Bettina Rotermund with Siemens IoT

On this week's Industrial Talk we're talking to Bettina Rotermund, Head of Strategic Marketing at Siemens about “Digital Transformation and Letting go of the Ego and Embracing the Eco”.  Get the answers to your “Digital IoT” questions along with Bettina's unique insight on the “How” on this Industrial Talk interview!

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iot, people, siemens, customers, industry, digital transformation, industrial, bettina, tina, digital transformation journey, world, trust, business, company, big, find, event, run, scale, iot solutions


On this industrial talk, we are talking IoT. We are talking about letting go of your ego and embracing the ego. We have to succeed with this innovation, this technology, we need to begin to embrace it. What are the strategies that we can deploy today for resilient business of success tomorrow, come learn with me, let's get cracking.


Welcome to the industrial talk podcast with Scott Mackenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hardhat grab your work boots, and let's


go Alright, once again, thank you very much for joining industrial talk the place if you're in manufacturing, yeah, you need to be here. If you're an industry, yeah, you need to be here. If you're in the business of transforming the world changing the world for good. Right here, right now. This is the place for you. You know why? We celebrate the bold, The Brave and the daring greatly. That's industry. That's industry as a whole. Because you are bold, you are brave. You are daring greatly. You're changing the lives. You're changing the world. You're solving problems. Yeah. That's why we celebrate you on this episode of industrial talk out in the hot seat. I had a great time with this one. This is another great conversation. Bettina Rotermund. That's R o t e r M u n d. She's in hot tea and we're talking, you know, okay, we're talking IoT. And you're saying yourself, Scott, I don't want to talk IoT. You have to talk IoT. You have to figure this out. You have to be bold, brave and daring greatly. And figure this out. Maybe tippy toes in it. We're going to talk. Bettina is on the on the hot seat. Yeah, we do. Okay, we are sponsored by the IoT solutions World Congress, this is going to be an event. Right? This is an event, and it's May 10. Through the 12th. This year, in Barcelona, I have all the contact information out on industrial talk. Yeah, it's a must. If you're, I'm just telling you one of the things that is always pushing back. Yeah, you got to find trusted advisors when it comes to all of this great innovation and technology, but you can't ignore it. can't stick your head in the ground and say that, ah, it's not gonna happen to me. No, I believe that if you don't, if you don't take advantage of of this technology, figure out a way of navigating the waters in a way that is beneficial to you your business, then you're going to be out of business. And that's just a fact of life. Somebody is going to figure it out. So the key here is find trusted advisor, patina. Excellent advisor, just FYI. Okay, IoT solutions, World Congress, May 10, to the 12th Barcelona's location, and I've been there. It's a great, great venue, great environment, very collegial. It's a must 10 event. And we're also brought to you by the industrial IoT consortium. And again, we've got to be about education, right, we've got to learn as much as we possibly can, great location to be able to find information about IoT, and digital twin and anything else that is associated with industrial for Dotto, or industry for Dotto or whatever Oh my god. And that's industrial IoT Consortium. Check both of them out. I want to see you in Barcelona. That's, that is my challenge to you. See you in Barcelona. All right, here we go. Challenge. What is normal? What is normal what? We've just been going through just an absolute squiffy time within this pandemic. It's been hammering business, it's been doing the thing. So, I mean, I can, some days are good. Some days are not so good. You know, we're on we're off things. It's just a very fluid environment. And people want to protect themselves. And so they they make decisions in accordance with protecting themselves. So it's it is, but again, what is normal, where, what do we do? I think I think it's never normal. I just think that, that we've got to be bold, brave and we've got to just step out, we've got to think differently all of the time. I think legacy thinking that conventional thinking that was pre pandemic and all acceptable and all wonderful over here. I think it will be the death of companies. I think that that we we must, we must be catalysts. That is that's also an interview that I did with Tracy. So find that catalyst conversation because that is also A fantastic conversation about how you are just going to have to embrace all of this, this this change, do it. Now is the time. So I wrote down some notes because that's my, my, no, that's what I do. You know, my life is about working out, thinking about all of this stuff, and figuring out how to be able to communicate. One of the things that came out as a result of this conversation with Bettina, I like ecosystem versus ecosystem, I really believe that that is a just a solid sage advice. I think we have to, we can't we can't just hold our cards close to the chest, right? We just can't.


