Simplicity and Collaboration Required for IoT Migration

* Guest post by /newsrooms *

Baby steps, if necessary. That was the crux of advice imparted today at the LiveWorx IoT conference in Boston, a day that ended with an address by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt about collaboration and the value of creativity.


“Think big, start small, scale fast,” advised Deloitte’s Chief IoT Technologist Robert Schmid, who kicked off the day with a keynote.


Other LiveWorx presenters echoed Schmid’s advice, saying it’s more important to get started with a small win on raising efficiency by leveraging data than to tackle everything at once. In other words, “don’t try to boil the ocean,” Cindy Elliott from Aston Business School in the U.K. said.

Paul Boris, Head of Manufacturing Industries at GE Digital, suggested companies could ease into IoT connectivity by retrofitting older machinery.

Roll something out as a pilot quickly, test it in the trenches, and then refine it, Boris added. The luxury of having months or years to develop something are gone.

Simplicity featured in an address by iRobot CEO Colin Angle, whose company brought us the Roomba, has sold 15 million units in large part because his team kept the design simple. 

“The driving force is not technology; it’s user experience,” Angle said. Don’t add features just for the sake of it, and don’t assume just because you can do something your customers are going to be willing to pay for it. Roombas don’t feature countless buttons to fumble with; just one that says “clean.”

Autumn Braswell, COO for enterprise solutions for iQor, went through a case study on a client making set-top boxes. Implementing IoT solutions helped the company save $2 million in labor costs by automating highly skilled processes, which allowed iQor to reduce overtime. Another 5 percent was shaved from supply chain costs.

Getting to that point wasn’t easy.

“Don't underestimate the training involved,” Braswell cautioned. “You don't know what you don't know so give yourself time and space for that.”

LiveWorx speakers warned against underestimating the time and effort needed to get buy-in from employees as well as the huge organizational changes that a migration to smart, connected technology demands.


Traditional teams used as silos in the past don’t work in the new model.

“It’s not a handoff. It’s an ongoing collaborative process,” Harvard Business School Professor Michael E. Porter said.  He and Angle said organizations need a flatter, more agile structure.

PTC’s President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Heppelmann helped to drive the discussion on his panel with Professor Porter. However companies choose to leverage IoT – with big steps or small – they need to start now because the transformation is the most significant shift for industries “in 30-40 years.”

In the final session, Joseph Gordon-Levitt bridged to collaboration, an essential way of working for any company trying to transition to IoT-enabled operations.

LiveWorx 17 will be held on May 22-25 in Boston. Registration is now available online at To receive a discounted All-Access pass for only $695, register using the promo code ATTEND17 by August 15.

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