An Interview With Robert Schmid, Managing Director at Deloitte

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Below is our recent interview with Robert Schmid, Managing Director at Deloitte:

Robert Schmid

Q: Robert, let’s start with your background. What were you doing before Deloitte?

A: Prior to Deloitte, I was the CEO and founder of c1oud base, a value-based consulting business focused on digital and tech, and the chief information officer for Activision Blizzard, one of the world’s largest third-party video game publishers.

I have more than 20 years of experience transforming Global Fortune 100 and start‐up companies to new 21st century technologies. I’ve got extensive experience delivering business value for clients through innovative solutions and effective partnerships in the areas of wearables, the Internet of Things, social media, mobile workforce, cloud computing, merger integration, complex integrations, ERP implementations, and off‐shore and outsourcing.

Q: What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?

A: While there are often some technical challenges involved with implementing innovative technology solutions, I find the biggest challenges I face are twofold. One is related to empowering people to think big, really big. And the other is helping people to stop hesitating, pondering, and studying and to start small, now. It’s become my mantra: Think big, start small, scale fast.

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IoT’s true value lies in its disruptive potential for reimagining business processes and, ultimately, rewiring business, government, and society.

IoT has the potential for boosting analytics efforts. Strategically deployed, analytics can help organizations translate IoT’s digital data into meaningful insights that can be used to develop new products, offerings, and business models. IoT can provide a line of sight into the world outside company walls, and help strategists and decision makers understand their customers, products, and markets more clearly. And IoT can drive so much more—including opportunities to integrate and automate business processes in ways never before possible.

Q: Regarding the structure of the IoT, what does a typical IoT network look like? How does cloud computing tie into it?

A: Typically, Industrial IoT-enabled solutions involve collecting vast amounts of data, analyzing that data, and then utilizing the results of that analysis to improve the entire process. For example, an IoT-enabled factory floor might have temperature/vibration/sonic sensors on the various assets of a production line. Some of the data generated might be used for AI or machine learning right there in the factory, while all the data is also being sent to the cloud. Cloud services include analytics of these data, with results that help improve operational efficiency and enable predictive maintenance, for example.

Q: Are connected devices an ongoing threat to the safety and security of homes? How can people avoid becoming victims of hackers?

A: When it comes to home security, connected devices are more likely to increase the safety and security of the average home. Connected appliances can remind a home-owner if they left the oven on, can allow remotely controlling lighting and heating, can allow you to see and talk with anyone at your door, in your yard, walking around your property – all from your phone, wherever you happen to be. Add in connected fire and burglar systems and it’s pretty clear that a smart connected home is a safer more secure home.

One of the best ways to foil hackers is to install devices and equipment from reputable companies that are committed to your privacy and security. It is also very important to actually utilize the security provided – do not leave passwords set to factory defaults and use passwords that are use a mix of numbers, symbols, capital and lower case letters and contain no names or words found in a dictionary. And, when the manufacturer sends updates, install them.

Q: Do you think cyber security concerns are preventing IoT from being used to its full potential?

A: Yes. Many companies have concerns about cyber security that inhibit the adoption of IoT solutions, and still the trend towards ever-more connected enterprises and ever-more connected “things is continuing at a breathless pace. I believe that, ultimately, everything will be connected. And as we march down this path companies will need a multilayered approach to security that functions at every point of an IoT device’s lifecycle, including secure booting, access control, firewalling, and updates.

Q: How will the Internet of Things applications enhance businesses?

A: IoT is already enhancing business and creating value in many ways. Here are a few:
– Improved operational equipment efficiencies (OEE)
– Real time asset tracking of workers, tools, and inventory
– Reduced maintenance costs – predictive vs reactive maintenance
– Better health and safety with real-time condition based monitoring
– Bridging the gap bet consumers and manufacturers enabling service when needed

Q: Do you think people and businesses know enough about IoT and are using it properly?

A: That’s what I’m here for. Some companies struggle mightily to leverage the benefits of connecting their assets, enabling IoT and Digital Supply Networks, incorporating software robotics to streamline and improve repetitive processes, etc. As I said earlier, what I do is help people think big, start small and scale fast. In this complex and hyper-competitive world, innovation is everything. If you’re not thinking big— like really big, the competition is buzzing by. IoT-enabled solutions provide the opportunity to collect and analyze massive amounts of data from every aspect of a business. And having all this data takes much of the guesswork out of managing and growing an enterprise.

Then start small. Design an ambitious game plan with achievable phases. Then don’t try to go it alone, rather, develop an ecosystem of reliable, experienced partners to support you. Simultaneously, develop your own multi-dimensional team who bring knowledge and experience that spans sensors, gateways, networks, security, analytics and standards.

Finally, scale fast. Ensure that your technology, talent and processes are ready. As more and more of your business is online, enterprise-wide IoT ecosystems mean new rules in privacy, security, data-flow.

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Q: What ways have you personally tried to educate people on the subject of IoT?

A: One of my favorite ways to help people understand the power and value of IoT is my weekly YouTube show – Coffee with Ms Connected & Mr IoT – a 25 minute video live conversation with the builders, dreamers, founders, parents, and wild children of the IoT universe. It’s an online coffee break every Friday morning 9 a.m. PT/12 noon ET.

I also travel all over the world talking to schools, companies and individuals about both the business value of IoT but also the human impact. I talk about the predicted 70% increase in food production by 2050, and the predicted 50 billion gallons water saved annually attributed to IoT-enabled agriculture. I talk about how the IoT will enable 200 metric tons of CO2 reduction per year by 2030, making a cleaner planet.