Internet of Things World 2019

Internet of Things World 2019
Santa Clara Convention Center
May 13-16, 2019

Attendees: 12,500
Exhibitors/Sponsors: 300+
Media/Analysts: 200+
Speakers: 400+

Calysto Overview
Plenty of evidence at IoT World 2019 showed that the conference lived up to its theme: the intersection of industries and IoT innovation. Vendors, customers, speakers, engineers, and developers mingled in the Santa Clara Convention Center, looking for opportunities to partner, create, problem-solve, and innovate.

Listening to the conversations in the hallways and aisles, you could tell this was a busy event. No one complained about a lack of activity. Many attendees were playing multiple roles: vendors and customers were hoping to engage potential partners to implement IoT solutions for a specific industry or segment and many were speaking and more were talking to the influencers.

The IoT World conference kicked off on Tuesday with Laura Borgstede, Calysto’s chief energizing officer, in the role of conference chair, discussing how the industry has moved from one that measures success by counting the number of connections and devices to what we’ll be measuring in the future – from Jobs Reports to the yet-unknown entrants’ valuations.

“The development of specific applications addressing real problems on an industry-by-industry and customer-by-customer basis is what helps IoT ‘projects’ scale and move from proof-of-concept to applications and ROI,” Borgstede said. “That’s the road to success for IoT, regardless of whether the industry is healthcare, retail, manufacturing, transportation or yet unnamed opportunities.

“We have had several years of hype, but also several years of real work to get to this point,” Borgstede continued. “What will the next several years be about? Ensuring security at all points in the value chain? Establishing the right privacy policies on a federal level? Applications? Automated factories? Smart buildings and smart cities? How about all of the above?”

With a goal of helping companies make the most of IoT, Borgstede also launched IoT Futurists™, The IoT Thought Leadership Board™, to explain the disruptive technologies that are changing life and business. IoT Futurists is a group of the industry’s top IoT experts and forward-thinking Thought Leaders. It will work with IoT vendors, service providers, and the media to mentor them on, and develop business strategies for, the next wave of IoT growth opportunities.

Emphasis on Vertical Markets
IoT World reflected the present state of the IoT industry: it included many events demonstrating how to implement vertical applications for IoT. Regardless of their roles at the conference, participants represented a broad range of technologies, product offerings, and system approaches from each corner of the IoT. Anything needed for deploying an IoT installation was on display, from chips, modules, sensors, and antennas to end-to-end enterprise solutions. And no product was mentioned without also discussing how it could change the world through data, analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and more.

“In the Internet of Things, without a reliable ‘I’, you’ll never have a reliable “T”, said Chris Baird, president and CEO of OptConnect, a managed services company successful in many vertical markets. “OptConnect has perfected managed wireless services so our customers can focus on making their “Thing” the best one available while we take care of all of the complexities of providing reliable wireless connectivity.”

What made this conference different from previous IoT gatherings was the emphasis on a broad range of vertical industries throughout all aspects of the show. These included both commercial and public sectors such as automation, power generation, wireless, energy management, communications, connected consumers, oil and gas, smart buildings, smart cities, and more. Even space travel was a topic on Keynote Day, with multiple representatives from NASA and The National Space Society leading that discussion.

Did the Entire IoT Ecosystem Exhibit?
The front of the exhibition hall featured the big, well-known companies that always attract big crowds: Dell, Verizon, Intel, and Amazon Web Services, to name a few. They exhibited contributions to the present and near-term future of the IoT across the network, the enterprise, and the globe.

Even more interesting to many visitors were the specialized exhibitors such as Losant, Itron, and Longview which could be described as pure-play IoT companies. Only 4 years old, Losant offers an enterprise IoT platform that makes it easy to create a complex, real-time connected system to deliver real-time data via sensors. Itron, with origins in the pre-IoT, machine-to-machine (M2M) era, also attracted large crowds that wanted to know how its IoT network and data platform helps verticals, such as utilities, to be more insightful and cities to be smarter. Austin, Texas-based Longview also offers a comprehensive IoT platform that includes sensors, applications, cloud, and gateways. The solution is appealing to businesses in oil and gas, agriculture, utilities and more.

