Today on Product Hacker, Ubek Ergashev, a Product Manager for Machine Q, will join us to discuss how his company provides IoT platform solutions for other businesses. Ergashev will be sharing his experiences with competing in the IoT platform market and explaining some logistics to the emerging technology.
Kurt Schiller [00:00:01]: Welcome to Product Hacker, the Arcweb Business Innovation Podcast. We bring you the latest from the world of business innovation, from emerging technologies to game-changing ideas. Product Hacker connects you with the people and concepts that are changing the face of business. I’m your host, Arcweb Head of Marketing, Kurt Schiller.
Kurt Schiller [00:00:19]: If you’re in Philadelphia and work in healthcare, make sure to check out our “Healthcare Experience Engineers Meetup“. We feature guests and speakers who dig into the inner workings of designing health care experiences from a patient-centered perspective. For more information, search for healthcare experience engineers on meetup.
Kurt Schiller [00:00:39]: Welcome to Product Hacker, brought to you by Arcweb Technologies. I’m your host, Kurt Schiller. Product market fit is ultimately at the heart of every product decision from what features we include to what architecture we invest in. Even down to how we brand and talk about our products. But what do you do when the market is constantly shifting with new technologies and competitors entering the market almost too fast to keep up?
Kurt Schiller [00:01:02]: Today we’ll be speaking with Ubek Ergashev of MachineQ, an enterprise-grade Internet of Things platform based in Philadelphia and incubated out of Comcast. Ubek is a product manager for MachineQ and over the course of the last twelve months, he’s been leading the effort to build the MachineQ E-commerce store and mobile app, which will enable customers to purchase MachineQ’s. IoT hardware products such as gateways and sensors make it simple and easy to get them up and running for your business.
Kurt Schiller [00:01:27]: Ubek, welcome to the show.
Ubek Ergashev [00:01:28]: Hey Kurt, thanks for having me.
Kurt Schiller [00:01:30]: So before we dig into the topic at hand. Could you give us a quick overview of MachineQ and how it fits into the IoT product space right now?
Ubek Ergashev [00:01:37]: Yeah, definitely. So MachineQ As you said, is is a company that’s based in Philadelphia incubated out of Comcast. We’re an IoT platform building solutions for enterprise-grade companies. IoT as a whole is a very, very broad topic and a broad market. And I think, you know, we have our own niche that we plan. I think most people when they think of IoT, you start to think about consumer products, right? Like smart home things. But what MachineQ is focusing on is providing IoT into everyday things to help businesses improve their operations. So that could mean reducing cost, better customer experience, improving profitability, all of those things. And so for us, it’s our customers, our businesses. And the way we service those businesses is create these IoT products that work over a specific IoT technology that is streamlined to service those customers.
Kurt Schiller [00:02:32]: So that actual products that you’re delivering are a combination of hardware and the infrastructure to operate that hardware on.
Ubek Ergashev [00:02:39]: Yeah. So we think about our products in terms of hardware products and software products and then sort of knowledge and services to help you run your IoT deployments. And so we can get into the different products we have under each category. The typical sort of combination of the two is you buy hardware from us that helps, you know, sensors and gateways that really set up within your business to attract– to take data out of your business and see it visually using our software. The hardware enables everything and the software helps you manage the hardware and see the data coming out of that hardware.
Kurt Schiller [00:03:12]: So jumping into the topic at hand, most of our listeners are probably going to be pretty familiar with product market fit and the concept of it. But, could you give your own definition of product market fit and what what that means to you and what that means to MachineQ?
Ubek Ergashev [00:03:24]: Yeah, that’s a great question, I think. I remember I was part of the Arcweb series on product market fit–
Kurt Schiller [00:03:29]: That’s right.
