Mister Beacon Episode #103
How to succeed at Asset Tracking while becoming a CTOJanuary 21, 2020
This week on Mr. Beacon we talk with Cognosos, an asset tracking SAS platform using both Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) as well as Bluetooth. Jim Stratigos, Cognosos’s CTO, shares with us why LPWAN is the best choice for his automotive use case and what “drove” him to create a proprietary tech rather than using LoRa. Their solution enables dealers and auctions to have a cost-effective way of tracking vehicles in large outdoors lots by providing an essential piece of the equation, long range. In addition to range, we touch on the benefits and tradeoffs of the software and hardware architecture and business model decisions leading to SAS. We leave a little something extra at the end for those aspiring to be a CTO. Jim gives us the inside scoop from his extensive experience at Cognosos and companies like Cisco, Motorola, and AT&T.
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The Mr. Beacon podcast is sponsored by Wiliot. Scaling IoT with battery free Bluetooth.
Steve Statler 0:16
Welcome to the Mr. Beacon podcast. This week, we have an interesting show. Well, they're always interesting, otherwise we wouldn't record them. But this week, I'm talking to Robert Schmidt, who is a leader of the Internet of Things, practice the chief futurist at Deloitte Consulting. Robert, welcome to the show.
Robert Schmid 0:40
Thanks for having me. It's great to be on there. Kind of a switch of roles. You weren't my show. Now I'm on yours.
Steve Statler 0:47
Right. So your, your alter ego is Mr. IoT. And so we have Mr. Veeck. And meeting Mr. IoT sounds like something from a Marvel comic thing, I don't know whether we're doing it out, or we're like the fantastic two or whatever. Anyway, it's probably not a good look, to compare yourself to a superhero. So anyway, it's great to have you on and I, I don't know how you feel about doing your show. But I learned a huge amount from my guests. And so you, as well as running a consulting practice dealing with super interesting, demanding clients at the cutting edge, you're also talking to people throughout the IoT ecosystem, constantly. And so it's great to be able to pick your brains, before we dive into it, just a few housekeeping things, I want to give my usual non paid for plug for Starbucks, basically, as a thank you for running their program for young adults who have autism, my eldest son's in that program, and it's actually been going on for months now. So which is the longest time he's held down a job and part of that is, basically because he loves working there, and the people there are very understanding and flexible. And so it makes a huge difference. And as I think about it, this industry, I don't know what your view is, Robert, but I think this industry is full of people that are on the spectrum. Some of some kind of the Bill Gates end of the spectrum and others may be maybe less, less functional, and finding the folks that are more challenged. A great place to work when they can where they can meet people is really good. So what's your view on autism and technology? Robert, do you see a lot of people on the spectrum?
Robert Schmid 2:52
I'll look at a no. It's a difficult subject, I've had a guest one time, and he actually had some interesting eye movement and an analysis video analysis actually, of people, and when they walk up to an expert booths. So what happened is, you know, we do these conferences, and we put up a booth. And we really don't actually know how well people interact with us. And so he created this technology that really track what people did when they walked by the booth, and realize that actually, there is some learning for autism and a variety of other things that can be taken out of this. So he's taken his business and taken the business side, and as well as the human impact side of what he does, and kind of broke it out into both. And I find this to be true for many of our technologies that many of our technologies, particularly when we connect sensors, there is such a human impact to what we can do with it. And it's sort of like this balance, right? What do we do that business that makes money? And what do we do to give back? Or is giving back making money? I always get caught up in that a little bit. When we asked ourselves too much, you know about the money question, do we lose sight of actually some of the human impact of what it does? So in a roundabout way, I'm not an artist to make autism expert. And I don't want to claim to have the deep expertise that you do personally. I just try to see in many other technologies, we do discuss, you know, what's the human impact of that? Is there something else it can do besides generating revenue or reducing cost or something like that?
