Welcome back to the Meet Our Team Q&A series. My name is Daniela Williams, Project Manager at ISE, and I’ll be asking ISE team members questions to help give insight into what makes us tick.
Today I'm interviewing Zach Bodensteiner, Software Engineer, and Internet of Things (IoT) guru. Read on to learn more about what's going on in the world of IoT inside and outside of ISE.
Q. How long have you been at ISE and what did you do prior?
Zach: I joined ISE in January of 2013 as my first job out of college. Prior to that I was attending the University of Iowa, majoring in Computer Engineering. Go Hawkeyes!!
Q. What do you like most about what you do at ISE?
Zach: The part I like most about my role at ISE is the variety of projects I have been able to contribute to in the past three and a half years. I have worked on embedded, mobile, web and geospatial mapping projects, among others. These projects have ranged from well-established production solutions to bleeding edge innovation projects. This has allowed me to learn and grow quite a bit more than I could ever have imagined.
Q. How have things changed in IoT and where do you see it going?
Zach: Over the past few years IoT devices have become much smaller and quite a bit cheaper, while most connectivity issues have been addressed. This has caused a boom in the number of connected things we have in the world. Recent estimates have placed the number of IoT devices in use today to be around 6-7 billion. Some estimates for the year 2020 placed that number as high as 50 billion, but most estimates have been in the 20-30 billion range. No matter what the number ends up being, that is a lot of devices collecting information! This is part of the reason the Big Data space has taken off recently. We are collecting more data than ever before, so naturally people want to analyze it and make sense of it all. Currently, this analysis leads to a lot of historical actions (acting on past data) and reactive actions (acting on present data) in IoT systems.
As we continue to collect and analyze data from more and more sources, we will get to a point where IoT systems are executing proactive actions (acting today to prevent future issues). Ideas such as predictive maintenance on vehicles and machines will become a reality. Quite a few companies have already started research in this area. Just think, wouldn't you love it if your car could tell you when something was going to break so you could spend $20 now to prevent a $500 mechanic bill later?
Q. What are some latest trends in IoT?
Zach: The biggest trend right now seems to be where the investments in IoT systems are coming from. Companies are the initial adopters who are wading through all of the options of devices, sensors and platforms to pick and choose the best ones. This is different than a lot of other tech booms, which tend to have consumers as the early adopters. Consumers are definitely sticking money into IoT as well, but not with the same level of confidence as businesses are. Once IoT matures a bit more, the consumer side of the business will take off, however, the immediate future will see the most action in the B2B space.
Q. What does ISE offer in IoT?
Zach: ISE can really help in any section of an IoT system. We have the expertise to help with anything from identifying and programming embedded sensors on the system's edge, to developing and maintaining the analytics engine at the center. As a company with a rich history in vehicle telematics, we also have experience in dealing with the issues and nuances of real world IoT systems to back up our expertise.
Q. What do you do for fun?
Zach: When I'm at home I enjoy cooking, gardening, playing with my dog, and making improvements to my house. About six months ago I installed a SmartThings hub and have been adding to that ever since. My doors, smoke detectors, garage door, and most of my lights are all connected and can be controlled remotely. It's really useful for those times when you lock yourself out of your own home. I also really enjoy building and tinkering with things. I have built both of my computers as well as a quadcopter drone with camera and Gimbal. Beyond that, I like playing video games and hanging out with friends.