Interview

AI TechPark Interview with Ken Mills, CEO at IntelliSite

Ken Mills, CEO at IntelliSite talks about analyzing customer behavior and the importance of IoT in bringing change.

1. Tell us how you came to be the CEO at IntelliSite. How much of your typical day is involved in innovating tech for your customers?

I have been very fortunate to be a part of a number of start-ups inside big companies like Cisco, EMC, Dell and VMware. I really enjoy creating new solutions, building teams, building new routes to market, etc. My last start-up inside Dell Technologies grew to be over 1B in revenue over 6 years and was focused on safety & security, edge computing, and computer vision. I learned so much from my time at Cisco and Dell Technologies and made many lifelong friends, but I always had this pull to get outside the big company, lead a smaller company and build something valuable. DFW Capital approached me in early 2020 about just that. DFW was looking to invest in IntelliSite, which was led by two amazing brothers Mario and Jorge Campos. Mario and Jorge had built a growing company that was profitable and had zero debt. They had a vision to grow even faster and looked to DFW to provide the capital to achieve that growth. This is where I came in. I met with Mario and Jorge, and we hit it off right away. I wanted to work with these guys and I saw a clear path forward to growing IntelliSite into a $100M+ business. I joined IntelliSite at the close of the acquisition by DFW Capital. Mario and Jorge are still on the team today along with the co-founders of Deep Vision AI. It is great to be surrounded by founders who put their heart and soul into building innovative, successful companies. I love technology and I am a nerd at heart. I spend every day working with our technology team on our IoT Solutions, Edge Computing, Cloud Management and AI Software under development. We hold a daily technology call to discuss the big tech topics of the day. We discuss roadmap progress, customer needs, opportunities that require customer development, internal digital innovation, etc. Every single week, we review major projects that require our technology team to be involved. This could be a big stadium project, an intelligent traffic project, improving the retail shopping experience, or many others. Our goal is to make sure we are delivering what our customers need to ensure they are successful and achieve their desired outcome.

2. What are the applications or rather opportunities you seek to have with your product?

At IntelliSite, we are very fortunate to be focused on some of the most innovative and growing segments in technology. We are really excited to be developing and delivering solutions for Healthy Living, Smart and Safer Communities, Connectivity, and Artificial Intelligence.

3. How did you define the vision of IntelliSite? How did you approach your first 100 days as the CEO at IntelliSite?

The vision of IntelliSite is to help create a safer, smarter and more connected world. During my first 100 days, it was all about scale. I needed to hire the right leadership team to help me drive the growth we believe we can achieve. We also needed to invest in new internal digital operations for fleet management, CRM, ERP, engineering, and others to ensure our tools were working for us and not the other way around. We also needed to tackle a plan to make it through the pandemic with a stable, growing company. We dove right in. In the first 100 days, we hired a CFO, CDO, CRO, expanded our sales team, started deploying a new CRM and ERP, launched a new website, and created a new product we had never sold before. It was busy to say the least. We also acquired Deep Vision AI. Signing a letter of intent to acquire Deep Vision AI was actually my first decision as CEO.

4. What are some of the unique lessons you have learnt from analysing your customer behaviour?

In almost all cases customers do not care what technology you use to solve their problem; they care that you can solve it and solve it cost effectively. Focus on the why and not the what. 

5. IntelliSite recently acquired Broad Sky Networks, Forms Holding Company. Can you elaborate more on the same?

In order to deliver on our vision of helping create a safer, smarter and more connected world we need to invest more in the connectivity side of our business. Broad Sky Networks has been around for over 17 years solving connectivity problems for 1000s of customers. Broad Sky Networks has a great reputation of making wireless work for its customers and we did not want to lose that. We created EPIC IO Technologies to allow us to continue to leverage both the IntelliSite and Broad Sky Networks brands. We also wanted to create the leading company in Connectivity, IoT, AI and Video. Creating a holding company allows us to share resources across IntelliSite and Broad Sky Networks. EPIC IO is also not just a name, it is a tip of the hat to our company culture code. EPIC IOExtreme Ownership, Problem Solving, Integrity, Customer Success, Innovation, One Team. This is the culture code that drives our company and everyone in the company has to read, understand and acknowledge our culture code and what we can expect of each other.

6. IntelliSite Solutions Accepted into NASPO Through partnership with Cradlepoint. Can you elaborate more on the same?

We do a lot of work in the public sector space. NASPO allows cities to use pre-negotiated pricing to deploy technology quickly, reducing the time a project adds needed value for the community.

7. How do you keep pace with the rapidly changing tech space?

I do a ton of reading, research and listen to many different technology podcasts. Essentially anything about the edge, AI, IoT and connectivity; I try to consume to better understand the market and where it might go. I am also very fortunate to have a very strong technology-minded team lead by Michael Knight who is my Chief Digital Officer. Michael and his team CTOs and solution architects are talking to customers and partners every day to learn what they need and how we can help them solve their problems. We are looking for the balance of what our customers know they need today with the possibilities of what tomorrow are.

