About Me

My name is Angelo Rodriguez, and I am a husband, father of 3 (2 boys & 1 girl), entrepreneur, and Emerging Technologies Consultant at Verizon in Southern California.  Family is my foundation, and the primary motivation for everything I’ve accomplished.  I have lived in 5 states in the last 10 years (Pennsylvania, Florida, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and California).  When I am not working, I love spending time with my family, watching UFC, playing video games, and traveling.  I am passionate about technology startups focused on Internet of Things, and teaching people how to use emerging technologies to improve their lives and businesses.

Brief Background

Spending the majority of my early years in the rough side of Harrisbug, PA–the tiny capital of Pennsylvania that resembles many former industrial towns like Cleveland or Buffalo–certainly went a long way in shaping the man I grew to be.  I grew up in the culturally diverse, but poor neighborhood of Allison Hill.  My parents were middle class, but stayed in the neighborhood to be close to family.  Growing up in that neighborhood provided me with a grit and a “never back down” attitude that has served me well throughout my career.

I was the second oldest of 5 kids and the oldest son.  My family has always been very close, which is likely a product of our cultural background (my father is Puerto Rican).  To this day my siblings are incredibly close and carry  the “us against the world” mentality that is common where I am from.

When I was 18, I moved to Florida to follow my dream to work in visual effects.  I majored in Computer Animation at Full Sail University, but soon realized that as jobs in the field were being exported, that a career in that field might not be lucrative enough to pay the bills.  I met my wife in Florida and my beautiful step-son.  After we married,  we moved to New England where I started working in Verizon Wireless’ business to business sales team in downtown Boston.  While in Boston, I had an incredible opportunity to study  Business Administration & Marketing Management at Harvard University’s extension school, where I completed my undergrad.  The 4 years that I spent on campus at Harvard transformed my life, and provided the opportunity to build an incredible network.

Since then, we’ve moved to California where I am tasked with bringing new products to market, and developing a model to successfully penetrate the Southern California sub-market with emerging technologies.  I am always looking forward to meeting new people and exploring new opportunities, so feel free to connect with me on Twitter @TheIoTExpert or on LinkedIn.

Internet of Things is a Marketing Game Changer

Tech consumers are well aware of the Internet of Things era we are coming in to, however many would be surprised to find the implications these technologies have on the way marketers interact with consumers.

The Problem

Ryan Begley at IBM’s IoT Division wrote an insightful blog on this topic earlier this week. He describes the evolution of advertising, from traditional to digital. As Ryan outlines, the problem with marketing has always been determining causality.internet-of-things-everything-you-need-to-know

Marketers have attempted, to varying degrees of success, to rectify this issue with deep analytics tools. While analytics and algorithms have been used by companies like Google to predict buying behavior, Internet of Things finally gives marketers the ability to truly attribute marketing spend to sales results.

Sample Scenario

Imagine a WiFi connected refrigerator that through sensor and camera technology detects you are running low on milk. A timely event-based marketing message from your favorite grocery store or Amazon provides you an offer if you place your order now via your smartphone or from the refrigerators touch screen. In this interaction, the marketer is able to directly access the need of the consumer and provide a timely marketing message that will have a measurable financial impact.

Looking Forward

One of the biggest challenges to these solutions continues to be the fragmentation and security of IoT platforms. The opportunity is to create widely adopted, secure, unified platforms for IoT that will enable these solutions to scale. Companies like IBM, Microsoft, Google, and Verizon are already fast at work building and scaling various IoT platforms, and the result of that work may lead to what Ryan Begley describes as a digital media transformation.

Key Considerations Before Your Next Connected Device Purchase

There is no denying the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution is well under way.  Gartner expects that there will be 6.4 billion connected devices in use in 2016, and 20 billion by 2020.  As new players enter the field every day, it is important that we focus on customer pain points and products that resolve those pain points, rather than simply creating tech Connected Devices.pngthat is loaded with fantastic features that don’t solve any problems.  As consumers and businesses consider adopting this technology, a few important points should taken into consideration:

How is your data secured?

IoT promises access to a nearly unlimited amount of data analytics including: connected car,  smart home, wearables, and healthcare data.  While there are hundreds (if not thousands) of startups breaking onto the scene offering killer apps to resolve the myriad of issues in each of these spaces, security is increasingly becoming a point of concern.  I call this the “Google problem.”  Google has access to your search data, browsing data, smartphone use and application data, and many other data points.  Some have raised concerns about the amount of data the tech giant collects and how it might be used.  As each company gains insight into driving behavior, health and fitness behavior, and various other IoT applications, the real question becomes–How are these companies safeguarding this information?  Ben Dickson of Tech Crunch outlines some of the security challenges IoT faces in his blog Why IoT Security is So Critical.  Look carefully at the company’s security and privacy policies.  If your information is being shared to partners or advertisers, what specific information is being shared?  How is it being used?

I don’t believe the issue lies in the amount of data being collected, however I do believe it is critically important that companies remain completely transparent so customers understand exactly how their information is being used.  Customers will then be able to make informed, educated decisions about the applications they choose to adopt.

What is the ROI?

