Season 2

S2E05: The Value of IoT and Automation in the Real World

Listen to this episode on your favorite platform!
Apple Podcast Icon - Radio Webflow TemplateSpotify Icon- Radio Webflow TemplateGoogle Podcast Icon - Radio Webflow TemplateAnchor Icon - Radio Webflow TemplateSoundCloud Icon - Radio Webflow Template
S2E05: The Value of IoT and Automation in the Real World
May 25, 2022

S2E05: The Value of IoT and Automation in the Real World

This episode features an interview with Rob Tiffany, Executive Director at the Moab Foundation, and Founder and Managing Director at Digital Insights.

Rob Tiffany

Rob Tiffany

Facebook Icon - Radio Webflow Template

Episode Transcript

Episode Summary:

Today’s episode features an interview between Matt Trifiro and Rob Tiffany, Executive Director at the Moab Foundation, and Founder and Managing Director at Digital Insights. A bestselling author and frequent keynote speaker, Rob serves on multiple boards and is routinely ranked as one of the top IoT experts and influencers in the world by Inc Magazine, Onalytica and other outlets.

In this episode we delve deep into how Rob went from a life of driving submarines, to being self taught in technology, and eventually becoming a leader in the world of IoT. Rob explains the value of IoT and the best ways to sell and explain it to the average person in real world terms, so they understand how embracing technology can save them time and money. Finally, Rob talks about how edge computing, IoT, and automation can be used to help with sustainability around the globe.

Key Quotes:

“All that R&D and the rise of arm based processors are making things smaller that we would not have ever built. The chips, the sensors, the technology at a low cost - if it wasn't for this mega trend of smartphones forcing us down that path. And so a side effect of all this work, and you know how things like the most expensive version of the thing you make is the first version. And then it gets cheaper and cheaper. Well, IOT,  the thing part of it, the device side of it, benefited from the whole planet going all in on smartphones.”

“When I talk about IOT and value, I try to stay away from saying AI and things like that. And I say, there is so much value just doing the stupid stuff, the low hanging fruit. I think we oftentimes do our customers a disservice because I hear people say IOT and AI in the same sentence over and over again. And I go, you know what, you really need to get in your car and I need you to drive to Omaha, Nebraska. I need you to drive to St. Louis. I need you to go to Oklahoma City, and I need you to meet real people who are just trying to get their job done. And they have no idea about your neural nets and stuff like that. And they don't understand it. And I think we scare customers. It turns out what my experience, not only at building Azure IT, but even more importantly building Lumata industrial IoT at Hitachi; I'd say that first 10 to 20% of value, whatever that means, saving money, making money that comes from the easy stuff. It really does. Just being connected, just not having to visit simple KPIs, simple thresholding; like stuff that manufacturers have done for a million years. It turns out that's the most of the value.”

"So my big recommendation to the world is start to crawl before you run. Do the basics, because it turns out you might get tons of value that you never realized just by doing the easy stuff first. Don't feel pressured to do something you don't even understand."

“When you talk about poverty, it turns out most poverty and hunger are related to farming. They are all correlated. Most of the poorest people in the world are in farming, and they're also starving. So when you can start knowing, remotely knowing in real time and doing it low cost out there where it happens, and then combined with automation, what's the action I'm going to take to make this better for someone, right? There's so much you can do. It's mind boggling.”

Show Timestamps:

(01:12) Time in the Navy

(03:25) Getting started in technology

(04:06) Getting started in Visual Basic

(04:29) Getting started in IoT Career

(10:17) Defining the Internet of Things

(15:77) Connection between IoT and Smartphones

(17:33) Power of Wireless and IoT

(19:09) Briefing others on IoT while at Microsoft

(21:36) IoT and Value

(25:05) Edge Computing

(33:08) Alternatives to on premise equipment

(34:49) Automation strategy

(43:49) What makes edge harder than the cloud?

(44:31) Edge, IoT, and Sustainability

(47:50) Digital Twins


Over the Edge is brought to you by Dell Technologies to unlock the potential of your infrastructure with edge solutions. From hardware and software to data and operations, across your entire multi-cloud environment, we’re here to help you simplify your edge so you can generate more value. Learn more by visiting for more information or click on the link in the show notes.


Connect with Matt on LinkedIn

Connect with Rob on Twitter

Connect with Rob on LinkedIn

Rob’s Website and Podcast