Ubek Ergashev [00:03:30]: Meetup a couple of months ago and we had this discussion. It was– it was a fantastic discussion. And at the time I mentioned my idea of product market fit is proposing some hypothesis about what problem exists and what solution makes sense. So product market fit to me is some indication that your hypothesis is valid in some way, right? So for us, the hypothesis is there is a need for IoT-related solutions for businesses where in products and services that haven’t been available for them to do certain things that could help them improve their business operations are now possible. And so we’re our hypothesis is, given this combination of hardware and software products and this new networking technology, we can address needs that were always present but just didn’t have proper products to address those needs.
Kurt Schiller [00:04:18]: So I know we discussed in kind of our pre-show talk that you are going through or have been going through a slight pivot in terms of what the specifics of that kind of broader product hypothesis are. Could you kinda give us some background on what the original product hypothesis was and then how it’s evolved and where it is today?
Ubek Ergashev [00:04:35]: Yeah, definitely. I think, you know, there’s a there’s a lot of backstory to the pivot. Right. And to give you the short version of the pivot, we basically went from building a nationwide area network of an IoT network to building more localized success based deployments where businesses who have IoT needs, we would specifically make deployments for them rather than this wide area network.
Ubek Ergashev [00:04:57]: And the backstory on how we got to that is sort of complicated. Two years ago, so MachineQ has been in business for about two and a half years, and two years ago the marketplace was much more vague and nobody really knew what was going to happen with it, right? It’s you know, it’s 2018 now. We have some indication of what’s working and what’s not working. But two years ago it was sort of like new technologies are coming up. Let’s see what’s interesting and see what ends up working. And so MachineQ invested in this particular IoT networking technology called LoRaWAN. You know, there’s different classifications of IoT technologies out there. Cellular is huge. Everyone knows about cellular as an IoT technology. There’s a ton of marketing about it. so– which makes sense.
Ubek Ergashev [00:05:40]: There’s this other classification of IoT technologies called “low power wide area network“. So that specific set of technologies address a use case wherein you have devices that are out in the field that you don’t get to touch you very often. They’re really far out there. You know, the distance between you and the sensor is very long. You need high battery life for this device because it’s going to live out in the field for a long time. It sends really, really small amounts of data. And so for those particular use cases, low power, wide area networks makes sense.
Ubek Ergashev [00:06:11]: And so looking back to 2016, the narrative around IAPT was that cellular is coming, right, 5G is coming. NB IoT is coming and cellular is going to take over that IoT space. And for us, when we looked at it, we’re like, OK, so there’s a couple of years, at least until 2020 it seems like, where cellular is going to be this potentially dominant player with an IoT. And we looked at other low-power wide area technologies, specifically LoRaWAN. And we saw we thought, well, this is available now. We can start deploying this right now and see what we can do in the next four years, whether we can make an impact and grab some market for our technology.
Ubek Ergashev [00:06:48]: So at the time, the theory was cellular is coming. You have about two to three years before you have to make something real of yourself. And LoRaWAN is available now? It’s a it’s an interesting new technology that’s open-sourced. It’s– not open source, but it’s a non-proprietary technology that other people can come together and improve on and work together to lay out the specs.
Kurt Schiller [00:07:11]: It’s not owned by any one particular company. It’s not like it’s Samsung’s IoT framework.
[00:07:15]: That’s right. That a particular company developed at a company called Semtech came up with the idea for Laura. But it– is it’s not proprietary. MachineQ is part of the Lora Alliance. Google just joined the Lora Alliance. Alibaba. All these companies across the world are part of the alliance now and everyone helps develop the spec. Going back to this pivot, so about 2017, we’re building out the wide-area network, right? We’re getting some traction. We have 15 cities built. And we weren’t seeing the sort of traction that we were expecting. You know, if you’re making this investment to build out a wide area network, you expect that this network be used by people across the US.
Ubek Ergashev [00:07:49]: And so we weren’t seeing that kind of traction that would indicate that we did invest more into this wider area network. And at the same time, you know, we have partners and companies doing the same thing in Europe and Asia. And actually they’re a little bit ahead of us. And we were trying to learn from their experiences. And what we learned from them is they built out wide-area networks. You know, it’s much easier to cover all of France than it is to cover all of the US. Just a matter of geography, right.
