Zach Supalla, founder and CEO of Particle (particle.io), provides a detailed overview of how technology is improving the ways we can interact with and control our devices and products.
Supalla’s company, Particle, is the dominant IoT platform on the market that simplifies building, connecting and managing internet-connected hardware products rolled out on a large scale. IoT, as it is typically referred to stands for ‘the Internet of things’ and is the comprehensive network of devices such as home appliances, vehicles, etc. that contain electronics, software, actuators, and of course connectivity which allows them to connect, interact directly, and exchange their data. Particle’s innovation has truly taken business by the hand and is leading the industry toward a more connected world. And their numbers are astounding as Particle is used by more than 150,000 developers in over 100 countries and, impressively, by 50% of Fortune 500 companies.
Suppalla discusses the way his company works. Particle is the technology partner that provides the software and hardware to connect products to the internet, which allows for collection of data from the physical device and thus control it remotely. As mentioned, building an IoT product begins with getting a device online, Particle has simplified the process because all their hardware is specifically designed to get devices connected in minutes via Wi-Fi, cellular (2G/3G/LTE), or even mesh (MCL), a technology that allows a computer’s user to easily connect to an advanced wireless mesh network that utilizes Wi-Fi or WiMax.
Suppalla talks about some of the companies that they have worked with that bring real world problems to the table, problems that Particle can help to manage. He discusses one particularly interesting company called Opti that provides a truly effective and incredibly efficient solution to address stormwater runoff and protect valuable water resources. Opti’s stormwater management system is in place all over the world. Opti, as Suppalla explains, has a system that can ‘connect’ to a city’s pumps and valves to dynamically move water, so as a storm is approaching the system can move water around as needed. Opti allows for reservoirs to be controlled, to prevent flooding.
Suppalla talks about some of the industrial uses of the technology such as controlling fans for crop protection during a frost. While these niche industries may seem like they are too small to be concerned with in terms of the technology, they are actually very big, and technology can provide many solutions to these niche industry real world problems.
Further, Suppalla talks about the importance of reliable connectivity. He gives examples of how important and critical messages can be missed when connectivity is lost, even if only for a few minutes, or even seconds. Discussing the IoT world, he states that there are many and various different problems that exist and Particle seeks to intercept problems, find solutions, and improve our lives through the use of technology.
Suppalla is a recognized authority on the Internet of Things and is a sought-after speaker for many technology events such as Web Summit, OSCON, Solid, GMIC, and Launch. Suppalla holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and a master’s in engineering management from the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern.