Nigel Chadwick interviewed by Entrepreneur Country Global

Nigel Chadwick has overall strategic responsibility and team leadership in respect of the globalisation of its IoTx connectivity enablement platform and has to date played a key role in steering Stream Technologies to the company's current leading position within the wireless connectivity field.

He is a chartered accountant and was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year 2013, with substantial experience and wide ranging expertise in the M2M and IoT sectors, frequently presenting or moderating at specific events in the USA, Far East and Europe.

Stream Technologies provides and enables global wireless connectivity designed for IoT & M2M across cellular, satellite and low power radio networks. Stream's IoTx connectivity enablement platform facilitates Communication Service Providers and also Enterprise clients to effectively compete and manage connectivity within the IoT sector on a global basis.

Tell me a bit about your background and how you came up with the idea of Stream Technologies?

I have a first class honours degree in Hotel, Tourism & Catering Management (which included a work placement with Disney in Florida), and I am qualified as a Chartered Accountant (ICAE&W). Subsequently I gained a professional market research qualification - I think at the time, I was the only person in the UK holding both qualifications! Prior to setting up my own consultancy in Glasgow, I worked for an international management consultancy firm in London, specialising in Hotel & Tourism related feasibility studies. In 2000 a chance meeting with my co-founding COO (Kevin McDowall) resulted in a discussion and the realisation that we shared a vision - at some point in the future mobile networks would be used for transit of data between machines. Remember back then text messaging was just starting to get into its stride. The following week we set up Stream and began working on creating a cellular network based business with a focus Machine to Machine (M2M).

What are the possibilities for machine-to-machine technologies and how does it work?

We are really just at the beginning of the growth and possibilities in M2M/IoT. Firstly, there exists multiple ways to connect devices via the internet and transfer data from point A to B. Cellular is the obvious wireless layer, but there is also satellite, Wi-Fi, cable, plus an expanding range of Low Power Radio Network technologies. In terms of solutions, these continue to pervade increasing aspects of our lives, industry and global challenges. There seems to be a constant run of new solutions introduced into the world: smart metering, security applications, environmental monitoring and protection (including rhinoceros tracking!), asset management, big clock maintenance, being just a few examples.

In 2014 the Internet of Things was among the most distinguished concepts with a rapid growth on the market, why is that and how come the market haven't picked up until now?

There is a prediction by analysts of billions of devices connected within the Internet of Things by 2020. I think we are on the cusp of an explosion of connected devices, and several factors point to this. Growth at Stream has been exceptionally strong in the past 12 months, far exceeding previous periods of steady sustained growth - which I believe is a factor of many things, including to some extent the recovery of global economies. However, the big drivers include the lowering of Total Cost of Ownership of a connected device and solution. Hardware and software, coupled with connectivity costs are falling - machines, devices or 'things' are coming down in price, but have increased functionality. This is coupled with efficiency in connectivity management, aided by specialised connectivity and management platform companies such as Stream. We anticipate that as Low Power Radio Networks become widespread and enabled for private network management, alongside Wi-Fi and cable, introducing a whole new connectivity infrastructure, offering immense opportunity to monetize end point connections - hitherto not possible.

What are the challenges you are currently facing?

Our main challenge concerns how to scale and globalise, as our recently released IoT-X 'Unified Access Connectivity Environment' generates increasing interest from wireless carriers and enterprises around the world. Our legacy core connectivity business is also globalising. We are adding more carrier footprints, but it is the more recent platform play - we believe - will generate greater value within Stream Technologies. Utilising key partnerships to create a fast and completely unique Internet for Things ecosystem.

Being in the forefront of an ever-changing industry, how do you stimulate innovation within your company?

This is a very good question! I was just asked the same thing last week by top execs in one of Europe's largest companies, seeking to invigorate their own innovation 'culture'. I think it is imperative to focus on nurturing a culture of innovation - which inherently requires a balanced risk approach. Secondly, It requires talented teams; who truly embrace open communication and a common vision. They need to be in touch with the markets/customers, but also suppliers/partners - picking up on 'friction' within the overall supplier-Stream-customer environment. Simultaneously constantly challenging how things can be done differently. Always keeping in mind the creation of value, whether that is tangible or intangible, short or long term. Culture is an often misunderstood term and is frequently overlooked completely. In my mind, an innovation culture goes hand in hand with a 'can do' attitude - this, together with the right depth and range of skills can yield some amazing results from teams.

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