• Internet of Things
  • Michael Riemer
  • MAY 08, 2018

Staying Green Using IIoT in Commercial Landscaping

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Commercial landscapes and interior plantscapes are like other commercial assets in that they need regular maintenance.


IIoT is truly ubiquitous. It impacts everything from factories to construction equipment to the plants in our office.

Seriously, the plants.

It turns out the commercial landscaping maintenance management market is a big business. It’s worth more than $11B in the US alone.

Three major cities are about to run out of water too, making this both a business and a societal issue. Some might ask, why all this greenery? Studies show interior office plants contribute to employee productivity and satisfaction, not to mention the fact that greenery can increase commercial property value up to 15%.

LEED and WELL green building certifications give points for those same plants.

Recently, Spiio and their founder, Martin Dal, introduced a new industrial IoT solution into this market. Hoping to drive digital transformation. Here is their story:

An Idea, a Plane Ticket and a Trip to Chicago

Martin obtained his degree in computer science at Aalborg Universitet in Denmark. One day Martin and a friend noticed some workers caring for interior plantscaping. A few more questions and some late nights later, the concept for Spiio was born.

With $800 and a grant from the country of Denmark for $3,000, they flew to Chicago with a crude prototype of their solution.

They attended Cultivate 16, the premier event in the industry hosted by AmericanHort, and sold three pilot customers! Next, they bought tickets to Silicon Valley.

They were off and running!

“I’m so grateful that these pioneer customers believed in us. They are the reason that Spiio is around today.” – Martin Dal, Founder & CEO of Spiio

It Starts With A Clear Value Proposition

It’s refreshing to see a customer focused IIoT startup.

Traveling the globe for 6 months was tiring but enlightening, and it enabled Martin and the team to build an initial go-to-market plan.

“Commercial landscapers are catalysts for a more sustainable world.  It’s our opportunity to help them improve margins and increase their greenery per labor hour.” Martin Dal, Founder & CEO Spiio


Greenery as a Commercial Asset

Green walls and roofs, commercial landscapes, and interior plantscapes are like other commercial assets in that they need regular maintenance. But time alone is a poor driver for maintenance intervals and an opportunity exists to reduce up to 75% of on-site visits.

Inefficient use of field personnel impacts profitability. Limited asset visibility increases operating costs (e.g. watering when not needed). Replacement costs are also high as a result of inconsistent maintenance practices.

Based on this customer input, Spiio created an initial value proposition.


The Importance of Knowing What You Don’t Know

In sports, you can’t teach height. In sports and business, you can’t teach passion. You can’t teach someone to be curious. And for many, it takes years to appreciate the value of knowing what they don’t know. The Spiio team had this as a core value already.

“We want to give our customers superpowers that can help improve their businesses.” Martin Dal, Founder & CEO, Spiio

Always Ask “Why”

The Spiio team asked questions early and often.

Commercial landscaping operates on thin margins. They have quality labor shortages.

The Spiio team wanted to learn what drives efficiencies and what reduces costs. So, they asked customers.


They designed their “sensor” manufacturing process in China. They sought input.


They spent countless hours speaking with service providers, mapping the customer journey, identifying the user personas, and even creating a UX that mimicked a field service worker’s “physical notebook”.

They even reached out to me while exploring predictive and prescriptive analytics and looking for opportunities to enhance application intelligence. They wanted to know how data could improve their offering.

What Does The Future Hold?

My crystal ball is a bit fuzzy and success is a complex equation. There are so many factors, especially in the IIoT world.

You have better odds when you always seek to improve your understanding.

Spiio is off to a great start. They know what it takes to be successful in IIoT:

  • A clear understanding of the customer

  • The delivery of sustainable, valuable and measurable outcomes

  • Working with customers to ensure organizational and process alignment



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