10 genius quotes from Genius of Things Boston

By | 5 minute read | October 4, 2017

The Genius of Things in Boston is a wrap! A big thank you to the more than 400+ attendees who joined us in person and via the livestream. Below is a sampling of some of the best quotes we heard throughout the day.


“Think big. Start small. Go fast.”

– Bob Wolpert, corporate senior vice president and president, logistics for Golden State Foods

This is the approach that Golden State Foods takes as it embraces digital transformation. The company starts small with pilot programs to evaluate the short-term possibilities. Then, if the pilot succeeds, the company is well-positioned to scale up through their partnership with IBM Watson IoT.

Bob Wolpert from Golden State Foods advocates "think big, start small, go fast" when it comes to digital translormation.

400,000 hamburger patties an hour means that food safety and traceability are critical to Golden State Foods.


“There’s too much data today and there will be too much data in the future by a factor of a thousand.”

– Ben Hoffman, CEO of Movimento

The amount of data in a connected world is vast. All of the data is especially critical to the automotive world, where comprehensive technical solutions will elevate the winners in a rapidly transforming world.


“I stand before you as part of the elevator and escalator industry, asking you for some more love.”

– Danillo Elez, senior vice president, KONE

While Mr. Elez was jokingly asking the audience to give his industry a bit more respect, it is true that elevators are like fingerprints; no two are the same. And the amount of skill it takes for a technician to engage in the operations is a tremendous challenge. With Watson IoT, KONE can listen to the elevators and anticipate problems before they happen, so that the billion people who rely on KONE each day can keep moving.


“You can’t joystick the rover.”

– Tracy Van Houten, systems engineer for NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Ms. Van Houten was describing the complexities of in-flight software updates for the Mars 2020 rover, the first mission to prepare for human exploration. And with IBM’s continuous engineering solutions, the team will perform 3,500 test cases over the next year, and will no longer needs to manage 100+ spreadsheets to keep the mission on track.

“Dare mighty things” is the motto of the Jet Propulsion Lab.

The Mars 2020 rover has much different scientific goals than it’s predecessors, Curiosity. 


“When you reduce the cost of failure, you see a big eruption of innovation.”

– Gary Gauthier, IT manager for operational technology, DTE Energy

Innovation can be expensive but but it is possible to both reduce cost and increase customer satisfaction through the trifecta of asset management optimization, a model of connectivity, and outage prediction and response optimization. DTE is leveraging IoT for Energy & Utilities as the platform to put business experts in direct contact with applied analytics and an environment to leverage the technology.


“We are in a brave new world where not only do our children talk back to us, but so do our appliances.”

-Mohammed Dastagir, vice president and CTO, Sears Home Services

The appliance service industry has been severely disrupted by smart devices. When you need a service call, it may not be a technician with a screwdriver and a wrench who shows up; now it’s more likely that you’ll get someone who can do a software patch. With over six million customer contracts, gathering sensor data and using it to inform repairs, Sears Home Services has the potential to cut down on truck runs, create a better customer experience and reduce costs. This means you only need to take one day off from work, and you know that your appliance will be back up and running with minimal downtime.

Sears Home Services lays out their roadmap for transformation centered around predictive maintenance, quality and warranty.


“One of the biggest challenges is that our clients are still using 20th century technology in a 21st century world.”

-Harriet Green, General Manager, Watson IoT, Customer Engagement & Education, IBM

Digital transformation is the name of the game. The world of technology is rapidly evolving. It is challenging for businesses to stay ahead to stay competitive and differentiate themselves. In order to provide an exceptional customer experience, it is critical to embrace technologies, like blockchain, IoT and artificial intelligence. Then, businesses can infuse a loop of data and insights into everything from product design to operations.

“With IoT, clients want to make markets, make their competitors irrelevant, or become the keystone of their ecosystem.”

-Al Opher, GM, Global Digital Operations Leader, IBM

genius of things boston

Al Opher, IBM discusses three key themes of digital transformation

According to Al, these are the three key themes that permeate his conversations with clients around IoT. Many are even hesitant to share that they are transforming their operations using IoT; they don’t want to give away their competitive differentiation. By accelerating digital transformation, asset-intensive industries can lower costs, enhance customer experience, and generate new revenue streams.


“Does the computer ever get tired?”

-Chris O’Connor, GM, Watson IoT,  IBM

During a demo of cognitive visual inspection, Mr. O’Connor pointed out that human workers can miss small details or make mistakes. Did they get enough sleep? Have they been staring at the same product all day? Are they distracted? With cognitive visual inspections, all of those issues disappear. For example, according to Doug Voda, global segment leader for Smart Grid at ABB (and another great presenter), there are more than twenty paint defects that are too small to be noticed by the human eye.


“Change is inevitable. Progression is a choice.”

– Steve Becker, Kimberly-Clark

This quote is the perfect summary of why we hosted the Genius of Things Boston event. It was a great day full of even greater learnings from our customers, all of whom made the “progression” choice.

While these quotes highlight the day, there’s still a mini masterclass to be found in all the presentations, demos and speakers. That’s why, we’ll be sharing the “best of” the event over the coming weeks to help you hone your own inner genius.

For anyone who missed the Boston event, we’ll also be posting the videos online beginning Oct. 6.  If you’re ready to learn more about IoT today, take a tour of the solutions page to explore how Watson IoT can help you transform your business.