IoT Leaders: How IoT is Simplifying Business Processes

Podcasts

There’s a lot of hype around the potential of the IoT market, but a lot of companies focus on the wrong thing.

It’s not just about having the newest technology. It’s about making the end customer more successful through technology.

In this episode of IoT Leaders, Nick Earle sat down for a wide-ranging chat with Josef Brunner, CEO of Relayr about how they are revolutionizing the IoT industry by guaranteeing business outcomes, disrupting the insurance industry and shifting the business focus to making the end customer more successful.

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[Intro] You’re listening to IoT Leaders, a podcast from Eseye that shares real IoT stories from the field about digital transformation, swings and misses lessons learned and innovation strategies that work. In each episode, you’ll hear our conversations with top digitization leaders on how IoT is changing the world for the better. Let IoT Leaders be your guide to IoT digital transformation and innovation. Let’s get into the show.

[Nick] Welcome to the latest episode of the IoT Leaders podcast: a podcast where we try and shine insight and light on the issues surrounding the complex world of IoT.

I am absolutely delighted in this episode to introduce someone who I’ve worked with in a previous life. But we will come onto that. The CEO of Relayr, Josef Brunner.

Josef, it’s great to see you. Are you good?

[Josef] I’m excited to have the discussion with you. I’m always excited to talk to you. Yeah, who knows where we’re going to go.

[Nick] I have no idea where this is going to go. You know I did mention in the intro that we worked together and you know what I’m asked about: serial Entrepreneurs. I always say: well, A) God dammit, how can they do it? I’m really jealous. and B) do I know any? And I say well, I do know one very well – Josef Brunner, so Josef just for our listeners, who perhaps might not be familiar with your global fame and track record. Could you just maybe explain a little bit about your history?

[Josef] Yeah sure I will keep it short, so we can focus on more important topics. Because this – it’s not about me. You know I love building companies; I’ve been doing it since the age of sixteen actually. The interesting thing and maybe that’s of relevance to the discussion today is the starting point of my career was actually a market transformation and you know one not to dissimilar to the one that we’re seeing today. My parents are craftsman, actually bakers and we had our own bakery back in the day. This is when supermarkets started to bake their own bread and the price point was just going down and they got disrupted, right, and they didn’t survive financially, right, and economically. So we lost our house, and that was my inner pain and my drive, and my nucleus and that’s how I got started, and this was at sixteen. Then at eighteen I could buy them a new house which is still not the biggest thing for me. And they still live in it in this house and it’s obviously, as you can imagine, the emotional hub for me and the source of a lot of inspiration and power, but then you know I didn’t stop right and I had fun. I have to say I’m obviously a high school dropout as I started when I was sixteen. So there was not another career that I could envision for myself and I, you know, I stood with it and I love it. It’s my passion.

[Nick] And how many so far?

[Josef] This is number four.

[Nick] I hate you already. I just want to have it for the record yeah, you know and we knew each other when I was at Cisco and it acquired one of your companies, but now Relayr is firmly in the digitization space of which IoT is a key component. You guys are really interesting in that you have, not just what you do, and your clients, and you’ve been bought by Munich Re, so congratulations. You sold that one three hundred million dollars, if I recall. Not too shabby, as we say, but you have a very, very interesting USP and I just have not seen anyone else even attempt this in the market. So, what’s Relayr all about and what’s your USP?

[Josef] So we are about keeping our customers relevant, right. So, we talked about transformation and how market transformations really killed the business of my parents, and you know that’s not unique to my parents right so market transformations are either a huge opportunity or a threat. And if you change and you adapt the opportunity is massive, but you’ve got to change and adapt. The reason why Relayr exists is because we want to keep our customers relevant. That’s our purpose, our vision, our mission. Why we get up in the morning. How do we do this? We try to understand the opportunity with our customers, try to understand if we can solve it and address it with technology and what the outcome of that technology deployment would be. The business case, the business outcome, and then we guaranteed we underwrite it right.

[Nick] So, you’re right and let’s just sit and pause because you say it so quickly and like it’s no big deal, but I just want to pause and go ‘you underwrite it’. You guarantee a business outcome now. Nobody does that. What, come on? How do you do that?