8. What are some of the common pain points that your customers commonly approach you with?

Our solutions can be customized to meet nearly every need, so we have customers using IntelliSite for a variety of use cases, but what it essentially comes down to is gaining real-time situational awareness so they can make the best possible business decisions based on data-driven insights.
For example, we work with a number of city governments to help ensure public safety. There are so many elements at play here – monitoring and quantifying traffic flow and crosswalk traffic, proactively deterring illegal activity such as illegal dumping and vandalism, monitoring the air quality (dust particle concentrations, pollution, carbon monoxide, etc.) to promote healthy living – that the combination of our IoT and AI solutions are integral in creating meaningful change for our customers. Additionally, our solutions can be up and running in very little time, enabling our customers to address their challenges head-on in a short timeframe.

9. What advice would you like to give to the upcoming tech start-ups?

Very simple: Focus on the why and not the what.

10. Can you give us a sneak peek into some of the upcoming product upgrades that your customers can look forward to?

IntelliSite has a long, rich history of delivering IOT Solutions with true business impacting outcomes. Sensors, Cameras, Video, Visualization and Management.
 
DeepVision has an amazing track record of delivering groundbreaking AI Solutions that provide much needed insights to all major verticals and customer types. Video, Images, AI and Visualization.
 
A challenge that existed between IOT and AI is having a common, supportable and extensible method to connect customers to these various data sources, the resulting data sets and enable operationalization of enrichment to produce valuable insights that drive real outcomes.
 
Our goal for innovation is Connecting.
 Things. Edges. Clouds. Data. Insights. Outcomes.

Connections Defined: Sensors to EdgeEdge to Edge, Edge to MEC, Edge to CloudData Sources to Enrichment CapabilitiesEnriched Data to InsightsInsights to ActionsActions to OutcomesSimplified Focus:
 ConnectivityIngestionEnrichmentInsightsOutcomes

In order to achieve these goals, we needed to intertwine some very important capabilities:
                •              A cloud native, extensible, edge friendly architecture that can deal just as well with high capacity and scale as with latency and ruggedized requirements
                •              Orchestration of deployment, operations and management of not only the compute nodes but also the applications (IOT and AI) themselves without refactoring
                •              Leverage common Compute and Acceleration Capabilities (Intel, NVIDIA and ARM) and existing infrastructures without forklift requirements
                •              Hierarchical Rule Chaining and Relationship-focused Data Visibility meeting the needs at every edge and for each persona
                •              A secure communications fabric that enables all system and platform functionality
 
We have removed the digital divide between our IOT and AI Stacks by creating a secure fabric where raw data can be acted upon and enriched at the closest possible location to the source and only the valuable metadata is transported for higher-level visualization.

This not only enables inferencing at the edges but also training at the appropriate edges as well from the enriched data in the visualization layer.

11. Which is the one tech breakthrough you will be on the lookout for in the upcoming year?

I wish I could just say 1, but it is really 2. 2021 should be a really big year for the emergence of 5G, and it needs to be more widely available so that people can see the value and what it can bring to organizations. The industry has been talking about the “promises of 5G” for a few years now, that it’s finally time to showcase what it’s all about. I believe the technology is finally in a place to move the needle, so promoting adoption through availability will be key.

Secondly, we need more options for industrial edge computing. There are so many benefits to what organizations can do at the edge, but we need to create opportunities for organizations to leverage this technology. For example, we need to arrive at an offering that can power complex AI in a 12X12 box that could sit on a light stand or pole. 

 12. What is the one leadership motto you live by?

No one is too important to help a team member, a customer, a partner in any way possible. If you can help, help.

For more such updates and perspectives around Digital Innovation, IoT, Data Infrastructure, AI & Cybersecurity, go to AI-Techpark.com.

Ken Mills

CEO at IntelliSite

Ken serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Epic IO, IntelliSite & Broad Sky Networks.

Ken has an early background in nuclear physics and reactor engineering, and over 20 years of business-to-business technology and information security expertise.

Prior to joining IntelliSite, Ken was the General Manager & Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Dell Technologies Safety & Security, IoT, and Computer Vision business unit. During his tenure, he was recognized as one of Dell Technologies top security and public safety experts who were instrumental in establishing and growing Dell Technologies Safety and Security solutions.

Prior to Dell Technologies, Ken was a Fellow at the U.S. Department of State. Earlier in his career, he spent close to eight years building a hyper-growth business for Cisco’s Safety and Security, Access Control, and Emergency Response business unit. Previously, Ken was a Partner in one of the largest contract field sales organizations in the United States and served as a Nuclear Engineer for the United States Navy.

Ken holds a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Business Management from the University of Phoenix and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Clemson University. He is a member of the Security Industry Association (SIA) and serves on the Cybersecurity Advisory Committee for the University of South Florida Muma College of Business, an Advisory Board Member for the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security, and a member of the Forbes Technology Council.

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