“Imagine stepping into a car that recognizes your facial features and begins playing your favorite music. A pair of gloves that knows the history of your vehicle from the time of its inception as a lone chassis on the factory floor. “ –Doug Davis on IoT@Intel
Trends in the Internet of Things (IoT) has been fascinating to follow.
In my last blog on the topic I mentioned the 4 challenges facing an IoT system as spelled out by James Stansberry, SVP and GM, IoT Products, Silicon Labs: functionality, energy, connectivity and integration.
This had me thinking… Does this paradigm apply only to the hardware of IoT?
Let us look at a typical team in our workforce. The success of any work team depends on:
1. Skill set – This relates to functionality in the IoT diagram. Each team member brings unique skills (functionality) to the system. The team is successful only if you have the right mix of skills (is functionally complete).
In most EDA product development I have been involved in, we had an architect, a few software developers, some product engineers, a technical marketeer, a tech writer, and a build/regression owner and so on. Everyone in the team brought a unique set of skills to the table. Any time there was staff turnover and the loss of one specific skill, this caused the team output to suffer.
2. Energy – This term is especially relevant to work teams. Energy denotes the drive, enthusiasm and motivation of the people in their work together. The lower the energy of the people, the poorer the team performance will be. Likewise, poor energy efficiency and wasted power will not work for IoT. A high energy level (efficiency) is a key enabler for team success, and is also true for IoT hardware.
In one company that I worked for, we started as a highly energetic team excited about our engineering project, but as the management changed and the company grew larger, the energy started dwindling and the product took longer to ship. Great leaders detect this negative spiral and take corrective actions before it is too late.
3. Interaction – This relates to Connectivity in the IoT diagram. The greater the synchronization of team members the higher the team output is. Likewise better connectivity enables IoT bandwidth and results. Just as infrequent and poor communication can bring a team performance to a crawl, poor connectivity can kill an IoT.
In one case, I had one of the smartest guys in the team, but wouldn’t get along with anyone else in the team. The conflict came to the point where the other team members began leaving the group. Our product delivery date was delayed by 6 months.
4. Integration – The same terminology applies to both teams and IoT. The more the team members integrate with each other, understand each other, have mutual trust and respect, the better the team performs. If team members are on different wavelengths, the team will perform poorly. Likewise, poor integration of IoT components will likely lead to a failued product.
I joined a Silicon Valley company with an international move to the United States. I was new to the culture and surroundings. In a team meeting, our Vice President told us he wanted team members to perform like Jerry Rice. I was astounded. I looked Jerry Rice up on the internet and figured out who he was. That was a poor way to integrate a diverse team.
I have tried to make the analogy that work teams (WT) and the internet-of-things both share the same components for success. If we understand why and how the work teams well, I think we can design better IoT systems! We better do this quickly, because IoTs are here to stay.
“If you think that the internet has changed your life, think again. The IoT is about to change it all over again!” — Brendan O’Brien, Chief Architect & Co-Founder, Aria Systems