Maui Entrepreneurs open up their mind to the potential of the Internet of Things

Nov 25, 2019

“One year ago the question was ‘Will it be connected?’ now people are asking ‘What will be connected and when?’” Robert Schmid, Chief IoT Technologist with Deloitte Consulting was discussing ‘Internet of Things’ with forty Maui small business owners and entrepreneurs at the recent Maui TechOhana.

Presented by the Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB), the November 21 meeting attracted a diverse crowd to hear about how the Internet of Things may affect their businesses – the challenges and the opportunities. 

Gerry Smith, Director of Business Development for MEDB, invited Robert Schmid to speak at the meeting because of his own curiosity about IoT. “I found out there were many applications where IoT sensors can be used in industry to maximize efficiency. Sound, vibration, and heat sensors can work to reduce down time and increase productivity. IoT doesn’t just mean I can open my garage door or adjust my thermostat with my phone.”

“I came because I am interested to hear about practical use cases and emerging opportunities for Internet of Things,” said Paul Butler of Gartner, who works with applications software.

Schmid, who moved to Maui recently and has more than 20 years of experience transforming Global Fortune 100 and start‐up companies to new 21st century technologies, talked story sharing his career path before going into a number of case studies where connecting data in real-time made a big difference. “The greatest opportunity for Maui is in agriculture with ‘Smart Ag’ – looking at ways to increase efficiencies by planning optimal times for planting, saving water, fertilizing and more.”

Many of the attendees were intrigued by the applications for agriculture in Maui. “There are so many things that the Internet of Things can be applied to. It’s in its infancy right now and there are many markets it can be applied to.  It was very interesting to hear about applying to Agriculture – especially saving water,” said attendee Robert Robinson who has worked in software development for thirty years.

Thomas Seidel, founder of a startup came to the Maui TechOhana meeting to get marketing knowledge, socialize a bit and see what he would learn. “Very informative meeting.  I liked learning about the small trackers that don’t need a battery – something I might use in my own company one day.”

Many of the attendees were there for the networking. “With opportunities in Maui limited by distance, I’m interested to hear how we can connect virtually through outreach events like this,” said David Eder who works with the University of Hawaii Super Computer Center.

MEDB’s TechOhana meetings, supported by the County of Maui Mayor’s OED, provide an opportunity to share views and thoughts in an open forum with presentations on relevant topics in business and technology. The next event will be held in February 2020.

To learn more about Maui TechOhana events go to