CARL Data Solutions CEO Greg Johnston on the company’s latest developments, strategic partnerships and the future of finding trends in data.
CARL Data Solutions (CSE:CRL), or CARL for short, is creating all-in-one enterprise applications for data collection, storage and analysis. In layman’s terms, that means CARL is on the cutting edge of what’s been termed the third Industrial Revolution.
CARL is leading the way as companies seek better, more efficient ways of engaging with information and uncovering trends in data. In a conversation with the Investing News Network, CARL CEO Greg Johnston explained what is driving this data revolution forward, emphasizing the importance of strategic partnerships and advanced technology.
Finding trends in data with CARL
CARL is a complex company, but Johnston was able to explain its value proposition quite succinctly: essentially, the company is in the business of building custom big data solutions to help organizations make smarter business decisions.
But what exactly does that mean? Johnston explained that “CARL as a company is about managing big data; collecting, storing and analyzing various sources of information to come up with hidden gems for companies and organizations.” Using standard business intelligence, along with predictive analytics and stream data reporting, the company’s platform is meant “to accept any kind of data, any amount of data and then make sense of that information through software as a service-based applications which are extremely valuable to our customers.”
“If you want it in a nutshell,” said Johnston, the purpose of the company is to “make sense of the Internet of Things.”
Explaining the Internet of Things
Although the Internet of Things is a buzzword in tech circles, it can be confusing for general investors. Johnston, however, was able to straight the record straight about what the Internet of Things really is and how it is fundamental to CARL’s business proposition.
He said, “businesses tied to the concept of the Internet of Things are well positioned to really take off. The Internet of Things is basically about connectivity. Everything from TVs to toasters are becoming ‘smart’ in that they can now send and receive information.” A by-product of this connectivity is the production of enormous amounts of data providing information on everything from operational performance to how a device is being used. According to Johnston, “traditional technologies typically can’t keep up with the types, volume and speed that data is being generated.”
Take, for example, the realm of consumer appliances. Johnston envisions a future where an individual can go to the store, buy a bag of frozen peas and pop them in the microwave. With the press of one button, the peas will cook perfectly — all thanks to the smart microwave, which has the capability of reading the barcode on the bag of peas, accessing the correct cooking information on the internet and then carrying out that task.
“The whole thing will happen behind the scenes and be based on the connectivity of smart devices connected to a data source,” explained Johnston. “The dream behind the Internet of Things is that everything will be so interconnected it will make our lives easier. We’re not far from this becoming a reality for almost everything in our lives.”
CARL frequently engages with the Internet of Things through sensors. The relatively recent acquisition of FlowWorks has brought CARL into the utilities sector, where sensors are vital for keeping tabs on water management systems’ complex infrastructure. Johnston said, “if I want to know if any part of my infrastructure is stressed or overloaded, I can view a graphical representation of my network of sensors. I can immediately see exactly where problems are and zero in on them. Then I can do something about it.” In essence, “the connectivity of all these sensors that make up a part of the Internet of Things is creating a brand new way for us to use information.”
Strategic acquisitions and partnerships
Johnston spoke a lot about the recent acquisition of FlowWorks, explaining how it allowed CARL to gain a foothold in the utilities sector. “Water management and water infrastructure management made a lot of sense,” Johnston noted. “FlowWorks was a company that we knew if we moved to our platform we could do amazing things with and grow the company exponentially”
He continued, “we see huge growth in the utilities sector … after the acquisition of FlowWorks, we plan to continue to build more applications to service other areas of the utilities sector like power and smart metering. What we do is not limited to utilities, it just happens that we have a great application that we can customize to service that market. And that’s where we see our growth in 2016.”
The company also foresees a growing partnership with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) in the coming year. CARL has built its entire application on the Microsoft Azure platform, an open, flexible, enterprise-grade cloud computing platform. Microsoft made a significant investment in Azure and some of the advanced features that it has created. Microsoft’s HDInsight and Microsoft Machine Learning are what allow CARL to “really look deep inside the data and do that deep analysis of information.”
This year, Johnson sees his company’s “partnership with Microsoft growing in terms of cooperative marketing efforts and our ability to both promote what they’re doing and their ability to introduce us to people who need these type of solutions. From a technical perspective, we’re working with them to make sure we get the most out of their platform.” The cooperative marketing aspect of this relationship is anticipated to take off in spring of 2016.
The future for data
When he thinks about the future of data, Johnston foresees companies like CARL occupying a central role. The CEO believes that “everything is going to be cloud based. To take it one step further, companies like ours will be building all our applications using Microsoft Azure’s platform as a service.”
What that means is that companies will be able to build applications in the Azure environment without having to worry about the overhead associated with maintaining servers. Essentially, “Azure is becoming an application server. It’s a bit of a revolution in the way people are looking at building applications moving forward.” With CARL at the forefront of this revolution, it makes sense for investors to take a second look at this company and others like it. It is becoming increasingly clear that data companies are operating at the vanguard of the internet of things, and tech-savvy investors are taking note.
Securities Disclosure: I, Morag McGreevey, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.