For businesses, in particular, this point is critical.  If you are looking into a connected car or fleet tracking solution, consider the potential implications on your insurance premium.  Contact your broker to get an understanding of how much you will save by tracking your connected carvehicles and assets.  This also holds true for consumers, who frequently receive a break in insurance premiums for installing a GPS solution in their vehicle.

Challenge your solution provider to quantify the return on investment in terms of:  fuel savings, overtime reduction, maintenance cost benefits, etc.  Consider ancillary benefits such as the cost of data entry, paper, and other manual processes that many IoT solutions can solve at considerably less cost.

What about the network?

The IoT solution is only as valuable as the network the data travels on.  If you are using a wifi-based connected device, ensure your wifi extends through the entire area you need to collect data and that data speeds are sufficient for your application.  Ensure that your connection is encrypted (VPN, private network, etc.).

If your IoT solution is traveling over a wireless carrier’s network, ask your provider what network they are using.  If the network does not function well in the areas you need your connected device to work, you won’t have access to the data when you need it.  Every carrier has an IoT team, and each has put resources into building out an IoT ecosystem.  Ask questions about the quality of the connection, where you should expect to see connectivity issues, and how the solution provider intends to overcome those challenges.

Final Thoughts

Internet of Things has nearly limitless opportunities to improve our quality of life, however it is important that we ask the right questions.  Large companies like Cisco, Microsoft, Verizon, AT&T, Google, and others have put considerable resources into building out an IoT strategy for bringing these connected devices to the market.  It will be exciting to see how these various players bring ground-breaking technology and must-have killer apps in 2016.

3 Ways to Reduce Your Expenses With Connected Devices

Internet of Things promises to simplify our lives by transforming the way we interact with the Internet. Rather than accessing the Internet from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, people will connect nearly all everyday technology to the Internet over WiFi or cellular. Everything from you car, refrigerator, thermostat, shower, television, or oven will have the capability of connecting to a network to make things easier. There has been a lot of hype over the IoT revolution, with experts like Gartner predicting 20.8 billion connected “things” by 2020. With all of that hype and confusion over what Internet of Things actually means, it’s easy for the everyday consumer to feel lost when trying to answer, “How will the Internet of Things simplify my life?”

In 2015, I made a commitment to utilize connected “things” to reduce my monthly expenses, and I was shocked to see how much my monthly costs went down. Outlined below are 3 ways to reduce monthly expenses by leveraging connected things and smart devices.

Connected/Smart Thermostat: Nest 

Google’s Nest product has completely revolutionized the smart home by keeping the home warm or cool based on weather data, user behaviors, time of day, and historical user img_0014preferences. The device connects to your home WiFi and accesses temperature and weather data, and it actually learns your temperature preferences over time. Nest senses movement in order to detect whether a person is home, however with it’s most recent update, the device will sync with your smartphone to determine if anyone is home. With the latest update, if I am home, the Nest will keep the temperature at 72-74 degrees during the day. When I leave to go to work, it will jump to 78-80 degrees.

The result of utilizing the Nest is that I no longer have to worry about forgetting to turn off the air conditioning, which in California can result in exorbitant energy bills. The Nest also takes the guess work out of setting the temperature. It learned my family’s temperature preferences, and ensures that the house is not being cooled at times when it does not need to be.

Result: Approximately $150 reduction in annual energy costs

Connected Irrigation System: SkyDrop

This is a big one for those of us living through California’s epic drought. In early 2015, we purchased a home in beautiful Southern California, shortly after the state began its water rationing measures. We were faced with potentially removing landscaping and and replacing it with a desertscape (yes…this is an actual thing), replacing the lawn with artificial turf, or finding creative ways to reduce our water consumption. After doing some research, we found a solution called SkyDrop. In a nutshell, SkyDrop is Nest for your sprinkler system.

The device connects to WiFi and waters the lawn based on a combination of user preference, weather forecasts, and temperature to ensure that water is not being needlessly wasted. For a city kid like me, who never had a lawn until now, the beauty of this solution is the ease of programming and the simplicity of keeping the lawn cared for while minimizing water consumption.

Result: 27% reduction in monthly water costs

Connected Car: Verizon Hum 

Connected car is among the most exciting aspects of the Internet of Things space. A variety of startups are attempting to develop a game-changing solution to connect the hundreds of millions of cars in the U.S. to the Internet. Companies like Automatic and Zubie have developed solutions to allow consumers to track their vehicles, receive vehicle diagnostic information, and track safe driving behavior. Recently, Verizon entered the fray with its Hum product. I have been using this product for the last few months, and I have been impressed with its feature set. An overview video is included below:

While there are a number of ways connected car solutions like Hum will help reduce monthly expenses, including: reduced maintenance costs, reduced fuel consumption, etc, the immediate place to reduce costs is through insurance prehum-verizonmium discounts. Many insurance companies provide a 5-10% discount for consumers using GPS technology in the vehicle. For me, that translated into approximately $102 in annual insurance premium savings.

Result: 5% reduction in monthly premium ($102/year)

In total, I am saving nearly $700 per year in energy, water, and insurance costs.  The hardware also paid for itself within the first year. This is just a sample of the potential IoT has to simplify our lives, reduce our costs, and improve the environment. For more information on the latest IoT news and opinions, follow me on Twitter @TheIoTExpert or on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/in/rodriguezangelo.