Ubek Ergashev [00:08:13]: And so our partners in France had built out this wide area network and KBN is a company in Netherlands that had built out a nationwide network. And they also weren’t seeing the sort of successes they were expecting to and they already had a wide area network. And so we looked at them, said, OK, we can invest another hundred, 200 million dollars into building this infrastructure and maybe not see it return. Or we can start to focus on success-based builds where this particular company is interested in it. Let’s build something for them and see how it goes. We kind of pivoted from that model of build it and they will come to let’s build it. Let’s find somebody who is interested in it and go from there. I think in sort of get this flywheel effect of getting successes under our belts and marketing that and then selling it to other companies that are in the same or similar situation.
Kurt Schiller [00:08:59]: Gotcha. There’s a lot to unpack there. I guess walking back a little bit, you were talking about the process of winding up with the specific technology, the LoRaWAN that MachineQ what wound up utilizing. How did you make that technology selection across? It sounds like there were a couple of competing options that you guys could have ultimately gone with. How did you kind of operationalize that discussion and know that that was the right product decision to make?
Ubek Ergashev [00:09:23]: Yeah, I think at the time we’re working with the best information available. So I joined MachineQ April of 2017. But two years prior to that, about August of 2015, I was working with our now founder, Alex Khorram, who’s the GM and founder of MachineQ. I was working with him as a consultant and not a full-time employee. And at the time there was a two-month engagement where I as a consultant and a couple of my colleagues were trying to help Alex decide whether IoT made sense for cost and if yes, what technology should they use to try to develop some solution.
Ubek Ergashev [00:09:57]: And at the time, Sigfox was the only game in town. And so the product was– Alex brought us in and said, here’s this company Sigfox. They’re based in France. They’ve had tremendous success in deploying an IoT network in France and they’re looking to move into the US. They don’t have a channel partner in the US. They have this technology. We can take their base stations, deploy it across the US and take a revenue cut of that business, basically. And so we sat down, we looked at the business. It seemed to make sense at the time, it was like all these use cases are possible with Sigfox. You know, we’re sort of bought into it.
Ubek Ergashev [00:10:27]: And then we finished up that project. We said, IoT make sense. Maybe Sigfox is not the right partner, but IoT in general makes sense and we think Comcast as a company is in a strategically place position to be able to do something with IoT. And internally, I think what was going on is, Alex was looking at Sigfox and all the other companies and we talked about how certain IoT technologies are proprietary. Well, Sigfox is one of those companies; its proprietary. And what that means is that the success of a Sigfox network depends on the success of the company. Right. So two years from now, if there’s not enough business for Sigfox, that network is going to shut down.
Ubek Ergashev [00:11:03]: Similar with other low-power wide area network technologies like Ingenu, a company that has their own proprietary low-power wide area network, RPMA based. And what we saw in LoRa is that it’s Semtech is the company that has developed it, but it’s not proprietary. It’s open. We can contribute to the specifications. There’s companies who are working together. And actually next week some of our coworkers, our senior leaders are gonna be in Tokyo, Japan for the next LoRa Alliance meeting.
Ubek Ergashev [00:11:35]: And there’s over 300 companies that are working together to develop the spec, doing the best that they can to build out a standard that makes sense for everyone. And so I think that was one of the big differentiators between Sigfox and Ingenu and LoRaWan an aside from proprietaryness. If that’s a word. It was this sort of technological specs that just they’re very similar, but they’re small things that make them different.
Ubek Ergashev [00:12:00]: So when we look at Sigfox, it’s the maximum amount of data you can send over a Sigfox network is eleven bytes and eleven bytes is not that much data. Not to say LoRaWAN has any more. We have about 244 bytes is the max you can send. But the difference between 11 and 244 is pretty significant when you talk about wide area use cases.