[Josef] Well, how do we do that is a different question to how do we get there, and maybe we start with the journey, because the journey is a thing of description, of the complexity we see in the market because there’s you know, there’s so much complexity and all these different possibilities. Do you want to Transform Your Business digitally? You know you’re a mining company, a retail I mean just name it. Every company is impacted by the transformation going on and it’s so complex ride of security, connectivity devices, AI and you’re just overwhelmed as a business executive. So, we are a technology company at the very core of everything we do. We have technology, so we try to sell technology to our business executives, and they were overwhelmed with it and then we during the sales process. We thought: okay, let’s, let’s take out the complexity and let’s focus on the outcome, but do we want to achieve when we deploy the technology? What’s the outcome? Why do we do this? What’s the business case and then once we understood this, we said “oh that’s pretty attractive”. We wanna piece of the pie. How do we get a piece of their pie, whilst, also making the customer successful and taking the fear off the table? And we said you know what screw this? Let’s just guarantee. You know we take all the risk mean we’re entrepreneurs, our business is taking risks essentially right. That’s why we get started. And there’s another, you know a tribe out there, which you know whose business is taking risk, and these are insurance companies right. That’s also what they do, underwriting. Something is taking risk of somebody else’s balance sheet or life and take it on your balance sheet. So here you are it’s a perfect match if you think about it. That way, right from a thirty thousand feet perspective, which brings me to the “How do we do this?”. We use an insurance company in the beginning, as a partner, later on as an investor. Now, as our holding company, we use their capacity, their balance sheet, their skill set, the data to guarantee the promises that we make tor customers.

[Nick] It sounds so simple, and yet it’s clearly not. How did it come about? Did you approach them or did a client sort of, often a client to marriage broker in alliances in tech industry. They bring the partners together, but can you shed any light on how it came about? Did they have this brilliant insight and they found you or what’s the story yeah?

[Josef] I would love to claim the fame, but I can’t so. What we did is you know, obviously Relayr is a journey. It’s not a company, it’s a journey and when we started off, we had you know a cloud platform and we love technology. So we, you know, we tried to sell technology and it failed miserably. I call it the death by pilot experience. You know a hundred grand here, a hundred fifty there, and you don’t get it to scale. And you ask why can’t I scale this business? And you know there’s a thousand reasons- complexity, business cases, politics within companies, fear. I could just name a trillion reasons and I’ll fast forwarding you know on the journey. The outcome is guaranteeing the outcome, but then you know there were a lot of steps in between and one of the steps in between was that I said I need to complement our technology stack because we started off as a middleware, so I needed edge capabilities and then needed AI. So, I wanted to buy two companies and one of the companies that I wanted to buy was a device management company. You know larger than Relayr, more revenues, more people. I said I need to buy them, but I don’t have the money, so I needed to raise money to buy them. One of the sources that I talked to was Munich Re, and so I explained my vision to them and the hypothesis and then they said, did you ever think of underwriting? You Know Your Business?

[Nick] Did they just ask that?

[Josef] Yeah yeah and I said, can you explain the underwriting process to me because again I’m a high school dropout right, I mean, I know nothing and they explain it to me and then I said, Holy cow.

That might be the biggest accidental, you know wisdom, that somebody ever presented. And then I think they didn’t know what to do or what they did. So, I know, and I was so pumped and excited afterwards and I think there were too because they invested in. And then we started to poke around a little bit and play around a little. In the beginning we only guaranteed risk worth 500,000 and then a million so we did baby steps. We tried to learn. We tried to adapt the insurance underwriting process with the promises that we make, the guarantees that we make because we were very broad in the beginning. Now we are really focused on industry subscription equipment as a service pay per use. Now we use laser focused rifle shots. In the beginning we were pretty broad. It was a learning experience and they as an investor did a tremendous job of educating us as their customers and it worked so well that they said “you know what we need to own you because we are impacted by market transformations as well and insurance won’t be the same in five years but you could be a great future for us”. And that’s how we became a part of Munich Re.