And I think we have to really, really begin to embrace that Ico, we don't have all the answers. Bettina, she's a rock star, by the way. All right. Another thing that I want to make sure that I point out, and I just plan it, food for thought, whatever you might want to do with it. And I think I believe success, whatever that is to find that success comes when people listen. Because if they don't listen, they're not here. If I don't care, you're not moving that ball forward, if they don't listen. So I think success comes when people listen, success also comes when people understand what does that mean, when we start talking about all this innovation, when we start talking about the technology is out there, are we just communicating in such a way that hey, look at me, look at me, I'm the smartest person out there. I'm using bigger words in the jargon out there. But nobody understands. And I don't think that that is an appropriate approach. Industry has smart people. It's, it's all over the place. They we do. They do. I'm not I'm not. Don't Don't Don't look at me for smarts. But many are very smart. But if we, if we don't get people to listen, and if we don't, if we don't make it the message understandable, and I don't think we're going to be successful. And I don't think some of the the, the challenges that we have out there like workforce management. Trust, deploy and technology if we don't, if we don't make it simple, if we don't make it consumable, if we don't put it in the hands of the people that truly deploy it, then I don't think we're going to be successful. So keep that in mind. Successor when when we can get people you know, success comes when people listen, success comes when people understand. Get rid of the jargon. Get rid of it, and simplify your message so that the masses can consume it don't make people feel stupid. Don't please. I don't like it. And quite frankly, I'm pretty easily. I'm not I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed. So if I don't like it, there are a lot of smart people don't, you know, definitely don't feel good about that. All right, Bettina Rodman, and let's see your stack go out there. Okay, cool, cool. Stack card, LinkedIn stack card, by the way. She's head of strategic marketing, Siemens IoT. Yeah, so she brings a lotta gotta got a lot of street cred out there. All right. And, and, and she's passion. And she's passionate. And she says, You'll, you'll get get it real fast that she's smarter than me, which is pretty much everybody. All right. Let's enjoy that conversation. Bettina, welcome to industrial talk. Thank you very much for finding time in your busy schedule to talk to the best listeners in the whole wide world. How are you doing today?


I'm great. Actually, we have a bank holiday in Germany. So it's very quiet. And I love being on the show. Thanks for inviting me. Oh,


I didn't know you had a bank holiday. What time is it there?


Actually, it's a six and a half in the evening.


Oh, it's still fine. I don't feel bad now.


Yeah, that's time for doing interviews extra it is.


I see that you're drinking something and I'm thinking to myself, it must be coffee, but then it's 630 and we'll get to sleep. All right. For the listeners out there. PITINO give us a little background on who you are and why you're such an incredible professional.


Oh, thanks for the for the flowers. First and foremost. Well, I am the head of strategic marketing at Siemens for the sector of IoT in digital transformation, which is my field of passion because I truly believe that IoT and digital transformation can create a better world. I'm not the typical Siemens staff, you would find I'm only three and a half years with Siemens. I have a background in a lot of managing positions from sales to marketing, business development and strategy in a lot of other companies like Sony, and BMW. So yeah, I'm I'm still a little bit like the I would say the corporate rebel. I'm looking at things a little bit different. That's also why I enjoy my current profession and jobs so much that gives me a lot of, of playground to test new waters and to create something big and new. So I really, really enjoy the the field of play I'm in right now.


Yeah, they haven't said to the the white shirt with a tie yet.


Now, not yet, but I got a shirt with a bull's eye on it.


Yeah, I bet you do. Now let's Let's venture into this one. So a topic that comes to mind that I am. I agree with you. I believe that IoT digital transformation, industrial to for data, whatever you want to call it is transformative. I agree. There are obstacles. Why are is like, okay, and there's obstacles, and then there's messaging confusion. Because I don't even know if I put my little manufacturing industrial hat on. I don't even know where to start. Because it's, it's busy out there. There's a lot of cerpen going out on that old worldwide web. Yeah, yeah. How do we how do we industry begin to sort of put our arms around this, this incredible technology? What do we do?


Yeah, I mean, when we we talk to customers, and I love hearing them out. Because there's a lot of it seems like it's a super daunting challenge for them to start into IoT or to start their digital transformation journey, though, everybody agrees that it is a business imperative to stay in the game now. So when we talk to them, most of the time, we hear like the common four to five, which is I'm scared about that cybersecurity, if I put all my assets in the cloud, and then a hacker comes on bankrupt law, then it's about the asset management, how would I manage then those assets that I run from a remote perspective, then it's all about return of investment? And how would I ever finance it? And then it's a little bit about the value creation? What kind of use case what kind of solution would grant me any value? Or am I just playing on this this buzzword bingo. And the last one is, if I eventually will change my business operations? How does that play with this change management thing? Yeah. And most of the CEOs and CIOs and CTOs then are very good in this, this, you know, change management thing, because it's a soft thing, you cannot really measure it. That's why it's also like, Okay, if I change my setup, if I'm integrating a new business model, how would I make sure that my people can follow and can adapt to this new normal and this new circumstances that they're facing? The good news is, though, there are plenty of solutions to all of the five big, big things that I just mentioned. The bad thing, though, is there's too much and sometimes wrong and false communication about it. This is exactly what you just mentioned. Yeah, there is a confusion about what it is and what it is not. So I think the best thing to start is at the beginning, to ask that simple question of why. And we always ask customers this question, why do you want to change? Why do you want to transform? And do you have any vision how that should look like? Some customers do have a vision? And then it's about how do we bring customers to this point of execution? And some people don't? And that's just okay. Yeah. I mean, if you would ask me for a surgery on your leg, or whatever, potentially, I could look up a YouTube video, but what I feel prac to do with myself, Oh, no. So there's a need for guidance and navigation. And at the same time, there is not enough trust. And that also comes because there is no industry standard. I mean, if you if you look into the telecommunications sector, which understood very early, there needs to be a standard like Bluetooth and NFC in order to connect things. This standard is sometimes with the protocols for IoT is there. But there is no standard of how you run IoT projects. That's why people find it so difficult to trust one or the other party, and who would be the better party for their endeavor. And so what we usually do with customers, when they approach us is we, we have two ears and one mouth. So we try to listen twice as much as we talk. And if we talk it's rather asking more questions, to deeply understand what the root cause is and what the customer wants to achieve. And then it's about defining a strategy and from the strategy looking into these use cases. Yeah. And we we see a lot of buzzword bingo in the market?