[00:12:20]: Just to give you a sense of how little data that is, though. The average text message is about one hundred and forty byte, right? So if you’re comparing eleven bytes to one hundred forty bytes, basically what you can do with eleven bytes is yes or no, right or false. Is this parking spot taken? Yes or no. With LoRaWAN you have about 244 bytes. So you can do more extensive things, you can you can do things like the temperature reading. How many times has this door been open or closed throughout the day? You could get into more use cases where it just opens you up to more possibilities, right. So some of those sort of technological and standard-based decision making was in play when we decided to go with LoRaWAN.
Kurt Schiller [00:12:56]: And I think that the technology selection process is so interesting in terms of massively impactful product decisions that happen that from the outside looking in often aren’t as a parent as they probably should be because they usually seem to happen very, very early in a product lifecycle. And it’s funny because if you– this is something that we talk about with clients all the time at Arcweb because we like to get involved very early exactly for that reason so that the right technology selection process can happen.
Kurt Schiller [00:13:23]: And it’s funny because that’s sort of two competing standards narrative is something that we’ve been telling for hundreds of years at this point. You know, you have AC vs. DC, Edison vs. Tesla. Then, you know, you had all sorts of stuff through the intervening decades. Then I’m sure everyone remembers, you know, VHS vs. Betamax. And then we had BluRay vs. HD DVD. But now with, you know, digital products and the growth of like not just cloud architecture, but just kind of the explosion of different technologies across both harware and software, I think it’s come down to not just like one big choice, but potentially dozens and dozens of different choices that every product has to go through to wind up. And if you make the wrong one, as you say, you could wind up with a proprietary standard that winds up going away in five years. And so I think it’s such a difficult decision to make correctly. And it’s awesome that you guys seem to have made the right one.
Ubek Ergashev [00:14:19]: Well, I think for us it makes sense because we’re deep into the technology. We can do these sorts of analysis and say, “yes, this technology makes sense”. I think it’s still difficult for our customers and businesses out there today who are interested in loT.
Ubek Ergashev [00:14:32]: I think it’s still difficult for them to make that decision, because when you look at it from the surface, when you look at marketing materials from, Sigfox, Ingenu, MachineQ, we’re talking about a lot of the same stuff, similar things. But I think what differentiates us is that, you know, there’s proof behind everything that we’re doing, you know, if you look at the Gartner research reports two years ago, the narrative was “We’re not sure who’s going to win. Cellular is definitely going to be there. There’s certain use cases that they’re addressing that no LoRaWAN or LPWAN can address.
Ubek Ergashev [00:15:02]: But in terms of low-power wide areas, like up for grabs. We’ll see what happens. Come back two years from now, we’ll see what happens. And two years later, sure enough, it’s LoRaWAN is getting the traction. It’s been proven out. And companies like SigFox and Ingenu are starting to stall out a little bit. It’s just there’s a lot of complication about how you deploy this technology an LoRaWAN is simple. I think it’s been really streamlined. It’s easy to deploy. It’s easy to manage and use. And I think we’re seeing that in the markets. It’s been a good indication.
Kurt Schiller [00:15:31]: So back to the pivot, when you guys made the decision to shift from building out infrastructure to building out kind of, I guess, individual instances of networks, how did your understanding of your current and your desired customers fit into that shift? Was it something that your customers were aware of? Did you have to convey it to them? Did you have to migrate them over? How did that play out?
Ubek Ergashev [00:15:53]: Yeah. So here’s the thing about that is, you know, we had fifteen cities covered, right? We had major metropolitan cities like Philadelphia, Seattle, San Francisco covered. And even when we went in there, our customers would still want their own deployments. Right. We would go in and say “Hey, the city is covered. You could put in sensors”, but they’re like, “I want my own thing. I want to be able to manage it. I want my own hardware and my own network”.
Ubek Ergashev [00:16:17]: And we’re like, okay, that’s interesting. And at the same time, like I mentioned, our partners are in Europe were seeing the same thing. They had– their countries are covered. But when they go in to deploy these networks and pitch these networks, their customers would say, “I want my own deployment”. Sometimes you don’t get the same sort of reach when you’re working with a wide area network. Maybe you’re a in a place where you don’t get that network access. But it seems that this need for specific deployments for your particular business made much more sense than as sort of like a nationwide network. Maybe it’s a business construct where you want to be able to own your own infrastructure and your own control over your data.