Steve Statler 4:42
Yeah, I think that's absolutely true. And the cool thing is, I think you can justify, if we can do good, then then then I think there's a good business rationale for that, because so much of what we have to do is persuade people to join in to use the technology To trust us, and the best way I think of motivating people, whether they're customers or staff is actually to have some purpose to what you do. So, anyway, we're digressing a little bit from IoT. But I think, you know, what I see you do on your show is you look at things holistically. And so, you know, the topic that I'd like to explore with you over the next few minutes is really just what is the state of the Internet of Things. And what I was thinking we could do is, as you work for one of the great management consulting companies of the world, which you typically have a lot of interesting methodologies. We use one of the oldest ones in the book, which is the SWOT analysis, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It's got a quadrant, so it's got to be good. What's, you know, we're in beginning of a new decade, 2020, we've had 10 years of plugging away and more, some people would argue of plugging away on IoT. What, what's your conclusion? Or what's your latest view on the strengths of this basket of technologies, that that fills the IoT spectrum.
Robert Schmid 6:18
So I want to start by saying, we are a management consulting company. But we also do a lot of other things. We do a lot of technology consulting, as well. We help with advisory and so forth. So just sort of wanted to start there being a technologist at heart. But coming back to your question about the strengths of IoT, a, it's an interesting time, right? Three, four years ago, people talked about the hype cycle today, we talk about the SWOT analysis. So I think that in its own, shows you the change we've gone through, but when I look at strengths, I see sensors that become much, much less expensive. Even more important sensors are now becoming wireless, which that's going to make a huge difference. And you know, who else knows more about this than you working at will IoT. And so I think that's a big difference. Data transmission has become cheaper, I dream of the day when we transmit data for free. Obviously, that's not the vision of our my friends at the telecom companies, but I still believe that we're gonna get there. But it's really, really good and cheap. And most least, but definitely not last, but definitely not least, we today have platforms that actually can deal with the data volumes that we produce a good colleague of mine, who now works at Panasonic, he actually, when he started his company, you know, five, six years ago, he had to create his own platform, to take in the data to manage the data, and so forth. And today, we have true IoT platforms. And I'm using the word platform almost reluctantly. But we have a platforms that can handle the data that we produce, and can deal with it, which is really the underpinning of all the apps we built.
Steve Statler 8:24
Let's just dig into this platform thing. So one of the thing is one of the things is we now have true platforms, what what did we have before true platforms? What's the difference?
Robert Schmid 8:36
We wrote our code, we had Python, we had code to write, you know, we had cloud services, but we didn't have the services or the capability to deal with all the data that came in. So real time streaming, you know, that's something that's really was required for this artificial intelligence, the way to really sort through the data and give you results that we can't make up on our own without weeks and months of analytics. Now, we can have a machine, give us an analysis or even maybe just come up with a question to ask for us to then ponder and take from there. So that compute power and that ability, those are things that we really needed for streaming data from IoT that we have today. I think
Steve Statler 9:22
there's a really good observations is the wireless connectivity with sensing capabilities takes the friction out of it, the reduced cost takes the friction out of it, the platform gives us speed and means we're not reinvent inventing the wheel. If you can't have add all that up. I think, you know, when when IoT was first talked about, I remember people were wondering, Well, this sounds great, but what's it good for? And so you get to speak to a lot of consumer Enterprise governmental people. What are some of the use cases where you see the strengths that you enumerated manifesting themselves? What are the ones where you've said, Yeah, that's actually really good application for for IoT, because I'm sure you have a bunch of people may be entrepreneurs that come to you. And they say, Oh, we've got this IoT platform, we're doing X, and you're like, maybe smiling politely. And it's maybe not so good. So I'd be interested in your thoughts about where that sweet spot is, and maybe where it isn't, that would segue us neatly onto the weaknesses side.
Robert Schmid 10:41
So use cases, one of the most talked about use cases is predictive maintenance. You know, instead of doing scheduled maintenance, whenever the schedule comes up, whenever we hit a milestone of so many hours run, or you know, for the cart be how many miles have we driven, instead of that, you know, look at the engine, analyze the engine, or whatever it is, we're looking at, I'm just continuing on the car analogy, and doing maintenance when required. I still believe it's a great use case. And it's not typically the first one we go after. I think the first one and the easy one, particularly when we talk about smart factory or factory floor is really connecting machines end to end. So start to finish, from the real start of a factory line all the way to the end. And gaining insights into that is often the very first use case that really shows already incredible benefits. And, you know, we see use cases where we see examples where we do that, and instead of people having to put a whole new factory line on the floor, they can actually squeeze an extra 10% Out of the existing line, and ever produce more and save working capital, increase throughput, and so forth. So just by connecting, and creating visibility, from start to finish into a factory line is a very, very simple use case.