You have no idea. I hear all the time, the lexicon is off the charts. And then new words that are an amalgamation of two words that I used to know. And now somebody out there in industry since I forgot to push them both together, and then it just blows my mind. But I mean, absolutely,


absolutely. And I, I had heard a conversation before Christmas, where somebody said, how many computers do I need to tie together to get a quantum computer and I was just like, maybe not. And that is, that is so understandable, because these words are just like in the air, and they are frightening these people to the bone. And I can understand that. Because I mean, it's not like buying a car and you spend whatever, 20 30,000 euros in your car, potentially, this is a double digit billion price tag that comes with retrofitting your, your factories around the globe. And so if you want to invest, you want to make sure that you're invest in the right things, and not into a buzzword that is nice to have, but it's not creating any value for you. So for us, the proof of value comes before the proof of concept, because the proof of concept is just is that technology wise, viable? But not would that bring you any kind of value in the sense of decreasing your bottom line in order to save resources or cut down co2 Or be process optimizing? Would it increase your top line by building up new business models that come out of your data that you aggregated and you analyze, and you got any meaning out of the data? Or would it help you to differentiate because you can offer a new service to customers based on these data, or you can differentiate against your competitors by having a faster time to value and time to market? And so these are a lot of questions that we we ask customers in order to get it right. Yeah. And then of course, what is what is needed is you do not hand over the reins of the company to somebody else in order to do IoT for you. This is something that you need to do in co creation, because there are so many things along the way that can happen, where you need to accommodate. And then you need to sit down with your customer and say, Okay, this is now a T crossing, are we going left or right? Because the Middle Way definitely will not work. And that is why I always advocate for start small and scale fast. Yeah, it's not that you would digitalize your whole business, or you transform your whole business, you start with one value creation use case. And maybe there is already a use case outside in the world that you can copy and paste in the sense of what kind of problem was that use case solving? And can I use this methodology? Can I use what is already there. So I would not start with zero. But I would start maybe with 40% or 60%. And then you're better off and then you're faster. And this is what we in Siemens try to do to come from one point in one industry and learn for the other industries and transform and transference pawn these kind of learnings into into different verticals.


So some of the things that I hear what you're saying, which is cool, which I agree 100%, because I hear it out there in the marketplace. What I would say, if I had my hat on, I'd look for some trusted advisor trusted person really trusted with the street cred of IoT, whatever that might be, whoever that might be. So trust is key from my perspective. I like the incremental I can handle that. It's not, you know, so overwhelming where I can't, I can't comprehend it. So starting small scaling from there. And then the other thing is that if I do start small with a trusted advisor, company, whatever that might be, and then I can truly manage the success meaning do I have a return on it? Did it meet our expectations? Did we learn something from it? One of the areas that I'm always struggling with is this concept of time. There, you know, if I talk to somebody, somebody's gonna say it's 18 months. And then I'll say, Well, why is it 18 months? Well, it's just 18 months, and there's there's nothing, there's it's vaporware behind that hole. It's like


and usually usually they will tell you it's 18 months and three weeks and two days and four hours and 22 and that is exactly what I meant is there's so many unforeseeable things on this digital transformation and IoT journey. which you need to take into consideration. And that's why it would be reasonable to give you a time frame which says is roughly this and this Yeah. And then you can can write again shot and then look into how this is developing. But at a certain point quality before speed. Yeah. So if you just look into the deliverable of time, but then you are not matching the scope, or the quality or the cost, then something, something is not sustainable. And that's why we see so many of these IoT projects failing, because they're not set up for success in the long run. It's like, okay, ticking the box, ticking the box, ticking the box and then done. And then what have you brought your people to the party, so they have a skin in the game, they can make decisions with you on what needs to be done. So they do not be repelled by the new algorithm, machine, software, business model, whatever you want to implement. Yeah. And the other thing is that sometimes it takes time on the way to test. And only if you thoroughly tested and any see that the value is there, and then it's working, then you should move on. And that's why we see so many people in this what we call POC limbo, or McKinsey calls it POC purgatory, they go they went for this POC and then they you know, in a sandbox environment, they saw that it was working, but then they are unable to scale or to implement it. Because you're it legacy system is a completely different thing than a sandbox environment. And that's why you should not try to boil the ocean, I would advocate always for trying to minimize the effort and try to look into what is the minimal viable product that you want to achieve? And then learn, test, make your learnings and then you can scale? And then maybe it's it's one conveyor belt in your factory, then maybe it's 10. Maybe it's then this factory plus another factory? And then also, I think, what, what, what keeps people from it is this, how would I ever finance that? Because they're unable to calculate, really a return of investment. And that is not simple. Because if you're setting up a new business model, which comes as a service, you have annual recurring revenue, and then you have OPEX, and CAPEX, and how would that all mingle? And what is the prediction for it? Because for most of the people, it's uncharted territory. Yeah. So also, you need to make sure that maybe you want to performance based investments, maybe you want a one time off, whatever it is, but you need advice from somebody who has skin in the game, but at the same time, it's not forcing you into either one or the other direction.


