TMC’s IoT Evolution Expo in Las Vegas this week brought together the leading lights in the Internet of Things movement to discuss and demo the latest and greatest in what this space has to offer. Industry players, their customers, industry analysts, and financial experts at the event also discussed how we can meet the challenges of IoT to take things to the next level.
Speaking of going to the next level, the global leader in drones – DJI – was with us in Vegas talking about Inspire 1. This new drone features 20 to 25 minutes of flight time, the ability for the drone and camera to move independently, a 4K camera, and a feature that makes it easier to fly the thing indoors. DJI is best know for its Phantom drone; that and its other products are popular with hobbyists, cinematographers, and photographers.
DJI was among the 10 presenters at the IoT Evolution Expo Battle of the Platforms event. The winners of the competition were Numerex, which received the designation of Best Overall Platform; PubNub, for Best Enterprise Support Solution; Systech Corp., for Best Gateway Strategy; and KORE, for Best Implementation Support.
Numerex presented its multi-faceted platform, which has application (user presentation, solution logic, solution generation), content (application enablement, device normalization, synchronization), network (access enablement, network normalization, usage management), and device layers (data collection, local queuing, alternate routing).
OK, let’s rewind to the drone discussion.
As we all know by now, drones are already used in military applications and also should be very useful for other things like package delivery. But before this drone thing goes any further, we need to figure out a few things so these amazing flying devices help and don’t hurt us.
As Kerry Garrison, COO of Multicopter Warehouse, noted at the event, the Federal Aviation Administration in the next few months is expected to introduce an app for Android and iOS devices that makes current no fly zone information available.
At the same session, Chuck Byers of Cisco talked about what kind of ground-based infrastructure will be required to support air-based drones. That, he said, will include landing roosts, which will serve as drone airports of sorts; individual or smaller group landing perches; postal boxes where UAVs can drop packages; radios and sensors; cloud services and servers; and fog nodes.
Speaking of fog nodes, fog computing was a central theme at IoT Evolution Expo.
The interplay between cloud and fog was the subject of a keynote given by Rodolfo Milito, senior technical leader at Cisco. And Gyana Dash of Cisco was among the speakers at Tuesday night’s Presentation Theater, where he talked about how fog computing can help enable a smart lighting solution. Cisco and various other companies also talked about various aspects of fog at the Fog Computing Analytics & Data conference collocated with IoT Evolution Expo. (Look here next week for my story on fog.)
In addition to the drone stuff noted above, there was another kind of flying object that took center stage this week at IoT Evolution Expo – and that was the helicopter.
Simon Gharibian in his keynote speech talked about how Sikorsky Aircraft is leveraging connected technology to make its helicopters more cost-efficient, effective, and safe. He put out a request to the industry for rugged wireless sensors, and he noted that Sikorsky is running The Entrepreneurial Challenge, for which there is a $25,000 cash prize.
Speaking of challenges, AT&T staged its second annual Fast Pitch event this week. The winner of the $10,000 grand prize was Pix Controller, for which CEO Bill Powers made the final winning pitch about a methane gas monitor.
AT&T is, of course, one of the key movers and shakers in the Internet of Things space. So IoT Evolution Expo invited Michael Troiano, vice president of Industrial IoT Solutions at AT&T Business Solutions, to provide a keynote speech to talk about the company’s role in the Internet of Things, and where the industry is and where it’s going.
Also this week at the show, I sat down with Mobeen Khan, AT&T’s AVP of Industrial IoT, to talk about the company’s recently unveiled Flow Designer and M2X solutions. These offerings, which exist at the platform level, aim to make IoT application creation easier for developers.
Making things easier for developers has become a prevalent theme in communications lately, and another company that was talking about it was Eurotech.
During his keynote, Eurotech CEO Larry Wall said he believes Eclipse Kura will be one of the biggest influencers in how the IoT develops moving forward.
Intel, PubNub, and WebNMS were among the other companies at IoT Evolution Expo this week outlining their efforts to improve the efficacy of IoT solution development.
Intel software architect Robert Watts gave a keynote speech about the company’s IoT Gateway, which delivers preintegrated and prevalidated hardware with critical software components to allow for the collection of valuable data from the 85 percent of systems that aren’t connected today. A lot of Intel customers, he said, told the company they wanted someone else to worry about the security and management of their IoT solutions so they could focus on the core value of what they’re building, and that’s what this IoT Gateway delivers. (Look here next week for my story on the Intel keynote.)
I interviewed Doron Sherman of PubNub, which also was part of various presentations at IoT Evolution Expo, about how the company is working to reach out to a broader group of developers and plans to add compute capabilities to its existing streaming and storage functionality, so it has the IoT intelligent edge networking trifecta.
And WebNMS just introduced new location and vehicle management applications to run on its platform. That way, customers can choose preexisting applications to enable them to get to market more quickly, and/or they can leverage the WebNMS platform to build applications themselves.
Meanwhile, Clear2there and Kii at IoT Evolution Expo told me what they’re doing to improve IoT implementation and adoption.
Kii offers a platform as a service that can, for example, provide back-end management of devices like thermostats. And recently the company launched an ecosystem – in which wireless distributor Brightstar and Japanese media and communications powerhouse Softbank are also founding members – to bring the demand side (carriers and retailers) and the supply side together.
As for Clear2there, it’s working to reduce friction in the sales cycle of IoT solutions.
Given the recent and high-profile Jeep hack, the instances of drones getting on The White House grounds and in the way of firefighting efforts, and the many retailer system and other breaches we’ve seen, security is obviously another important issue we need to tackle.
Indeed, Clay Melugin, senior partner at RMAC Technology Partners started the conversation at the IoT Security Summit by noting that most Nest devices have already been hacked, especially if they are purchased from Amazon. He also said that many connected devices are powered by chips manufactured offshore, and that there is now a San Diego company that tests such chips to make sure nothing was added to them in the process.
Alan Grau, president, Icon Labs in an interview with IoT Evolution World also talked about how edge devices are easy targets and if they’re compromised, the hacker can then operate as a “trusted entity” within the supposedly secure network.
John Gleeson of Covisint provided what I and some of the other audience members at Presentation Theater on the IoT Evolution Expo exhibit floor thought was one of the more riveting presentations. In it, he talked about how Covisint wants to become the platform of choice for IoT and identity-centric solutions by making sure only those with authority to access certain endpoints and other IoT resources are able to get it. And he explained how Covisint can do that by acting as a central authority for access to such devices and solutions.
Working to address such important challenges as public safety and security, ease of implementation, new application and product innovation, and IoT upstart access to funding will all be important in helping IoT meet its promise. But, as James Brehm of James Brehm & Associates said during the Analyze This session at IoT Evolution Expo, in the end what IoT is really all about is business transformation and improving quality of life. That said, businesses need to start out by evaluating their strategies, laying out goals, and then collaborating with experts to figure out how to get them where they want to go.