Career Profile: IoT Product Manager
The Internet of Things (or IoT) is a term that has gone mainstream due to consumer products like fitness wearables and smart home thermostats. For Ashar Qureshi, it seemed like an interesting space to work in during his last rotation of Bell’s Graduate Leadership Program. We had the opportunity to sit down with Ashar to talk about his experience working in the IoT space and the solutions he’s most excited about.
Bell: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Ashar Qureshi: I was born in Saudi Arabia and moved to Canada in 1996. I graduated from the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Commerce with a Minor in Economics. I love technology and product design and I’m always checking out the newest start-ups in Toronto because I love seeing people use technology in new ways. Secondarily, I am passionate about music; both listening and producing. I’ve built a studio with a few of my friends and, together, we’re learning how to create music.
Bell: What made you decide to join the Graduate Leadership Program?
AQ: When I was in my 3rd year at Rotman, Bell came to our campus for an info session. John Watson, Executive Vice President, Customer Experience, spoke about the opportunities, mentorship and guidance available at Bell. It was then that I began to consider a career there. I applied to be an Intern and after enjoying the experience, applied to be a part of the Graduate Leadership Program during my 4th year of University.
Bell: Tell us a bit about what you do and your role at Bell.
AQ: I’m on my second rotation in Bell’s Graduate Leadership Program. My first rotation was in Corporate Stores as a Planning and Reporting Analyst. Part of my responsibilities were to track data from contests and incentives to ensure seamless reporting. I also contributed to the design of a new internal mobile application for our Corporate Stores. The application allows employees to see their hours, important information, as well as how many phones and accessories they’ve sold. Now, during my second rotation, I work in IoT, Vertical Solutions. I am part of the team that builds out the IoT strategy at Bell. We work with partners to create value offerings using Bell’s connectivity for Enterprise customers.
Bell: What does an “average” day look like for you?
AQ: We don’t really have an “average” day, it’s always changing on a week-by-week basis, depending on where we are in the product lifecycle. 40% of my day is meeting with vendors to learn about their companies and products. I do the initial vetting and then I’ll bring my team members in to discuss how we can enable the solution. As we build our IoT portfolio we’re working on new processes, so 50% of my day consists of internal requirements. Lastly, 10% of my day is doing market analysis and hunting for new products.
Bell: What innovative projects are you and your team currently working on?
AQ: The IoT vertical solutions team is responsible for enabling our sales channels with new IoT solutions for connecting the Canadian market. We focus on launching end-to-end solutions that benefit Bell’s enterprise customers in various industries (i.e. Manufacturing, Smart Cities, and Transportation). Industries like smart buildings, smart restaurants, smart parking, and smart factories – it’s been very exciting working with innovative partners to provide breakthrough solutions to our clients.
Bell: What are some of the solutions you’re most excited about?
AQ: Personally – healthcare and automotive. If you look cross-functionally, we really want to ensure everything is connected. The real IoT connection happens when there’s predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance is when machines work together to utilize data and are able to come up with a solution. Hypothetically, your wearable could detect a decline in your health, notify your healthcare professional and then they could send you a notification to come in for an appointment. In the automotive space, we’ve seen massive
disruption. Every year 1.3 million people die from car accidents. It’s 2016 and we should be thinking of a solution to decrease that statistic. I believe auto pilot and fully connected cars are our future. Having your car fully connected to your emails, messages, and even emergency contacts is convenient, but having cars and traffic lights that speak to each other to reduce traffic congestion and accidents, that’s revolutionary.
Update: After doing his third, and final rotation with the Finance team, Asher landed a full-time position working on the Business Solutions team. He is now working on various product developments, including IoT, Cloud, as well as Bell’s existing portfolio of business solutions.
Interested in a career in IoT? To view our open roles visit our career site.
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