Removing frustration from IoT deployments

  • January 31, 2024
  • Steve Rogerson
  • Blues

Steve Rogerson talks with Alistair Fulton about his recent move to Blues.

Alistair Fulton.

There is much frustration when it come to the IoT. Many companies now understand the benefits of the technology, how it can earn or save them money, and ways in which it can make them more competitive. But when it comes to creating the applications they need, these companies neither have nor want the skills sets necessary to achieve that.

This was a big factor that led to a recent move that saw Alistair Fulton becoming the chief operating officer of Blues, a company he has been watching for a long time. Many will know Alistair from his time as a senior vice president with Semtech, a post he held when I talked with him back in August 2022 to discuss Semtech’s acquisition of Sierra Wireless. He actually left Semtech shortly after that and spent a year doing mostly advisory work. So what tempted him to join Blues? I asked him that very question when I caught up with him this week.

“The time seemed right,” he said. “I spent a number of years with Semtech building LoRa technology, and I could make LoRa into the shiniest hammer, but what customers needed was the full toolkit that let them be separate from the underlying technology.”

Industrial users, he said, had a clear understanding of the business case for IoT but found making it happen was not as simple as they hoped.

“Blues set out on a path to create a toolkit for anyone to connect to the internet,” he said. “Now seemed the right time to join. The platform is very robust and had reached a level of maturity. You can write business rules to determine what is happening without having to know what is going on underneath.”

He sees the future of the IoT as being about partnerships.

“No one company can solve everything,” he said. “And people don’t want to bet the farm on a single company, no matter how known that company is. There is a lot of frustration and pent-up demand. Companies have a strong financial incentive to adopt the technology and they see their competitors doing it and don’t want to fall behind. There is a clear understanding of the value.”

However, there are more than 500 platforms on the market and he said some of them were “fantastic”. The problem comes when the in-house teams try to do everything themselves. They need partners and tools to help them.

“At the beginning of the IoT, everybody tried to do everything,” he said. “It left them confused and they felt misled when it didn’t work.”

For example, he said at the recent CES in Las Vegas one customer told him they spent seven years trying to make this work but when they used the Blues tool they had it working within two weeks.

“We convinced people of the value but left them without the tools they needed to make it a reality,” he said. “Blues is here to solve that problem. I knew a lot of the team before I joined. I have not come across a more dedicated team of genuinely good people. They were 49 strong, so 50 with me.”

Joining Blues ( though did mean Alistair had to put to one side a project he was working on. I spotted on his LinkedIn profile an entry about an unnamed company that he founded last year and was in stealth mode.

“It was a traffic management project I have been working on,” he said. “I have put that on ice for the time being.”

Maybe next time we talk it will be about that, but in the meantime let us hope he continues to end the frustrations of those who want to embrace IoT technology.