Editor’s note: This interview is part of a Q&A series with winners of the ORIGIN Innovation Awards 2020. Overdrive IOT is a winner in the category Startup Awards–IoT.

The challenges and opportunities that come with digital transformation through IoT are not necessarily just technical. In this TechNode Global Q&A with Zen Chin, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Overdrive, we learn how IoT adoption in the enterprise also comes with cultural and mindset challenges.

Apart from being a winner at the ORIGIN Innovation Awards in 2020 under the Startup Awards-IoT category, Overdrive IOT has been gaining attention in the industry through the following:

  • Winner, Singapore Business Review Technology Award 2020 (IoT Award for Ridership Management System)
  • Singapore School & Private Hire Bus Owners’ Association (SSPHBOA) and ESG Project (Smart Fleet Management with Diagnostic Preventive Maintenance)
  • Winner, Ministry of Manpower Tender project (Fleet Management System)

Kindly share with us a brief background of your team and company.

Overdrive has come a long way in the IoT world since our launched in 2015. Young and driven, we have built powerful and dynamic systems that allow businesses to build an interconnected data-sensing environment on the go. We started off with managing vehicles which later went beyond tracking.

Over the past few years, our team of technology experts has undertaken the challenge of developing new methodologies to accomplish brand new solutions. Today we offer high-level IoT technologies that are custom designed for any business.

What are the emerging trends driving innovation in the IoT industry?

The continued technical maturity and lowering costs of certain key technologies such AI and edge computing will drive further adoption and innovation in the IoT space. People will use AI to spot trends and predict problems before it happens. For example, the ability to run multi-scenarios of any transportation or logistics operations based on varying parameters such as capacity, time, distance, will allow businesses in the entire value chain to plan and anticipate, make key strategic decisions of which trending goods should they keep in stock, should logistics providers deploy certain hub-spoke model to drive down delivery times and lower cost, etc.

We are already seeing immense use of technology by the major e-commerce giants such as Alibaba and JD.com, progressively and increasing every few cycles (years). In 2020, despite COVID-19, during the Singles’ Day between Nov 11 to 16, saw 2.97 billion packages delivered across China within a week! This marks a 28 percent increase from the year before. This huge volume is unsustainable without heavily leveraging technology, and the numbers will definitely continue to grow as technology improves. Just for reference, UPS delivered 5.5 billion packages and documents within a year in 2019.

What are the three key challenges in the industry that your company is trying to address?

We have always been dedicated to developing high-powered IoT solutions for all businesses to help promote safety, security, and efficiency. We want to empower connection and provide valuable data that can drive organizations towards the succeeding frontier of the future.

To simply put, Overdrive IOT is trying to:

  • Allow people to easily connect any sensors or devices onto our platform, so that
  • They can easily extract and use the data from these sensors or devices, and
  • Use our value-added features and tools such as data visualization, analytics to get an even deeper understanding of these data, which they could better relate to and gain insights into their business or operating environment.

How is Overdrive addressing these challenges?

When Overdrive IOT first started, we face not just only technical, but also cultural and mindset challenges. As a starting key strategy, we focused on providing solutions catered to the transportation and logistics industry, where we connect up different types of sensors and devices to vehicles and provide easy-to-use Web & App solutions for our SME customers to allow them to manage their moving assets.

We then started developing APIs that allow other developers to easily extract our data, and build other smart applications on top of our IoT device connectivity platform. Some examples are Estimated Time of Arrival, Car Sharing, School Bus systems.

Next, we are now looking at how we can aggregate some of our historical data and provide insights such as predictive maintenance based on certain usage patterns of the vehicles, driving patterns, and provide insights into how our customers can fine-tune their operations and maximize efficiency.

By connecting vehicles, assets, homes, buildings, or even people through our complete range of IoT solutions, we make valuable data widely available. Therefore, equipping our clients with the tool they need to make actionable insights and better-informed decisions.

What gives Overdrive a unique edge?

It is difficult to measure or explain the uniqueness of our solution by referencing any technical feature or key technology that we adopt. The uniqueness of our solution is the limitless possibility that we can offer to our customers and users. We have proven that our solution forms the essential building block of any IoT-related business use case.

It is not just the technical benefits that we bring to our customers. In addition, it is how we have helped several of our SME customers in the transportation industry–to easily embark on the digitalization process through the use of our IoT platform to combine sensor data to their operations data.

For example, through the use of Overdrive, one of our customers is not just receiving data to track the location of their fleet. It also allows them to set triggers or alerts to understand which jobs they have completed, which jobs they have not yet assigned, what is their operations workload versus the assets that they can assign to fulfill the jobs, etc. It brings greater meaning and context to how they can better manage and optimize their business.

ORIGIN: How IoT and data are changing the way we work and make business decisions