Sramana Mitra: I heard you speak multiple times about the Internet of Things – that you are aligning your company against that trend. What blue-sky opportunities or white spaces would you draw the attention of entrepreneurs to?
Don DeLoach: Not in an effort to be overly consistent but more of just being honest, I do think the Internet of Things is a vast opportunity. It’s also a challenge. It’s one of those things where when you first think and hear about it, the response is cool. I can interact with my house while I’m on vacation or my thermostat can automatically adapt to circumstances. You hear about these things and they tend to have a cool effect, but then when you think about it a couple of levels deeper, what start to come out are a few things.
Number one is the vision of the Internet of Things is truly a life-changing vision. How we exist on earth will fundamentally be shaped and enhanced, hopefully, by the power of this technology trend.
There are two other aspects to this. A lot of this has been evolving over a much longer period of time. If you take things like logistics – automation of transportation of goods – that’s something that has been happening in various stages for a long time. The combination of the increased sophistication of technology and the increased power of the overall communications grid allows for interconnectivity down to a peer-based network where the possibilities start to grow exponentially. It’s not like some of this stuff wasn’t being done for years now, but it’s now accelerating at a vast pace because of those two components of technology.
However, if I had to point to anything that is a vast opportunity and probably a prerequisite to the vision of Internet of Things, it’s seriously looking at what are the impediments to the Internet of Things. If I’m to deliver a smart grid that’s going to allow me to instrument the delivery of electricity from the power generation facility into the office, home, or business, and I have 20 different highly-specialized sensor devices that I’m collecting data from at a very high rate, my ability to deliver that energy is much more agile. It’s much more efficient and there are all kinds of reasons to do this. That’s all well and good. Everything I just said is absolutely true. If I’m doing this based on being able to extend my intelligence across a vast electricity grid, I have to protect that grid. It’s one thing for a hacker to get into somebody’s Yahoo! Account. It’s another thing for a hacker to take the power grid down in New York because the system is vulnerable.
What happens when a wiz kid senior in high school decides that he wants to have his driverless car broadcast that it’s an emergency vehicle for everybody to get out of his way. It’s a vulnerability that will have to be addressed. When I look at the vast opportunity of the Internet of Things, one of the more immediate opportunities are issues around security, data governance including ownership and privacy, and the overall impediments to the Internet of Things. They need to be addressed in order to make Internet of Things a reality. That may not be as glamorous but is absolutely vital. It is certainly an opportunity that we see. I’m trying to say that objectively without an eye on Infobright’s role, but if I bring it back to that, we have a keen eye on helping enable companies that are trying to address these issues.
Sramana Mitra: Interesting. Thanks so much for your time.