Last week AirWatch chairman Alan Dabbiere joined the Bloomberg Business panel, “What Do Cars, Wearables, Tech have in Common?” Bloomberg News co-founder and editor in chief emeritus Matthew Winkler moderated the panel that also featured technology leaders Joe Lawrence, COO of Porsche Cars North America, and Chris Rouland, the CEO of Bastille Networks, a technology startup that detects malicious behavior in Internet-connected devices. (Read more below the video).
Winkler opened the panel with an impressive, but not shocking statistic: of the 600 largest companies in the world by market cap, those that grew the most spent the most on innovation. This focus on innovation, research and development served as a theme throughout the panel.
Each panelist brought a different perspective to innovation. Lawrence attributed Porsche’s premium and exclusive brand to its focus on innovation. He also shared details on how Porsche has shifted its definition of innovation over the years. About 15 years ago, conversations in R&D were about horsepower, cylinders and even the types of cup holders the car would have. Today, Lawrence said the change is “mind blowing.” Engineers are still discussing fundamentals like powertrain, but the questions now tackle more complex issues, like what type of electric powertrain should be used, whether the car be a plug-in hybrid and if it should run diesel or hydrogen. Porsche houses thousands of engineers in Weissach, Germany that work closely together to create the latest developments in sports vehicle fleet. Some of Porsche’s latest innovation opportunities are tackling how to safely and effectively integrate the mobile phone into the cars.
Rouland, in his early-stage startup, said almost all profits are invested back into research and development. Dabbiere agreed, stating that in the early days of AirWatch all revenues went into innovation, and even the sales team contributed to R&D. As the direct line of communication to customers, sales would share customer feedback with product managers and the suggestions were often developed into the AirWatch product. Rouland of Bastille Networks said R&D can’t come quick enough in regards to IoT devices device protection. In order to reach Cisco’s estimated 50 billion connected devices by 2020, said Rouland, 15 million devices need to be connected a day, which is 50 times the growth of the human population. How to protect and manage these devices as they enter the enterprise is an important discussion topic, and both Dabbiere and Rouland’s backgrounds provided perspective into this challenge.
Productivity was another key topic of the panel as each panelist said innovation is helping companies be more productive today. Dabbiere detailed how due to mobile deployment with AirWatch, a train system in Europe was able to reduce the repair time from identification to repair by 90 percent. Rouland mentioned how cloud providers like Slack notify him which of his engineers completed the most code during the day, while Lawrence explained how autonomous vehicles in rush hour traffic will greatly improve productivity for workers. (Lawrence also made the enterprise case for Porsche and other auto makers developing autonomous cars – to hear his case, listen starting at 23:17 in the video.)
Overall, the panelists agreed: the best is yet to come in technology and innovation. With wearables just proliferating in the market, cars integrating with advanced technology and more devices becoming smarter, the opportunity for increased productivity, connectedness and societal improvement is has arrived.
To learn more about AirWatch’s involvement in IoT, read about AirWatch’s presentation at CeBIT last week.