The New Crossroads: Not Changing What We Do, But How We Do It

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John McDonald is CEO of ClearObject. John McDonald is CEO of ClearObject.

In 1905, an Indianapolis businessman envisioned a better means of testing cars before delivering them to consumers. A circular track three to five miles long with smooth 100-150 foot-side surfaces would give manufacturers a chance to test cars at sustained speeds and give drivers a chance to learn their limits.

The vision of Carl G. Fisher changed a state and industry forever. Nearly 115 years later, we are poised for another industry disrupting revolution, though this one is not limited to the automotive sector.

As the perception of innovation in the tech sector varies, the core concept of innovation remains: to achieve value for both companies and their customers. We are in a time of unprecedented change and in order to be successful, Indiana and the industries that drive the economy must understand that IoT can change not what we do, but how we do it.  IoT fundamentally alters both process and end delivery by cutting down significantly on the time between gathering and analyzing information, allowing us to make more informed decisions quickly.

IoT is enabling innovation in a range of industries. Some 44% of more than 1,000 company IT buyers in the U.S. and Europe recently surveyed by IT industry networking group Spiceworks said they expect their IT budgets to increase in the year ahead. Among respondents, 29% said they have already adopted IoT technology, while 48% said they are planning to adopt it within the next 12 months, the group said.

In order for Indiana businesses to identify revenue-generating opportunities, execute on them and help continue to build a region capable of competing in a global marketplace, three factors will be imperative to our continued success in positioning our state as an IoT innovator. They include:

Funding

The Next Level Indiana Fund is a valuable asset which allows the state to invest in high-growth Indiana companies. With the 17th largest state economy, but 27th in the amount of venture capital, The Next Level Fund creates an opportunity to seed venture capital in Indiana. The Next Level Indiana Fund is a good start, but we still need to attract interest from investors both inside and outside the state in order to sustain our momentum. The recent Rise of the Rest tour and the $100,000 investment from AOL co-founder Steve Case in 120WaterAudit is a good start, but we need to continue to spur capital investment opportunities.

Flexibility

The tech sector is constantly changing. For those seeking to build businesses in the IoT space, it is critical to adapt and evolve to meet the ever changing needs of customers. IoT allows for a new level of connection between the industry, the product and the consumer and it is wise to remember there are always going to be challenges and pivots necessary when connecting legacy systems and devices. Flexibility in solutions and the willingness to adapt quickly will help get projects off the ground.

Foster Friendships

Business is still built on relationships. As we seek to grow the IoT sector in Indiana, it is vital to form and join organizations that will elevate what we do, discuss best practices for moving our industry forward with higher-education institutions and elected officials and host and attend events such as the Mira Awards, inX3 and IndyIoT to learn from one another, recognize achievements and form partnerships that will benefit our companies and our state as we seek to grow our momentum in the IoT ecosystem.

Start your engines! The time has come as Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness likes to say to “connect the tech sector to the things that make Indiana great,” and showcase the amazing work we are doing not only locally, but globally, to ensure we emerge victors in the tech revolution.

John McDonald is chief executive officer of ClearObject.

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