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IoT Predictions from Ben Davis: Why Automating Scientific Instruments Will Be the Next Big Thing

Prediction #1: The Market Fails to Properly Value IoT Edge Technology -- Again

A decade ago some of Gartner’s best analysts forecasted 15 billion connected devices by 2020. They ended up overshooting their mark by nearly 50%. Automation isn’t free or always a guaranteed value-creator: when it is more expensive to install a system than the value it creates, why do it?

True value at the edge isn’t simply about device proliferation. It is about strategically placed connectivity leading to process digitization -- where companies spend their money.

Edge analysts will continue to overemphasize the total amount of globally connected devices in the coming years. This statistic is a red herring. The best research will instead focus on the capabilities of edge routers to connect with and control increasingly complex devices and networks.

Prediction #2: Edge Connectivity Will Cater to Scientific Instruments

Phizzle’s business model is to automate lab-grade scientific instruments with critical functionality. In less than two years our company has gained expertise with scientific instruments like particle counters, pH meters, osmometers, and refractometers.

Our Fortune 100 partners chose these devices because they were the most commonly used in a variety of scientific instruments ideal for automation. These instruments are used daily in pharmaceutical manufacturing to procure environmental data sent to the FDA for audit.

Edge predictions have fallen flat for the past decade because the vast majority of connected devices have been idling cell phones, not precise testing machinery. Connecting and automating instruments of this caliber adds significant value for any large, regulated industry.

Moving forward, ROI at the edge will come from the ability to network across these multi-vendor, multi-protocol suites of instruments.

Prediction #3: Automation Becomes a Key Differentiator for Big Pharma

Our Pharma partners started their digitization efforts with these precise instruments because their automation potentially constitutes billions in annual savings.

Pharmaceutical manufacturing is a highly competitive industry with tight margins, and this kind of process automation is considered the biggest OpEx opportunity in recent memory. The race to automate as much of Pharma’s notoriously expensive and complex compliance process will play a significant role in determining industry winners and losers over the next several years.

Prediction #4: Awareness of Indoor Air Quality Becomes a Social Norm

Like many Californians, checking outdoor air quality became a sort of reflex during the 2020 wildfires. The work Phizzle is doing to properly assess indoor air quality - and the sudden swell of interest from universities across the country to join in - is the first step towards making indoor air quality data readily accessible to all.

It shouldn’t be long. Parents are returning children to schools with personal air quality monitors and businesses want to prove their work environments are safe for reopening. The longevity of COVID-19 is only accelerating this process.

My final prediction is that indoor air quality will become a commonly known and watched metric for building safety. It will be entirely normal to enter a new building, open your phone, and quickly check the quality of its air.

IAQ should soon be consistently available for all office employees and perhaps even prospective renters, representing an entirely new norm and metric for evaluating safety.

- Ben Davis, Phizzle CEO

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