Don DeLoach

by Scott Etkin • @Scott_WIS

Explore IoT and machine-to-machine data

A Q&A with Don DeLoach, President and CEO of Infobright

Published December 02, 2014


As the Internet of Things takes on an industrial, pervasive scale, firms must prepare themselves to contend with the details of seemingly every machine in operation.

Don DeLoach, President and CEO of Infobright, is as current with the IoT as any professional working today. A member of the executive board of the Illinois Technology Association, DeLoach was the event organizer for the 2nd annual Illinois Technology Association summit, which was held last month in Chicago. He also moderated a discussion panel at the summit, titled “IoT from the Manufacturing Floor to the Retail Delivery”.

Don recently spoke with Data Informed, Insight’s sister publication, about machine-to-machine data.

IM: What were some of the prevailing IoT trends that were discussed at the summit?

DeLoach: It was everything from the trends we see in smart cars to manufacturing and logistics to trends around advances in health care, trends around the evolution of sensor technology permeating cities. [The conference also covered] important trends that might be less obvious—trends in hiring and the education of teams around implementing IoT. Trends in the investing landscape and what’s stimulating IoT, trends in impediments to implementing IoT and what’s happening in security and governance.

IM: What are companies doing to address these trends in machine-to-machine data?

DeLoach: It’s a broad list. First and foremost, it comes down to education. There are a number of ways that companies can invest in education. Everything from reading and talking to people, participation in the standards’ bodies, and then careful consideration as to what their own forward planning looks like, and then contemplation of the type of hiring that needs to go into that. And experimentation. There are all kinds of anecdotal evidence about projects that are going up in cities, companies, and organizations where they are beginning to stand up small projects and gain experience that can then inform their subsequent direction.

I do believe this is going to be iterative in terms of how the IoT rolls out.

IM: Which verticals will see the greatest increase in this type of M2M data?

DeLoach: Great question, and on some levels, probably a debated question. My back of the envelope sketch of this would say transportation—and mainly cars—would be high. And also healthcare. The vast number of devices is a part of it. In the case of transportation, the frequency of the data capture—along with the number of devices—contributes to a high volume of data. There are nuances in all worlds. When you think about smart meters, in terms of electric utilities, a smart meter doesn’t grab a lot of data at all. It’s transporting data in very small quantities at pretty long time intervals. But if you look on the actual transmission line, they’re grabbing anywhere from 10 to 120 messages a second. Depending upon the area of a given vertical, there may be very little data that’s contributing to the digital signature that’s being gathered and established, or there may be a vast amount. The underlying technology ecosystem and the architecture for a given organization is going to need to contemplate these things, because part of the challenge is determining where value is coming from that underlying data.

I would also argue strongly that the real value of the IoT is going to be in leveraging the utility value of the data.

IM: What are the indicators that a particular vertical will see impact from the IoT?

DeLoach: Data is one element. When you can use the existence of more data to make breakthroughs that you might otherwise be unable to make, that’s one key thing. Outcomes, cost reductions, time reductions. By having more data, and being able to see things I might not otherwise be able to see, I might be able to make determinations as to what product I should be making in what geography.

Another key element is going to be the effect on business models. Let’s talk about telehealth. [Dr. Jeremy Young] was telling me about the work that is being done in the Illinois Department of Corrections. If you think about this, the business drivers for the department of corrections are different than what you would see in terms of the population in general. The drivers have more to do with delivering the best outcomes for the least amount of cost. With telehealth, they are able to do everything that a physician would do onsite except touch the patient. All of the instrumentation, all of the visuals, they can get through telehealth. It can drastically reduce the cost of delivery.

If you map that into healthcare as we know it on a broad scale today, especially in the U.S., the issue … becomes what is possible or practical in the context of the business models and the non-technological impediments that we may have to face to fully leverage this technology.

IM: What tips do you offer for companies to use as M2M data increases?

DeLoach: First and foremost, education about the Internet of Things, including its implications on a given company’s market and direction. That really assumes that the organization has a clear understanding of their own direction and of their competitors and the market as well.

You need an objective assessment of where you are today and a focus on the IT and operational architecture and the context of those goals. That’s as basic as understanding if you are a product company, or a service company, or an information company.

Outside of education, the biggest tip I would offer ... is not specific to the Internet of Things, but to moving technology forward is—start with small initiatives that can be started quickly and inexpensively and learn and iterate from those.

For more information, listen to the podcast of this interview.



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