Three Key Insights from IoT Solutions World Congress

Team Uptake just returned from the IoT Solutions World Congress (IOTSWC) in Barcelona. It was quite a whirlwind – from demoing the next generation of our Asset IO application to sharing our thoughts on the future of work in an AI-enabled world. Watch the video below for some quick highlights of our time at IOTSWC.

We were glad to be there and share our knowledge and experience with partners, customers and industry leaders, but by far the best part of my time was learning from other vendors and customers. Here are my three key takeaways about Industry 4.0 from the event:

1. Digital Transformation is a team sport.

Just by walking the floor at IOTSWC, attendees were able to see exactly how far the internet of things (IoT) extends. Everything was represented including sensors, hardware, control logic, data platforms, infrastructure platforms, analytics and more. Customers were able to see first-hand how these different IoT technologies work together to digitally transform their businesses. In addition, customers and partners had the opportunity to meet with others to understand how they can collaborate to deliver solutions faster, with a higher degree of interoperability. We recognize that digital transformation can’t be done in a vacuum, which is why a big highlight for me was being able to announce our partnership with Foghorn. David King, CEO of Foghorn Systems, even shared his enthusiasm with the team on the ground while chatting with customers about how Uptake+Foghorn will deliver even greater value for customers, with a notion of distributed analytics anywhere.

2. Successful AI and IoT solutions go much deeper than data and technology.

During the panel discussion, How to Survive Automation and Attract new Skilled Workers, leaders in the industry came together to share ideas on how to better understand and respond to digital change. It’s great to show customers the data they already have but, after speaking with attendees last week, it’s more clear to me than ever that we also need to help businesses think about their digital success in a new way. We need to show them a different path to take: instead of a technology-first approach, companies need to focus on the financial outcomes that matter for them. Only then do they pick a technology solution to deliver those outcomes. This will ensure that new technology augments the business and supports all teams throughout the digital transformation journey. As with any new market, there is access to capital, ideas and talent. As we shape Industry 4.0, it narrows down to what outcomes will be delivered and therefore what technology is required to deliver these outcomes.

3. AI and IoT should not be shrouded in a black box of mystery.

While in Barcelona, we got a lot of inquiries about our artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities. Here’s the one that sticks out in my mind: “Most predictive analytics companies aren’t really using AI/ML, it’s just subject matter expert rules or basic pattern recognition. Can you prove to me that you’re different?” Customers want to understand what the data science is actually doing under the hood –– and to know that we can actually do it. They want easy access to data science and the outcomes it delivers. Without question, my top moment from IOTWSC was watching Team Uptake demo the next-generation of our Asset IO application and field questions about the product. They expertly explained: 1) That we use both supervised and unsupervised machine learning engines, 2) How our failure prediction and anomaly detection engines work, and 3) Our “closed loop” process of using work order/maintenance data to create model improvement over time.

The digital journey is tough, but luckily we’re not in it alone. With the right strategy, partners and technology in place industrial companies can set themselves up for success.

Finally, thank you to my fellow Uptakers who went with me to Barcelona. It wouldn’t have been possible without them and I hope they learned as much as I did.

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