Especially as I have just spent some time talking to the reinsurance companies in the US, HSB as well as part of the meeting and one of the things that they said to me – I started asking them about how do you price premium? I just thought it was this fascinating process. I actually thought that I don’t mean any disrespect to insurance companies but I actually thought there was really smart complicated algorithms and that they were massive in size and maps, AI, quants and you know it’s like financial trading and it turned out it wasn’t like that. It was based on asset classes doesn’t it show you know. I mean it’s like boilers that are 20 years old and they’re in buildings and there’s twenty 30-40 thousand of them up there they know how many claims they’ve had so basically they’ve got a simple risk profile of X percent of boilers making claims and the average pay out just why but I don’t have huge tables on risk. But then, as each of these products, are going back to IoT, as each of these products start becoming smart and legacy enabled the amount of data and the granularity that you get from this data is significantly greater. And so your point about digitisation and it is really important because what they were saying to me is that you know them and other reinsurance companies is that the new entrance in their industry are actually going straight for this smart reinsurance market with collecting the data and so it’s in their interest not just to sell more insurance but to actually get more data to price that insurance better.

It is a lot of really interesting facets around this story. You know you’re spot on right. So back in the days, people had so much respect for insurance companies and the magic happening in the machine room and now you know you’re absolutely right with data they become even better. But there’s a different side of the coin and that is specifically when you think about predictive maintenance another reason why you need insurance is because you don’t know when your line is going to be. You know when it’s running, when it’s breaking down, you don’t know what challenges you’re going to face. So now your customers start to implement predictive maintenance solutions. Then you know, hey my line is going to run but then I will face a, you know issue or there could be breakdown scenario or something. I don’t really need that insurance policy and if I do how much am I willing to pay for it? Because the risk is getting smaller because I’m getting smarter. With technology you’re right smarter but the customers as well so you see almost like a transfer of power. That being said makes it really interesting, you know, for insurance companies to do more tech and own company like we do but the underwriting process is changing. So, what we will we start doing now is crazy stuff like guaranteeing revenues, guaranteeing your you know insuring companies against market risks and stuff like that right. And that’s the next generation, and that’s why it’s so exciting right because it’s so new and nobody knows where this is going but it’s certainly exciting journey.

[Nick] You know we’ve talked a lot in this podcast series and just in general about how nobody knows where it’s going. And the reality is that this is this is even beyond the Internet in ’97, ’98. We knew it could do new things, but we had no idea where it was going. And now we look back and think well we had no idea these business models would be created and disruptive and what you’re talking about here is things like that you know the disintermediation of the supply chain and the transfer of power to the consumer because when the consumer has the data the brand itself of the big companies start to decline as an asset. I always deal with a certain company because they’re trusted, they’re big but once the customers got the data then the power starts to shift to the customer and so that will create entrepreneurial opportunities not for just a whole series of start-ups but for big companies. And in the case of Munich Re, I must admit when I heard about it I remember I was in an airport when he phoned me and I said Munich Re? You know all credit to them, it’s such a big company to actually be so innovative. So let’s go on with the show, I’m sure people are absolutely fascinated listening to this because you are the clear leaders in this space and we don’t know where it’s going to go but we know it is going to be huge. So, can we double click and get down into it because you know I was going to say to you what is the biggest mistake you see? I think you’ve already answered it. This is not about technology. Technologies come down the line is yes it results in technology but technology is down the line so you know you have a client and the client wants to either disrupt or protect themselves from disruption or ideas you know you really starting off with a business level aren’t you? You’re not a global system integrator but you’re not an IoT company. Your kind of like in my mind like a mini McKinsey but you’re not, none of these things. You have a very interesting profile of people that work for your company.

[Josef] Yeah, we need that right. With the depth profiles is so critically important because while Type an aspiration around the potential of the IoT market I think there is also frustration as it didn’t take off as you know aggressively as some hoped. And there are reasons for that. And you know for us to focus on business and the business case is so, so important because at the end of the day it’s all about the numbers right. Does it make sense? It’s not a beauty contest with types of technology and it’s not a feasibility test, can I do this right? It’s about does it make sense and there’s a few questions that are really, really important and one is you know how can I make my customers more successful. Everybody, totally independent of where you are in the supply chain in the ecosystem, that’s the key question.

[Nick] And just for clarification, are you talking about your customer’s customers, or Relayr’s customers?

