Having recently left a very large corporate and returned to my roots in a scale up, the sense of déjà vu is immense. I’ve been here before – joining an SME in 2004 when pandemics were just the figment of movie script writers’ imagination, working from home was code for slacking off and IoT was an academic term with philosophical undertones. It’s interesting for me to compare how much has changed in the world of IoT and what remains the same about being on the leadership team for a Small to Medium Enterprise.
Since the Internet of Things moved out of academia and into the mainstream, I’ve been slightly uncomfortable with the name – it felt too vague and a little too imprecise for my liking. Originally “your fridge will be able to tell you that you need milk” was put forward as the future poster child for IoT but the current reality is a lot more sophisticated. In Kinsetsu, we’ve deployed robust industrialised solutions that cater for a huge range of, well…things (I’ve somewhat defeated my own argument here). We’re telling Captains of huge aircraft carriers about who is on board, and if in times of action they are where they should be. We’re allowing overworked clinical staff to know immediately where a medical record is or where to locate vital pieces of equipment needed to provide patient. We’re telling council staff how many people have entered a given location or what the air quality is like in their district. We trace the history of people and equipment to understand their interactions and to aid process improvement or track infection. We provide alerts when vulnerable school children have not got on the bus they should have or have gotten off where they shouldn’t. We can allow engineers or munitions specialist to verify that sensitive equipment has not been jarred or jolted out of calibration. We sense and alert on the movement (or lack of), the temperature and humidity within an older person’s house. So, Internet of Things is paradoxically too broad and not specific enough, whilst also selling the current capability short.
Life in an SME remains comfortingly familiar – that ability to quickly get the five people you need into a room to deal with the latest customer opportunity, or to grab 2 minutes with the CTO at the coffee machine to float an idea for a product enhancement. The pace, the immediacy, having the resources to hand, being able to make quick, well informed real-time decisions – it’s almost like, well actually, a Company of Things.
Chief Commercial Officer, Kinsetsu