IoT World – PR Vibes Q&A with Gavin Whitechurch, EVP Product & Strategy at KNect365 TMT, an informa business

Internet of Things World

May 14 - 17, 2018

Santa Clara Convention Center, CA

How has the show evolved since its launch five years ago, and are there any big changes planned for 2018? 

The show has evolved with the IoT ecosystem and the IoT market. When the show was launched five years ago, the audience and the participants were very technically focused and talking about the potential of IoT. Obviously, the IoT market has developed very rapidly, so not only has the show grown tremendously from 700 people in 2014 to 12,000 in 2018, but it’s also gone up through the stack and evolved its focus to IoT vertical markets. We have 10 tracks within the conference, and we like to think it’s the world’s most comprehensive conference on IoT. Of those 10 tracks, seven are two-day conferences around IoT vertical markets, including industrial, smart cities, connected cars, energy & utilities, and property – which includes smart buildings and smart construction. One of the strengths of what we do is bring end users from each of those different marketplaces to talk about the unique challenges and opportunities with IoT around those markets. 

How is IoT World different from other IoT conferences? 

It’s comprehensive. And it’s actually very difficult to run a comprehensive IoT market show that is both horizontal and vertical. We have the full ecosystem of the IoT marketplace participating, including all the different sub-sectors and verticals. I think we’re at that unique cross-section of vertical markets and horizontal capabilities, as well as a cross-section between technology and business. This show is really focused on the capabilities of IoT and how to utilize those capabilities to transform businesses in various sectors. 

Who is the target audience for the show? 

We are at the cross-section of business and technology. We have many participants from different vertical markets. They are the most qualified prospects that any vendor could hope to meet. Because we have a very verticalized approach with lots of end user case studies, we get a significant portion of the audience coming from those markets. We also have a VIP outreach program, which gets people from our key target verticals, then we work with our sponsorship customers to ensure we have the right profile and invite a specific audience for them, carefully matching those people with the participants from across the technology ecosystem of IoT. IoT is like a basket of capabilities. It’s all these different aspects of technology, which you can pick your ingredients for an IoT recipe, for a specific market and use case. The great advantage of the breadth of technology we have within IoT World, is that it’s a one-stop shop to build your IoT solution. 

What are some highlights on the Agenda? 

We’re really at a tipping point this year from going from small deployments to larger-scale deployments. The way we’ve constructed our two-day vertical conference programs is to have a day on operational and implementational experience. In previous years, there’s been a lot of talk about strategy and “why to”. I think what’s unique this year is that we’re really seeing the move to the “how to”. That is something that’s unique this year and hasn’t been seen anywhere else. 

There are also some interesting stories coming through about the use of IoT and predictive data and analytics. For instance, in the keynotes on May 15th, we have a story about how IoT’s been used to react to natural disasters, looking at how it’s used in reaction to Hurricane Irma, and to the southern California forest fires and how San Diego is using IoT and AI to see where the fires will go next, to help evacuate the right people. We also have some great end user case studies from the CIO of UPS and the CIO of Boeing in the show as well. 

We’ll also have Walter Copan, the Trump appointee who’s in charge of looking after cybersecurity in the US. He’s doing a presentation about the cybersecurity framework for the United States and how IoT fits within that framework. 

Lastly, we have a major start-up showcase, Project Kairos. That will consist of an exhibition of about 100 startups and a pitch off competition at a Founder’s Day for the startups to network with executives of more mature startups that have made their exits. 

What do you have planned for the C-Level Executives? 

One of the features this year just for executives is the Leaders in IoT Summit, which is run with Chatham House Rules – meaning you cannot attribute the information you receive in the session to someone after the session. This makes the executives feel very open and comfortable relaying their experiences. It’s an informal, executive engagement and a system we run on several executive summits around the world in different vertical areas. It’s a new feature of IoT World. 

What is the VIP program? 

It’s an outreach program for people within vertical markets. We’re reaching out to key individuals from healthcare, banking, energy, retail, smart cities, etc. We get in more than 350 key people from the different verticals. It’s a fully managed program with three people tasked with organizing meetings for those individuals and connecting them with contacts of interest, as well as connecting them with the right pieces of content and the right people within the show. We also have a VIP event, which is on Tuesday, May 15th, at the Levi Stadium, for our speakers, as well as all VIP guests and certain key influencers, made up of both our vendors and people from vertical markets. 

What are your recommendations for getting the most out of the show, if you’re an exhibitor, a speaker or an attendee? 

Good planning. I’d recommend that people engage with the VIP program. I’d also recommend they take a very good look at the website and plan out what conference sessions they want to go to. The conference has the highest quality networking opportunities thanks to senior-level participation and hands-on experience from the market, being relayed from people who have been on the cutting edge of deployment, from the market side rather than the vendor side. I would also tell the speakers to make use of the VIP networking services and the VIP lounges that we have. For exhibitors, come prepared with clear messaging in advance of the show, and engage and prepare with the resources we have available to through our exhibition team. 

How do you see IoT impacting business now and in the future? 

The IoT is a significant element of the broader digital transformation. IoT is about looking at physical assets and connecting and extracting data from them to help inform business decisions. We’re still fairly early in the development cycle of IoT. A lot of the use cases you’ve seen deployed on a large-scale so far are things like asset tracking, supply-chain orientated applications, or predictive maintenance, but we’re just at the outset of the IoT revolution. Even though we’ve been going a few years, this is as big a cycle as the implementation of e-commerce or e-communications. We’re only just starting to see the major business impacts. 

Do you think this is a year of IoT consolidation? 

In dynamic markets, there’s always consolidation and growth. Just look at the growth of mobile – you go from basic technology, to chip technology, to the handsets, then the networks, then the software and the services. It’s an ongoing evolution. Yes, there is definitely some consolidation. There are some companies making successful exits, but there are also new areas of activity starting up all the time. As one problem is being solved, another problem becomes the focus. We’ll see that cycle carrying on in IoT for many years. I think of IoT as a 15 to 20-year cycle and we’re only at the start. 

Is there any one thing that makes this a ‘can’t miss event’ for anyone in the IoT industry? 

If you look at the sponsors we have involved, and you look at the way the exhibition floor is sold out, it’s verifying that the market is starting to see this as one of the leading IoT shows, in the US, quite possibly in the world. We are expecting several large product announcements during the show. Some of the major vendors associated with the event this year include Avnet, Microsoft, Google, AWS, SAP, and Verizon, to name a few, these companies are engaging at a very high level with the show. And I think the show will increasingly be used as the place to communicate big news around IoT. It’s something we’re very pleased to see and welcome the opportunity to work with the community to amplify their messages wherever we can.

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