She was interesting. Again, you're hitting on all cylinders here. The financing? Yes, that could be overwhelming. I think that that is an important component. I think that the way you approach time, I think that that's important, too. What's interesting, is that there's a lot of headwind out there, and the headwind is being pushed back by the failures, right. And the, it's, it's, it's easy for me to find failures of IoT out there, right. It's hard for me to find successes. But then again, to your point, there are there are great use cases out there that are successful. And and again, I just get down to that that trusted partner, I there's no other way of getting it, because it's so buzzy out there. I just I just need a Sherpa of some sort to help. Eric carry. Yeah, during the back. Let's move forward here up this hill. That's how I look.


Absolutely. And I think you should look out for somebody who can master both sides of the column that climb. And that is you need to have a tremendous experience and expertise, which is not the same on the IoT sector. Yeah. So you, you need to know the language you need to know about the regulations and rules in that specific industry, as well as you need to have done it a couple of times, preferably to yourself, yeah, drink your own champagne is something that that generates trust immediately. And that's why also at Siemens, we we do a lot of these things that that we create to our factories ourselves at first in order to test them Yeah. And then you have a proven track record and you can say, Okay, I know that working outside as well. And that's the OT side of the coin and then there is the IT side of the coin. Now you need to master software you need to master algorithms in the future for sure you need to find a partner that is mastering artificial intelligence by far and to bring these things together because there is only value created when you bring it and OT together and merge these different worlds. Yeah,


yeah. See, that's another topic. Bettina that's a whole nother topic. So ot it conversion. I've been out in the field. I know what it's like, ot does not talk to it now. They might, but it's no it doesn't exist. And and it's it is this digital transformation journey is hinges upon that collaboration hinges upon the conversions. And then


yeah, because ultimately it goes across silos Yeah. So then you have the people on the shop floor, then you have these people in the IT sector that is doing all these these things that nobody understands, really. And then bringing these people together is like a cultural shock most of the time. And that's why we always say that IoT, we need to tear down the silos and you need to be open. And and that's what we always say, this is not we're coming from the era of ecosystems and running into the era of ecosystem. An ecosystem means everybody has a voice at the table. Everybody has a place at the table, but also everybody has a responsibility at the table. Yeah. And no company on earth has all the wisdom and no company on Earth can do IoT on 100% scale along the value chain. No one. Yeah. And that's why, and it's good, because, you know, Siemens is super in OT and it and bring these things together. But we are not super in ERP systems. And we are not super in CRM systems. That's why we have strong partners like SAP or Salesforce. And we bring those people to the table when they are needed. And also, when it comes to connectivity, there is a good reason while the telecommunications people are strong in 5g, and they are pretty much prepped for bringing the connectivity to the table. Yeah. And you should not be so egoistic and narcissistic, and saying, I can master everything myself, and then hear customer use your beautiful thing that I created for you. And then with a customer, you start with a square, and then in the end, the customer gets a circle, because you need to cut off all the corners on the way to the results. Yeah,


I've had that conversation a number of times where we just want it right out of the box. And then at the at the end of the project, it doesn't look anything. It's that box is on the shelf, and it's all customized. And that's another big. We don't want customization we want to we want to be able to deploy versus digital transformation from an agnostic perspective. Where I'm not me, manufacturer me, industry guy. I'm not bound by I got to live with the AI there's there's this beauty with this agnostic where I I'm not married, I can play that game.


Yeah, I mean, I mean, from a, from a vendor perspective, yeah, it would be so super nice. If it would be like, selling Billy IKEA shelves. Yeah. And then you deploy that IKEA shelf, and then the customer wants a door to it. That's, that's nice. Go for it. But that's, that's not reality. Usually, IoT projects are as individual as the fingerprint of the customer was signing for them. That makes it difficult in order to scale. Yeah. And then if you cannot afford it, the company doing IoT, because every project is 100%, New, then there's too much effort needed, and then it doesn't pay off. So what we all need to learn is there potentially is already a good solution outside in the world, and it is proven. So why not looking onto this the story as a meta level of saying, what kind of job to be done? Is this thing solving? And can I use the meta level of it the methodology, the approach, whatever it is, and build up my personalization on top of it? Yeah. And that is also where we go more and more at Siemens to look into how can we pick something that we did in one industry and and you know, make it valuable and make it working in another industry with another project with another customer. And then we bring the best of the best and the best experience in the best practice from one area to the other area, in order to speed up the whole thing? Because if we look at the time that is left for us on this planet to get these things, right, in terms of sustainability, first and foremost, digital, decarbonization, this clock is ticking quite loud. Yeah. And if we would start from zero all over again, we potentially miss the 12 o'clock Bell, and that would be very disgraces for all of us. So I truly believe that we need to be more open, we need to be more collaborative. There will be a lot of competition in the future. And that is just okay. Because asset no company on Earth can do it alone. And ecosystems is your best bet how to run your own digital transformation.