Steve Statler 12:11
I think I just want to pile on there and echo that, I think that's so right to think there's still a huge portion of industry that, you know, may have incredible, incredible tools and so forth. I was on site at one of our customers, they're kind of heavy industry and they had these machines that look like they just straight out of Terminator three or four now I'm not sure. But just the ability to throw these multitaction products around in this environment is incredible. But you know, it's clear in their industry. Generally speaking, those those the work in progress, the products are, uh, still kept track of using pencil and paper. And they're moving forward to address that. But I feel like many factories are kind of like a black box and you things go in raw materials come in, stuff comes out. And yeah, they're they're robots and so forth. But knowing where everything is, do we know where every item of every item of Work in Progress finished product, raw material tool person is and? And if we did, what could we do with that information? It seems like we're just really starting to scratch that surface.
Robert Schmid 13:41
Yet, I mean, to me this is talking about, I want to talk about another use case in a little bit. But I'm not sure if it's a weakness or it's an opportunity. I think it's an opportunity on your SWOT. But when we talk about the factory floor the opportunity he really is and what's new, is we're bringing it we call about the convergence of it and ot the information technology that the people that work in the IT department and the OT folks, the operational technology folks to people on the factory floor. They gotta sit down and work together. And in some interesting way, I find this super fascinating on my projects. I have this happen on my Lt. I have the OT and the IT folks come and sit down and they seem to talk a bit of a different language, they come from a different background. You know, wireless communication for an IT person has been around for a long time. For an OT person that's not the same. They very much to believe in wiring things. On the other hand, switching from factory floor or maybe Yeah, from machine and to start to finish a monitoring. The other one that really fascinates me is the track track and trace again Another one really close to you, but it's something that, you know, we've talked about a lot, how can we really trace items, and that could be anything from, you know, big machines, we've done some work with heavy equipment manufacturers, where they park their machinery on a one acre parking lot. And then it takes them 45 minutes to find the machinery they need. And so, you know, just by putting a cone with a gbsb going on, there is a huge saving for them. But you know, we're not going really down into much, much smaller detail, you know, finding tools and, you know, knowing from start to finish in a production environment, from raw materials all the way until the finished product gets delivered, you know, how can we trace that there is enormous network of opportunities, network optimization opportunities, to really knowing where the equipment is, and so I'm really excited about, yeah, that probably be one of the other big use cases that I see more and more.
Steve Statler 16:06
Yeah, what about in the, you know, more in the consumer and retail environment? Any, any IoT? Areas that you really think, are showing great promise in that space?
Robert Schmid 16:26
Yeah, I mean, I gotta say, I, if we would have talked to me four years ago, I would have told you how excited I am about retail, and I gotta tell you, today, I'm a little disappointed How is a consumer walking around in retail, I'm not seeing it. I mean, not seeing retail investing into this as much as I would like, and I can now go and hypothesize why that's the case. But at the end of the day, there's a huge opportunity for retail to connect closer with their customers, you know, guide them better, you know, Omni channel, you know, there's so much opportunity out there for some reason. That's not quite happening. And so a little disappointed in that. I am actually curious. And, you know, I just, someone just contacted me, I made some predictions three years ago about it was about Super Bowl and stadiums and how they're going to be connected. And funnily enough, the report a report of founders and reached out to me, and guess what was the beginning of my article about the Super Bowl three years ago?
