The IoT World event in Santa Clara, Cal. A couple of weeks ago was one of the most focused, interesting, and well run events (minus the usual Bay area traffic) I have been to all year. As many new IoT conferences emerge and older conferences re-invent themselves to more IoT application focused events, this show seemed to hit the mark on many levels. From my perspective and my passion for ultra-low power and autonomous sensing systems, there were many interesting technologies to geek out on.
The range of content was complete and segmented in a logical manor to provide the most value for the attendee, something I appreciate. Since I’m often found wandering aimlessly around these major shows with coffee in hand, face down in my phone frantically sending one thumb emails, I appreciate finding my way through commonly themed rooms with specific purposes, which was the case at IoT World. For example, I’m heavily vested in wearable electronics due to my High Performance Inertial (HPI) business at Analog Devices having a strong revenue stream from vital-sign monitors. The IoT World wearable section was well attended by many (not all) of the industry leaders. I was expecting and hopeful to see more of the leading Chinese manufacturers showing up in full force. However, this was the one geographical area that wasn’t well represented.
Following the keynote and panel with our own Martin Cotter (VP of Healthcare, Consumer, and IoT) the remaining speaker list was relevant and consisted of influencers within the areas of wearables, autonomous vehicles, cities, and healthcare. The format, discussion, and presenters were more insightful about the problems within the IoT. This speaks to the understanding and maturation of technology, moving passed the hype of previous years.
An interesting aspect of the show was the IoT Startup Zone, which was packed with innovative and energetic people and ideas. The most interesting startup, due to the social awareness and fashionable twist to IoT, was Belle. In this booth, CEO Cayley Wetzig showed a line of fashion jewelry that acts as a vital-signs monitor and security GPS locator for users in danger. Fashion fused with security and connectivity is something many have attempted. However, this start up and its uber high-end fashion designers could make this work where many others have failed.
Further, a firm out of France, Nanolike, focused on nano-sensor engineering, provided an interesting foreshadowing of low power and sensitive sensors for IoT applications. France is becoming an IoT sensor hotbed along with Switzerland, where Analog Devices acquired Snap Sensor SA. This region known for its focus on highly constrained device engineering for the watch industry, and is well aligned for IoT expansion, specifically with institutions like EPFL and incubators in the region like CSEM, where SNAP was developed.
Another vendor that caught my eye was Metron Force, who developed a wristband controller for many applications. Rounding out the list of interesting startups is Perchbaby, who developed a baby vital sign monitor. This company would win the award (if I had one to give) for the best giveaway, which was a hollowed egg embossed with the company’s logo. Unfortunately, the egg did not make it through airport security.
From a more established business perspective, it was interesting to see the progress made by Silver Spring and its intelligent lighting projects which underscore the value in having power at the node.
I met and attended a panel with John A Mirisch, the Major of Beverly Hills. It was very interesting to hear his vision to enable autonomous public transportation and safer communities for his constituents and how he works with public and private firms on proof of concepts and projects to drive the technology. Smart cities was an emerging theme throughout the conference as firms pivot toward more capex to opex financial shifts, to help cities enable their technology.
I’m looking forward to attending next year to see the progress of the startup and multination firms.
Michael Murray is the General Manager of Analog Devices’ Industrial Sensing Division. He brings 20 years of successful start-up ventures and multinational experience in areas of marketing, product development and sales leadership. Michael is a member of the Board of Directors of the WiSun Alliance and a member of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and the MEMS Industry Group (MIG). He received his MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT, a Master’s Degree in Technology, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Management from Northeastern University, in Boston, and an Electronic Engineering Technologist Diploma from George Brown College, in Toronto.