Guy Yehiav is the President of SmartSense, a platform created to use the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) to help customers protect the assets most critical to the success of their business. Guy is a recognized thought leader in retail, CPG, supply chain, and complex manufacturing with a proven track record of success in M&A, B2B enterprise software solutions, SaaS metrics, and AI and IoT solutions. Guy most recently served as the GM and VP of Zebra Analytics. He supported the overall AI, machine learning, and analytics strategy by driving M&A, and the development of B2B enterprise solutions.
What initially attracted you to computer science?
My first college degree was industrial management with an added major in computer science. I studied optimizing the textile manufacturing and distribution processes. At the same time, I was working with Scitex & Xerox in print on-demand systems. I saw the gaps that needed to be closed in supply chain production manufacturing through the lens of industrial management. The idea was that with automation and computer power, you can reduce the cost and increase margin in textile. That’s what drove me to computer science to begin with. The next stage was founding my first company, Demantra, and the rest was history.
The purpose of Demantra was centered around on-shelf availability. The technology analyzed demand at the shelf level and consumption point (Point of Sale) and moved backwards from there to identify demand fluctuations, standard deviations, behaviors, and influences, enabling full sales and operation planning based on demand accuracy, fluctuations and fulfillment, focusing on supply constraints and enablements.
How did you initially transition into the IoT industry?
My first touch on IoT came after my company, Profitect, was acquired by Zebra Technologies. I found a lot of challenges with IoT sensors that I wasn’t previously aware of. The radio frequency, the connectivity, the electromagnetic noises in the different spaces. There’s a lot of challenges. I like solving challenges. On the other side, as I analyzed the IoT market, I noticed that it was very fragmented and siloed. In a fragmented market, if you find the right company/technology and bet on it, when you win you win big. That’s exactly what I did. I bet on SmartSense and Digi International.
Prior to joining SmartSense you were CEO and the chairman of the board of Profitect before its acquisition by Zebra Technologies in 2019. What was Profitect and what were your key takeaways from this experience?
Profitect was a prescriptive analytics solution that helped retail and CPG organizations enhance workflow efficiency, optimize inventory management, reduce shrink and waste, identify fraud, amplify supply chain savings, and reduce reporting complexity. Our technology analyzed the root cause of incidents and bottlenecks to resolve issues before they led to damage, loss or waste. I loved my time there.
My first key takeaway was that it’s all about the people. It’s about your employees, your customers, and your shareholders. If you scale all those three as a triangle and show that you care about them personally, your company will be successful. I also learned that the best way to reduce the sales cycle is to generate an amazing customer experience and let word of mouth do the rest. Let your success talk, and sales will follow.
Thirdly, I learned that you really need to analyze and learn about your investors before they join you. When you choose an investor, you need to remember that you’re going to partner with them long term. It’s not all about the money. I know a lot of entrepreneurs will take funding from anyone. But don’t just pick anyone. Make sure to analyze their business objectives and motives. Are you aligned? Do they care about the people? What is their average investment to outcome timeline? Do they really want to execute that triangle of employees, customers, and shareholders? If not, you are going to run into problems. The synergy won’t be 1 + 1 = 3. It will be 1 + 1 = 0.
What are some of the different data points that are collected and monitored by SmartSense sensors?
SmartSense’s IoT Sensing-as a-Service solutions provide condition monitoring combined with real-time product traceability across the supply chain to support food, vaccine safety and loss prevention, as well as streamline workflows and enhance asset protection within facilities.
Through enterprise-wide critical asset monitoring and management for pharmacies, labs, clinics and blood banks, SmartSense ensures temperature/humidity compliance with NIST-calibrated temperature monitoring and provides centralized reports and log audits for proof-of-temperature performance. These solutions allow the largest pharmacies and healthcare facilities in the country to easily follow pharmacy refrigeration compliance and improve efficiency. It also identifies root causes of excursions and standardizes operating processes to resolve issues quickly, saving inventory.
For retail grocery and food service industries, SmartSense’s IoT-enabled continuous gas, temperature, and humidity level monitoring prevents cross-contamination and growth of pathogens like listeria. SmartSense protects products with 24/7, real-time critical asset monitoring and management and transforms real-time condition monitoring data into prescriptive workflows. Forward-looking companies need real, impactful data insights that help preserve food quality and improve the customer experience.
