It Takes a Village: Why Education, Collaboration, and Support are Vital to IoT Outcomes with Mark Easley from Texas Instruments

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On this episode of First Things First, I sit down with Mark Easley from Texas Instruments to talk about the TI University Program. We discuss the importance of education, collaboration, and support when it comes to developing successful IoT applications.

The Story:
TI Supports the Next Generation of IoT Engineers

Texas Instruments developed its TI University Program to help improve engineering student success by supporting universities that are training the next generation of makers and creators. IoT technologies are not getting any less complex, so hands-on learning and encouragement becomes even more important as future electrical and computer engineers find their future career path

The Lesson:
You Can’t Do It All by Yourself

Whether you’re a student or working at an enterprise, in engineering or on the business side of things, it’s important to remember that when it comes to IoT, you can’t do it alone.

  • It takes a whole village. When it comes to IoT, you can’t “own” everything. It’s important to find technology partners that can fill in the gaps and help you succeed.
  • Ongoing education is important. Look for self-paced learning opportunities at the university level and take advantage of hands-on experiences.
  • Don’t wait to get support. Ask for the support you need from your technology partners. If you wait too long, this might jeopardize your IoT outcomes.

About Our Guest: Mark Easley Jr.

Mark Easley Jr. is the TI University Program Regional Marketing Manager for the U.S. East division. In this position, he supports engineering student success and universities to bring in the next generation of makers and creators. He has been with TI for 6 years, previously working as a LaunchPad Software Engineer.

You can connect with Mark on LinkedIn. If you want to learn more about Texas Instruments, visit

Show Notes

Don’t miss some of this episode’s memorable moments:

0:24 – Chris introduces today’s guest – Mark Easley from Texas Instruments (TI).

1:23 – Mark explains the TI University Program and what the company offers those who are building IoT connected products.

3:49 – Discover what the TI University Program is about and how it incorporates hands-on learning to improve the freshman learning experience.

10:16 – Mark discusses how it takes a village to create an end-to-end IoT solution. 

12:24 – Mark talks more about the tradeoffs and decisions you make when choosing the technology for your IoT solution.

17:22 – Learn more about TI’s robotic system learning kit and the technology behind it.

20:45 – Find out how real time operating systems help you manage the complexities of IoT technologies.

24:45 – Chris and Mark discuss the human side of IoT application development.

28:10 – When it comes to IoT – you can’t do it all yourself. Mark discusses the importance of partnerships and working with others to bring your IoT solutions to market.

29:35 – Mark and Chris discuss the importance of continuing education and ongoing support for IoT applications.


“A big piece of the education of an engineer is actually that first experience – the freshman year experience. So this year has been a big focus for TI… getting that hands-on experience early on in the freshman curriculum has been a big focus area for retaining future engineers and getting them excited for their future careers.”

“Every company in the Internet of Things, or those that are trying to approach it, are figuring out what their piece of it is. Because as awesome as a lot of us think our own companies and our piece of the IoT is, it takes a whole village to connect these devices to the cloud.”

“A lot of the IoT is figuring out what is the application, what’s the use case, what’s the human elements, what’s all the design type of things… from the device maker point of view, what are the right applications that are really kind of moving the needle for end users?”

“Each company has got to figure out how they want to tell their story and then really kind of own the [IoT] piece that they have. We can’t own everything… It’s really kind of cornering what your piece of the market is and telling that story clearly and directly to customers and then figuring out where you need to make those partnerships with other companies to really give the customer the edge when they bring their products to market.”

Additional Resources

About Our Sponsor

First Things First is sponsored by Telit, a global provider of wireless connectivity modules, platforms, IoT operator services and professional services. Telit supports thousands of direct and indirect customers by enabling hundreds of millions of connected ‘things.’ With almost two decades of IoT innovation experience, Telit delivers secure, integrated end-to-end IoT solutions for many of the world’s largest brands, including enterprises, OEMs, system integrators, and service providers across industries.