Steve Statler 17:41
I don't know. I was just trying to think three years ago, they were just starting to put beacon technologies in the Superbowl. I remember that, because I was working for a company that put some of that in there. But it seems like they're constantly trying to do that. So no, I, I give up. What was it,
Robert Schmid 17:57
I predicted that the 40 Niners are gonna be the Super Bowl in three years? How could that have not been more accurate? And you know what, it was more of a joke than anything? And yet, it's really that was the best prediction out of all of them. So that's
Steve Statler 18:12
Robert Schmid 18:13
But no, what I was going to say is that I think that we're gonna see manufacturers connecting more and more with the consumer through devices, and to their product. And so that's what I'm going to be really looking forward to. And that goes right into the threat, if you wish, right, the threat of IoT, or what's threatening IoT is the whole conversation about security and privacy. Right? Yeah, it do that, in a way that's not creepy. You know, is this a generational issue? I don't think of privacy as much of as a technology issue as much, much more of a implementation management sort of like an a, you know, an issue about what do you do with the data, it's, you know, we can store data safely. It's not about being able to do things, right. It's about really what works for the different consumers and so forth. But the opportunity from my point of view to for manufacturers to connect directly with the consumers huge, and you know, we're gonna see that go away down into price, it's not just going to be the four or $5,000 devices that can connect with you. It's going to be the much, much cheaper ones. And that'll be super interesting. You know,
Steve Statler 19:31
I totally agree. So yeah, let's let's jump down into the bottom left quadrant and talk about threats for a bit and I think you put your finger on it with security and privacy. We just joined an organization called IO x t, which is a group of IoT companies that are trying to collaborate and agree a set of principles and standards around security and I went to My first meeting of theirs, the I attended, there was some great companies there, that tier one IoT companies were attending. And they started off with some demonstrations using existing products that you can buy today, at Best Buy. One of them was one of our most popular door locks, that uses a mesh technology to communicate. And basically, they showed how anyone that within about three minutes they hacked into this thing, not only could they open and close the door lock that was on someone's front door. But they could do it in a way that decoupled the monitoring software, so they could walk into your house, walk out again, close the door and reconnect it so that the monitoring system never even saw it. And that the it's not to say that door locks on front doors have to be unsecure. It's just that the vendor in question, by default, had set a parameter that when the mesh was broken, it would automatically recap will and the exploit was in that period where if you can convince the door like oh, the network's gone down, and it then tries to recover it re couples with your network. Rather than the homeowners network, you open the lock. And there's a setting there's a basically a setting that the vendor had set to default, which was ease of use, which is don't worry if the network goes down, you won't have to repair everything. Whereas you know, the default really should be security first, convenience second, and they did that. And they also did that with a camera and you know, the nightmare of people looking at you in the in the camera. So a lot of this seems to be down to some fairly basic not fundamental stuff, but just the way people are packaged it because profit has outweighed and convenience has outweighed security. And so I think what those guys are doing is good, because I think it will raise the bar. But you know, this is scary for those of us who's who aren't living out of IoT. Unless we get a handle on this, then it's going to really put a damper on the industry. So anyway, I agree. Let's go back to the top right hand corner and talk about weaknesses. For a little
Robert Schmid 22:31
best thing about this example you gave, hey, I find it interesting, right? What occurs to me is so true for IoT more than many other things I've seen is that it's very, very easy to fear monger. And I love the example of your door lock, because I gotta tell you, I haven't do a lock. I don't know if it's the brand you talked about probably not. But to be honest, if they want to break in my house, it won't take them three minutes to kick the door in. Okay. And so for me to make the door physically stronger to prevent people from kicking them in, versus having an electronic lock is so much harder, so much more expensive. And so I think I find myself and I see this with others losing sight of the bigger picture here, which is, yeah, we can get all hung up now on my keylock being so super secure that nobody can ever break it versus Okay, and they just kicked in the door in two seconds in and out of the time someone else can hack. Yeah. And by the way, if you don't like that comparison, what about cameras that you have installed that actually enough the person that hacked in saw the person that hacked in. So I think that when you put this on context with everything else you can do around and the physical aspect, many other security concerns are often overplayed. And, and that doesn't mean we shouldn't be secure. I think the the other example I heard about this, which I think is even more interesting to me is is the example of what do you do with old devices. We have devices that we leave around underneath the sink that run for years and years and years. And they we can't even talk to them anymore. So that's the whole decommissioning aspect of devices. That's interesting. And I know you deal with this with your with your tags, but I think there's a there's a responsibility for us as an industry. And there's also a realism that we got to put in there. What is secure, and that's I think, where it gets really interesting because secure is such an emotional issue on its own. So I just wanted to put it in perspective. I love the door lock example. And it always reminds me how much easier it is to kick a door in and out Uh, you know, who thinks about strengthening the dollar versus that it's sort of like, it's an interesting comparison. But anyhow, you wanted to go to a different logic.
