By Dr. Stan Schneider, CEO, Real-Time Innovations, Inc.
I hate business cards.
Why? My books are on Kindle. My notes are online. I can touch-type so I can have or run a meeting without looking. I’m almost free of this “paper” stuff that was invented in 3000BC. The last bastion, my last use of dead-tree format, is the business card. Like you, I have piles and piles of them. Why can’t this be fixed?
Well, maybe it can. Today, I ran into an IIC company called Chirp.io. Chirp sells simple software that communicates with speakers and microphones. Audio components are amazingly cheap and extremely low power. They don’t need routers or hubs or WiFi passwords. Chirp’s data rates aren’t that fast, but you can slap these things anywhere & they talk without any WiFi or BT or configuration. If you just need a bit of information, this is a really easy way to get it. One target application: adding sensors anywhere: quick, cheap, and easy.
Chirp also told me about an application called trill.cards that’s an electronic business card. It sends business card info with sound with no setup or hassles. Your phone chirps at other phones, and they can hear it and get your info. No WiFi, NFC, or other connection required.
Except for my hope of banishing business cards, I’m not sure I have use for Chirp. But they are just one of the 270+ companies in the IIC. If you don’t need cheap sensors, how about analytics? Middleware? Deep learning? Adhoc networking? Security? Services? Tools? It’s pretty clear: every IIoT company on the planet should be able to leverage the world’s largest IIoT ecosystem at the IIC. Just understanding the amazing mix is great education on the breadth and depth of the IIoT.
The question is…how?
The IIC’s new answer is a program called “IIC Connect”. IIC Connect is like match.com for industrial companies. The concept is simple: you enter your profile and a quick description of what might interest you. Then everyone looks at the profiles and requests meeting; you accept the ones you like. We have some software that does automated scheduling. hen you have 20-minute sessions with your “dates”. It’s fast, easy, efficient, and fun! Just reading through the profiles is educational. The matches are not just random. It matches you with those you (or they) request.
We ran our first IIC Connect event at in Reston last month. Despite some startup glitches, it got great reviews. These comments sum it up pretty well:
- “I had the chance to meet companies I’d not usually connect with.”
- “Great mix of senior leadership of some of the IIC’s largest members and representatives of Small and Medium sized members that are innovating and even leading the market in some areas. Both parties get to self-select meet-ups of interest so it is still controlled, but provides precious one-on-one, face-to-face networking opportunities to initiate new collaborations that might not have happened otherwise. IIC Connect can be a selling-point for the IIC to attract new Members, particularly SMEs that might question the investment and return.”
- “The first really productive networking at the IIC.”
- “The meetings were really, really good. Please do it again! Maybe even make it longer so there can be more meetings.”
Personally, I had 4 meetings: one a very interesting possible partner, one offering contacts into potential customers, one a potential customer himself, and one an existing member who wanted guidance on the IIC from me. The 1.5 hours I spent here probably made the trip worthwhile.
We will run our second event at the meeting in Berlin. We managed to squeeze in a bit more time: 2 hours. So, you should be able to get in 5 or 6 meetings. Where else can you talk with innovative startups, huge company strategists, possible customers, or IIoT experts on any topic? We hope to make IIC Connect a prime member benefit.
Ironically, I also got a business card from each of my IIC Connect meetings. Sigh; that’s how business works today. Until Chirp makes cards obsolete, at least I can make sure I get good ones that come with 20 precious minutes of context.