Segway, baby. That is a great segue to IoT Solutions World Congress now. It's a great event. Yes, it's a great event. been there a couple of times. And why is it in important for you Siemens to be a part of that event?


Yeah, various reasons. The one is, we are there because we truly believe in networks and ecosystems, and a lot of our partners will be there as well. And that's why it is very nice to use these kind of events, also to co create to talk to each other. Because in this interpersonal contact, there's a lot of energy. And there's always like this vibe of, hey, let's sit down and do something new together. So we really appreciate that one. But then first and foremost, we go there for our customers, because this is a place where customer can educate and inform themselves. And I think a lot of these daunting challenge of IoT is a humera. Yeah, it's not real, but it is, you know, your fear is perceived as real. And so this is a good way for Siemens to show, listen, there are a lot of resolutions and a lot of solutions and references already handy for you, we can do that for you. Because we already did that for 10. Our customers Yeah. And that gives a little bit of this feeling of it is possible for customers. And that's why when we go back, and we talk to customers in the follow up of these meetings, they always report is like, I've never knew that this is existing, and I never knew there is a solution. And there is an approach for this. And so it gives a good platform for customers to inform themselves to ask our experts to sit down and to evaluate opportunities. And that is that is why we love this event. So so much because it's really a pragmatic approach. Yeah, it's not this rocket science, why kind of working enviroment? It is you sit down, I show you what we did. And then we say, Okay, what what would be a way towards your solution, your individual digital transformation journey. And that's also when we are partnering left and right, with a lot of, of big players that are also there, then it gives more even more trust for people, hey, if these two pair up to do it together, it must be good, because I'm not locked in either or it's an open environment, I can I can run with my preference, rather than somebody telling me what I must do. So this is a it's an open exchange and dialogue format, which I truly value. And also in the past, the speaker assignments have been very well picked, so that they cover a huge variety. But at the same time, they, they give customers a starting point to start their their information and education journey, and come to an educated decision making in the end, what the next best step for them to take would be.


See, I like the crackling energy that exists at that event. Now, of course, it's been put on hold for the past couple of years because of the obvious the pandemic, but there when when it was rolling, it had it had such a collegial feel to it. And people are just there's energy there. There's an excitement. And and I want to make sure our listeners you. The reality is, is that you need to look at digital transformation, whatever that might look like you need to okay, it's it's got to be a part of your thinking. I know you're saying to yourself, Scott, I don't know where to start. IoT solutions, World Congress, events like that are a absolute must. So that you can go there, you can get educated, you can begin at your own pace, be able to consume the information that is relevant to you, and then be able to, especially at IoT solutions, World Congress, sort of springboard to somebody that might have other additional answers, and then be able, you know, they got tables around there that everybody just sort of congregates, and they sit there and they, they chirp and they think about the future and everything like that. It's a pretty cool place. But I just highly recommend highly encourage each and every one of you outside of finding Bettina, but to go to that event, and and just get engaged. It's it's a great they they put on quite the show. So


absolutely. Absolutely. And then I mean, it's it's for each and every one whether you're already advanced and a lot of IoT, or whether you're a newbie, and this is just fine. Yeah. Because it's nobody, nobody is telling you you already should have done it like three to five times. It is not true. Just start and get information small exactly and find the right right news and the right people to talk to and just get inspired by by the knowledge that is available in this concentrated form. You got what you want.


Yeah. And take that ego that exists on your lap right there and stick it on the shelf, and then start talking about how we can create an ecosystem that benefits you listener out there, because it does just begin that digital transformation journey, no matter what, find the people that that you can have that conversation, and you will know.


Yeah, and I mean, it's like, sometimes people are so afraid of these things. And guess what, I have an IoT application for my chicken. Because I have like, the chicken are pretty much like, like I am. And they they they break out. Yeah. And so when I haven't like a use case that says, if these chickens so the camera detects the chicken, if the chicken approach to near to the door and the door for whatever reason is open, it launches an alarm. Yeah, this just the Raspberry Pi with a little camera and an algorithm that detects the the silhouette of chickens when they get too close to the door. Yeah. Which is super simple to use case ever. It's it was a very good solution to prevent my chicken of running onto the street. So it starts small, yeah. Would it help to run a chicken farm?


No. That's


the Think of small things and then envision how you can scale it. And don't be afraid of these 3000 pound gorilla. Sometimes it's just a little little puppy on there is a little bit barking. And so I would encourage you to go to the IoT solution World Congress and figure out what would help you and learn from others. This is a good start.


So you've inspired me Bettina, How do other people get a hold of Bettina?


Oh, wow. First of all, I'm to be found on LinkedIn, very simple, Bettina, Rotermund. Search for Siemens, that's very, very easy. And then I hopped around a couple of events from the IoT world to IoT solution Congress in Barcelona. And, yeah, I think in the future, there will be even more because we're planning big things around IoT and digital transformation, Siemens, hopefully will launching in in the spring to summer. And then of course, the best way to interact is Twitter or LinkedIn.