Steve Statler 25:08
Let's go with this for a little longer, because I like I like what you're saying. And I think having balanced perspective is so important. And the problem is the with this social media, well, it's so easy for you to play to the 1% of people that are really shouting loud about this. And, you know, the way you deploy technology can be skewed it's Clayton Christensen just died, didn't he the the the author of The Innovators dilemma, one of the best books on technology innovation, that, that I've read, back in the days when I used to read books, rather than listen to them. And, you know, his, his premise was, you can go out of business pretty fast, by listening to your customers too much. Because, you know, who do you listen to, it's the most focal ones. And it'll be probably the biggest ones that have a set of very specialist requirements. And then you tend to ignore kind of the people that were happy with good enough. And then someone comes along with a product that is a fraction of the price, that's good enough. And before you know it, you're servicing a tiny part of the market, and these other technologies have eaten your lunch. And I think the danger is that we treat security that way. But the flip side is, you know, even though I agree, you can kick down someone's door pretty easily, and who's really going to be able to understand ZigBee, repairing, and all that sort of thing. But the reality is the crooks can pull down an app, which has been written by someone really smart, and they may not be the smartest knife in the drawer, but they can still break in very easily. So it's but to your point, it's about balance. But that's security. What about privacy? We can't have a conversation about IoT without talking a little more about privacy, where do you think we are on on that it's something that we really are, we think about a lot and we were trying to get the right balance on because when you can have tags in people's drinks, cabinet medicine cabinet in their underwear, then you need to respect that and you need to do encryption, but then, you know, where do you stop, you can make a product that is unusable, because like I would argue iOS is becoming unusable. I am so fed up with these blooming messages saying do you, this app is tracking you, I really don't care. I just want to get on with my life and the fact that they're making me do this. And I feel like they're doing this because of some purity test. You know, anyway, I don't want to burn any bridges with Apple. So maybe we'll get out or maybe we won't. What are your thoughts on that balance with privacy and, and where that's headed?
Robert Schmid 27:59
So I have a interesting story for you. We Deloitte did a research study 9000 people, I think eight countries across the world, and asking them which technology has helped you professionally and personally the most. And I'll be happy to report that it came out at the top. And but only had like 54% strongly agree that helped them. And then AI and you know, additive manufacturing, or there was a bunch of things that were all below them. I have to say 54% Satisfied isn't really that high. I think we have a long way to go. But he was an interesting one. We then split this by age group. And so I went to the Barcelona World Congress and did a bit of a panel on that. And I wanted to be prepared. Why was that the case? What hypotheses theories fantasies people had about this. So I brought a group together off a bit more diversity myself to hear what they had to say. I had opinions on many of the other data points. But on that one, I really couldn't an age, I couldn't quite go and split this apart. And so I had a group there was one male, the word person, mid 20s. There was a female one, late 30s. There was someone in their 40s. And then there was me my 50s. Okay. And so we talked about this. And we had the super interesting, almost debate argument breakout between the guy in the 20s and the woman in the 30s. And the woman in the 30s was like, oh my god, I can't have all this data. They are looking at me and they see me and the guy in the 20s said, Look, if they gave me valuable information for me sharing information, I don't care what information they have about me. And then she came back like we Yeah, but they cannot deny your more Mortgage, he's like, I don't need a mortgage. And she has kids, he doesn't, you know, so it really showed there was a huge disparity, it's just a huge difference in terms of willingness to accept privacy, and really deal with that in different age groups. And you know, this is a small sample, right? This was for people, I fall more on to the, maybe I'm trying to be younger, but I'm more fall into the 20s kind of range where I say, you know, if I'm, if something tracks me at the wrong place, and I don't want it to see that I probably shouldn't have been at that place in the first place. So I'm fairly lacs about this, I feel the same way if it gives me valuable information. And that's good. But here's my conclusion out of this, I think I want to be in control over that. And I want to choose what I want to see and don't want to see, I don't want someone decide for me that they don't use my data because of the people that don't want it. But I also don't want to be forced into that. So we talk a lot about in our start small, in our Think Big start small phase, to really engage with your customers and hear what your customers are telling you. Because I think four use case per use case, per customer group, per example, the answer is never the same for privacy. So that's my long answer to that. age matters. Use Case matters. And what I get out of that matters a lot, too.
