Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Disrupting SCADA and Beyond

SCADA or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition is a system for monitoring and control of industrial processes and complexes from power generation, to heating and ventilation, to manufacturing and beyond.

Today, there are a host of vendors providing these systems and most of them have evolved from massive scale-up systems to smaller collections of networked sub-systems.  But, most of them are large proprietary systems and that are expensive and complicated to deploy.

This means SCADA vendors and the industrial telemetry and automation market is ripe for disruption.  Established vendors are clearly rushing to evolve their portfolios and build a more modern, Cloud and IoT based solution.  But, there is also a startup that has the potential to eat their lunch - Samsara.

What I love about Samsara is the how clean, clear and focused the company is.   Their products are "apple-like" in their elegance and simplicity.  And, they have four very clear initial use cases - Fleet Management, Industrial Monitoring,  Cold Chain Monitoring and Power Monitoring.

They provide a plug-and-play cellular gateway to stream sensor data from the site / vehicle to the Samsara cloud.  This gateway has proprietary software for added security and reliability.  They have applications that run on their cloud and provide visibility to devices and analytics of the data.

They also provide a range of sensors that can send data to the gateway.  These sensors can measure temperature, humidity and shock.  They have power monitors for measuring power consumption and efficiency. Lastly, Samsara can interface with third party sensors to monitor additional devices and data.

It's still early days for Samsara, but they raised $25M from Andreessen Horowitz last year and Marc Andreessen is on their board.  The founding team was behind Meraki, purchased by Cisco for $1.2B in 2012.  They clearly have the people, resources and experience to win.

Their aspiration is to make it so simple to deploy and analyze sensors that they can be broadly deployed for all kinds of use cases.  That is an exciting and big vision.  It's far bigger than disrupting the SCADA space, but that's probably one of the first steps.

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