Insider tips from the 2015 IoT Fast Pitch judges

Does your IoT idea have what it takes to win first place and up to $15,000 in cash prizes? We asked the 2015 Fast Pitch judges (AT&T’s Mike J. Troiano, Igal Elbaz, and Don Chin) for insider tips on what they want to see at this year’s competition. Here’s what they had to say:




Mike J. Troiano, Vice President, Industrial IoT Solutions, AT&T, Keynote Speaker at Evolution Expo*


  • Think through the business model: If you’ve never pitched before, watch “Shark Tank” for ideas and be creative. Get your pitch down to three minutes. Aid the conversation with external media if appropriate. Think through the business model. If you can’t make money selling it, it’s not a pitch we will gravitate toward. The judges want to understand the problem you are trying to solve, the technology being used, and how your idea will reshape current business models or break ground on new models.
  • Don’t be afraid to enter: Last year, approximately 80% of the pitches we saw came from people or companies we didn’t yet know. Don’t be afraid to enter the Fast Pitch competition to get exposure you might not receive on your own. Ideas can come from a variety of places. They can come through experience with a large business issue or from experiences in your personal life. We are looking for innovative, original ideas that could go to market and transform industries.
  • Leverage AT&T developer tools: Make sure you understand the AT&T portfolio and how you can integrate AT&T IoT solutions and developer tools into your concept. Last year’s winner, Kyle Smith, impressed the judges because he did his research and explained how he would use AT&T assets. Reinforce what business problem you are solving, and how AT&T IoT solutions fit into your concept.
  • Practice: Finally, practice, practice, and practice to avoid stage fright. Think of the pitch as your three minutes of fame. Have fun, come with an original pitch, and be creative.

Igal Elbaz, Vice President, Ecosystem & Innovation, AT&T

  • Be problem/solution oriented: I want to see pitches that are well articulated where the problem is presented with a high-level solution, showing the technology that is used, and why the product has business merit. Use cases are important.
  • Create a prototype: Consider what’s innovative about your idea. You don’t need a video to impress me, but you do need to be articulate about the idea. It’s also important to show us a working prototype.
  • Let the work speak for you: Fast Pitch provides contestants with an unprecedented opportunity to share ideas with people from AT&T who are leaders in the IoT space. AT&T gives contestants a level of exposure not available anywhere else. Enjoy the contest, be creative, work on a prototype, and be yourself when you get on stage. Let the work speak for you.
  • What’s next for IoT? As prices go down, people will start buying more wearables and things that collect information. There will be a focus on Industrial FOG computing. Decision making and analytics will be taken to the edge. The amount of data that will traverse the network will be significant. From an infrastructure perspective, how is the infrastructure going to be supported? IoT developments are happening in city management, traffic, parking, and other areas of our lives. Get creative and come up with the next big idea.

Don Chin, Executive Director, Marketing Communications, AT&T

  • Think competitively: You may have a brilliant idea for a product or solution, but what is to stop others from copying your idea or providing similar products? Your idea has to have a sustainable competitive advantage to prevent being overtaken by “me too” players. Be clear in your market positioning. Are you the high-end niche product? Are you the value play? Differentiation in the marketplace is important.
  • Consider security: I’ll also be looking for how security is tied into each entry. Connected products can do great things, but how do you ensure the products aren’t used for things they are not supposed to be used for? How will you make sure you have the right security in place? Make sure to think through that aspect of your idea.

Additional tips from the Fast Pitch team:

  1. Practice your pitch in front of a mirror. You want to win over the judges with a well-oiled pitch, so make sure you are comfortable giving your pitch.
  2. Only tell jokes if they are truly funny. Jokes can be great, or they can really bomb. If your joke is not guaranteed to make everyone laugh, you are much better off focusing on the business side of your pitch.
  3. Carefully consider your visuals. Since each AT&T Fast Pitch is only three minutes, there is no time to show more than a slide or two. Leave boring presentation slides at home and choose an image or two that will best capture the judges’ attention.

May the best IoT idea win!

Are you going to IoT Evolution? Would you like to make your pitch for a chance to win up to $15,000 in cash prizes? Register for AT&T Fast Pitch today.

*Don’t miss Mike Troiano’s keynote speech, “Internet of Things – Evolution,” at 4:15pm PT in K-03 on 8/18/15 before the Fast Pitch competition.



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