By @SimonCocking. Great interview with Patrick Ward, Microsoft Internet of Things (IoT) Specialist for EMEA.  Patrick will be appearing at Dublin City University Alpha Innovation Campus, at our event on May 30th. Learn more by coming to the DCU / ITN IoT event on May 30th, last few tickets available here.

Why is Ireland excelling in IoT? DCU Alpha campus in partnership with Irish Tech News to host May 30th conference

1 min pitch for what you are doing now?

Embedded systems have played a central role in our lives for 30+ years now. ATM’s, cars, fridges, POS terminals, manufacturing lines, security systems… all run using embedded technology. My role is to work with the Microsoft’s partners and customer across EMEA to understand what benefits there might be in connecting these “things” to the cloud. What data do they produce and how might it provide new insights that help create better products, improve service levels, reduce operational costs and transform customer relationships? I focus in particular on the impacts to the business model. What’s the appropriate way to charge for an IoT service so the customer can cover costs as they scale, and ensure they earn a margin? What new capabilities will they need internally, and which capabilities will they need partners for?

How were the last 12 months, what worked well, what didn’t move as quickly as you would have liked?

I’m 8 months in my current role now, and I’ve hugely enjoyed learning so much about IoT – a domain that’s still pretty new and is developing rapidly. I get a real kick out of running a workshop with the manufacturer of screens for ships in Sweden one week, and a cow milking machine manufacturer in Belgium the next. The outcome of these workshops is pretty consistent: positive surprise amongst the customer’s Leadership Team when they realise how much more value can be derived from their current products by connecting them to the cloud to deliver new scenarios like remote monitoring and predictive maintenance.

What doesn’t move quickly is the decision making process. Most IoT projects are still signed off at Board level because the technology is still relatively new, new capabilities are required and businesses are understandably cautious about the fundamental changes to the business model that an IoT scenario can sometimes create. Multiple stakeholders are involved, and well-publicised security incidents drive cautiousness too.o.

What are your plans for the future?

Well, I’m still relatively new in my position, and it’s the best role I’ve ever had. I really enjoy the opportunity to work with customers from cultures as diverse as Russia, Norway and South Africa. And I’d like to stay with Microsoft for the foreseeable future – it’s an organisation almost unrecognisable from when I joined six years ago, and products like Hololens and Surface Hub, and our recent Azure IoT announcements demonstrate in a meaningful way the appetite to innovate and shake things up.

What will you be talking about at this event? 

I think IoT comes to life by talking about the projects we’ve worked on, and the insights we’ve learned along the way. These projects can have profound impacts on businesses and the customers they serve. I’m looking forward to sharing some of my experiences, and learning from others. Different partners bring a different perspective, from comms, hardware, cloud, software development, data science and so on. So events like this can be a great opportunity to learn about IoT from these different angles.

Which influencers and websites do you follow to keep up to date with the latest developments?

Satya Nadella is an inspiration, and his calm, thoughtful, centred persona appeals to me. I had the honour of coordinating his visit to Ireland last October. I’m also looking forward to Scott Guthrie’s Irish visit on 26th May in UCD. Considered the “father of Azure”, Scott is clever, he’s technical and he’s a highly engaging speaker.
In terms of websites, I promise I’m not just saying this because Microsoft recently acquired LinkedIn (!), but as a result of that acquisition, I’m now using LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator tool. It gives me great insights into what’s going on in the customers, partners and competitors I follow by delivering a concise summary of their news, what their employees are sharing and so on. I also love Twitter – concise messages with a link to read more if I want it. Other than that, I keep an eye on the usual tech press sources, including Irish Tech News!

How can people find out more about what you are working on?

I’ve often thought about doing a blog, but have not got around to setting that up yet. I try to share what I’m up to on LinkedIn, and interesting market developments and quirky statistics on Twitter.

Patrick Ward is Principle Solution Specialist, IoT for Microsoft. His role is to help Microsoft’s customers and partners across Europe, Middle East and Africa to leverage the power of IoT and Advanced Analytics to transform their businesses.

Patrick began his career in Product Development at Nortel and has led various management roles in UK, Canada and Ireland across telecoms, internet, financial services and cloud computing.

Patrick has held a number of roles in Microsoft, including Head of Audience Marketing and Director of Evangelism in Microsoft Ireland. As Windows Business Group Lead, he launched Windows 8, Windows 10 and Surface in the Irish market.

A native of Dublin, Patrick has a Degree in Electronic Engineering from Dublin Institute of Technology and an MBA from UCD Smurfit Business School.

Exciting IoT innovations taking place at DCU Alpha Innovation Campus. Insights with Ronan Furlong, Executive Director


If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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