Josh Horton

Senior Lead, Data Strategy & Analytics, Cox2M

Supernova Award Category: 
Data to Decisions
The Organization: 

Cox 2M is the commercial IoT business line within Cox Communications, dedicated to delivering innovative, impactful and intelligent solutions that provide real-time data users need to generate actionable insights and make better decisions for your business or community. Established in 2018, Cox2M operates in 3 areas:

  • Intelligent Automotive Lot Management, supporting customers like car dealerships and auction houses across 35+ states and 3 countries on 565,000+ vehicles
  • Intelligent Yard Management, helping customers like tractor manufacturers with location tracking and mechanical insights on hundreds of thousands of pieces of equipment
  • Smart Communities, providing smart park security, curbside management solutions and connected streetlight solutions to improve community safety
The Problem: 

Cox2M experiences 1.5M+ IoT messages per hour and collects over 13B new rows of data per year. As the team looked to scale large solutions, the time to actionable insights was far too long with their existing analytics tools in PowerBI and Tableau. Their legacy tools required constant engineering cycles and building new dashboards for each request. It would take more than five hours to meet one ad hoc request, resulting in insights no longer being relevant for the business question at hand. The leadership team was frustrated with the speed to insight, and the lean data team was spending on average more than half of their work week on a handful of ad hoc requests, experiencing a $90,000+ cost to serve annually for ad hoc requests. Cox 2M needed a solution to streamline time from insight to action and that would also diminish the cost to serve.

The Solution: 

The Cox 2M analytics center of excellence led by Josh Horton was looking for a tool that pushed the boundary of traditional dashboarding and reporting. They conducted a short evaluation of Qlik, Sisense, Microstrategy and ThoughtSpot. ThoughtSpot was utilized by their parent company Cox Communications, and quickly stood out from the pack for having a unique approach to analytics. With ThoughtSpot’s search based analytics, Cox 2M was able to easily avoid building an entire dashboard for one question. With their legacy tools, they experienced double the engineering work. ThoughtSpot’s ability to connect directly to Google Big Query, their cloud data warehouse, streamlined handling billions and trillions of rows of live data to serve live insights in real time. That was the core differentiator that delivered on their goal of faster time to insight. 

Cox 2M is now able to make the most of their data and deliver faster time to insight with the power of ThoughtSpot.

The Results: 

Introducing ThoughtSpot to their data stack enabled the Cox 2M team to reduce time to actionable insights by 76%. Now, with natural language search, business users with little to no analytics experience can search for their own answers in natural language, and are served up actionable insights. Not only did the time to insight accelerate because of the natural language search, but with ThoughtSpot the data teams also significantly reduced time spent structuring their data by 75% because of the direct connection to their cloud data warehouse and the ease of engineering work. 

Now, with ThoughtSpot, business users can find their own relevant insights in real-time based on their latest data in their CDW and make critical business decisions based on the insights. For the data analytics team, this meant the ability to lift and shift the time analysts were spending on ad hoc business questions to more impactful business operations. While before ThoughtSpot, analysts time was spent diagnosing and troubleshooting IoT device behavior — a reactive analytic focused activity – now, analysts are able to shift their energy to more customer ROI and add on activities, providing things like workflow optimization strategies for auction customers, reducing customers fuel usage on properties, and predicting engine issues and vehicle maintenance. All are strategic business initiatives that have a direct impact on Cox 2M’s customer engagement and bottom line. 


Since introducing ThoughtSpot, Cox 2M has reduced time to actionable insights by 76%. Adhoc requests that formerly took over five hours and 20+ hours per week, were now less than 5 hours total per week. 

The data team also experienced significant time savings on the backend, reducing the time it took to structure data from hours per each new dashboard, to no more than 15 minutes when setting up a new data set since ThoughtSpot connects directly to Google BigQuery. They also reduced the time for data visualization from an hour per chart/graph in traditional dashboarding tools to minutes with ThoughtSpot liveboards.

With the acceleration of time to insight and alleviating time on data engineering, the team experienced $70,000+ in savings on annual cost-to-serve. 

On the embedded analytics front, Cox 2M has found ThoughtSpot a lot easier to work with on the development side using ThoughtSpot’s Developer Playground from a management and code perspective. The pre-built templates provided are easy to use, from setting up security to managing it on an ongoing basis, what typically took a day with PowerBI now takes a couple of hours with ThoughtSpot.

The Technology: 

Through ThoughtSpot’s platform, Cox 2M uses machine learning and AI-powered analytics to analyze data from millions of sensors surmounting to 13B+ news rows of data and 2.6+ TB per year. The system uses natural language querying, enabling any user regardless of technical skill to ask and answer their own questions. Sitting on top of a modern data stack inclusive of Google BigQuery, PubSub, Dataflow and Datastore, ThoughtSpot serves as Cox 2M’s modern data stack experience layer.

Disruptive Factor: 

Cox 2M operates with a startup mentality and people wear many hats. We quickly realized the impact of empowering our entire workforce with self-serve analytics and how that has helped us better understand and service our customers. 

By reducing our time to actionable insights for various ad hoc business requests, our data team has been able to deliver more strategic, business critical work. To demonstrate the impact ThoughtSpot has had for us, one example is when we had a customer report that vehicle batteries were failing quickly upon delivery from the vehicle manufacturer for one of their three delivered groups of 2022 Mazda Models. They didn’t know the full impact of the issue and asked us to identify all impacted units. Previously, this would take us about 5 hours to complete using our old BI tools, but with the use of thoughtspot, it took us only 1.5 hours to get the customer the answer and data they needed. 

Shining Moment: 

Early in our use of ThoughtSpot, I was on a call diagnosing a customer issue that normally would involve an analysis request that we would deliver within 24-48 hours. Instead, I was able to pull up ThoughtSpot and as a team we were able to see the results of our questions immediately. This a-ha moment was felt by teammates across the business and immediately showed the value of my teams’ ability to scale and empower our entire workforce with analytics.

About Cox2M

Cox 2M is the IoT business line within Cox Communications, committed to enabling connected environments through IoT solutions for businesses and communities. Cox 2M’s end-to-end solutions seamlessly integrate connectivity, hardware, software, and analytics to monitor and track commercial assets, powering business insights, operational efficiencies and improved experiences for customers.