Steve Statler 31:35
Yeah. And I think region matters, as well as all those things that cause like, our attitude towards government is very different. Depending on whether you're in England where I grew up, what Which country did you grew up in, again, I Austria, Austria, probably there's a different view of privacy and Austria, to England to China. I mean, if I was in China, I probably have a very different view of the government tracking what I do in this country. In America, where we both are now where we chose to move to them as a general kind of suspicion and skepticism about government back in. Back in the UK, we have security cameras everywhere. And we all feel safer as a result of it. So it's very regional, I think. Okay, let's let's, let's talk a bit about weaknesses. I don't want to be too much of a downer on this. And then then, because I think we've talked about opportunities, we've talked about threats, I want to make sure we get a little bit of time on opportunities as well. But weaknesses, where is it that you see? You know, where was it that people thought they could use IoT, and it's just not working very well, any any, any unexpected weaknesses, or maybe they're expected weaknesses that you spring to your mind,
Robert Schmid 32:51
I still think we have to weigh a lot of sensors, particularly in the factory floor to really make it work. So and wiring is expensive takes time is sort of a very, I'd call it permanent or semi permanent installation of stuff. So that's one of the weaknesses that I find. So wireless is coming, but not quite there yet. Another weakness that comes to mind is we are generating so much data. And I still think we have don't have enough people that really understand data, data scientists, you know, there's just a shortage of people that really are into the data side of things as much as they need to. So that's another one notch, it's a weakness, or maybe it's an opportunity, who knows, right? You never quit? Those are both a weakness could easily be an opportunity.
Steve Statler 33:43
Yeah, it is for some certainly for often wonder, What can I tell my kids that they need to study to have a job? And I think that's, that's one of the areas there? Yeah, maybe they should?
Robert Schmid 33:54
I knew my answer is math. I've been asked this question, as I sitting down racking my brain is like, no, it's math, it really is math, which is fascinating. So that's another weakness. So then, it's very easy to create vertical solutions, like really up and down, just here's the right sensor for your problem. Let me give you the edge computing device that just talks to my sensors. And then that's gonna go into my cloud environment, which by the way, is any of the big clouds anyhow, because nobody can afford to make their own anymore. But they make their own portion of this. And then I'm going to create data science on top of that, that specifically focused just on that use case. And on top of that, I'm going to create an app. And that app only solves my use case, and it connects all the way through. And so it creates this danger of saying, yeah, that use that use gives itself perfectly. Top to bottom straight down. And then it's like, oh, hang on, but I'd like to also know And yeah, now we're stuck. Because that use case is so vertically siloed. It's so you know, connect disconnected from everything else that you can't do that. And I think it's a bit of a trap. And it's a trap to easily fall into. For some things it makes sense. But I was just on a call with a company that makes amazing sensors. And they said, Yeah, it takes too long for other people to do data science, we created our own data science environment and our own analytics environment. And now if we have another environment to go to and look at the data, it's a weakness. And it's definitely something that is hard to overcome. But the verticalization is definitely a challenge I find.
Steve Statler 35:46
Yeah, that's true. Yeah, you're drawn to it. Because it's, it's amazing how, as human beings, we need a lot of help in joining the dots. as technologists, we assume everyone can see those connections, but normal people need, you know, a lot of them needed to be packaged, and very specifically for them. And that takes time, and it kind of locks you in. And I feel like we've covered a lot of So we've covered a lot of strengths and weaknesses, the threats, actually, we talked about privacy and security. Maybe we should just do kind of a sweep around any last pieces that we haven't touched on at any one thing we haven't talked about, which is very surprising when I'm talking about blockchain. So what is no conversation on IoT is complete with a conversation about blockchain. And I know Deloitte is doing a lot in that area. I kind of oscillate between being super enthusiastic about it and seeing how it can open up all these opportunities and thinking, Oh my God, if I see another company that's got blockchain in the description of what they're doing, and basically are applying it for something that actually could be solved just as well without blockchain then screen. So what's your view of where blockchain is and where the the the opportunities for that are and where it's not being used? Well.
