How Is IoT Driving Sustainable Change?

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IoT expert Pilgrim Beart shares his insight on how IoT is supporting sustainability, from electric cars to food waste.

Think of IoT and for the many it’s bleeping fridges and irritating smart speakers that literally have a ‘mind’ of their own.

Speak to an expert and you get the real world of IoT: exciting technology concerned with sustainability, that’s helping solve some of humanity’s biggest woes.

I caught up with Pilgrim Beart, IoT engineer and Co-founder of DevicePilot, to find out why we should be optimistic about the second generation of IoT.

Hey Pilgrim, please kick us off: what is DevicePilot?

You know when that smart thing in your house stops working?

Well, the folks who made it need to know how they should fix it. DevicePilot enables companies to do that with a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform for millions of smart things in homes, businesses and city-streets.

We’re a bit like Google Analytics, but for IoT.

So without you guys, the world would be full of malfunctioning devices turning on each other, and us?!

Haha something like that. Machine to Machine (M2M) communications have come a long way from the early 2000s when production was in-house: when devices were expensive, slow to build and completely incompatible with anything external.

Now we’re seeing this avalanche of IoT because anyone can easily build functionality — hardware modules, network connectivity, cloud components — which are multi dextrous and can pollinate across multiple applications.

This dynamic has fast tracked IoT to become the next most important ecosystem in tech. And it’s essential that remote monitoring and servicing happens so the ecosystem does not breakdown.

So, yes, we’re kind of an integral cog in the machine.

How is IoT driving sustainability?

It really is. Many of our customers are aiming to change the world for the better: to them, IoT is just a means to an important end.

For example Pod Point are an electric vehicle (EV) charging company. The CEO, Erik Fairbairn, started the company before there was even a murmur of a mass EV market in the UK.

Now that it has become clear that the internal combustion engine is doomed, EV charging is a massive growth industry. As the market matures, it has quickly become insufficient to simply deploy charging points: Pod Point has to make sure they are working and available 24/7! And that’s where we come in with our ability to remote monitor and analyse.

Pod Point’s transition from selling hardware to selling a service is representative of how a lot of successful IoT plays out.

Great example, Pilgrim. Where else is IoT doing good?

Food waste instantly springs to mind.

Our client Winnow uses IoT to help commercial kitchens around the world halve their food waste. It’s amazing! Their “connected scale” goes underneath the waste bin in a commercial kitchen, and when the porter chucks something into it, a tablet lights up to ask what it is.

It’s a bit like how we buy food in supermarkets, but in reverse.

The data is then fed back into the menu-planning and the chefs can reduce future waste with the clearer insight on how many portions to make on a given day. The tech is remarkably effective and has been picked up by many of the big players in the food industry. The fact is, it also saves the kitchen money so it makes business sense too.

What I love about Winnow’s proposition is that no-one — no IoT analyst and certainly not me — would have imagined it three years ago.

Yet, like many great ideas, it’s obvious in retrospect.

I mean, what vertical is it in? Smart Waste? Is that a thing? Well, it is now.

Winnow are a perfect example of new breed of what we call the “born connected” companies that DevicePilot serves: businesses who intrinsically assume that everythingshould be connected by default.

Sounds like DevicePilot have a seriously cool customer group!

We do!

We’ve built a product that solves the “seeing and managing your devices” problem. And there’s so much incredible stuff happening with IoT it’s just a case a of scaling it now. And how hard can that be? [laughs].

We also have an incredibly cool team.

OK go on then, tell us about them…

We’ve intentionally built a small team of exceptional multi-talented people who don’t conform to stereotypes. Our engineers are great communicators. Our lead developer thomas michael wallace has an amazing blog. So does our Chairman Rob Dobson who’s just made an AI-driven anti-cat water-pistol! Our Lead UI developer George and our Head of Marketing Yasemin work together to keep the look-and-feel of our product aligned with our marketing. They call themselves the “Duke and Duchess of Brand”.

Just don’t call us “Device Pilot” WITH a space!

I’m glad you got that last bit in, because I was bound to spell it “Device Pilot”.

I know. That’s why I said it!