[Josef] I’m talking about Everyone. Everyone needs to because we are all serving our customers and that’s why we exist right? Our customers might change right and you know if you think about very complex production processes or supply chains, you will see you have 10 different project steps or you know 20 different players in a market; from an idea to a product, from idea to a building, from an idea to a pizza delivery, supply chain, production, support, just name it. But there’s one customer, there’s one person, one entity at the end of the line who pays. Everybody else in between is focused on delivering something to the customer: the end customer, let’s call it the end customer for the sake of simplicity. A supply chain ecosystem has 10 different steps, you probably have 80 different customers in between vendor relationships. You have to do it I think what you mentioned is the transfer of power but you have to do is totally independent where you are in the process chains like okay who’s the end customer, the one who’s getting the equipment: the gear, the parts of the car, transportation service just it is a problem of that entity and how can I make that entity, that company, customer more successful? And then you try to come up with a solution for the problem that you know the end customer or the customer. I’m not talking about consumers I’m talking about industrial customers you know. You’re trying to come up with a solution and then that’s the business case and then you go okay now I solve it more efficiently than today by using tools, such as technology, such as underwriting, such as finance. And this is where the uniqueness that we have comes in, but I don’t want to talk about us but about the market. Could you meet people that understand their business case how to shape it.

Do we have the business case? Can we solve the problem more efficiently for their customers and can make their customers more successful? And this is in the context of equipment as a service there is unknown question that I’m getting asked all the time is how can you make your customer more successful? The customer of your OEMs more successful. But at the same time how can the OEM make more money? It’s because you cut out eight other players of the market. You can you eat their lunch you know. There are no services companies anymore you know. There might be different facets of supply chain of other satellite companies that are able to support the process. So, you trying to identify inefficiencies in the market and come up with a solution that addresses that inefficiency and makes the end customer more successful. This shifts power to both the OEM as well as the end customer. I’m finishing my monologue right here by saying and that’s where it’s interesting because everybody in that supply chain, everybody that is part of the process can take the lead, but you have to move.

[Nick] It’s a great monologue by the way. When I was over in Silicon Valley when the whole internet broke, people were talking like this and they were saying you know it’s totally radical – you know the disintermediation. People weren’t talking about the technology. They were talking about the disintermediation. You know you can book your own airline ticket. You can buy a book. It started off as you can buy anything that’s digital and now it’s anything that’s physical. It seems to me that that was a pretty simple disintermediation of supply chain, you would basically disintermediate maybe one or two, e.g. blockbuster with shops or whatever. And what you’re really saying now is that the thing about IoT is one of the enablers and there’s a lot of other ones like AI or whatever. But assets as a service, it’s actually mass disintermediation. I mean your point about there’s no service company it’s because you are not just disintermediating the supply chain of you sell it to A (maybe a distributor at a sales) into B who is a reseller. B sells it to C, C’s the end user. You sell direct but you also charge for it on a per usage basis.

But it’s other things as well. You know there is no independent so this company because you’re getting the data, all the way back as the manufacturing company you’re getting the data that means that your supplier can remotely diagnose the device. Find out what’s wrong with it before they fix it. I mean I explain this doesn’t happen here. We have a contract with British Gas here in UK they actually don’t just sell gas, they can do maintenance for all your equipment in your house. The process works is that something breaks, a dishwasher say. You phone them and they send somebody out, schedule it, and all that hassle. They look at it and say, “Yep it’s broken”. And we know that, that’s why we called you!” They say, “I think it’s this OK, I’ll be back”. Then you get another appointment, the guy appears maybe 2 weeks later with the part and you hope he’s got it right. Well the point about that is that if the device was smart and know our dishwasher has a controller in it, so I mean it has lots of electronics in it, you can actually remotely diagnose and the guy will actually arrive with the part. And that simple content of taking massive amounts of money out of the warranty process is in adjacent disintermediation of the supply chain. As you say, we’re now looking at radically new business processes. Simplification of manufacturing. Simplification of supply chain. Simplification of warranty. Simplification of marketing because if you can get data back from every customer on how they using every product, you actually know which features are using and which features they’re not using. So, you can actually manufacture simpler products and only sell certain products to certain customers because you know they’re the only ones who want those features. So, it seems like what we’re embarking and going back to is what you said earlier… we have no idea what’s going to happen other than it appears to be much bigger than what has happened so far.