All right, her name is Bettina. Last name is spelled R O T E R, m u n d. Did I get that right? Absolutely. Get a little comment there. And please go ahead means read



lips in English. So


thank you. Alright, reach out to her get her get you will not be disappointed connect with her out on LinkedIn. Excellent job, Tina. Thank you very much for being on industrial talk.


Thank you so much for having me was so much fun.


Cool. Very cool. All right, listeners. We're gonna wrap it up on the other side, we're gonna have all the contact information for it. Bettina, Siemens, and everything else in between IoT Solutions World Congress, put that on your calendar. Make it a note you. It's Barcelona. How can you go wrong with that? Great bye. Yeah. All right. Stay tuned. We'll be right back.


You're listening to the industrial talk Podcast Network.


Alright, that's Bettina. She says her last name better than I do, girl. I butchered it. But nonetheless, you got to reach out to her go out to her stack card. I measure everything in in the area of food and beer, high beer factor. You want to hang out with patina in a big doggone way. Reach out. She has answers. And you can trust her. Did you digital transformation is here. Find a trusted partner, Bettina. She'll set your right. All right again. IoT schools throw Congress is a conference that is in Barcelona. Yep, it's in Barcelona. And it is May 10. To the 12th. This year, put it on your calendar and it's also brought to you by the industrial inner IoT Consortium. Got to find out Gotta educate, alright. Be bold, be brave, dare greatly. Bettina is somebody that's bold, brave and Daring Greatly hang out with her, and you're going to change the world. Thank you very much for joining industrial talk. We're gonna have another great conversation right around the corner.


On this week's Industrial Talk we're talking to Eric Simone, Founder and CEO of ClearBlade, Inc. about "The obligation to making technology simple and consumable for the masses".  Get the answers to your "Technology" questions along with Eric's unique insight on the “How” on this Industrial Talk interview!

Finally, get your exclusive free access to the Industrial Academy and a series on “Why You Need To Podcast” for Greater Success in 2022. All links designed for keeping you current in this rapidly changing Industrial Market. Learn! Grow! Enjoy!


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software, building, infrastructure, industry, eric, 29th annual, company, ibm, selling, people, systems, masses, mainframe, late 80s, work, assets, fluke, iot, technology, industrial


On this Industrial Talk, we are broadcasting from the 29th annual SMRP conference in St. Louis. And we are talking about making technology simple, frictionless and available for the masses. Let's get going.


Welcome to the Industrial Talk podcast with Scott Mackenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hardhat grab your work boots, and let's get


right once again, welcome to Industrial Talk the number one industrial related podcast in the universe. And I don't think I'm overselling that and we are broadcasting live from the 29th annual SMRP conference here in St. Louis, Missouri, wonderful venue, incredible. If you want to educate yourself, you come to this thing in the world of maintenance, reliability, asset management, and now we're throwing in technology in a big way. Big time. I want to thank Accruent and as well as Fluke Reliability. If I go up to their handy dandy website, I'm going to find a couple of things here is Fluke Reliability provides maintenance and reliability professionals, but data to do the job asset by asset, wherever they are, try to argue against that one, you cannot do not come to me and say I can argue that. And then of course Accruent. There. They're about real estate. They're about facilities are about asset management, of course, gaining insights to transform how your organization manages its physical resources. You need that they're great company. Both are great companies, great people, great solutions, no fuss, no muss, find out go to their website, you will not be disappointed. Alright, I'd say. We've got Eric Simone. ClearBlade is the company. You're the founder, right? I am. You're the bigwig.


Yeah. Yeah. You know, I like to pretend


he's smarter than me, which is pretty much everybody. And we're going to talk a little bit about modernizing in the infrastructure with intelligent assets, which is pretty doggone cool. But before we go down that road, because I'm going to geek out on that, give us a little background on who Eric is.


Sure. So, again, Founder CEO of ClearBlade, we've been at this since 2007. So we're not a young company, but we're not old. And prior to launching ClearBlade to focus on intelligent assets and edge computing software and, and IoT stuff, right, but I had a career at IBM, a couple of stints at IBM did some of the deal, Michael, I did not know I was I was a Michael was probably in grade school. When I started my career at IBM in the late 80s. I started off doing Air Traffic Control programming, no way. The DC area on mainframes. So it was a I was a young mainframe, were back in the late 80s. And then I spent a couple of years there, I did a stint at Johns Hopkins Hospital, I get to build patient intake systems as a 23 year old back in the day. And then I rejoined IBM in the Chicago area and sold was an engineer and sales engineer a client server software. So I saw the transition from mainframe to PC. And then in 94, I decided to leave the corporate world and move to the Bay Area and and do my first startup called compete, which we sold to a public company called efficient compete compete Incorporated. Yep. You had that compete. Competing corporate. That's great. Yeah. So it's, it's now proficient here in St. Louis. And that was a very, that's what moved me from the Bay Area to Texas. And and as of a week ago, I moved from Austin, Texas, back to my hometown of Libertyville, Illinois.


Good move. You wanted to do that? Yeah, I


did a number of reasons family, their sporting, sporting, and I wanted to put my kids into the same high school I graduated from, so they could get the true Breakfast Club experience. Many years later.


