Sramana Mitra: Are there other really interesting, far out there, use cases that you’ve encountered that are worth discussing?
Michael Martin: We have one going on in the lab right now. It’s an interesting one. It is a replenishment application. We have an innovation lab where our engineers work on thought provokers that we bring to our customers to show them ways in which that technology can be used in different aspects of their business. For example, we’re working on a weight sensor to place under a water cooler in the office. As the water gets used in the water cooler, the weight obviously becomes less. You could trigger a replenishment for the vendor who comes and delivers the water bottles to ensure that we get just-in-time delivery of that office supply. It’s a pretty simple example but it shows that if you start to use IoT technology in a manufacturing or logistics environment to trigger replenishment, it’s just another way in which that technology can be used to support the business. By getting more lean, that definitely has more value in the business.
Sramana Mitra: Based on the things that we’ve talked about so far, it seems like one of the open opportunities is to provide these kinds of solutions, but in a secure way such that people who are in large companies putting themselves hugely at risk by exposing themselves to this kind of breach opportunities can feel secure. The upside is there. The value is there in rolling out IoT solutions but they need to also feel that this is not opening up a whole other can of worms.
Michael Martin: I think you’re right on. Companies are experimenting and they’re identifying concepts that they like, but they’re reluctant to build everything themselves and open themselves up to their own potential errors in constructing and refining those solutions. I think if there are companies out there that can see these opportunities in a general sense and build more end-to-end packaged solutions, I think companies would be very interested in using a service provider or a solution provider to purchase these things as a product, rather than having to do the integration and deployment themselves. You get another level of assurance. To be perfectly frank, you get another partner in the risk chain so if you have an issue, you have a vendor to hold accountable to the issue rather than to go at it on your own.
Sramana Mitra: In rolling out what you’ve rolled out so far, have you started evaluating cyber security vendors who can help you secure these kinds of configurations?
Michael Martin: And turn them into product?
Sramana Mitra: If they were to come back and tell you, “Let’s scale this thing.” Both you and your client will have to feel comfortable about the security aspect of it. I imagine you, as a system integrator, are evaluating security vendors who can help you achieve that level of security. Is that correct?
Michael Martin: Yes, we have a security partner that we work on with that. We have our own team. Information security is a big part of what we do. We have our own team for that as well.
Sramana Mitra: That security partner is a product company or is that another security-specific solution provider?
Michael Martin: It’s a security services company.
Sramana Mitra: There’s no particular innovation or security vendor that you can call out in this context that is doing a particularly good job of addressing this issue?
Michael Martin: Not as a turnkey product at this point. There are different industry verticals where companies are vertically integrating a solution. A good example is in law enforcement with police officer cameras. If you go back a couple of years ago, every police department that wanted to deploy an office or mounted video camera had to do their own integration. They had to purchase the camera. They had to think of a way to offload the video and integrate it with the case management system. Now, there are companies like TASER that are taking the entire end-to-end process—hardware and software pre-integrated—and offering that as an end-to-end solution. We’re seeing customers gravitate towards those types of solutions because of the additional comfort that provides.
Sramana Mitra: Perfect. This was a very good conversation. Thank you for your time.