[Josef] Yeah and I think that that is really, really important because it means that this will impact in some markets pretty significantly you know. Manufacturing, as an example of what you just mentioned, building management, building controls, building maintenance. If you look into these markets, it’s fascinating because you have 20,000 players in its markets right. Why? Because the markets are fragmented. Fragmentation leads to inefficiencies and now you use technology and other means to address the inefficiencies and you do that scale. You will consolidate these markets. You will see what we saw in tech: the winner takes it all mentality and approaches and results. Because you can do things more efficiently. You will have a better price whilst also having a better service. And it’s impossible for smaller micro players service companies, in that example, to cope so you will see a massive shift in these markets if you deploy your assets wisely and correctly what do you need new assets right. Back in the days you had the brand, back in the days you had a balance book, back in the days you could before doing things. The enabler that you just talked about earlier, technology is certainly a really important enabler specifically in the context of IoT. But we should not forget it’s also about pre capital. Everything we do around producing model’s equipment as a service, investors subscription, whatever they had language you’re using it’s only possible because money is for free. Nowadays you know we talked about many agreed before Munich Re, they had was the balance sheet 230 billion balance sheet. You can take a lot of risks, protect money, look at some of the really aggressive and really large hedge funds, you know how much do they have on my management. You see that your speed is starting to become less important and then there is something you see throughout all industries. And my biggest concern when I talk to proud traditional companies is, they don’t understand the shift in value when it comes to the assets that they have. I’m not saying they don’t have value. They have customers, they have access to customers, knowledge, experience, talent. They have a great starting position but they focus sometimes on the wrong, in brackets “outdated assets”. We just talked about your example with your building or another employee former employee of yours, John Clifford at Learnd, who you know, address their problems specifically in the building management. At Learnd, they’d say screw this process – it’s inefficient. So I’m introducing guaranteed building performance as a service to the market and I’m taking out all of these inefficiencies I’m making my customers more successful. And the power is in the simplicity of the offering, not in the simplicity of the technology but the offering.

[Nick] Exactly. And I think John would be probably great for a future podcast. Let’s give a little preview perhaps so we can get John. He was part of the Cisco crew back in the day and I was absolutely fascinated by what he did. It was so elegant in its simplicity – very similar to the way you describe your business and I think that’s a pattern in general for successful businesses. They’re just simple and you just get what they do and he said yeah he said the 20,000 people maintain buildings and what assets do they have when they have customers but they also have a lot of engineers, field engineers and it’s inherently inefficient. So by buying a couple of companies and just putting some smart technology in and connecting the legacy assets, you totally transform the model. You just completely disrupt it and by the way you’ve got a field salesforce already there – they just bought engineers. And the other thing I was thinking is, this is an issue of fragmented industries. They’re ripe for disruption. I think that’s always been true.

I mean you know in our own world of IoT, one of the messages that we give to customers and you know this becuase we’ve got it together but one of the messages is look at this cellular market. The mobile network operator market is actually one of the world’s last breeds and fragmented industries. I mean there’s 825 mobile network operators: they all have proprietary SIMs they’re all saying put my SIM in and I can give you a bit of roaming but not complete roaming. So basically, it’s an industry that’s built from the players out. But when you look at it from the customer in because the customer just wants connectivity. That was the brilliance of our founders, not me. I came in after this but the brilliance of our founders was to say the only way to solve that fundamental lack of interoperability which leads to incomplete connectivity or added costs of ‘you’ve got to swap SIMs all the time’ is to actually abstract the problem into an independent layer and it’s like a super aggregator in the cloud that will bring all the players together. And when you do that, you enable totally new business models like the ability to have a global product that has connectivity, which is a completely different concept to which mobile network operators should I choose and based on a proprietary model. So I think all industries start off, especially tech, start off as proprietary and ultimately its user demand that forces interoperability and standards. And when you get into interoperability and standards, that’s actually when the mass adoption occurs and that’s what disruption is.