Yeah, that's pretty cool. Yeah, yeah. The first one. All right, let's do it. Let's venture into this. One of the themes that I like that you constantly and we're gonna we'll talk about it that you constantly sort of harp on in a nice way. Not a bad way. But it's, it's your obligation. You, as a coder, you as a programmer, you as a creator of systems, you're obligated to simplify. Yep, you're obligated for the end user to be able to achieve what they need to achieve without the fuss or muss because I would imagine you know that if it's hard, I'm not using it.


Totally true. I've seen it my whole career. So I used to be a programmer. Let's put like that. If you call me a programmer, my engineers here that don't laugh. But you know, I know enough to be dangerous. I know enough about what I've been through. Going from mainframe to PCs to the cloud. Bay Area craziness. And one thing that I've learned is we've got to make technology consumable by the masses. Yeah. And IoT specifically, has been, it's such a buzzword. And it's such a movement, it's real. And it's really difficult. And we have got to put software in the hands of the professionals on the plant floor. maintainers on the railway, right? In the buildings, that's not intimidating. It just has to be intuitive to use, and they shouldn't have to learn anything about coding or any of this technology example,


when, when I started this, you know, media thing, and I did it out as a result of trying to gain attention from my other company. I was concerned, I was nervous, because I just know, I'm entering into something that I really don't know. And then I was just surprised at how easy things were. And and, and I recognize and realize that there are just companies, they recognize nurses are saying, hey, for the masses, that's where the, that's where the value lies. And so and it is drag and drop, whatever, you know, you're not going to get yourself sideways. And


it shifted to in my mind just just a few years ago, actually, really 10 years ago, because as an engineer as a computer scientist, right? I sacrilege to say you don't need to code, right, right. To me, it's like, of course, you can't do this without coding. And I was a proponent back in the day of these visual drag and drop builders PowerBuilder, visual age was IBM's. And I built a whole business on that. And what I learned from leaving IBM and building that first business was, this stuff was great when I was demoing it around Chicago, right and selling it. But now that I have to use it at scale and these big projects, it doesn't work. Yeah, it really and this is why you don't see these tools again, right. And I actually see the industry making the same mistake for low code like, so no code is is a little bit different. It's not drag and drop and use these specialized tools. It's fill out a form and use, like, if you were to buy something on Amazon, you enter your credit card information, right. That's what no code means. It means I'm typing words to say things like, allow the farmer to say turn on fan when temperature in greenhouse 16 is above. Right, right, right. Yeah, turn up 75 degrees, or whatever. And they're just typing that in. Right? So it's natural language, usually language,


natural language. That's pretty tough. And cool. Now, you're going to touch upon a subject matter that I'm quite interested in, is because we have all this buzz out there about industry for Dido and digital journey and blah, blah. And and one of the areas is just infrastructure. Yep. That is, it's like, you know, that is a business that's been around forever. And it's just, you know, we've got assets that are 70 years old, what are you thinking? And I don't I don't have an answer of how you do that.


Very carefully. Yeah. Well, one of the reasons we focus on infrastructures, because that's what the the industry led us there. Right. So as we started selling our software, we were selling into industries like rail, yeah. Big iron, right? into building facilities, into aerospace into agriculture, right. And so when you start looking at the definition of infrastructure and critical infrastructure, it's things like energy, water, transportation, agriculture, right. So so when I looked at those boxes, like, okay, that's, that's broad enough for our software. I mean, there's a lot of criticism, sometimes you get for thinking broad and having that vision, you can't possibly attack all these industries at once. What if the software's not industry specific and customizable enough for any of these industries? And then you go work with the partners that know those industries, know those customers? That's, that's our go to market strategy. And that's what we do.


When you say that you're going to work with these partners who are partners, like what do you mean by partners?


So great question. People who know their customer, who know how to bring the best technology to bear both hardware and software, but are building bespoke solutions over years of development, their trusted advisors that know your manufacturing operation or know your rail operations, or know your aerospace operations. So when they know about our company ClearBlade, and they said, Look, we can combine ClearBlade software with the sort of sensors and gateways and it can stream data into your ERP system, your your enterprise, your enterprise systems, right, right. And then we can give them results in a matter of weeks or a couple months by configuring Software as opposed to building from the ground


Great stuff, don't get me wrong. Okay. So I'm just my, my, my head is swimming, because let's take, let's take utilities, let's take the infrastructure of utilities, there's a lot of a lot of things happen in there. And a lot of people are talking about it. And I think to your point, I think there's a gap and the gap is people that really know what the problem is. And really leaning on that there are just companies that are out there saying, Yeah, we're going to be doing this and we throw it out there. But do you really understand what's going on?


We don't, I'll tell you right now, I've got customers, that their, their full picture of what they want to do doesn't really get revealed to us until later. But what the partners know, they're, they're playing in their mission. So so we are, we are a vendor of software, right? You should, we shouldn't be in there directly selling anything, we should be working with a partner. And to to understand that bigger mission, right? If working with a utility specialist that understands what they need to do to modernize their existing infrastructure, and then applying the right software products, and hardware products to that solution. We've got great examples, we can tell you all of the reasons why our edge compute or IoT or AI is fantastic. But without that specialist in the middle, you're going to have we're going to struggle, because you've got to be able to identify what the business


and you know it, this is human right here, if you lose credibility, if you don't have that, that, that that subject matter expert, whatever, that individual that has the street cred that understands that business, and you come in and you you go round that individual, yeah, you're gonna screwed up and and then all of a sudden, whatever strategic initiative that they want to do, it's just thrown it's like, this is This is bull.


