Welcome to Samsara, making IoT meaningful for real-world enterprise operations

Phil Wainewright Profile picture for user pwainewright January 28, 2022 Audio mode
Summary:
Samsara joins the diginomica partner family today on a mission to solve real-world enterprise problems by bringing digital connection and the Internet of Things (IoT) to physical operations

welcome

At diginomica, we've always sought to dig behind the tech industry's buzzwords and find their real-world enterprise impact. Over the years, we've heard a lot of buzz about the Internet of Things (IoT), but practical enterprise use cases have been surprisingly sparse. We're therefore very pleased to welcome as a diginomica partner today a company that is making huge strides to change that narrative.

Here's an example. Samsara Site Visibility, which the company introduced last year, is a cloud-connected video management solution that takes feeds from video security cameras and uses AI analysis to provide intelligent search, smart detection and proactive alerts. It's a typical Samsara offering, combining physical sensors with cloud management and AI smarts. Most tech vendors would put up a blog post celebrating that technology. But Samsara has a blog post that instead focuses on solving a real-world problem that its customers face: preventing catalytic converter theft. It explains how deploying a video security system can help detect and prevent such thefts.

Listening to customers and delivering solutions to their challenges has helped Samsara go from concept in 2015 to a $12 billion valuation when it made its NYSE debut last month, raising $805 million in its IPO. In a blog post celebrating this milestone, CEO Sanjit Biswas looked back on early conversations with CTO John Bicket, when the two co-founders saw the opportunity to make IoT meaningful for real-world operations:

We decided the biggest impact we could make would be to focus on physical operations — transportation, energy utilities, logistics, construction, and more. These are the organizations that keep our world running and yet have been overlooked by the technology industry.

Biswas and Bicket founded the company with the proceeds from selling their previous venture, the cloud network management company Meraki, to Cisco in 2012. That has helped them keep a firm grip on the business, retaining more than 50% ownership through two venture funding rounds, with most of the outside investment coming from top venture firms Andreessen Horowitz — Marc Andreessen sits on the board — and General Catalyst.

Beyond fleet management

The company has seen rapid growth, reaching almost a half-billion dollars in Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) in its most recent quarter. It started out by providing fleet management solutions to small and mid-sized trucking businesses, connecting sensors in vehicles to its management software in the cloud to help track mileage and other performance indicators. Most of its usage comes from the transportation sector, connecting into various transportation management systems, helping companies streamline compliance, routing and dispatch. In the first nine months of 2021, the company's systems logged more than 12 million vehicle location data points on average per customer.

More recent offerings have added AI detection when analyzing video streams from dashcams and security cameras. One customer has reported a 50% reduction in driver accidents as a result of driver coaching and alerts provided by the Samsara video safety application. Another reduced carbon emissions from fuel savings thanks to actions it took based on Samsara alerts and reporting.

In the run-up to the IPO its focus has shifted more towards larger enterprises, signing annual contracts in excess of $100k. That is taking it into other industries beyond fleet management, which now contributes less than a quarter of revenue, while growing its footprint in sectors including retail, construction, utilities, energy and manufacturing.

In summary, Samsara is the kind of technology vendor that's right up our street — bringing digitally connected technology solutions that help enterprises change the way they operate, with a strong focus on delivering practical business outcomes. We'll be drilling into more of those enterprise use cases as we speak to Samsara's customers and executives in the coming months.

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