Five Things a Bus Can Teach You About IoT Success

Rob Risany – Executive Vice President – IoT Strategy and Business Solutions at ADLINK Technology

I’m really proud of the work my CTO, Joe Speed, carried out at CES this year with CTA, IBM, and Local Motors on #AccessibleOlli. Front and center in the main hall of the exhibition, #AccessibleOlli showcases what happens when major industry players come together to solve real world problems. In this case, it’s about helping people with disabilities get around. You can get a real time feed on #AccessibleOlli by following #JoeSpeed on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeSpeeds

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Joe Speed, ADLINK IoT Solutions & Technology CTO at CES with #AccessibleOlli

I think there’s some great lessons to take away from the #AccessibleOlli program.

  1. Put the focus on the mission, not the technology. If you factor in all the cloud vendors, enterprise software companies, the computer hardware providers, below the radar startup vendors, AI platforms, sensor companies…. Let alone emerging technology coming out of academia – there’s a lot of technology out there. The only way to make sense of the plethora of technologies is to IGNORE THEM at the beginning of your initiative and focus on the outcome of your program. #AccessibleOlli started with a question: how can we make it easier for people with disabilities to get around? Technology provided perspectives on how to answer the question… but was NEVER the driving force for the initiative.
  2. IoT is a Team Sport. I’ve been in countless meetings with technology professionals who are bound and determined that THEY will build the real platform for IoT – and that no one else will be able to compete. Sorry, I don’t buy it. #AccessibleOlli has been successful because it’s a collaboration of many players, each with different skills. If you are being told – by either internal or external coaches – that one solution or one tech team has the IoT panacea – run, don’t walk, to the nearest exit.
  3. Continually question your solution. It’s so very easy to fall into the trap of declaring victory and stopping innovation. In a landscape shifting so fast, you have to look for new approaches continually. #AccesibleOlli has shifted over time from reliance on specific sensors to broader sensor fusion approaches, including LIDAR and 3d imagery.
  4. Arm your experts and get out of the way. IoT is so trendy right now, everyone wants a bit of it. With almost CIO on the planet right now measured on having an IoT program running by end of 2018, it would be easy to spin up a large cross functional “management task force” and noodle and micro-manage what needs to be done and the choices to make. #AccessibleOlli on the other hand has always been a bottom up program. Experts from a lot of fields came together and have created something amazing. This is not to say that it’s just about engineers – you need people who understand your customer and your mission intimately and those may be in your marketing or even you customer service department. But you don’t need seventeen vice presidents.
  5. Place Lots of Bets, not One Big One. Unlike other technology and industry shifts in the past – like big data or ERP – no one knows what the shape will be in the end. There is no perfect formula yet. Rather, the most successful are trying many ideas out simultaneously – it’s a time of experiments. #AccessibleOlli has evolved that way. What started as a test of digital printed car parts moved to an exploration of autonomous vehicle algorithms, to now a platform which communicates with the deaf and blind. Each stepwise move was a low cost test, touching a different angle of the mission. It has involved different contributors at every stage.

At ADLINK, we are committed to the mission of creating an easy on-ramp for our customers to use IoT as a tool to try new things in their businesses. #AccessibleOlli is a great example of the kinds of projects on which we love to work.

For more information on how ADLINK can help implement your own IoT digital experiment, contact us.

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