standards for that, and this is where we come in. You can’t have a fleet of devices running around without someone taking care of it, and the alternatives for a manufacturer is to develop something on their own. So, if you’re producing a remote health or a telehealth device, which is in every household, you’re probably looking at something, if you’re developing it yourself, looking at firmware updates or application management or something like that. But you cannot cover, if you’re specialty is hardware, you cannot cover the vast infrastructure that has to do with a secured management platform, and this is why it’s important to have management in one side, but it’s important to have the right tool on the other hand. So if you are not to developing something on your own, which will never be as good as a state of the art solution that was built bottom up for that, it’s one thing. Or if you’re taking an enterprise solution, try to force it on that type of market, then you’re probably missing the point. And this is why it’s very important to have remote management, but it’s important to have the right remote management for the task, for the mission, for the job. You can’t just adopt anything and pray to God that it will work and keep you covered when your devices start to fail or they need that immediate update or immediate support for your customers.
– [Ryan] In which stage of the kind of conversation do you all usually come in with these device manufacturers and companies? Are you coming in once in the very early stages of the development? Or is this something you can kind of layer on after the fact, and maybe work with legacy-type hardware that needs something installed to help them better manage their fleet of devices?
– [Michael] So we support any stage, meaning that we can come in and, with a very, very fast time to market, that means that, in a week, we can manage a new device and roll out a solution. But, of course, it’s best if we come in at a planning stage and interact with all the unique APIs. Take that screen behind me, this is a typical Android television set with a lot of capabilities, but this one, our solution is part of the firmware, and we included, it was built from day one to support that kind of screen, and we included solutions like source selection or volume control, or even unique menu selection that is not typical part of your standard Android device, but it was added with an API. And it’s best if it comes from the beginning or the planning stage, but we can really come in at almost any stage of the life cycle of the device.
– [Ryan] Okay, and it seems like there’s value kind of across the spectrum, right, all the way from telcos, operators, service providers, you know, anyone who’s kind of touching the device or has a stake in the device is finding value in kind of what you have to offer, is fair to say.
– [Michael] Correct. That’s correct. So our customers, traditionally, or our immediate customers, are mainly the device manufacturers, the one that are actually manufacturing the devices. Our users are not. Our users are their customers. So if you’re looking at the screens like we have right here, we have the manufacturers that are embedding our solution inside, but they’re delivering that as a service either to telcos that deliver that or service providers or operator system integrators, or even solution providers that take these screens and turn them into a interactive kiosk. But they are all using our platform, the entire life cycle of the device, anything from over the air firmware updates all the way to remote screen assistance and alerting on misuse or application management. The entire life cycle of the device is being taken care of for all stakeholders at every stage.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. And now, I wanted to kind of ask you just a general question about, from kinda the founding of the company until now, what have been some of the biggest challenges that you as a Co-Founder and CEO of a company have kind of come across through getting your company off the ground to where it is today? And I’d love just to kinda have you touch on anything, even if it’s high, broad-level type stuff, just to get a sense of sharing some of those learnings and potential advice for people listening.
– [Michael] Yeah, so, it’s a company and it’s a bootstrap company. That means that there are challenges from end to end, anything from day to day management, all the way through getting in front of the A-level device manufacturers, so it’s not very typical that a company of our size and our scale is working with the biggest names in the market. And our solution is trusted to be inside their firmware from the factory, so it was, at first, it was pretty difficult to get that first and second and third manufacturer to trust us, but then, you know, after a year or two, then we became sort of like a standard for the market. The name Radix stands for device management for many, many verticals. And another thing that kind of held us back is that we do a lot of white label. Since we are working with a manufacturers, the manufacturers deliver our solution, but under their name, and in order to build a brand or get the awareness, it took a lot of time, from starting as a full white label to a powered “By Radix” and to a full Radix solution, which became a known brand. So, yeah, and all of that, completely bootstrapped, I think that there were a lot of challenges, but we’re in a great position at the moment.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. And one of the last questions I wanted to ask you is, when you were, and it’s probably been a challenge throughout the entire growth of the company, is the educational component and educating the market, showing value through, whether it’s content, whether it’s through marketing campaign, whether it’s just your general discussions, how did you kind of deal with that educational component and making sure people understood the value of what you were bringing to the market, and the general just sense of why the offering is so important and needs to be something that they strongly are considering?
