Daniel is an Internet of Things thought leader and a frequent keynote speaker. Prior to starting The Silent Intelligence, Daniel worked as Director of Business Development at Qualcomm. After leaving Qualcomm in 2013, he authored “The Silent Intelligence: the Internet of Things“, one of the first books about the upcoming technology which became a Top 10 book on technology and investing on Amazon.
What follows are some takeaways from the conversation. You can watch the complete interview here.
Blaine: I’m very glad we got this opportunity after speaking off and on for the last couple of years! Why don’t you start by telling us more about your firm, The Silent Intelligence, a very intriguing name. If I was naming a company now, I’d probably go for something exciting and interesting like that.
Daniel: Thank you. I’ll tell a little story on how we came up with the name. The Silent Intelligence is a professional services firm focused on digital transformation of enterprise. Essentially, what we mean by that is we help companies not just deploy technology, but also understand the problems that they’re trying to solve using technology.
We help them think about how to extract the value from the data they already have and from the data they’re going to have by implementing technology. Extracting value can range from direct monetization through third parties to developing services that are going to help them optimize their costs or optimize and generate new revenue services. In addition, we work with technology companies to help them commercialize technology.
Blaine: Enterprise data monetization has a soft spot in my heart because I used to run products and marketing for a company in that space. I’d love to know where you think organizations are at these days in terms of truly being able to derive all the value and fundamentally even monetize the data that they’re increasingly gathering.
Daniel: Today, we’re at very, very early stages. I would say certain industries are further ahead and certain industries are behind. If we take retail, retail has actually been doing some form of data monetization for years, before IoT and so on. At least mentally they understand the value of data. They don’t necessarily have the right systems in place. They don’t necessarily have the real-time data in some instances. But, at least mentally they understand the value of data. And plus, retail [companies], based on the margins, are squeezed so hard right now, there’s a lot of willingness and an interest on figuring out how to monetize data.
The other area that’s been going on data monetization pretty fast I would say is transportation logistics starting with fleets.
“Now, you have the IoT data, all the sensors, and that’s just growing exponentially. You’re trying to pour water out of the boat, but more water’s coming. If nobody’s helping you, you’re going to sink.”
Blaine: We were actually recently at a smart cities event in the last couple of weeks. I’m really interested in learning more about what you are up to in the area of smart cities. Let’s talk a little bit more about what’s really going on there.
Daniel: In addition to The Silent Intelligence, about 18 months ago, we started a company in San Diego called ScaleSD (Scale San Diego). Scale stands for Smart Cities Accelerator Labs and Environments. The goal of Scale or the mission of Scale is to bridge the gap between technology and urban challenges or urban problems which range from traffic, transportation, parking, water, energy, but actually also things like helping undisturbed neighborhoods, addressing problems like homelessness, or digital transformation of the city of overall. You’d be surprised how many of these areas can be dramatically improved with data, with utilizing/analyzing data, applying machine learning algorithms to the data as the data volumes grow.
The thing is, what we quickly realized is the city has data coming at them with such a speed, they just don’t have the capacities or capabilities to handle all the data. Just think about that. They have the open data portals. They have the existing data that’s coming at them from whether it’s digitization of permits or blueprints or maps, financial budgets, etc. But then, now you have the IoT data, all the sensors, and that’s just growing exponentially.
You’re trying to pour water out of the boat, but more water’s coming. If nobody’s helping you, you’re just going to sink. And that’s unfortunately what’s happening with these cities. Cities need a lot of help not only processing data, but more importantly, applying this data to the urban challenges they have today which are very analog. They don’t have an obvious technology solution if you look at them. That’s the mission of scale.
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Those interested in hearing more of Daniel’s thoughts should check out silentintelligence.com. You can also follow @silentintell on Twitter. Finally, check out ScaleSD.com to find out more about the San Diego smart city initiative that Daniel was talking about.