[Josef] You have a really good point here that I would like to complement what you just said, you know when it comes to the brilliance of the founders. And I would like to add one thing when you talk to the big telcos, when you talk about IoT and innovation, you’re right it’s about selling SIM cards but what it’s really about is protection. You know I can’t do this in around roaming, you know because I make a lot of money with roaming, but I can’t do this because it’s a really important revenue stream so I can’t do this because it’s a it’s a barrier. Market protection you’re asking a different question which is like ‘What do these companies out there need?’ And then you solve the problem. So if you flip this around in an ideal world you and I would not be needed because the innovation would come from the incumbents. That was never the case with a few exceptions, typically younger companies right not companies that are 56 years old because they think inside out, while innovators think outside in.

[Nick] I used to say in the first wave of the of the innovation that if you actually want to know how company will behave talk to their CFO. People said what do you mean? Because it’s the point that you’re making. If you look at you know, when the first wave of the Internet happened using this story to reaffirm what’s happening or not happening now, when the 1st wave of the Internet happened certain companies embraced the cloud and certain companies didn’t. And actually interestingly certain tech companies went to cloud, and certain ones didn’t and there was a complete change in the pecking order of those that didn’t. You think why did certain really big tech companies not embrace the cloud, Internet etc because they were in that business anyway? And the answer is because their current revenue was coming from the legacy products. And so all the behaviour, all the management systems, all the controls all of the incentives, or the Commission was all geared around the management through the revenue flow from existing products. And you know when you and I were in Cisco that was called boxes and it was really hard to do to do change management to go from products to annuities and even though everybody intuitively, of course they got it, they’re all smart, smart as hell but it’s really, really difficult which gives the start-ups an inherent advantage because they don’t have a legacy you know. God built the world in 7 days, but he didn’t have an instal base to begin with and that’s why again going I think Munich Re have actually brilliance because they are a very big. I mean there are huge. Top five I believe?

[Josef] They are massive. What they did brilliantly is they were and are aware of the strength of course but they also know who they are and who they are culturally. This was not the only acquisition offer that we had but what was really attractive to me was that they said from the get-go, if we buy you, we’re not going to integrate you. I mean you would die right. I mean if we integrate you in some of the oldest company in the world, you’ll die a terrible death and then understanding that self-reflection you know I have a lot of respect for. I mean absolutely be aware of your strength but be aware of your inner weaknesses as well then you make the best choices right and that is that self-reflection is something that is extremely healthy when it comes to business questions in general right. As you just said, intrinsically a lot of the executives know what the right thing would be and that’s why I’m so excited about that you know market transformation in general because there’s a lot of reasons why they can’t do it it’s as simple as a paycheque. I mean you incentivise your people to do certain things. It starts with the board, the board incentivised the executive team, and then it flows down. Changing a system like this will take years and in years you can build pretty successful massive disruptive companies.

[Nick] In this business you can go out of business in months. I always enjoy talking to you Josef, and we could go on for hours but we won’t. I’d like to bring this to a conclusion by asking a few questions. I really wanted to ask you where is all this going to go? I mean let’s get the crystal ball out and stare at it. I mean the obvious answer is we don’t know but if we had to guess the disruption that we’re seeing is huge. We’ve talked about the fact that it’s actually many times bigger than the first level of disruption that we saw let’s just using the Internet as the trigger for that so that in itself is kind of scary. We talked about companies going out of business and new companies rising up and we talked about the inability of big companies to embrace change and fragmented industries that need to be drive interoperability and standards particularly in regard to IoT. What’s your view of other than the fact that it’s a huge market opportunity for companies that are in this space What’s your view of where this all could go? Do you see radical disruption and new companies rising to the fore as leaders, attacking the large incumbents or do you believe that the large incumbents or certainly a percentage of them can embrace this and thrive?

