The growth of the Internet of Things, or IoT, is often compared with the industrial revolution. A completely new phase of existence. But what does it take to be part of this revolution by building an IoT product? It’s complex, and Daniel Elizalde gives us a peek into what the successful process looks like.
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Ginette: “So, today, we’re defining an IoT product, or an Internet of Things product, as “a product that has a combination of hardware and software. It acquires signals from the real world, sends that information to the cloud through the Internet, and it provides some value to your customers.
”Okay, so before we introduce you to our guest, consider this: The IoT Market is infernally hot. In 2016, we had 6.4 billion connected ‘things’ in use worldwide, and Gartner research firm projects that number will nearly double to 11.2 billion in 2018, and then nearly doubling again to 20.4 billion IoT products in 2020. For context, this last number is about 2 and a half times the number of people on earth.
“Let’s look at an example of IoT at work. Let’s say you’re an oyster farmer, and you need to keep your oysters under a certain temperature because harmful bacteria might grow if you don’t—which would result in people getting very sick after eating your product. If that happened, the FDA could shut your operation down.
“This is where IoT products can help you. You can track water temperature with sensors. Those sensors can send that data to the cloud, where you can access it. The system will even send you an alert if the temperature ranges outside your chosen temperature criteria. You can use cameras that show when the oysters are harvested and how long the oysters are out of cold water before they’re put on ice. By using these sensors and cameras to record harvest date, time, location, and temperature at all stages of harvest, you have recorded evidence that you’ve properly handled the harvest.
“So, for the purposes of today’s episode, let’s now switch to the other perspective—to the perspective of someone who wants to make and sell an IoT product. Imagine you and two of your friends recently launched an IoT startup—you’re able to secure funding to build your IoT product, and you’ve hired some team members to help you get your beta version off the ground. But you’re new to building products like this, and the rest of your team is also pretty new to it as well. So you decide to talk with someone who is an expert in the IoT space who can give you and your team pointers—and you’re lucky enough to find this man.”
Daniel: “My name is Daniel Elizalde. I am the founder of Tech Product Management. My company focuses on providing training for companies building IoT products, specifically I focus on training product managers. I’ve been doing IoT really for over 18 years, before it was called IoT, and I worked in small companies and large companies, consulting, and UX agencies. Most of my career has been on the product side of things, anywhere from single contributor to head of product and most recently, I left the corporate world, and I founded Tech Product Management. I teach online. I have an online course for a certification program for IOT product managers. I also teach at Stanford continuing studies, and I do consulting and workshops for companies.
“I started to get a lot of request for an online program. And so that’s when I decided to build my online training, and it’s actually a certification program where you take all the material, then you take a test, and you get a certification.”
Ginette: “Often, Daniel finds that people working in tech are familiar with one aspect of IoT, but not all the disparate parts.”
Daniel: “It has hardware and software, and it covers UX and data and business and technology and security, so people from all these different areas were coming in and saying ‘oh, I’m familiar with this part, but I’m not familiar with this other parts, so let me dive deeper,’”
Curtis: “Building an IoT product is complex, and Daniel explains the difficulty of building an IoT product.”
Daniel: “So what makes IoT very challenging is that you have all these components. You have hardware, you have embedded software, you have networking, you have cloud components, then you have analytics and data science, and you have front-end applications, and then you have all the other different things that product managements deal with, for example, the user experience throughout the business models and the cost models, the go-to-market models, the technology selection, security, which is a big part, and then standards and regulations, and so if you can combine all those things, it’s a lot to think about, and so what I’m seeing out there is that people come to it with an understanding of just one piece, for example data science, it’s a key portion of IoT because one of the benefits of IoT is you can get all this data, but the key is what is your data strategy? Why are you getting all this data? What is the value that you’re going to provide with that data?”