What are some of the biggest use cases for these sensors in the food and healthcare industry?
SmartSense manages tens of thousands of sites for leading brands in healthcare, retail, food service, education, transportation and logistics. The food industry invests in IoT-powered critical asset monitoring and loss prevention solutions to drive decision-making, prevent food waste, and keep customers safe. Beyond detection, IoT sensing and monitoring technologies alert employees to make specific corrective actions as necessary with a continuous feedback loop for follow-up to ensure food remains in optimal settings.
For the healthcare industry, it’s critical to have real-time visibility into ambient humidity levels and supply temperatures across the end-to-end supply chain. Automating temperature monitoring processes is the most efficient way to ensure the health and safety of all vaccine recipients. There are several pass-off points between medical laboratories to the very last mile of distribution. Products must remain within optimal thresholds during each exchange. IoT-enabled temperature monitoring solutions are key tools for avoiding potential excursions, which can lead to supply shortages or ineffective inoculation.
What are some of the different machine learning algorithms that are used by SmartSense?
We obviously leverage a lot of technical machine learning components, but I view the real ML algorithm as the customer benefits of our open platform. Our solution eliminates false positives. One of the worst things any prescriptive application can do is generate false alarms. Every prescriptive analytics system has false issues, which leads to alert fatigue and a poor customer experience. Our first machine learning algorithm was to eliminate those by telling customers the probability of alarm accuracy. If it is below 50%, we don’t even flag it to the customer anymore.
Another example of our ML algorithm is the assessment and delivery of degradations in temperature and gases. In data science, degradation in temperature is reflected through derivatives. If our derivative reflects that the change in temperature is due to a back-of-house refrigerator door being left open, we immediately identify that excursion and notify the customer to alleviate the specific issue with a specific action. It’s a much more simplistic and accurate feedback loop. Other solutions will deliver several potential root causes, forcing users to leverage anecdotal guesswork that is much less efficient.
What is the SmartSense IoT Sensing-as-a-Service open platform?
The SmartSense IoT Sensing-as-a-Service open platform is a revolutionary solution designed for operating within the new ecosystems of applications used by modern cloud-based enterprises. It drives the interconnected use of remote IoT sensing and monitoring tools with AI-powered prescriptive analytics within an end-to-end framework that empowers healthcare, pharmaceutical, and food retail organizations to collect, analyze and act on inventory performance data.
The IoT sensors are placed on assets through the facility and perform real-time condition monitoring. Furthermore, the sensors measure asset performance, automating the detection and prediction of maintenance issues that could lead to a future excursion. The raw data collected by each sensor flows through a continuous feedback loop via the prescriptive analytics system, which provides actionable insights to operations teams so they can take the necessary steps to ensure all assets are fully functional and in good condition.
The openness of the platform enables syncing with both SmartSense sensors and certified competitors’ sensors. This results in an increase of sensor types available for use while reducing the level of investment necessary for customers who have already purchased sensors from another certified company.
Can you discuss your views on how the commercial IoT space is becoming less fragmented by supporting more interoperability?
I’m super passionate about interoperability. My smart home has 12 applications on my iPhone. At SmartSense, we developed a cutting-edge open platform to collaborate and work with our competitors in order to minimize the number of applications our customers use. We saw a gap in offerings that deliver adaptable, top-notch solutions that seamlessly integrate with customers’ current technology and met that need with streamlined data extraction, maximized hardware investments and seamless third-party compatibility.
The rapid evolution of technology and the sheer diversity of IoT applications can make achieving full interoperability challenging, however, ongoing efforts by industry stakeholders and the adoption of best practices through the support of government and regulatory bodies are helping to create a more unified and interconnected IoT landscape.
What is your vision for the future of enterprise IoT solutions?
The next phase of IoT development holds the potential to revolutionize the way we monitor and manage products, providing us with comprehensive, real-time data at every step of the journey—inside buildings and outside, anywhere, using the same type of sensors with a long battery life. We will be able to bridge any existing gaps in the flow of data from the inception of a product to its final destination. This seamless flow of information will enable businesses to make more informed decisions, optimize processes, and enhance overall efficiency.
Thank you for the great interview, readers who wish to learn more should visit SmartSense.