Gravio aims to bridge the physical and the digital, so when we heard that Hardware Pioneers Max 2021 was happening - in-person - in London, we wanted to attend to hear from experts across industries and disciplines, to see and meet the exhibitors showing off their latest in Hardware, Software and IoT offerings - and how they’re bridging those divides.
What follows are our notes and takeaways on the sessions we attended, and the areas relevant to where Gravio works, along with some of our takes on the topics too.
The high-level topics covered privacy, security and what processing at the Edge can enable. As Gravio is an Edge-first platform, a lot of the topics here resonated with us.
A key focus was on the benefits that the Edge brings - both from the operator and the end-user perspectives, including:
Privacy - end-users can benefit from increased privacy, where all data captured in an environment may not need to be transmitted to the Cloud (to be stored for however long) for later processing, but instead the relevant information can be extracted and anonymised before being sent on (if at all).
Safety - Edge environments can respond in real-time to environmental and human triggers vs the overhead of transmitting to a Cloud environment.
Climate / environmental benefits - reducing the overall computing power needed by limiting the transmission and subsequent processing of data typically handled by offsite data centers (the Cloud).
Real-time behaviour - further to the Safety point above, by enabling not just activities including interactions between humans and devices to happen faster, so too can device-to-device communication and data sharing, creating a faster feedback loop for enhancements and broader foundations to build on.
Given the above (and more) the speakers felt that there was a huge opportunity at the Edge, and mentioned Gartner research that predicted the increase in organisations moving their data and processing closer to the source - the Edge (see Trend 10), for all the reasons above, and more.
What caught our attention at this talk - other than what IoT Creators offer - were the case studies that Afzal presented.
The first was about a property owner who rented out residential properties to tenants, and found that they were often on the back foot when it came to issues within their properties - specifically around the boilers failing. Whereby simply installing sensors for their boilers and an Edge device to share that data to a centralised location, enabled them to keep an eye on their properties and make sure tenants remained comfortable in their homes.
This also had the benefit of reducing the need for heating engineers to go and check on boilers, when they could simply ‘drop in’ digitally by looking at the data and checking for unusual behaviours and readings - saving time for the engineers and the company, meaning engineers could spend more time doing installation work and growing the business.
Although Gravio is already on the market and in use in all kinds of customer scenarios, there were takeaways here that we felt were relevant to our customers and those experimenting with IoT and the Edge.
Prototype early and get feedback - the key being get your product or service into your end user’s hands sooner than later to get their feedback to test your idea, and make sure you’re solving the problem you set out to solve.
One of the keys to building a prototype fast, is to use the right tools for the job. Which is an area that Gravio has focused on to make IoT easier, so that you can move faster and without deeper technical expertise.
The topic of Prototyping early and getting feedback also came up for another session: How to Get to Market Fast with Wearables. Avoid the Common Pitfalls, where the founders / speakers all agreed and discussed the benefit of knowing the problems you’re trying to solve, and testing early to make sure you’re on the right path to solving them.
The speakers at this talk came from various backgrounds and roles; from marketing, to technical evangelism to founder / engineers - and a key point that they agreed on was that: IoT is hard. Which we definitely agree with, and is one of the main reasons we created Gravio; to help make IoT easier, and not only for technical people to move faster, but for non-technical people to start building the things they couldn’t before.
Although this talk mentions Consumers as the end user here, we feel that this mindset should also apply in the workplace, because ultimately the easier, more accessible experiences employees and customers have in their day-to-day outside of work, will become expected at work too - this is the consumerization of the work environment.
The above are just some takeaways of a few of the talks we attended on the day, and we’ve discussed them here because they brought up a few themes that we think are the keys and future of Edge computing, and highlight the value it can bring to organisations and people alike.
We look forward to attending the next Hardware Pioneers event, wherever and however that may be!