Robert Schmid

You don’t need to pretend to be someone you’re not. That just takes you someplace you don’t want to be.


Robert Schmid, Deloitte Digital’s Chief IoT Technologist, also known as Mr. IoT, is a pragmatically audacious executive helping companies break into the digital age. As a founder and leader of the internet of things practice at Deloitte Digital, Robert follows his passion in all things digital — IoT, wearables, social, mobile and cloud computing. He works with clients from strategy through pilots to implementations creating value in a new and challenging area. Robert leads Deloitte’s strategic alliance with PTC Thingworx and is a frequent author and public speaker.

Mr. Schmid is also the host and creator of the weekly, live, YouTube show “Coffee with Mr IoT” featuring lively, interesting conversations with the builders, dreamers, the founders, the parents and the wild children of the IoT universe.

Prior to Deloitte, Robert was the CEO and founder of c1oud base, a value-based consulting business focused on digital and tech, and the chief information officer for Activision Blizzard, the world’s largest third-party video game publisher.

Where did the idea for your podcast come from?

I ran into Casey Neistat – the filmmaker/YouTube star – in an elevator in Vegas. We talked about his video of a drone lifting him up . It got me tinking about about what I might do on YouTube, which was the seed that became “Coffee with Ms. Connected and Mr. IoT.”

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I don’t really have “typical” days. I spend a lot of time with my clients – flying to their locations around the country to supervise various ongoing IoT projects and look for more opportunities to use IoT to create real value. I also spend time with my Deloitte teams, all over the world (I’m in India as I write this). And, I love making presentations about Industrial Innovation, Digital Networks and IoT, and spend a fair amount of time creating and delivering talks to whoever will listen.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I am a big proponent of Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast (which I did NOT invent, I believe came from a customer-service oriented strategy at McDonald’s many years ago). I’m always on the lookout for the BIG ideas and use cases in my clients’ sectors. And I’m intrigued by opportunities for achieving greater consumer and human impact with IoT. Then it’s time to locate a pilot that will create value and is scalable. It’s my experience that many aspects of IoT cannot be tested or proven in laboratories but only in real enterprise situations. With proof of concept it’s time to “scale fast.” Call centers, manufacturing floors, and corporate offices all offer considerable IoT potential.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Everything is getting connected! At this year’s CES we saw connected kitchen appliances, fitness trackers, lights, doorbells, washers and dryers, cars, scooters, entertainment systems, everything! And in businesses all over the world entire supply chains are being upgraded into digital supply networks. On the manufacturing floor, IoT is connecting everything to everything else. Why is that exciting? Because, where we used to guess, estimate, extrapolate, now we KNOW!

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive?

I use Google Keep lists and white boards to track anything I think is critical. Works for me.

What advice would you give your younger self?

You don’t need to pretend to be someone you’re not. That just takes you someplace you don’t want to be.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

It’s not so much that nobody agrees, it’s more that it takes years for people see it. I see Tech changing world for the better. Things like ERP (enterprise resource planning) – the integrated management of core business processes, or Cloud computing – enabling ubiquitous access to shared pools of configurable system resources and higher-level services over the Internet _ seemed inevitable to me in 2010, but were still years away from wide acceptance. In my experience, too many businesses insist on “Best practice,” but best practice is really about following not leading.

What is one failure you had experienced, and how did you overcome it?

Years ago, I sold my house and bought a sailboat, moved my wife and two sons aboard and planned to sail around the world. As I was preparing the boat, the mast needed to be refitted and braced. I removed the standing rigging and, it being spring in San Diego – clear weather – I just tied the mast in place. And, unexpectedly, a fluke storm blew in and broke off the mast! That storm delayed our departure by a year. My wife wondered if this was a sign not to go? No, it was a lesson that stuff happens.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Someone needs to come up with sensors to give people a predictive health system (like IIoT predictive maintenance). I’m thinking of a total Healthbit, not just a fitness tracker.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

My Nest Hello doorbell l!!!!! (actually $200+). This device lets me use my phone to see who’s outside my house, to unlock the door remotely, and to talk to anyone at my door or in my yard from wherever I am. It also has facial recognition, so when I approach the door it knows it’s me and lets me in.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Full Contact. Someone wants to give me their business card, but instead, I scan it, then the app automatically adds the info to my address book. Also, for my business appointments, I use a service that lets people schedule meetings without needing to talk to me or go through my assistant.

What is your favorite quote?

I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” – Jimmy Dean

Sail away from the safe harbors, catch the tradewinds in your sails. Explore, dream discover.” – Mark Twain


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