The Santa Clara Convention Center was a fit for this year’s conference: big enough to handle the crowds and small enough to be busy. The question was, who was there? Several people noted that, although a lot of technologists were attending, there were still a number of prospective buyers from specific vertical industries.

IoT World is a Content-Driven Event
Despite the activity in the expo areas, one executive from Quuppa characterized IoT World as a content-driven event, where learning and speaking events were highly valued for educational and interaction value. This Finnish company supplies a technology platform for location-based services and applications.

IoT World offered a comprehensive content program. The conference started with workshops and a hackathon, followed by a full day of executive keynotes. The multi-track conference covered vertical segments such as smart cities, connected vehicles and industrial IoT, as well as important topics as security and edge computing. And, there was a developer program for software developers, hardware engineers, and system architects.

The Show News
Unlike a CES or Mobile World Congress, there was no blockbusting news that captured headlines, or that ran across all media platforms. Instead, most events and related announcements portrayed more gradual, evolutionary developments. These are moving across the market and producing subtle changes that will ultimately affect connected businesses and consumers. CRN Magazinecited six top announcements from IoT World. Among them:

OptConnect,a managed wireless provider, launched a smart embedded modem for IoT applications that enables connectivity as a service. Boasting more than 3200 customers in a variety of verticals, and formally launching into the IoT, the company’s managed services garnered significant attention.

Verizon announced the availability of its Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) network. Handling IP and non-IP traffic, it is designed to use inexpensive chipsets that can reduce the cost of non-mobile, connected devices with low-power and low-throughput requirements.

CoreKinect said it’s combining its miniature tracking and sensing hardware with The Kudelski Group’s standalone security system-on-chip to create a secure asset tracking solution that’s small enough for individual pill bottles.

Startups Elevate
For $2,500, startup companies could exhibit in a separate area as part of IoT World’s Startup Elevate program. The intention was to connect startups with potential investors, partners, and customers. More than 100 startups participated in the program. To participate, they needed bootstrapped, pre-seed, seed, or series A funding.

In addition, a judged competition for startups took place on a stage inside the Startup Elevate area, which had rows of podiums where company personnel could hang signs with the name and description of their products or services.

While StartUp Elevate did provide a cost-effective opportunity for early-stage startups, some participants said it came with some limitations. The highly amplified, loud pitches in the front of the room often made it hard to carry on a conversation, and the separate startup hall did not attract the same level of traffic as the main hall.

Press and Analysts
The show provided ample opportunities for exhibitors and sponsors to meet with prominent members of the press and analyst communities that cover IoT. This group included top influencers from several relevant segments of the tech press and research firms that report and analyze technology news. Here’s a quick segmentation with examples:

  • General tech coverage: Forbesand PC World
  • Technology suppliers: embedded systems media such as EE Times, Embedded Computing Design, and communications media such as Network World
  • IoT industry: IoT World Today, IoT Everywhere, Stacey on IoT& the Internet of Things Podcast and Connected World
  • Vertical industry segments: Automation World, Future Car, and Food Logistics Technology

Similarly, there were many familiar analyst firms that cover enterprise, IT, networking, and embedded markets, and of course the most active firms in IoT. The list includes Informa, James Brehm & Associates, Heavy Reading, 451 Research, Ovum, and many more. One of IoT World’s distinctive features was daily breakfast briefings between attendees, exhibitors and analysts.

Summary
If you ask both exhibitors and attendees, they will tell you IoT World was a busy show. The largest U.S. conference dedicated to the Internet of Things, it offered a full program of activities including executive keynote sessions, a hackathon, a developer conference, vertical industry tours, sessions and programs as well as a multitude of networking events.

Full convention halls hosted major players. Under their well-known banners, these companies offered a variety of products, technologies and networks for IoT implementation. There was also a group of companies who were founded to focus on the IoT. Most important, regardless of size, almost all companies at the show are seeing greater success in pinpointing the requirements of vertical markets. Start-ups gained exposure in their own venue and competed for funding. The show was busy, engaged, and demonstrated that IoT is slowly progressing into a real industry. 

IoT World 2019 Tweet Summary

Next Year
IoT World 2020 will be held April 6-9, 2020, in the San Jose Convention Center. Pre-register and receive show updates.

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