Robert Schmid 37:15
So you know, when you said blockchain, the next thing that popped into my mind was like, let's just add on 5g, right, because we got to talk about that. I feel equally ambivalent about both of those. And here's why. 5g is still years away from being readily available in many, many areas. yet. I just wish that I could entice my telecom friends and clients to stop thinking of chips and start thinking of connecting Yubico ubiquitously to things so don't ask me how many Sims I'm going to buy from you help me to connect in any form of fashion? Is that Wi Fi? Is that whatever it is, right? So I missed this conversation to go that way. And I think anybody who's ever gonna really answer this question, independent of technology, but religious, see how to connect is going to really solve and crack that nut. But in any case, it's a better way. blockchain has its place, but particularly when it talks about how to connect between different entities and creating trust between us. Blockchain, as far as I understand, at this point in time will always be too slow to store streaming data. So the massive amount of data that a sensor generates, we're not going to be having blockchain sitting there capturing every data point and then passing it on. However, it has a place for where, you know, you give us the chip, we get the data, but then we pass the data from the raw material manufacturer on to the many to the maker of the product, and then there's authentication between us. And then we create this authenticated chain of ownership from raw materials all the way to the end user. That actually I can see having blockchain a lot of value. I had this coming back to the human impact. I've had this interesting conversation with a food manufacturer really actually grow of vegetables and greens and so forth. And you know, me as a consumer, I'd love to know where my greens come from. Right? And so to create a chain of ownership of what happened with where was the food I eat, grown and how did it get to me, you know, the farm to table that is a great example and a great use case for blockchain because then there's authenticity is required and you want to make sure you have an A certified authentic through network if you wish. And that makes sense for blockchain from where I stand and what I understand, but it won't be at the sensor level. We're still it's too slow for that at this point in time. So it'll be really module authentication between companies is where I see it.
Steve Statler 40:16
Yeah, I agree that traceability, we, we actually have food regulations that the industry is basically ignoring at the moment, because it's just too hard to do traceability and there's some real costs in recalls. And if blockchain can help solve that, then that's good. Of course, you can go to ridiculous extremes. And for a while, I was skeptical about this provenance thing and the value of it. And I think of that sketch in Portlandia, where the couple in Portland, Oregon, where I spent some time very known for its political correctness, they were being briefed on the identity of the chicken that who basically gave its life for the meal and what its name was, where it lived, and you know, what his hobbies were? And it was just absurd. And it's like, yeah, I actually think this is ridiculous. I don't think we need that. But then someone pointed to me, Well, you probably think about it differently. Again, if you're in China, and you're being your baby's potentially being poisoned and killed by formula and, and drugs that are not real. And so that's, and we see, you know, with our own product tags on, on food products that command a premium, or people just want to monitor, did that delivery person break into my box of fries, and you know, eat them? So there's, there's a lot of fascinating use cases around food traceability, and it's something that we care about. All right.
Robert Schmid 41:51
No, I, I just started. Wade has always been an issue for me my entire life. And so I'm on another march to improve my food intake. And one of the things I looked was outlined to me was, you know, I gotta lower my sugar intake. And so did you know that on the back of every package, every car, everything, every ingredient has a percentage of daily? How much daily intake you should have for that particular piece of ingredient, except sugar. Pick it up, you will notice that sugar has grams, by the way, four grams is a tablespoon, teaspoon, I think it's useful. It's just nuts. If you think that, you know, you look at this, but there's no percentage next to it. And it's fascinating to think, how did that happen, that sugar doesn't get a percentage versus all the other ones. So it's a really tricky one, right? And I think it's gonna be back to what I take out of this, it's back to us as consumers to really make our voice heard by buying what we think is good for us. And, you know, being very conscious. And I think this is true for many other things, you know, we got to look at our consumers what they want. It's for privacy, it's for use cases, it's for what works and what doesn't. But I think it's gonna be super fascinating to see how we're going to know so much more about machines around us about, you know, what we have products we have around us, and so forth. And that's just exciting to me. And, you know, besides the technology side of it, it's just going to have an enormous impact. So I don't know, I just thought it was an interesting story to think that sugar doesn't get a percent of daily recommended intake.