Ubek Ergashev [00:16:55]: And and so we sort of said, OK, that’s what the customers are asking for. Let’s move in that direction. And at the same time, I think there are larger business discussions going on within Comcast that made it much more favorable for MachineQ to go down that path vs. building out a nationwide network.
Kurt Schiller [00:17:12]: I mean, it’s really the ideal type of pivot. You weren’t trying to shift to new customers, you were better aligning the product with what your existing customers were already asking you for.
Ubek Ergashev [00:17:21]: In my mind, I think the wider network idea is going to come back at some point because when you think about use cases like smart city use cases, LoRaWAN and is well positioned to address those use cases. But without a wide area network, it becomes harder to stand those up. And so I don’t think we’re discounting the fact that we need a wider network. It’s just that to prove this business, to go back to Comcast and say you should give us more money and we should build this business out, we have to show some success. And so part of it is proving the technology. I think we’ve done that. I think other companies in the field have done that. Part of it is proving the business. I think we’re working on that right now with pilots going on. We have customers who are paying for the service, which is good. And at a certain point, it’s I think we will get back to the point where we need to build out way to our network to really cover all the use cases that we can.
Kurt Schiller [00:18:05]: So something else that we talked about in our pre-show discussion was the way that this pivot impacted not just the messaging, but also kind of the experience of engaging with MachineQ for your customers. Could you could you talk a little bit about how that played out?
Ubek Ergashev [00:18:18]: Yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, one of the things we talked about in the in the meet-up discussion was you’re always searching for product market fit, right? It’s not like you found it and you’re done. You’re always trying to think about what else can we do to improve our product? What are our competitors doing? What are the customer needs? And so when you move away from a wide area network to success-based, wide area network, you know, sort of– the hardware that we use to build our network didn’t need to be MachineQ-branded. MachineQ didn’t necessarily have to have this brand that was widely known to end businesses, right? We were supposed to be the the underlying infrastructure that other businesses could build their solutions on and service and customers.
Ubek Ergashev [00:19:00]: But you take away the underlying infrastructure, this wide area network, well now we have to have a brand that people recognize to a certain degree that solution providers and business companies that have their own solutions have to recognize what MachineQ is. And so we started building our products, branding our products, designing and developing our own hardware, which we hadn’t been doing before. Developing our own versions of software, which we hadn’t been doing before. And becoming much more, not consumer-facing, but enterprise and business-facing where those businesses have awareness of what MachineQ is and know that I can trust MachineQ over these other companies that are, you know, not even talking about Sigfox, but other companies who are doing things like within the LoRaWAN span.
Ubek Ergashev [00:19:45]: There are companies who are doing the exact same thing or trying to do the exact same thing that we’re doing. So we have to differentiate ourselves from them as well. So, you know, there’s been a lot more of a shift in focus and making MachineQ and a friendly, approachable, understandable sort of brand and take away some of this complexity that IoT inherently has around it.
Kurt Schiller [00:20:05]: Did you guys already have the understanding of your customers necessary to kind of refine the brand that way, or did you have to explore new aspects of your customers that weren’t really as important before?
Ubek Ergashev [00:20:16]: Yeah, I think, you know, our customers are it’s such a variety of customers. I think what we’re trying to accomplish is that to make you aware that MachineQ is playing with an IoT. And in our customers minds, if you know, we’re talking about these large corporations, these large companies that have businesses across the U.S. If we can help them understand that Comcast has– MachineQ has the backing of Comcast, in their minds they can know that MachineQ is going to last for a long time. It’s not like some some startup that might be here today and not here tomorrow. I think that’s what we’re really trying to instill in our in our customers brains, is that we’re here to stay. We have chosen a technology that’s been proven. You know, we’re building these hardware products and software products that are meant to service you.