Yeah, you got it. And I'll tell you, our biggest challenge is, people that make their money, building things paid by the hour, not saying these companies are bad, but there's a lot of people out there building the same wheel over and over and over again. And they make a lot of money doing that. And there's internal fiefdoms in these companies where look, it's really cool to go build an IoT system, because that's your, you're an engineer, your software engineer, this is what you're paid to do. But it's not the most efficient way to go about doing but


that is been the point, especially with the infrastructure companies, right? They have these these, you know, patchwork type of legacy systems that it's like, yeah, I got that one, oh, I bought that one, they sold this, and they don't talk together, and then all of a sudden, you're trying to figure out what to do. And that's it. It's just, and that's just one organization over here that has a different set of


oh, it's, it's so so going back again, in time, which I love to do, you go to the late 80s, right. And one thing I learned is these enterprise systems, they don't go away. They, these are major investments from these companies, they evolve, right? And you better know how to work and play nice with those big systems, and be a valuable component. So play nice with others other software, other hardware, and be that flexible, flexible piece of software that can tie this stuff together. Yeah.


That's, that's where it's at. That's where it's at. And if you have any of that strategic to you, let's just put it this way, the infrastructure, the world of infrastructure has to do it, there has to be some way of strategically transitioning, it's not going to happen overnight. It's going to happen. Well, who knows, right? Just gonna have a lot of people.


And I'll tell you intelligent assets, right? That's a term that we use, that is focused on the operator, the maintainer, the business person. And that's a shift for us. Because we were selling to the technology, people look here, here, your picks and shovels, before the pandemic. And then what happened during the pandemic, is the customers that continued to buy, were buying in buying the value of intelligent assets by adding sensors into their operation, adding edge gateways in but using our intelligent asset system. So when we looked at the future, which looked pretty bleak a year, year, year plus ago, right, so let's go double down on that and make our intelligent assets system better and really focus on the end user, not the IT department and the developer. Now, of course, we can't cut those people out. But we already built for them. So once we built this application over top of it, to work with the people that run the run the machines right out in the field, then And they started using it, then it starts getting involved say, wait a minute, what are you using here? Oh, let's open it up and do more and then we give them that capability to so we just go in in a different manner. Now


see, and I like that because that is really where the rubber meets the road are the operators are the one that keep the assets running and doing whatever they have to do. And they do a great job.


Well doesn't happen. Software nerds, right. So we there's so much to build. We shouldn't be building it all. There's other high level things to do with AI and ML and other stuff. So upskill that stuff, right?


There's a lot out there it is. I don't know how you guys keep up with it. Even I get it's never boring. It's never boring. How do people get ahold of you?


Eric Simone at e si, m o ne. Okay, good.


Oh, you don't have there. No dot between Eric and somoni.


You know, the dot gets scraped away anyway with the server. So it's actually meaningless. That's it. That's it. Technically it is. No matter. Just so you know. You can put as many dots as you want in there.


Make a note of that listeners. The dot doesn't matter. The dot doesn't matter. Was that on a bumper sticker, the doc doesn't matter. I love it. Wonderful. Thank you very much for being on Industrial Talk. By the way. You did a great job at the roundtable. dealio SMF. Be


glad to get moderators.


Oh fest right here. All right, listeners, don't worry, we're gonna wrap it up on the other side. After the break, we're gonna just make sure that you get get the right information about Eric. And if you need to get a hold of them kind of get on you. We're not going to be disappointed. I'm just telling you right now, you're not going to be a disappointing


answer as many dots as you want in there. Yeah. Because the server doesn't


care or whatever. It doesn't care. Dot person. All right. Stay tuned. We'll be right back.


You're listening to the Industrial Talk Podcast Network.


All right. Eric, smoke, thank you very much for being on Industrial Talk. And we were broadcasting from the 29th annual SMRP conference. Booth is in your pipe and smoke it. We've got to make technology simple. We've got to remove the friction. We've got to make it available to the masses and put it in the hands of the operators. And that is a must if we are to succeed in this digital transformation world that we are venturing into. We can't put any roadblocks in the way that's Eric Simone. Reach out to him LinkedIn also thank you to crew and as well as Fluke reliability for your sponsorship. Go out to their both websites. Great company, great people, great solutions, solving problems. accruing Fluke reliability, make it happen. happen. All right. Be bold, be brave, dare greatly hang out with people like Eric. Be bold, be brave and daring greatly. You're gonna change the world. Alright, we're gonna have another great interview from the 29th annual SMRP conference shortly

Scott MacKenzie

About the author, Scott

I am Scott MacKenzie, husband, father, and passionate industry educator. From humble beginnings as a lathing contractor and certified journeyman/lineman to an Undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Business Administration, I have applied every aspect of my education and training to lead and influence. I believe in serving and adding value wherever I am called.

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