[Josef] But the way I see it is almost like a waterfall. I think the driving forces – the vertical integration, simplifying the process changes we just discussed 10 players today, two players in the future you know easier way of describing vertical integration. Integration will lead to consolidation of hugely fragmented market into a winner takes it all mentality. So, when you have 20,000 players 10,000 players you might have 10 in the future where you have 200 OEMs you might have 3 all of them offering outcome-based services – pay per use, pay by part – just name it. That will change the landscape pretty significantly it will have a huge impact on GDP of industrial countries such as UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy. You know countries with a strong industrial engineering background. Will either win and strive or suffer. I think some of them will suffer because they don’t move quickly enough which will lead to a shift of wealth to fewer companies that the general wealth of you know specific in Europe or very wealthy countries such as Germany. The average wealth will go down. We will have significantly more unemployment as we’re fat, we are lazy, we’re chief worry offices. We’re not moving quickly enough and that’s true for Europe in general, I think. And to summarise you know that statement you know, it’s not a surprise because if it happens constantly. You know 500 years ago, China was the global market leader – marine leaders of the world – and then the Netherlands and the UK started to build ships for global trade and then you know the Chinese said “these ships are too expensive” and they became fat and lazy. And then you know 100 years later they were broke. Now you know fast-forwarding four hundred years, they are hungry again, they are aggressive again. And we’re lazy. We are fat. So, it’s a back and forth we shouldn’t be surprised because it happens in history all the time. But the human race is interesting because we don’t believe what we don’t like, even if there’s evidence. That’s how I see it.

[Nick] Nobody likes change. Wow that’s a big subject to finish on that sounds like we’ve got two or three future podcasts there. If we’re not talking about disruption of supply chains, we’re talking about disruption of companies, disruptions of industries, and potential disruption of countries to do with their attitude of who the winners are going to be in the future. And the whole issue of the emergence of Asia and that’s something which we’re very aware of. We’re doing a lot of work in Asia, it is incredible what they’re doing and than the insights that they have out there. They are already thinking about when this is going to be especially as all the products are made out there. From an IoT point of view, the embedding of the connectivity in the product as a feature not a SIM card, which with the iSIM going into the module there isn’t really going to be a SIM card in future. That is going to happen, and they put in their module onto the PCB on IoT product. That isn’t going to happen in the West and that’s going to happen in the East with the low-cost manufacturing which is an incredible asset that they bring to bear on this whole issue because inherently the products that they’re making ultimately will be the ones capturing the data and transmitting the data. So, lots of issues there in the future and some very very innovative business models coming out of these but unfortunately Josef we have to leave it there. I normally ask people for who else you can recommend for the podcast but you’ve already said around John at Learnd around the facilities buildings management, so I think we probably pick up on that. I also sometimes say tell me one thing about you that people don’t know about you that you can you open with? That ruined my ending because I didn’t know the story about your parents and the bakery and that is such a nice story. So how the hell did you earn enough money in two years, if I got it right, to quit school at 16, become an entrepreneur, bakery gone bust, price of bread dropped. Your first experience of disintermediation and manage to buy a house in two years? Have I got that right? What did you do?

[Josef] Trying to focus on an offering that the market needed at that time and this is you know this is going back a few years now. This is the time of unit, you remember that and security was not a topic back in the days right, so you know people were connecting networks and systems and they did not introduce various or security mechanisms into these systems. So even a person who had as little talent as I could add value when it came to security, so my first two companies were security companies and the first one was a service company. That’s what subsidised the house so to speak and the next one was a security product company and I was just lucky enough that timing was my friend, let’s put it that way.

[Nick] It’s amazing how many really really successful people are humble and claim that it was luck and timing. I think the rest of us know there’s probably another ingredient as well, but I won’t embarrass you by focusing on that. Instead I’ll finish here thank you so much Josef, for your time and insights. Congratulations on the investment of the company and the disruption that you are now driving as part of the Munich Re group as CEO of Relayr. And for our listeners I hope you enjoyed this episode certainly. I did, I thought it was absolutely tremendous so much we could unpack for future episodes there but in the meantime tune in again for the IoT Leaders podcast. We will have more guests on sharing their insights, their experiences, and their stories indeed of their life and what they’ve learned around digitisation and IoT. Josef, Thanks again and I’ll talk to you soon.

[Outro] Thanks for tuning in to IoT Leaders, a podcast brought to you by Eseye. Our team delivers innovative, global IoT cellular connectivity solutions that just work, helping our customers deploy differentiated experiences and disrupt their markets. Learn more about what we do at eseye.com.

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