Back in June 2018 at Sensors Expo West in San Jose, we initiated a media breakfast whereby vendors at the show got to sit down with members of the tech-press community and discuss pretty much anything on their minds. The purpose of this event is obvious: the vendors get to know who is covering their technologies in the media and the analysts get the inside scoop on what’s happening in the world of sensor technology. Needless to say, this proved quite fruitful on both sides.
The first even in San Jose was quite large, with six tables seating at least eight vendors and four analysts. The way it worked was the members of the media would spend 10 minutes at each table, which was a bit difficult as discussions were quite informative.
At Sensors Midwest in Rosemont, IL, we repeated the event on a somewhat smaller scale. Three tables of vendors and analysts. To be exact, the participants were:
Although the participants were fewer in number, the conversations were still insightful and engaging. And the best part was being able to spend more time with each set of vendors.
When you sit down at a table with a bunch of fellow spirits, a certain magic happens that does not unfold when you are talking at an exhibit booth. More personal conversations and viewpoints ensue. Maybe it’s because a roundtable has a warmer feeling, like a dinner table or family-room table, but the “why” does not matter if the magic happens. And in this case, magic equals insights.
Two trends or insights discussed at both the West and Midwest sessions were collaboration and diversification. As technologies become more complex in the realms of the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, and a plethora of other applications, collaboration and partnership amongst vendors as well as individual diversity of services is becoming critically necessary.
The line between partner and competitor is all but erased these days. Collaboration between vendors is on a major upswing as it becomes clear when one must make a decision. Should we cover all the bases or bring in a partner to handle what we don’t.
For example, the sensor maker can either partner with the embedded systems expert to forge a solid IoT strategy or choose to go it alone and create the interface systems and write the software. If the knowledge and financial resources are not there, collaboration is the solution.
In a lot of cases, collaboration may be too cumbersome or not economically feasible. For example, a sensor maker is faced with supporting a variety IoT systems that are not compatible with each other. To create working systems would involve many collaborators, which would drive the end-product price too high.
In this case, the sensor maker could diversify services to include everything the customer needs. For example, this vendor could supply the sensors, create the interfaces and build the systems, provide the software, and offer both maintenance, data analytics, and financial services.
Next year will be even more interesting. We’ll get to see where all the collaborating and diversification takes us. But in the meanwhile, start making plans to attend both Sensors West & Midwest 2019.