Kurt Schiller [00:20:59]: So you’ve recognized the shifting product market fit. You’ve gone through the pivot and now you’ve arrived at the outcome. What can people expect to see from MachineQ? What is the actual tangible result of this pivot going to be?
Ubek Ergashev [00:21:12]: Yeah, you know, since we permitted it’s been eleven months now and in those eleven months we’ve been working on these new products for this new market that we’re addressing and you can go online right now and go to MachineQ.com and see our new sort of messaging, a new branding out to businesses and moving away from building a wide area network. We have to build these products that you tangibly feel you can open up and you can set up yourself. And so we have a new line of products for sensors and gateways, sensors like the Flex Six S, which is a very flexible sensor. You can install and get started with doing temperature readings, humidity readings, emotion, all these sorts of different use cases. You can test out with that sensor.
Ubek Ergashev [00:21:57]: In terms of gateways and gateways are what collects the information and sends it up to the cloud for you to be able to take action on it. Gateways we have two flagship products and one product that’s in the works. We have the Area 8C, which is our flagship a channel gateway. This is a gateway that’s very versatile. So for businesses like where we’re recording, if you want to set up an IoT network here, a single gateway would do perfectly well. Within Comcast, we have about eight to 10 gateways set up and we have the Comcast Center covered and then we have a really cost effective making it– making IoT available to the public sort of product.
Ubek Ergashev [00:22:37]: We have this area, A CPOD, which is a Wi-Fi only. Right. You plug it into your outlet directly. No other sort of setup necessary. You connected to your Wi-Fi network and you have an IoT network setup. Right. So those kind of hardware decisions we’re making to make IoT democratic for for everyone to be able to use and really easy to purchase and set up and really cost effective. And so I think at the end we see the hardware prices coming down and we’re doing the best that we can to lead the market in that space and providing really quality products at prices that are really affordable.
Ubek Ergashev [00:23:11]: And in terms of software, we have management software, MQ Central, which is a which is a product that helps you manage these gateways and sensors. And we have the products that we’ve been working with, you guys at Arcweb with in developing, which is our e-commerce store. So you can go to a store.MachineQ.com today. As of this airing of this podcast, you’ll be able to go in and purchase gateways and sensors and get going on your IoT deployments. And at the same time, we’ve been working with Arcweb to build the mobile app, which will help you set these gateways and sensors up. And so I think we’ve done a phenomenal job and props to you guys having done a phenomenal job making that experience really, really simple, easy to use. Talk about taking something really complex and paring it down to something really, really amazing for an end-user experience. So it’s been a really awesome working with you guys and really excited to show that off to the world.
Kurt Schiller [00:24:01]: So there you go, everyone. My totally unbiased opinion. Check it out by a whole bunch of IoT products. So you mentioned earlier that there was this three or five year window before cellular kind of comes online and presumably takes over the IoT space. So it’s almost like there is a timer counting down for your market fit. How does that play to your product decisions? Are you thinking more about what the future of machine looks like once that that shift happens?
Ubek Ergashev [00:24:29]: Yeah, I think– I think that narrative of cellular is coming has really been promoted by the cellular industry.
Kurt Schiller [00:24:36]: Surprise.
Ubek Ergashev [00:24:36]: So, you know, if you go to T-Mobile, all they’re talking about is 5G is coming and it’s going to kill everything else. Right. NB-IoT is coming– is coming and it’s going to take over everything. And I think what we’re seeing is, LoRaWAN has taken out a certain portion of the market for use cases that really make sense for LoRaWAN and I don’t think will ever make sense for cellular. And I don’t think that’s going to change.
Ubek Ergashev [00:24:57]: So I’m not concerned about 5G coming as a matter of fact, I think I’m excited for it. I think it’ll open up a whole new set of use cases that we’re not able to address yet with super high-bandwidth, low-latency mission-critical sort of use cases that MachineQ is not looking dress with LoRaWAN. And even when they say NB-IOT is coming, well, we haven’t seen any sort of indication that there are large scale NB-IoT solution deployments. Now, T-Mobile is saying they have a nationwide deployment. They have NB-IoT covered across the U.S. That’s what they’re marketing, whether it’s true or false, I can’t say. But it doesn’t seem like– we haven’t seen the sort of traction that you would see with NB-IoT. If there were an NB-IoT.
Kurt Schiller [00:25:37]: For our less technical listeners, NB-IoT is narrowband IoT?
Ubek Ergashev [00:25:41]: Yeah, so exactly right. NB-IoT stands for narrowband IoT and what it is a subsection of the licensed cellular spectrum that’s specifically guardrails for IoT use cases. So similar to a LoRaWAN, its low-power long-range. I think where LoRaWAN still has a has an edge over NB-IoT is that our sensors are have longer battery life. The reason for that is any cell technology use. The sensor has to wake up, establish a session with a cell tower. Right. So that takes a lot of energy from the sensor, to wake up, Oh I have to send some data to the cell network. Hey, can I talk to the cell network? Okay, I get clearance. Now I can send the data, eats up a lot of battery.
Ubek Ergashev [00:26:24]: Whereas LoRaWAN, when the sensor wakes up, if it has something to send, sends, it doesn’t care if anybody heard it goes back to sleep. The gateways that we have in our network are always listening and every gateway will pick up whatever messages are being thrown out there. So we take the complexity away from the sensors and move it up to the cloud. We do all of our intelligence in the cloud where we say this message is extra. We don’t need that. This message needs to be decoded and sent over to this particular application. By moving away complexity from devices to the cloud, we save a ton of energy out of battery life and that extends the sensors life.
Kurt Schiller [00:26:57]: I guess it just goes back to the fact that LoRaWAN for you guys ultimately was definitely the right technology decision for the product.
Ubek Ergashev [00:27:03]: Yeah, I think so. I think we all believe that LoRaWA is here to stay. But like I said, if there’s cell use cases out there and we can get into the market and do something, yeah we’re open to that, too. So we’ve had partnerships with cell companies, as you know, Xfinity Mobile is a partnership between Comcast and Verizon. And so I think there’s avenues for us to play in that space, too.
Kurt Schiller [00:27:24]: So this has been an awesome discussion. I have one last question. Obviously, these technology shifts are going to keep happening. It’s an incredibly complex technology market right now. What you guys went through, other people are going to have to grapple with. What would you say to someone who also owns a product that they’re worried that some technology shift is going to upend their product or they’re having to pivot with the changing technologies?
Ubek Ergashev [00:27:46]: Yeah, yeah. I think for us we’ve had this mindset where our technology is a means to an end. We– at the core of the business, we want to be an IoT platform. And if that means we have to do it over LoRaWAN, great. I mean that’s what we’ve been building towards and we’ve had successes within that. But if that means that, you know, we need to add Wi-Fi or Zigbee or cellular at some point to our portfolio, we will. We will look at those technologies and see what we can do within that space. And I think I would suggest that companies in similar situations keep their minds open to that as well.
Ubek Ergashev [00:28:21]: You know, when you’re talking about VHS vs. Betamax, sometimes there’s not great reasons why one technology wins over another. And so keep an open mind, broad mind, make sure you understand your competitors, understand what is working for them and what’s working for you. And if you need to make a pivot to one or the other, recognize that and bite the bullet at some point if it’s necessary to make that pivot.
Kurt Schiller [00:28:42]: Awesome. Thanks so much for being on the show today, Ubek.
Ubek Ergashev [00:28:45]: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks, Kurt.
Kurt Schiller [00:28:47]: Join us next time when we interview the head of innovation at SEPTA, Philadelphia’s Mass Transit Organization. We talk about innovating within the public sector and how innovation can mean more than just technology.
Kurt Schiller [00:29:07]: The show is hosted by Kurt Schiller and produced by Martin Schneider. As always, thanks for listening. And don’t forget to like subscribe.