We talked to Julian Studer of LORIOT about its long-range IoT solution deployments during the pandemic.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Julian Studer: I am happy to say that both my family and my LORIOT family are fine and have not been directly affected by this awful pandemic. I hope it will stay that way until we can finally leave the coronavirus behind us and go back to normal.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded LORIOT.
Julian Studer: Before founding LORIOT, I built my career in the banking sector. I worked at UBS in Geneva and Zürich for about 10 years and had the opportunity to build a large international network over time. In 2015, together with the other co-founder Vit, I realized the potential of the newly born LoRaWAN technology in the IoT Sector. I realized that I could put my knowledge, skills, and personal contacts at the disposal of a risky but ambitious project. It was not an easy choice, but time proved me right.
How does LORIOT innovate?
Julian Studer: We are convinced that technology and the Internet of Things will contribute substantially to tackle the challenges of our times, to change our society for the better, and to make the world a greener and cleaner place. I even call it the 5th industrial revolution. For a long time, adopting IoT solutions has been very complex and expensive, but today, thanks to low-power and wide-range transmission technologies, this is no longer the case. Our mission is to make IoT accessible for everyone, wherever they are. To do this, we have developed a network server capable of handling all the complex tasks required to allow reliable and secure data communication between objects and application systems for professionals. This is not just a one-shot innovation. Protocols continue to evolve, and new technologies are entering the market. Our product must, therefore, evolve accordingly and always offer the best performance. From the very beginning of our adventure at LORIOT, we have built a global server infrastructure capable of offering excellent performance in every part of the world. Today our solution is used in over 150 countries worldwide, connecting thousands of sensors and gateways. This, of course, make all of us really proud and eager to continue providing value to our users.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Julian Studer: In our industry, uncertainty has weighed more heavily than the various regional lockdowns. The economic resources allocated to digital transformation have remained stationary and, in some cases, relocated. Similarly, VCs have been waiting to see how market trends are evolving. This uncertainty materialized in the slowdown of IoT projects or their hold back in the most extreme cases. In some cases, fortunately, few innovative IoT startups have run out of resources and have been forced to close down. Some of them were, unfortunately, our customers. As far as we are concerned, we saw a slowdown in business and IoT deployments in the first phase of the pandemic. However, later it became clear to everyone how IoT can actually help us better manage the crisis and the “new normality” that awaits us. Now we can observe many new projects often closely related to the needs that have arisen with the current situation.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Julian Studer: From an organizational point of view, at LORIOT, we have adopted the utmost caution and used our sense of responsibility towards the people who work with their families and us. We have therefore chosen to work in a full remote mode. This did not result in any loss of efficiency in our case as we were already a distributed team used to work with collaborative tools and where mutual trust is a fundamental part of our corporate culture.
Another aspect that required a change was related to live events. To us, attending industry events has always been an important part of our business strategy because events are an excellent opportunity to meet our customers and talk about new projects as well as to meet and connect with potential future clients.
Unfortunately, online events do not have the same impact.
However, this has encouraged us to play a more active role in this area, considering that many other organizations suffer the same issue. Recently, we have organized webinars and a series of matchmaking digital events called LORIOT Business Connect, which allow us to promote IoT, generate new opportunities for our clients, and, at the same time, connect with new players in the market.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Julian Studer: Tome two important release valves are motorcycling and free diving. These activities allow me to disconnect for a few hours and discover new places, often unknown to most people. Thanks to these disciplines and, in particular free diving, I have also learned to observe things from other angles, how important the discipline is to overcome one’s own limits, and the importance of good breathing useful in any circumstance.
Spending time with my beloved ones is also a great antidote to deal with stress. In the end, stress is part of all our lives, but stress is built in our minds, and with your mind, you can influence this stress incredibly.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Julian Studer: The IoT market has been booming over the last few years, and of course, it is attractive to a large number of players. Competition is tight, but quality, security, and excellent customer support can still make a huge difference. We can rely on a great, well deserved, I would say, reputation, plus we do have a specific focus on a particular customer segment. Our team has great know-how, which we use to deliver as much value as possible, not just in technical aspects but also in making introductions and helping them to navigate the market.
On the other hand, it is part of our philosophy. We never stop innovating both the product, studying new solutions and providing continuous updates, and the strategy with the aim of positioning our brand in a distinctively competitive position. Last but not least, we are one of the youngest teams around there, our average is around 34years, and we do care about our customers, they feel it, the right chemistry between our partners, customers, etc. is one of the most essential aspects.
Your final thoughts?
Julian Studer: These are difficult times, and we are all called upon to use common sense and responsibility towards ourselves and our loved ones. However, we must avoid being frightened by uncertainty and having an attitude of expectancy. Waiting for everything to go back to the way it was before. Many things have changed and are meant to remain like this. This is the time to intercept new trends, anticipate new needs, seize the opportunities that arise, and prepare for the new normality in order to play a leading role. But also to learn from this situation, learn from the difficulties to be prepared for the next challenges.