– [Michael] Yes, this is a combination of a lot of things that happened. Some of them were driven by us with a lot of hard work, also Nadav Avni, our CMO, had a lot to do with it. But I think the main factor was to educate a market that does not know that device management is a crucial part of what they need. It’s one thing to come in to a saturated market with a lot of MDM players that are preaching the fact that they’re the right tool for the job, which they’re not, it’s another thing. But after you kind of land one or two main players in a vertical, they start looking to the right and to the left and see what the market’s using, and I think it becomes easier. So, today, the biggest challenge for us was in the Android TV sphere, because we did not come in to a void. I mean, telcos used to manage their routers and set-top boxes for ages, but they were using obsolete solutions and solutions based on a protocol called TR-69, doesn’t really matter, but it’s a very, very different use case. It’s static, it doesn’t change too often, and when they started delivering Android TV, which is completely the opposite, it’s a very flexible operating system, which is promoted by Google as in full control of the user, they were still in that mindset of we’re not managing these flexible devices. We’re still managing that static old set-top boxes. And this is where we had to wait for the market to feel the heat and understand that this a typical support call where the challenges are a bit harder than what they’re used to, and then come in full strength, and we are being recommended by Google to telcos. And we are actually working with set-top box manufacturers to come in together to telecom companies. It’s a challenge. The fact that they don’t know yet when they start enroll, that they start the initiatives for Android TV, they don’t know yet that they will need such a solution is a bit difficult. I said time helps us. I mean, one or two companies that are telcos that are already in the market with their stitched solution, from different, different components, they understand that they don’t have the right solution, and we are in.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. One of the last questions I kind of wanted to ask you here is tying into a lot of what we’ve already talked about. If anybody out there is listening to wants to get a better sense of how to get started down the device management kind of path, what’s the best way to kind of go about doing that? What advice do you have for them to things they should be thinking about, how to get started, that kind of thing?
– [Michael] Not sure that I understood exactly, who is the question referring to? I mean…
– [Ryan] So let’s say device manufacturers out there looking to better understand how to manage their devices, yes.
– [Michael] Yeah, okay, so, I think as a rule of thumb, any device that runs Android, we can manage it. Any device that runs Windows, we can manage it. Any device that runs Linux, we can manage it. But if we’re drilling down deeper into the capabilities and the requirements, I think that the devices that, if a manufacturer comes out with a device that has a screen, you know, anything that has a screen, then they will find us as the best partner that’s out there for their solutions. It doesn’t matter what the use case, doesn’t matter what the end use case is. Any device, even a charging station for electric vehicles, it’s a standalone solution standing outside your network. It has a computing power, a screen, and we’ll be able to manage it remotely.
– [Ryan] Fantastic, and what’s the best way for people to kind of learn more about what you all do and the offerings you have?
– [Michael] You can visit our website, get some more information, but the best way is to contact us and kind of tell us what your dream use case is, and we’ll help you. But the website is www.radix-IoT.com, and that’s where you’ll find most of the information that you’re looking for.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. Well, we’ll make sure we link that up in all the content and description that we put out there. Michael, it’s been a fantastic conversation today. Thank you so much. I really enjoyed learning more about kind of how you all are approaching device management, the offerings that you guys have in the market, and kind of the big role that you’re playing in helping this become something that is more of an industry standard than it was before. So thank you so much for taking your time today. I really enjoyed it.
– [Michael] Thank you, have a good day.
– [Ryan] You, too. 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.