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Episode 23: The OG of IoT Returns: A Chat w/ Rob Tiffany (Part 2)


with Rob Tiffany

VP & IoT Intrapreneur at Ericsson

January 18, 2022

22 minutes

Rob Tiffany, VP & IoT Intrapreneur at Ericsson and the Executive Director at the Moab Foundation, returns for part 2 of our wide-ranging conversation on IoT.

In this episode, we’ll delve into ethics in technology and how IoT can be further leveraged for the common good. We also chat about the future of IoT and how it fits into “Capitalism 2.0”.

We discuss:

  • IoT and technology thresholds: the lines that shouldn’t be crossed
  • How the Moab Foundation helps the world
  • What’s on the horizon for Ericsson 

This post is based on a podcast episode with Rob Tiffany, VP & IoT Intrapreneur at Ericsson. To hear more interviews like this one, subscribe to Over the Air wherever you listen to podcasts.

The Spectre of Skynet

In part one, we discussed how not everyone is a fan of the IoT, especially those with “economic anxiety” who see their traditional blue-collar jobs being eradicated by the Invisible Hand of the market and the inexorable forward pace of tech.

Where’s the line between healthy progress and frightening cyberpunk dystopia?

Science fiction aside, technology was always supposed to be a tool to help people. The development of social media — and the corresponding rise of teenage depression and general outrage — at first seemed an innocuous way for people to stay in touch with friends and family. 

Now the algorithms woven into our online life are a bit menacing. Manipulative. We are in the Matrix, to a certain extent, as Rob points out. Even Elon thinks we’re living in a simulation. 

Don’t worry — there are still plenty of places to get off the grid. For now.

Moab’s Digital Twins

Rob might be a VP of a global company, but he’s never stopped designing. He quickly realized the impact his digital twin platform could have on agriculture, water conservation, and other sustainability projects.

Christened Moab after the Utah town perched on the edge of breathtaking Arches National Park, Rob aligned his platform with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals

The Moab Foundation is utilizing Rob’s digital twin concept to develop achievable plans for countries that desperately need to increase the rate of food production. With rapidly increasing populations, he really wants to move the needle in those parts of the world as fast as possible.

A sterling case of technology as a force for good, rather than terminating robots.


What’s up next for Rob, Ericsson, connectivity, and the IoT?

Ericsson is helping cover the world in 5G. They’re looking toward the days of connected cars traveling the globe via their encompassing virtual infrastructure. 

Rob is also working on a secret project codenamed “Thunderstruck.” He’s seeing underperformance in the internet of things and wants to know why — and how to fix it. One issue is a lingering disparity between the device side and the platforms.

Updating and automating both device software and platform backend requires skills that are still relatively uncommon, however. And then you have to worry about zero trust. Rob’s somewhat mysterious new project hopes to alleviate these problems.

He’s literally been down on the farm doing testing and focusing on the vital allocation of resources, leveraging Ericsson’s 5G connectivity to create a more benevolent and capable IoT — the lifeforce of Capitalism 2.0.

Rob might be the grandfather of the internet of things, but he’s still a vibrant leader, a fixture in the Seattle community, a best-selling author, successful podcast host, and an enthusiastic volunteer. He’s consistently riding the laser edge of tech and has his keen eye on what everyone else is coming up with as well. 

“There’s a lot of people doing some good stuff out there.” It’s not all just AI coming to murder us in our beds. Thankfully.

How to connect with Rob:

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Hosted by: Ryan Prosser

CEO at Very

As Very's CEO, Ryan collaborates daily with product, sales, and marketing to deliver the IoT solutions our clients look for. He is also a champion for our culture, fostering transparency and efficiency across our distributed team.