Hear from last year’s winner Kyle Smith to get the inside scoop.
Last year at the Internet of Things (IoT) Evolution conference in Las Vegas, 13 year old Kyle Smith stepped up to the plate to pitch his Internet of Things idea. He was the youngest participant by 17 years in AT&T’s IoT Fast Pitch competition, but he was well prepared to sell his idea to the judges.
We recently spent time with Kyle to get his thoughts on the competition and his advice for anyone thinking about sharing their IoT idea at Fast Pitch 2015.
After winning AT&T’s Fast Pitch competition, I entered the IoT Innovation World Cup and was selected to present my idea at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this past February. I was in the top 20 participants selected to present my idea and the top 5 in the security innovations category.
NEB Team: What made you decide to enter AT&T’s Fast Pitch 2014?
Kyle Smith: My Dad had entered a competition in Las Vegas for his ideas, and I was looking over his shoulder while he worked. The AT&T Fast Pitch registration popped up on the screen, and we decided it was a great opportunity for me to enter the idea I came up with the previous year for a robotics competition.
NEB team: How did you come up with your idea?
Kyle Smith: A few summers ago, there was a fire at Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a big tragedy for my Dad and me because the park is one of our favorite places to go. There was a robotics competition themed “Nature’s Fury,” and the entries had to revolve around innovation and natural disasters. I thought about the fire at the national park and whether it would be possible to develop fire detectors for the outdoors.
I met with park rangers, who thought the idea was good, but they said the device needed to be biodegradable. I took their advice to heart and tried to make my product as nature-friendly as possible.
NEB Team: What is your product called?
Kyle Smith: The product is called Fire-Fly, and it is a forest fire tracking system that detects, predicts and helps mitigate forest fires. A remotely-piloted drone places Fire-Fly sensors in the forest to detect smoke, temperature, wind, humidity, and lightning. Using Wi-Fi and cellular transmission, the sensors communicate to a hub device in the field that then relays information to a central hosted fire management system.
NEB Team: What’s next for you and Fire-Fly?
Kyle Smith: After winning AT&T’s Fast Pitch competition, I entered the IoT Innovation World Cup and was selected to present my idea at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this past February. I was in the top 20 participants selected to present my idea and the top 5 in the security innovations category.
I’m now working on next-gen ideas, troubleshooting and Bluetooth and WiFi versions of the product. My plan is to take Fire-Fly to a commercialization level.
NEB Team: What was your favorite part of participating in the Fast Pitch competition?
Kyle Smith: It was a lot of fun going to Las Vegas and presenting something I’m passionate about.
NEB Team: What advice would you give someone who is interested in entering the 2015 Fast Pitch competition?
Kyle Smith: Nothing is a bad idea. Take your idea to heart and really find passion in it. Don’t create your own barriers and don’t keep yourself from going to that next level.
When he’s not coming up with award-winning IoT ideas, Kyle spends his time playing basketball and water polo, and he’s even working as a Wrangler at a Colorado dude ranch this summer. And while he is comfortable working with Lego League Robotics, he’s looking forward to adding VEX Robotics experience to his resume as part of his high school’s robotics team in the Fall.
Thanks so much to Kyle for sharing his experiences with us.
Think you’ve got what it takes to be the next IoT Fast Pitch winner? Enter the AT&T Fast Pitch contest, and you'll have the opportunity to do just that. If your idea is selected, you’ll be invited to “pitch” it at the event. First prize is $10,000. Second prize is $5,000.
Read the official rules for the Fast Pitch competition.
This blog post was originally posted on AT&T's Networking Exchange Blog.