Steve Statler 43:36
I am flabbergasted by that. That's amazing. Well, this has been really fun. Robert Schmidt, Mr. IoT. Thanks very much for joining us. If people want to catch coffee with Mr. IoT, what's the easiest way of finding it?
Robert Schmid 43:55
Just go on YouTube and search coffee with Mr. OT or subscribe to the Deloitte channel. And you'll see lots of other interesting contributions, but it's on YouTube. And actually, we just made a podcast out of it too. So you can search for podcast too. We're taking all the YouTube stuff and making it into a podcast. So you've been way ahead of me on that.
Steve Statler 44:19
Brilliant. Well, I definitely enjoy listening to it. And I appreciate you're doing this crossover episode and joining us I am looking forward to speaking at the Deloitte Digital Agenda Conference in Copenhagen 11th of March. So thanks for inviting me to talk about what we're doing with Williot out there, and I'm looking forward to the next time we get a chance to talk Robert, thanks for joining us.
Robert Schmid 44:49
Thank you for having me. Thanks, Dave. By
Steve Statler 44:58
so imagine You're on a rocket ship, you're going to Mars. And for some bizarre technical reason, you can only have three songs. What would the three songs be that you would listen to?
Robert Schmid 45:10
Oh my gosh, that must be the very first iPod ever three songs on
Steve Statler 45:14
the prototype Broto I bought.
Robert Schmid 45:18
So I don't know what three the three songs would be an hour. I explained to you in a second, but I think I bring at least one song from each of these three artists. There'd be an alto Rosane it might be the song that's like the theme song of the moonlighting show that you know with Bruce Willis and so on to Rosa. It'll be and I saw him live twice. One Barry White song because that always lifts me up. I kind of like I don't want to fess up that or listen to Alba. So I figured out picks up Barry White stuff. I don't exactly know again, which song it isn't a third and I saw him live and John Mayer. I taught me a song and I was lucky enough to see John Mayer before he became big John me. I saw him once actually, in San Diego at the House of Blues play.
Steve Statler 46:09
Very nice, intimate, big enough to have atmosphere. But cool. Well, I mean, it's interesting, as I pose this question to you, I realize you've sort of been on the closest thing that one could have a trip to Mars, you've actually been sailing around the world. How long were you on that sailing boat for?
Robert Schmid 46:33
I lived on the boat for three years, I sailed from actually San Diego, all the way to New Zealand for a year.
Steve Statler 46:40
Amazing. And were you listening to music then? Or was it just fighting the elements to stay alive?
Robert Schmid 46:47
No, no, no, no. Listening to music most of the time. And yeah, that was one of my projects. I put speakers on the board everywhere. So I could listen to music because as I said, I love having music in the background. So yeah, it's interesting. The reason I don't know the songs is because to this day, I don't always listen to lyrics lyrics for me come kind of hard. So I more melodic kind of guy, the melody and so forth. Lately, I found out that in some of my old music, it's a pretty sad lyric. Because now I hear the lyric after 20 years living here. It's like, ooh, that's not really a good message me. I gotta take that off my plate. But
Steve Statler 47:28
was there? I mean, is there a set of songs that remind you of that journey? Or artists? Or was it the ones that you just described?
Robert Schmid 47:37
No. Those artists have liked for a long, long time. Some of my friends make fun of my playlist because it hasn't changed in like 1520 years, when Oh, John may have added Reese more recently, but in any case, yeah. No, it's just that no,
Steve Statler 47:53
okay. No song that you hear and you think, oh, man, I remember when I was on a howling storm in the middle of the Pacific. You're okay. Very good. Very good backdrop to that question, and thanks for answering it.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai