Choosing the right technology solutions, providers, and business partners are enormously important tasks. The technology and Internet of Things (IoT) provider you select for your business can help optimize your operations, drive growth, and create a strong return on investment. With the continued expansion of the IoT industry—Gartner projects an impressive $8.9T in expected market growth by 2020—the pool of available technologies also continues to expand rapidly. This is great for industry leaders, because innovative solutions are more widely available than ever before.

However, selecting an IoT provider that lacks the ability to scale, deliver rollouts on time, or provide updates in the face of challenges can cause major delays and unplanned costs for your business. For this reason, the rapid growth in the IoT industry should also give industry leaders pause.

To help decision-makers navigate this issue, I recently wrote a list of four factors to predict industry leadership and determine which solutions or providers are right for your company.

Because I aim to bring great products to my current network of industry leaders, I connect technology providers that truly have the potential to make an impact in the Logistics, IoT, Supply Chain, and Transportation industries. When determining the level of impact, I consider these four factors:

1) Know Your Niche

2) In-Person Reviews

3) Peer Perspectives

4) Inspiration and Drive

Today, I’ll shine the spotlight on an excellent under-the-radar IoT solution from SmartCloud, Inc. as a means to provide an in-depth example of how I used these steps to find a technology provider with true leadership potential.

 Under-the-Radar and High-Value Solutions

SmartCloud Knows Its Niche:

When evaluating SmartCloud’s technology, I first spent a significant amount of time assessing whether the company knew its niche. Countless startups (and even established businesses) use keywords like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to establish market dominance when they don’t necessarily have the technology or expertise to back up that claim.

The first element of evaluating whether SmartCloud knows their niche was to look at the level of expertise in the company’s talent and leaders. As a result, I was able to easily determine that SmartCloud doesn’t have the same domain expertise issue that many other AI providers exhibit.

The CEO, Kim Mayyasi, is an MIT grad who has been operating in the Artificial Intelligence industry for over 25 years. He is an established thought leader with a successful track record, whose experience includes high-profile projects like using AI to manage the entire US bulk power system in real-time. He has assembled a great, knowledgeable team to pull off a flawlessly executed AI solution that stands apart from the rest.

On-Site Evaluations Showed That Their Capabilities Are Strong:

After confirming that SmartCloud has a high degree of expertise in their niche market, I made an on-site evaluation of their solution. This process helped me understand the breadth of SmartCloud’s technology, so that I could determine whether it has potential longevity in their target market.

While there, I found that their Artificial Intelligence capabilities go beyond what many AI providers offer. Many companies provide AI solutions that collect data from multiple internal sources to analyze variables and trends. They develop business insights that are actionable and directly applicable to a particular company—but the solution ends there. SmartCloud collects and analyzes data, but moves beyond the data to intelligently analyze the decision-making processes of the AI itself.

This software truly looked at all IoT devices that existed in numerous large-scale corporate ecosystems, evaluated the data being pulled off all those devices, then combined it with a wide variety of third-party systems.  The software importantly works with any system or supplier that you already use. They take software from all over, and SmartCloud works with third-party systems indiscriminately.

SmartCloud Anticipates Market Needs:

I next sampled the opinions of groups of my peers to see if there was already marketwide interest in SmartCloud’s solution. I sat with them, evaluated their software, and evaluated their large-scale implementations to see what level of support they can offer other industry leaders.

Rather than ending their solution’s capabilities after analyzing a company’s data and providing insights, SmartCloud analyzes and exposes its own processes so that industry leaders can see which factors specifically affect their results. This fundamental difference focuses not only on what decisions are being made, but also looks at the reasoning behind the AI’s decision-making processes. Rather than simply making decisions, it analyzes where those decisions are coming from, what data is impacting the AI’s decisions, and helps business leaders understand why these decisions are being made. It’s transparent and, therefore, more helpful than the large number of Black Box machine learning tools.

Leadership is Competent and Driven:

Inspiration and drive were the final required conditions in my four-factor process [link again?]. Finding these two qualities may seem like an obvious move for some, but inspiration and drive are actually far more rare than they may appear at first glance. SmartCloud possesses the inspiration to see beyond current market and into the future with their advanced grasp on the market’s evolving needs.

In pursuing solutions like this, they have also shown the drive and dedication required to succeed in a crowded market. With the level of experience that the company possesses, they could choose to minimize effort and still maintain an industry edge. However, their passion and interest in driving change within the field of Artificial Intelligence was the final component that convinced me to invest my time in an already highly convincing product.

When you find yourself making decisions about a potential partner, who to work with, or which provider is right for you, I strongly encourage you to use this four-factor checklist. Each step is just as important as the others. Without a strong foundational technology, the solution can’t succeed. Without some interest shown within the market, the technology will not find a place to grow. In the same way, the dedication required to overcome any obstacle can be just as necessary in a pinch as the expertise that lays a solid foundation for the company.

If you need any assistance while evaluating your own professional relationships, I strongly recommend considering this multi-step approach to check whether a company is the right fit for your needs. Based on how I’ve employed these steps in my own work, I think that SmartCloud’s technology is innovative and merits consideration by anyone interested in making enterprise-wide improvements.

For additional help beyond the scope of evaluating a potential solution with these steps, feel free to reach out to me and I’ll be happy to help balance the needs of your company against an array of potential solutions. I’ll help you find the best fit for your business goals.

For inquiries, please contact me at: ken@kenehrman.com

I hold no current position within SmartCloud, Inc., but provide advisory services as an independent party. A small commission may be made in the event of a sale by my recommendation, but all opinions are my own. This is not a paid advertisement, and I do not endorse technologies or services unless I am highly confident in the solution being discussed.

For more like this, subscribe below for my Ehrman LIST, where I bring you essential content, insights, and information regarding Logistics, IoT, Supply Chain, & Transportation. Always be in-the-know, with regular updates that provide the best tools to keep your company’s solutions on the cutting edge.

If you haven’t already, be sure to download your copy of my industry brief, “It’s the Best of Times and the Worst of Times for the Internet of Things” while it’s still available!

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